I think this was a wrong decision for three reasons
- It has dished Peacock Visual Arts proposals for a new Northern Lights Arts Centre which had secured most of the required funding and would have delivered a £5m/year economic boost to the City as well as making the gardens more accessible and providing handy facilities such as cafe and toilets.
- No economic case for the City Square has been made. This makes the proposed funding for the £90m+ that will not be given by Sir Ian Wood - Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) - dubious. TIF depends on the infrastructure being developed actually delivering tax increases locally - and for central government agreeing that those extra taxes can be used to pay of the local debt. Neither of these are certain.
- The gardens themselves are used and loved. They are a important cultural, historic and enviornmental asset to the City. 55% of the people in the City Square consultation said No to the City Sqaure proposals. As I have already said "Which bit of No, don't you understand?". Ian Wood said he would withdraw the offer unless the proposals were supported. But ASCEF wanted to pursue the issue and the City Council has agreed to this.
It's hard for councillors to say No to £50m. I am sure that the P&J and the Evening Express would have told us that councillors voting against City Squre were numpties and a danger to the economy of the north east of Scotland if the vote had gone the other way. Those against the proposals have been labelled as the Lunatic Fringe. This blog is called National Disgrace, Scroundrel and Extremist because those are labels that Donald Trump and his accolytes tried to attach to me and I am plainly none of those things. So I am happy to add Lunatic Fringe to the list - along with the 55% of those who were consulted on City Square who also said No.
People are genuinely angry about this decision and desperate for someone to take a lead in stopping this awful "development". I think that the economic case does not exist and the funding mechanism is too dubious. So the odds are that this willnot happen. It hasn't happened for 20 years .....
So let's group together as friends of Union Terrace Gardens and do what we can to conserve and improve them.
Meanwhile, thanks for this video of the Gardens on Saturday 22nd May 2010.