I have to agree with Webcraft here. It …

Comment posted Aberdeen votes by narrow majority for video game ‘garden’ at Union Terrace by Ken MacColl.

I have to agree with Webcraft here. It would appear that the citizens of Aberdeen, after a full consultation process, have been given the opportunity to express an opinion about the Gardens project.
Contrast that with the “airy fairy” details available for the spending of a considerable sum of borrowewd money under the CHORD project in Oban on a scheme where information about what is proposed, costings, business plan (?) is not only denied to the general public but, it would appear, is only available in severely redacted format to those councillors who are not in the charmed Inner Circle. Yet again, what price democratic process in Argyll & Bute?

Recent comments by Ken MacColl

  • The Stones, The Stars and Professor Thom
    Genuinely sorry to miss this talk but Putechan Lodge is a long haul from Oban!
    Professor Sandy Thom is the grandfather of my sister-in-law and was a genuine polymath-with wideranging interests and considerable expertise in engineering, mathematics, astronomy, sailing and almost any other field that attracted his interest.He was truly “a living example of the power of a flexible mind and a versatile disposition.”
    During the war he worked on the aereodynamics of fighter aircraft.
    Only after retiring from the Professorial Chair of Engineering Science at Oxford did he devote his undivided attention to one of his many other interests, the locatin and distribution of megalithic monuments across the west coast of Scotland and further afield.He worked closely with Marion Campbell in Mid Argyll. He is considered to be the father of archaeoastronomy.
    If you are able, go to the talk and enjoy.
    Then support the campaign to safeguard the Sighthill Stone Circle.
  • Disappointing stunting from Michael Russell
    And, W.S., if you reveal your name, will we be entitled to make assumptions or presumptions about your ethnicity -as if it should matter?
  • Another question for Andrew Mitchell
    Were it not for whistleblowers and serious investigative jounalists-for too few around at present-we would know far less about those entrusted with our government.
  • Campbell Cameron: Saying Yes
    Pot, kettle , black….responding to Gus mackay is rarely a productive exercise but could I suggest that while the march was in support of Independence for Scotland, those who carried placards stating “YES” were in support of that cause.
    My family had a long tradition of active support for the Labour party in Argyll and I recall how my father used to explain to me when I was a child the importance of countries like India and Ireland gaining control over their own destiny. Mind you he also spoke about the obscenity of nuclear weapons and the massive importance of the NHS and the principle that care should be free at the point of delivery.At that time the abolition of the House of Lords was a stated aim of the party.As a working class boy who got to university he would have been appalled at the notion of the Labour Party introducing student fees. I suspect that he would not have been singularly unimpressed with either Blair or Brown.
    Devolution, even in times of financial stricture, has mostly worked well for Scotland and it has worked best in those areas where services, like Health and Education are in our Holyrood’s control and our own priorities are able to be addressed – contrast those with the chaos under Westminster control! The progression to independence is part of the process started in 1999 and perhaps the most significant factors of Saturday’s rally were the contributions from Dennis Canavan, Ruth Wishart and the growing Scottish Labour for Independence movement.
  • Campbell Cameron: Saying Yes
    I am the bloke in the blue fleece and I am entitled to look older than Campbell Cameron for the simple reason that I am considerably older.

    Campbell is as hale and hearty as ever.

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8 Responses to I have to agree with Webcraft here. It …

  1. I think this is unfortunately evidence (again) that, in Aberdeen, money speaks louder than anything else. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating.
    It’s worth comparing this scheme, which completely overwhelms the gardens and utterly destroys their character, with the previous proposal by Brisac Gonzalez for the Peacock Visual Arts Centre, consisting of three levels of galleries and arts facilities inserted under the existing gardens terraces in much the same way that the National Gallery basement extension was inserted under the existing building on the Mound facing Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh. Diller Scofidio & Renfro are very good designers – who did a brilliant job in their High Line linear garden development of the old elevated freight railway bordering the Hudson in Manhattan – but they’ve been unable to work within, and respect, the character of Union Terrace Gardens.

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  2. Is Aberdeen in Argyll now?

    Let’s have more focus on what is happening – or not happening – on the Oban development front.

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  3. I have to agree with Webcraft here. It would appear that the citizens of Aberdeen, after a full consultation process, have been given the opportunity to express an opinion about the Gardens project.
    Contrast that with the “airy fairy” details available for the spending of a considerable sum of borrowewd money under the CHORD project in Oban on a scheme where information about what is proposed, costings, business plan (?) is not only denied to the general public but, it would appear, is only available in severely redacted format to those councillors who are not in the charmed Inner Circle. Yet again, what price democratic process in Argyll & Bute?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. For Webcraft and Ken MacColl: It’s not an either or situation. We are of course looking into the situation with the Oban CHORD project and we are aware that access to the entire Interim Business Case has been denied.

    Anyone from outside the council has to accept that an Interin Business case actually exists and that it has been discussed. Not only is the public denied knowledge of the contents of this business case, it is not allowed to know what the conclusions of the discussion on it were.

    Moreover, the meeting was asked: ‘to recommend to the Programme Management Board that £1,840,000.00 be drawn down to allow the 1st phase of the project as detailed in the Interim Business case to be progressed, subject to the adjustments discussed for the traffic interchange proposals.

    This is a substantial sum of money to be drawn down with no public account of exactly what it is for – and to be drawn down on the basis of an ‘interim’ and not a final business case.

    The Oban CHORD project is a labyrinthine morass of indefensible practice and as such, working to undersitand it is a slow process akin to dissecting a rat.

    The Aberdeen division on the retention or radicalisation of Union Terrace Gardens raises issues of perspectives on planning for public spaces which are relevant anywhere.

    Helensburgh faces the vandalism of the classical lines of Colquhoun Square and for no good reason.

    Anyone who looks at the design approved for Union Terrace Gardens will see nothing organic but simply an overscale version of the short term concrete wows that were enacted in urban gardens back when garden makeovers where all the rage.

    This is a question of design for public spaces – and we are all affected by such matters wherever we live.

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    • Totally agree ‘.newsroom’.
      The Argyll Square roundabout in the centre of Oban was a beautiful ‘alive’ spectacle at one time, only to be vandalised with concrete, and token garden. Old pictures of the square are beautiful and vibrant, and any place considering ‘improvements’ should understand, when its gone its gone!
      The daft roundabout at Alexandria is another ugly waste of money surely.
      Whether its Aberdeen, Helensburgh or wherever a cool considered overview is a must and any local consultion must be given due prominence.

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  5. This is great news. Aberdeen should have a vibrant public realm given it’s massive economic advantage. Instead it is a provincial backwater with little modern architectural merit.

    The key to the longterm success of this new square is how well it is maintained once it’s completed.

    We have a poor record of maintaining our public works in Scotland. Let’s hope Aberdeen builds in a proper maintenance plan in the project

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    • Graeme – have a good look at what’s proposed – the open space, ‘the square’, disappears to be replaced by a series of carved up spaces separated by very substantial bits of building – a very expensive monument to Sir Ian Wood, undoubtedly – but really destructive of the character of this garden in the city.

      Aberdeen is not a ‘provincial backwater with little architectural merit’ – the city centre has suffered from bad planning that’s allowed traffic to dominate and has led to the main thoroughfare, Union Street, becoming very down at heel, and driven out much of the retail life. Jazzing up what could still be a haven from the rush and noise of the streets isn’t going to cure Aberdeen’s problems. In Manhattan Diller Scofidio & Renfro succeeded in part because they had to respect the strong form of the old railway viaduct, and designed the garden within it – whereas in Aberdeen they’ve been presented with an existing garden, but have completely destroyed its form in seeking to create something novel and revolutionary. The previous approved design created very substantial new space to bring more life and activity into the gardens, but without destroying their form. I just wonder if this was seen as a missed opportunity to create a massive impact on the city centre to the greater glory of Sir Ian Wood and the ‘city fathers’.

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  6. The current gardens are ugly and plagued with drug addicts. It is such a total waste of space and has no character whatsoever. The new scheme is modern and will have space for outdoor events, something else which Aberdeen is lacking. After the gardens, attention needs to be paid to Union Street. I think part of it should be pedestrianised like in other cities, this will also encourage tourism and draw people to spend more time on Union Street.

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