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scott.wright

Union Terrace Gardens

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Well exactly, why can't we have more of that? The park simply isn't used, when was the last time there was a celidh or an open air concert down there? Maybe once a year at Christmas. An ice rink was a great success, but that was a few years ago. So why hasn't it been repeated? As for the park being full of sun-worshippers, how often does that happen? One month out of the year? Two at a push. If the gardens were being used to their potential then I would be all for keeping them as they are, but they aren't, they aren't used for anything except winos and junkies bedding down under the arches. The smell of piss and empty Buckfast bottles don't really say "welcome to Aberdeen".

I saw that thing in the Evening this week as well - "We sent a photographer down to Union Terrace gardens this Saturday at noon and there was no-one there. Why is no-one using our Gardens?". The obvious answer being "cos it's November and it's fucking 2 degrees outside, and it's raining".

As you yourself once stated, "Spin, it's all just words, spin, don't believe what you've heard..." 8-)

The arts centre is designed in a way that would allow this to happen.

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What do you mean the city doesn't need an arts centre!! That is crazy talk. Do you not consider yourself playing music in a group as part of the culture of Aberdeen? What about the people who organise the shows that you perform at? An arts centre for the community would be a great centralisation of all the energies that people put into what they are doing. I would definitely work through/with a set up like that for the majority of my activities. It would help people work together to bring more interesting art and music to this place.

We need an arts centre more than a bunch of shops and cafes and parking. Do we not want fewer cars in the city centre anyway? Why make more and more space for them? Space that had already been earmarked for something exciting and new.

I'm pretty sure there was talk of potential further development of the garden once the centre was built. I'm sure they could include some interesting shops/market style type thing for local business to sell their wares on a permanent basis rather than just the last Saturday of the month or whatever it is. Development of local business is what our area needs to survive, not further influx of big shops that just sell up and leave when times are hard. You can be guaranteed that a corporate development like the union terrace patio would only cater for this type of business, yet another Next and a Gap, maybe Apple Store 2, a couple of Starbucks all that combined with vast nothingness perhaps some escalators down to the parking area.

I will feel let down if we don't get our arts centre. Why should I put my heart, soul and money on the line to make this a more cultured place to exist in and then get shat on because some old guy with lots of money wants to leave his mark on a town that he hasn't been bothered to help out up until now.

Strongly as you obviously feel about the arts centre, I would wager that you're firmly in the minority. Perhaps not on this site, which attracts a certain demographic, but if you asked 100 people on Union Street if they were rather see an arts centre on the site that they are never going to use, or have any interest in, or a big Starbucks and a Gap, the majority would choose the shops. Like most Aberdonians, I've never set foot into Peacock Visual Arts where it currently stands anyway, and can't see any reason why I ever would. So why would I suddenly start caring about it if they moved into Union Terrace Gardens?

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Strongly as you obviously feel about the arts centre, I would wager that you're firmly in the minority. Perhaps not on this site, which attracts a certain demographic, but if you asked 100 people on Union Street if they were rather see an arts centre on the site that they are never going to use, or have any interest in, or a big Starbucks and a Gap, the majority would choose the shops. Like most Aberdonians, I've never set foot into Peacock Visual Arts where it currently stands anyway, and can't see any reason why I ever would. So why would I suddenly start caring about it if they moved into Union Terrace Gardens?

I was about to say pretty much the same thing.....

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Strongly as you obviously feel about the arts centre, I would wager that you're firmly in the minority. Perhaps not on this site, which attracts a certain demographic, but if you asked 100 people on Union Street if they were rather see an arts centre on the site that they are never going to use, or have any interest in, or a big Starbucks and a Gap, the majority would choose the shops. Like most Aberdonians, I've never set foot into Peacock Visual Arts where it currently stands anyway, and can't see any reason why I ever would. So why would I suddenly start caring about it if they moved into Union Terrace Gardens?

You are certainly entitled to your opinion. A lot of people don't go to the art gallery or the central library... why not turn them into something more useful for everyone too? You wouldn't. Why are we not investing in that kind of infrastructure for our society any more? That is what is wrong with us these days and particularly Aberdeen. It's all about sustaining shops and ecconomy rather than cultural and social wellbeing.

I think it's a short sighted attitude not to grab an opprotunity like the Peacock proposal with both hands. The full benefit that a centre of this sort means for the future generations of this town is potentially vast. It's not just a place for avantgarde art and artists to work. It's a place for community and every type of activity from music and dance to fashion and art.

The city has just had an enourmous shopping centre built. The other shopping centres I'm sure have plans to develop... Union Street has plenty of capacity for shopping and cafe culture. There is large area in the city centre going to open up relatively soon which could and probably will do this too.

The majority that you talk about in your posts are more than taken care of. They will benefit from an arts centre whether they know it or not.

The youth of this city need more things to do too. The council have shut down a whole heap of stuff because THEY CAN'T AFFORD IT. A place in the city centre that is funded completely and designed fully for involving people and very much for our youth, in activities would do us all a world of good. We really don't need more shops. There is huge amounts of retail space available already.

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Strongly as you obviously feel about the arts centre, I would wager that you're firmly in the minority. Perhaps not on this site, which attracts a certain demographic, but if you asked 100 people on Union Street if they were rather see an arts centre on the site that they are never going to use, or have any interest in, or a big Starbucks and a Gap, the majority would choose the shops. Like most Aberdonians, I've never set foot into Peacock Visual Arts where it currently stands anyway, and can't see any reason why I ever would. So why would I suddenly start caring about it if they moved into Union Terrace Gardens?

You'd probably have had the same response in Bilbao, when it was famed for being the Scunthorpe of Spain.

Rather than the home of the Guggenheim, and a place that people with no interest in the arts would now consider a weekend in via Easyjet, etc etc and so on.

Perhaps the residents of Southwark would have felt similarly about the Tate Modern - what would they care? 15 years on London's centre has moved East - culturally, socially and economically. The South Bank is thriving - in the early 90s it was still largely a bombsite from the war.

It's easy to scoff at economic arguments put by Peacock and say that "it couldn't happen in Aberdeen" but it has happened, and in poorer and less well known places to boot.

Allowing the arts centre to be killed off by ACSEF and Ian Wood would be a loss to all folk in Aberdeen, not simply those who use the centre. The chances of the Wood scheme succeeding the various stages of financing and planning permission are also exceptionally slender - which is worth remembering if you believe that the gardens need regenerating. If the Peacock scheme dies, chances are the gardens won't change. At all.

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Why not re-develop the pishy arches and old chunty into Peacocks Art Centre and keep the gardens as they are.Jobs a good un!:up:

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It's also the principle of the whole thing. Peacock had gone through a lot to get their plans approved, and as soon as they do, Ian Wood comes along with another one to replace it? Hardly seems fair. Snooze you lose. Not, "Oh fuck, I was planning on building a car park there in 20 years time and the bastards have got in before me. Here's 50m ACC, make them go away."

And to top it off, ACC have to add an extra 50m to the pot? For a start I can see that increasing. And secondly, the council shouldn't be spending that amount of money when it can't afford it on something that there is no need for. 50m could be pumped back into schools, etc that they've single-handedly fucked in the past 2 years.

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It's also the principle of the whole thing. Peacock had gone through a lot to get their plans approved, and as soon as they do, Ian Wood comes along with another one to replace it? Hardly seems fair. Snooze you lose. Not, "Oh fuck, I was planning on building a car park there in 20 years time and the bastards have got in before me. Here's 50m ACC, make them go away."

And to top it off, ACC have to add an extra 50m to the pot? For a start I can see that increasing. And secondly, the council shouldn't be spending that amount of money when it can't afford it on something that there is no need for. 50m could be pumped back into schools, etc that they've single-handedly fucked in the past 2 years.

Very good point indeed. Yet another example of someone with money trying to get their way by buying it. And not even subtly.

It really just sickens me to the core.

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You are certainly entitled to your opinion. A lot of people don't go to the art gallery or the central library... why not turn them into something more useful for everyone too? You wouldn't. Why are we not investing in that kind of infrastructure for our society any more? That is what is wrong with us these days and particularly Aberdeen. It's all about sustaining shops and ecconomy rather than cultural and social wellbeing.

I think it's a short sighted attitude not to grab an opprotunity like the Peacock proposal with both hands. The full benefit that a centre of this sort means for the future generations of this town is potentially vast. It's not just a place for avantgarde art and artists to work. It's a place for community and every type of activity from music and dance to fashion and art.

The city has just had an enourmous shopping centre built. The other shopping centres I'm sure have plans to develop... Union Street has plenty of capacity for shopping and cafe culture. There is large area in the city centre going to open up relatively soon which could and probably will do this too.

The majority that you talk about in your posts are more than taken care of. They will benefit from an arts centre whether they know it or not.

The youth of this city need more things to do too. The council have shut down a whole heap of stuff because THEY CAN'T AFFORD IT. A place in the city centre that is funded completely and designed fully for involving people and very much for our youth, in activities would do us all a world of good. We really don't need more shops. There is huge amounts of retail space available already.

I'm not trying to rubbish anyone's opinions here, not at all, but would you mind please explaining to me how a new Arts centre would be of benefit to the community as a whole, and not just those interested in the arts? Because I really can't see how it's going to benefit anyone other than that minority. Personally, and I'm talking from a completely selfish point of view here, I have no interest in art. I've been to many art exhibitions, mainly to support friends, and have been bored to tears every time. I have no interest in dance, and although I do on occasion like to visit the theatre, there is already HMT, the Lemon Tree and the arts centre on King Street for that. I don't see music as art and I don't see myself as an artist because I write songs, but anyway there are plenty of venues in town that cater for live music, there are practice rooms and studios a plenty. And as for films, the Belmont Cinema screens local films.

As for the argument that there are enough shops in Aberdeen already, isn't the arts scene in Aberdeen already quite well catered for? Within easy walking distance of the proposed new arts centre you've got the art gallery, the central library, HMT, The Belmont, King Street arts centre, the Lemon Tree, cafe Musa, The Foyer... as I've said I'm really not trying to shit on anyone's opinions here, I just really can't see the need for it.

Please, convince me otherwise. :love:

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The arts centre, in my opinion is going to look more aesthetically pleasing than what Ian Wood has proposed. It doesn't infringe too much on the public space and still allows it to be utilised in the summer as an open area. Ian Wood's idea of a bit of tarmac and a few benches doesn't cut it for me.

Being from the country, I think a city benefits from having a bit of green space as it breaks it up a bit and gives people somewhere to go. The fact it's in the city centre is a bonus as it can attract more people.

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Please, convince me otherwise. :love:

Interesting piece on Bilbao/Guggenheim

Guggenheim, Bilbao, and the hot banana | YaleGlobal Online Magazine

For Bilbao's declining steel/port economy read "oil". this piece isn't a cheerleader chant for the arts, more a rational discussion as to the pros and cons of culture and tourism. It'll possibly explain why an arts centre would offer more to Aberdeen than a civic square housing an underground carpark.

Some stuff from 2005 on the impact made by the Tate Modern's first 5 years on London and Southwark Borough:

into: News

If ACSEF can cite recent examples of civic squares offering the same economic uplift and benefit, then they're being ever so quiet about them

In any event, it ought to be clear that those benefits will extend to folk beyond those who patronise the arts centre itself.

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Aberdeen's Contemporary Art Centre will bring, if DCA's figures are anything to go by, and their own business plan, around 5-6 Million each year with an expected footfall of around 250 thousand people. These people may enjoy their experience so much they might stay here. It will provide a home for Arts Outreach programmes led by Peacocks itself and Also Whitespace, the Arts Development and Education groups who do a great deal of work with community groups outside Aberdeen in some of the more deprived areas, and also work together with Schools and Artists delivering exciting and new programmes to kids.

Not only an Art Gallery, the centre will cater for CityMoves giving them more space for their dance groups, there will be an Art Gallery as well as a top-notch printmaking facility and TV Studio. Investment in this kind of workshop facilities which are available for all to use will be a bonus and benefit the city no end.

The building itself, designed by one of the most prestigious up-and-coming young Architecture practices, with its innovative design and integration into the space will be a draw and having such a beutifully designed buildings will improve the profile of the city among the architecture community, because lets face it anything that has been built in Aberdeen in the last 20 years has been an absolute eyesore.

Maybe it wont cater for you as it seems you are part of Wood's mythical 80% but it will cater for a lot of people and attract people to come and stay in the city and invest in business or enterprise which doesn't involve oil exploration. It will hopefully enrich the cultural aspects of this city and encourage talented, vibrant graduates from the Universities to stay and invest something into the city.

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And also, it will bring light to the parts of the gardens which many percieve as dark and dangerous, and by use of a lift provide access down into the Gardens for those who may not be able to make the steps. The idea of those gardens being underused is one of the biggest myths being pushed around. In the summer they are always full, and for a public garden even if there is only one person there they are being used.

Plus you don't have to be in them to be making use of them, they're there to look at and enjoy the sight. They are the perfect oasis in the sea of Gray around them. Currently they close "an hour before sunset" but with the addition of the building which will more than likely be open till around midnight people will be able to use them into the evening as well.

Aberdeen would become the laughing stock of the civilized world if it was to do away with the only green space within its city centre to make way for a car park and concrete square. Its reputation is already pretty grim...

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Personally, I'm not particularly interested in the PVA centre, I just prefer this proposal as it largely retains the gardens as they are. They've been there since 1879, according to wikipedia and I've heard no word of their imminent spontaneous landscape failure. They could just leave them be, surely?

Future generations may weep or laugh at destroying a local treasure to provide parking space for cars that will simply be uneconomical to run in 20 years time. Why not just install a bike rack?

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Lucky Rathen - you claim to want convinced but what more do you need to hear?

A sound economic case that will bring money into the local economy to the benefit of everyone in the city.

A clear cultural demand from local artists, art goers, schools and members of the public who ARE interested in the arts

The track record of similar ventures in the other cities that have been mentioned - Dundee, Gateshead, Bilbao, Southwark in London (Tate) of regenerating and bringing social benefits to the area in which they sit.

Ok! We get it! The arts centre isn't somewhere that you will be frequenting...but successful cities have a rich tapestry of infrastructure of sport, music, arts, education, transport. It is the variety of offers that makes them work. Just cause it's not your cup of tea doesn't mean it won't raise Aberdeen's profile and benefit the city and all its citizens as a whole.

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Personally, I'm not particularly interested in the PVA centre, I just prefer this proposal as it largely retains the gardens as they are. They've been there since 1879, according to wikipedia and I've heard no word of their imminent spontaneous landscape failure. They could just leave them be, surely?

I am of this opinion. I've signed the petition solely to give one more voice to the little guy who invested a lot of time and effort in their vision which I don't think is necessarily a bad one. Definitely not a bad one when compared to getting rid of the majority of green bits like the other development option.

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I could take numerous people to task here about the dubious nature of both projects, and how the people behind both are about as far removed from reality as it's possible to get, but it doesn't seem worth it. Neither of these plans are going to come to fruition. Peacock will run out of time, Wood's plaza will run out of cash. In ten years time someone else will come up with a grand plan for the gardens, and that won't happen either. I know it sounds cynical, but anyone who's lived in Aberdeen for any length of time should sense the whiff of inevitability about it.

Luckily there are people daft enough to try this sort of stuff, else we'd still be living in caves rolling our eyes at the idiots standing outside in the cold and wet, wrestling with that new-fangled wattle and daub...

:up:

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I could take numerous people to task here about the dubious nature of both projects, and how the people behind both are about as far removed from reality as it's possible to get, but it doesn't seem worth it. Neither of these plans are going to come to fruition. Peacock will run out of time, Wood's plaza will run out of cash. In ten years time someone else will come up with a grand plan for the gardens, and that won't happen either. I know it sounds cynical, but anyone who's lived in Aberdeen for any length of time should sense the whiff of inevitability about it.

I find your lack of faith disturbing, but again its part of that apathy that assures that nothing happens. The only reason Peacock wont go ahead is because the council is happier to suck up to millionaires than put in motion a plan which could benefit the city in years to come.

This idea of Wood's has been rejected three times in the last 20 years, and the only reason it is being proposed again is because he "sees it as [his] personal failure" and once the Arts Centre is built he will never get it (not that it will ever attract any funding EVER anyway) Maybe instead of accepting a predetermined "inevitability" people should ask the questions of their council, like many are doing now.

Otherwise there IS no future for Aberdeen, culturally or otherwise.

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This infuriating disgrace further confirms my suspicions that Aberdeen is the most masochistic city in Britain. The infectious apathy of it's citizens has spead so thick that no one can even be bothered to defend this place from attacks of insipid mediocrity.

We can all get depressed about the state of the city sometimes, but for Christ's sakes let's at least get positive and try to improve it once in a while! People are questioning the value of culture and the arts (the appreciation of which happens to be the very reason we are on this bleedin' website!) in comparison to a cunting car-park? Jesus Christ!

"Oh hey I just booked a holiday to Florence!"

"Ooooh I heard they have some crackin' carparks there!"

"Yeah I can't wait."

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Otherwise there IS no future for Aberdeen, culturally or otherwise.

Is that some sort of terrorist threat?!

Give them their Arts Centre!!!

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There's a distinct lack of will on the part of anyone outwith the artistic community in Aberdeen (ie, those who already use the facilities as they are now) to make it happen. Whether it's because Peacock have failed to make their case for the cultural and economic benefits effectively, or if it's because they've wildly overestimated the level of support and interest in their scheme and are relying on desperate tactics to keep their hopes alive, I can't tell.

I don't think that's fair.

Peacock had secure funding for the project, an architect on board and planning permission to proceed. It WAS going to happen until Ian Wood stuck his oar in with his wildly unrealistic plans.

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Finding people with daft ideas isn't hard. Finding people daft enough to pay for them's the tricky part.

It's not the only reason. There's a distinct lack of will on the part of anyone outwith the artistic community in Aberdeen (ie, those who already use the facilities as they are now) to make it happen. Whether it's because Peacock have failed to make their case for the cultural and economic benefits effectively, or if it's because they've wildly overestimated the level of support and interest in their scheme and are relying on desperate tactics to keep their hopes alive, I can't tell. Either way, the council have to ensure value for money for the taxpayer, which is why they've rowed back on their support for the scheme.

Peacock's scheme has 70% funding in place and full planning permission.

That's not a "fail", quite the opposite - particularly when you consider that a major partner, ACC, appears so in thrall to Ian Wood's generous offer to allow them to match his own 50m with another 50m from the council's coffers.

the arts centre funding is contingent on Peacock demonstrating how they will bridge the 30% gap in funding (ie it is not a case of "here ye go, best of luck getting the rest in"). so you can rest assured that the folk who's job it is to disburse funding for the lottery and the scottish arts council are satisfied that not only is it possible Peacock would raise the remainder, but that it is highly likely they would.

whatever your opinion on the relative merits of either scheme, it's only fair to acknowledge that Peacock have done their homework here and brought in more than 9m as a result. They couldn't have done that by wildly overestimating support, or through desperate tactics.

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