For Webcraft and Ken MacColl: It’s not an …

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

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.

Recent comments by newsroom

  • Time to stop to think – as the cult sweeps into Campbeltown
    In the spirit of what you say, we have removed the joke which signed off the piece above.
    There is a distinction between vigorous political campaigning and a level of proselytising that enters the territory of the formation of a cult.
    This article is a genuine warning that that line has been crossed; and that sensible people need to consider whether they stay on the dangerous side of that line, join it or retreat from it – while retaining their wish to vote however they like.
  • Time to stop to think – as the cult sweeps into Campbeltown
    This is not ‘political involvement’ as such, as it is understood – because it is unilateral political involvement and it is being recruited hard, as these three simultaneous initiatives demonstrate.
  • As he moves to Cabinet, former Transport Minister tells McGrigor options for the A83 ‘will be kept under review’
    Thee are sections of the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful and at Achnatra, where this looks to be an issue.
  • ‘And how much would this have cost an independent Scotland?’
    Agreed. It was a very serious mistake to insist in the full face of the evidence that the prospectus was correct.
    This produced three negatives:
    - distrust in competence – because the logic of what was ging to happen was clear [and was spelled out, for example, in For Argyll's own 8-piece series from independent research of the worldwide oil and refining sectors] and denying that logic looked clueless and ham handed;
    - distrust in integrity, where competence was assumed;
    - resentment at being takes for idiots.
    Had the lies on the possession of legal advice on Scotland’s potential EU membership not been told; had the prospectus not been calibrated on endless oil money to pay the bills for extravagant additional increases in benefits, with no increase in taxation; and had there been a well conceived alternative currency proposition, together those would have been worth at least another 5%.
  • Clegg dreams of threesome coalition for Westminster in the face of the Groper’s revenge
    Thank you db. Corrected to ‘…take some seats from both Labour and the Lib Dems’.
    And re yours and Lowry’s remarks on Alan Reid’s position, he lost nearly 5% of his vote last time but both the Conservatives and Labour candidates were between him and the SNP candidate Mike Mackenzie, in fourth place.
    This time, Alan Reid has nothing to thank his Leader for tonight.
    Clegg’s declaration that the Lib Dems would happily shack up in a Labour coalition with the separatist SNP may well cause the fairly numerous Argyll pro-union voters [alarmed by the growth of support for the SNP since they failed to win the independence referendum] to find a safer place for their votes than the Lib Dems.
    Where this happens, we would see the majority of those votes going to the pro-union Labour candidate rather than to the Conservative one, since that party is fielding a candidate untried at this level, from the islands and not widely known across Argyll and Bute.
    The SNP in Argyll have too much to purge from the chaos of their betrayal of their electoral support in the local authority election in 2012. They may improve their vote but here, on evidence, they cannot be trusted to put local before party interests and are unlikely to take the seat.
    The best bet is on either Alan Reid or the Labour candidate, Mary Galbraith – and it would be a foolish person who wrote off Alan Reid too early.
    He may issue silly self promotional material and have developed in his public speaking a shouty manner than does not suit him – but he has been an intelligent, dedicated, unshowy hard working constituency MP whom people will not want to let down.
    We do not see the SNP taking Argyll. We would see the Conservative vote fall after Gary Mulvaney’s impressive candidacy last time; but we cannot call it between Alan Reid and Mary Galbraith.

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8 Responses to For Webcraft and Ken MacColl: It’s not an …

  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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Is Aberdeen in Argyll now?

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

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • 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.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • 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’.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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