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scott.wright

Union Terrace Gardens

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Absolutely appalled by the lack of ambition showed by Aberdeen's Councillors. Would go on a massive rant but why bother? It's all been covered. Fucking crooks.

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Looks more like overambition, if you ask me. Hopefully, that will have either a banker or an engineer laughing the project out of the door at some point in the future.

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Where does the figure of 85% come from? I haven't been following this closely enough to know. I don't really hold much stock in petitions or consultations because the naysayers are always more vociferous than any other party.

There were two on-line petitions posted. One for PVA and the other for the City Slab. The PVA one registered over 10,000 signatures, the City Slab one registered 1,599. That's an 85/15% split. If there was a silent majority of 189,500 then presumably the were in favour of leaving the gardens alone altogether.

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I have been asking to get the definitive position on the councillors having to declare their interest and leave. I understand that they were in the position where they would have had to declare their interest, but could have remained, until the letter at the eleventh hour from Lindsay Gordon which suggested Peacock would be in a position of being unable to trade if the vote went a certain way.

I understand that, due to Companies Law, and the present code of conduct for councillors (which is under review) that the councillors in question could have severely compromised themselves if they had remained and voted on a 'life or death' issue. At the end of the day, the decision was theirs, no councillor is ever forced to remove themselves, they make the decision based on the advice they receive.

Once I have something more definitive I will post it up.

I made mention in my speech how regrettable it was that they were not allowed to participate, I probably wouldn't have agreed with them, but they should have been involved. I totally uinderstand why Peacock felt the need to put out the letter that they did, but it had the unintended consequence of compromising three councillors who may have been sympathetic to their cause.

With regard to John Stewart's position on ACSEF, I understand that his position was not one which was pecuniary (i.e - as ACSEF is not a company it does not carry the same burden on appointees) and there were also two members of the Peacock Project Board who remained in the debate and participated accordingly. In any case I have asked for the clarification on this too so that I can post it up here.

With respect of the voting. The first vote was not the one which led to a casting vote. We had 5 amendments put forward and they were taken one against the other until the motion was put against the successful amendment.

So, in order they went:

Boulton v K West - I voted Boulton, which was successful.

Boulton v Cassie - I voted Boulton, Cassie was successful

Cassie v Crockett - I abstained, Crockett was successful

Crockett v Farquharson - I abstained, Farquharson successful on casting vote.

In retrospect, I maybe should have voted once Marie Boulton's amendment fell. However, I had stated my support for CSP, so I backed her amendment as it included that option.

I also genuinely had no idea what the voting split would be, as there had been a very open debate and nobody knew where the votes would go on the amendments.

Finally, regarding the mention of backhanders and corruption. I am sorry, but that is bang out of order. Just because I voted a way you disagree with does not mean I and the others who voted that way are in some way on the take, and frankly I expect slightly better from some of the folk on here.

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An institution can be corrupt without taking back handers, say by slavishly following an oligarchs will, that is corrupt, really hope this entire council gets bounced out, as you can't even run a swimming pool, let alone a city.

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An institution can be corrupt without taking back handers, say by slavishly following an oligarchs will, that is corrupt, really hope this entire council gets bounced out, as you can't even run a swimming pool, let alone a city.

OK, that was the other point. In terms of "slavishly" following.

Over the course of the last 18 months I've met with the people from all sides of the argument, and have asked all of them some fairly probing questions. So I haven't just sat back and waited for the opportunity to vote.

Having questioned all sides one thing was clear to me, the only thing that is motivating people is a genuine desire to do the best for Aberdeen. They just happen to all hold different visions of what that may be.

In terms of your hopes, we'll see what happens in 2012, you might get your wish.

In all seriousness, it costs no money whatsoever to stand, so if folk on here feel genuinely that change is needed then they should put themselves onto the ballot papers

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Dude, I'm trying my utmost to refrain from mounting crazy attacks, but you have just voted to destroy part of my heritage, and I am furious about it, and will remain so until this is halted by whatever means necessary.

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Mr Tanned. The problem is that the option you voted for doesn't make any bloody sense and I refer here to finances, purpose, long and short term benefits, cultural growth, legacy, heritage. You get the picture?

Price Cooper Waterhouse, local and national architect societies, numerous experts on city development, planning and cultural growth have all questioned CSP, been alarmed or advised against the ludicrous act of archittectural vandalism yet ACSEF and many councillors seem unable to grasp, or accept, what they are being told by experts in their field... Not to mention the loss of a wonderful new building and opportunity for the arts in the north east. All the councillors that voted fell hook line and sinker for Woods only plan from day one, stop PVA! That is as good as on record by the way.

That chances of this square happening are next to zero, thankfully, but the damage is being done now to the future of the city. Time after time we hear and see things any city holds dear being ripped out or closed or sold to the highest bidder for the least favoured option. I love change, I rarely look at my own personal history and wish this and this and that had been different but when I look at what has been done to Aberdeen over the years, and I was born in 65, it stuns me from time to time.

Planner in most cities are now forward thinking and making efforts to retain a city's heritage, identity and idiosyncracies. Not this one however. A great many politicians and leaders seem happy to do whatever and the worst things is, as mentioned, they believe they are doing what is right.

Can you see why this is so, well, personal? And whether people say well done for coming on here and standing your ground, and I agree, I detest that your smug tone of 'if I'm wrong then it will show in two years time when the public vote'. You have done damage now and will have to carry that with you!

I would have you all marching up and down the damn street now with banners apologising to us for a crass act of ignorance and would happily accept you and your cronies moving along from your position now!

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Dear tv tanned,

When John, Kirsty, and yourself were elected to the council I thought it was a very good thing because younger people are generally more idealistic. A lot of politicians start out being idealistic but over time that wears off and they usually lapse into self interest and/or self preservation. That's what makes people like me apolitical. Or in my case just 'A' with a circle round it. That last time I really believed that things were going to change for the better was when I voted Labour back in '97. Within a year everything had succumbed to it's usual level of mediocrity. That finished me off.

An elected politician not only serves their constituency, they also represent a particular spectrum of society. For example if we elect a gay politician then it's not only to represent the people of a particular area but also to represent the views of gay people. Hence why there is such a big deal made of electing black candidates, women candidates etc. It's so that our politicians are representative of our society.

I think it's fair to say that a lot of young people voted for you. So not only should you be representing the interests of Dyce / Bucksburn / Danestone, but also of young people. You have been a long-term attendee of this forum, so we'd expect you to help represent our interests too. I see very little in common with you and Sir Ian Wood, Stewart Milne, and the rest of ACSEF so I would not expect you to be concerned with their interests.

Yesterday was your big chance. The moment when it fell to you to represent our wishes. The wishes of your constituency, the younger generation, and the artistic people that frequent this site. We were all counting on you. If there were three people I would have expected to represent our views in that vote, above anyone else on the council, then it would have been John, Kirsty, and yourself. But you in particular Mark. Only Kirsty stood firm. You let us down. You really let us down badly. Your vote, just your vote alone would have been enough to secure the future of PVA and UTG. Instead you gave your backing to ACSEF.

You know that the public consultation was at best flawed, and at worst rigged. You also know that it showed at least a 10% majority in favour of the PVA plan. In politics that is a massive majority. Public opinion was not in dispute. Those people at ACSEF shouldn't have been running the consultation, but they were anyway, and believe me they did their damnedest to get public opinion on their side, spending 300K of public money on PR and they still failed. By voting to raze the gardens and install the city slab you effectively failed to represent the views of you constituents.

How many letters did you receive for and against? Did you count them? I'll bet the majority were for PVA and against the slab. I know this because 8/10 people I have spoken with are against the slab. What about the people on this site? Read through this thread and more than 8/10 people are for PVA and against the slab, so you didn't represent our views either - did you? And we know from the consultation findings that the younger demographic were also for PVA and against the slab.

Mark you blew it! You let those big ass businessmen and their smooth talking get to you.

But all is not lost. It is still possible for you to make amends. Remember when the council voted for cuts, yet some councillors marched in the demonstrations and even went out and shovelled snow? Might be the time to dig out that shovel, but instead of snow you need to start shovelling some shit:

First there's the consultation. We all know that it was flawed / dare I say rigged? Well you can speak out and say "Hang on - I've just discovered that the consultation that I based my vote on wasn't accurate. I would not have voted the way I did had I been given accurate data for the publics 300K. I now consider the decision to be rendered invalid.

Second there is the Lord Provost's casting vote. He didn't exactly follow democratic protocol did he? He's meant to cast that vote for the status quo, and of course he also cast it against public opinion. He's also meant to remain impartial and he didn't do that either. So you have some grounds to start shovelling that shit up too.

Finally there is the situation where the PVA related councillors didn't vote yet the ACSEF one did. Screw the technicalities we all know that what occurred there was morally and ethically wrong. That shit needs shovelling too.

Earlier on you executed a little U-turn. So how about now you do us all a favour and execute a big one that will really count for something. How about you put up your hand and declare "I made a mistake. I screwed up. And while we are at it FOUL!".

Believe me you just doing that will be enough to scupper the deal. But you'd need to do it real soon or the moment will pass.

So come on Mark. Do you your duty this time.

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I'd like to think that Flash has summed up the views of a great many people on this forum.

This whole debacle has annoyed me greatly, but what has infuriated me the most is the total contempt that Aberdeen councillors have viewed what the majority of citizens of Aberdeen think about UTG. Personally I am opposed to the City Square project and a bit ambivalent to PVA, but if the majority of people were in favour of either, I'd like to think that our elected council officials would take that into consideration instead of cosying up to big business. This has certainly motivated me to do whatever I can do to try and stop this concrete monstrosity being built over what is a very beautiful part of the city centre.

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Popping my Aberdeen Music cherry. Some of you will already know me, and to the rest, Ahoy!

I second Flash, I have been following this whole spectacle for the duration, and consider my self quite well informed, anyone interested can find regarding the code of conduct for councillors can, at scotland.gov.uk - Community Councils.

In the - Code of Conduct for Community Councillors

it states: "you must ensure that you represent the interests of your community and Community

Council and not the interests of a particular political party or other group."

Now how does this fit with actions, where according the P&J:

"The citys civic head, who rarely expresses opinions at full council meetings, set the tone for the debate, highlighting the strong support for the project from energy industry body Oil and Gas UK."

Now would this industrial body be described as an 'other group'? And the P&J describing this as the tone of the debate, it can only mean stifled.

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People look at some of our landmarks like St Nicholas House, The Town House Annex, The Denburn Health Centre, The St Nicholas Centre, the various city centre muti-stories at The Castlegate, The Denburn, Thistle Street, Hutcheon Street, The Gallowgate, and closest to my own heart Virginia Street and Shore Brae, and the think "How in hell did the planner/council let that happen? What were they thinking?"

Well here's the answer. Take a good long look at that artists impression of THE (tan tata tan) CIVIC SQUARE and then, after the gardens are razed and the slab is laid, compare the reality to that same artists impression. Oh believe me folks, cos I was around for some of them (and I'm sure some of the older forum members will back me up on this), the artists impressions for those projects... why they looked dazzling. And as for the taglines "St Nicholas House - our council headquarters in the sky!" WOW! Those plans were awe inspiring.

Don't believe me? OK how many of you walked down Shore Brae a couple of years back before it's destruction part II commenced. Does that white building now plonked there even vaguely resemble the curve of glass and steel in the billboards that originally surrounded the site. It doesn't does it? It looks like shit.

You know what used to stand on Shore Brae, pre Grandfare, pre NCP car park? A lovely curve of old tenement houses that mirrored the curve of tenement houses on the other side of the street. I know because my family used to live in them. They were knocked down on the pretext of a slum clearance.

Ever looked at St Nicholas House, Marks & Sparks, and The St Nicholas Centre and wonder what used to be there in the old days? Well under St Nicolas House is the Provost's old house, one of the oldest and prettiest buildings in the city. In front of the house, where the back of Markies meets the underground car park and toilets were the gardens of that old house. They were laid out in beautiful lawns that sloped down towards the City Churchyard. Originally the council (back in the 1960s) planned to demolish the old house too. No doubt it had *COUGH* fallen into disrepair. They actually passed a demolition order on it. Then HM The Queen came to visit Aberdeen (thank fuck), and this was just prior to all the work starting. She was walking up Kirkgate with the council officials glad handing the public, and she turned to The Lord Provost and remarked "Why what a pretty little house" and with that the demolition order was cancelled, and they just built a massive fuck off sky scraper round it on three sides.

Perhaps someone should write to HM The Queen and ask her to help save our beautiful gardens. She has the power you know.

In LVX

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Popping my Aberdeen Music cherry. Some of you will already know me, and to the rest, Ahoy!

I second Flash, I have been following this whole spectacle for the duration, and consider my self quite well informed, anyone interested can find regarding the code of conduct for councillors can, at scotland.gov.uk - Community Councils.

In the - Code of Conduct for Community Councillors

it states: "you must ensure that you represent the interests of your community and Community

Council and not the interests of a particular political party or other group."

Now how does this fit with actions, where according the P&J:

"The citys civic head, who rarely expresses opinions at full council meetings, set the tone for the debate, highlighting the strong support for the project from energy industry body Oil and Gas UK."

Now would this industrial body be described as an 'other group'? And the P&J describing this as the tone of the debate, it can only mean stifled.

i think you're getting confused between community council and local government. but otherwise carry on.

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OK, that was the other point. In terms of "slavishly" following.

Over the course of the last 18 months I've met with the people from all sides of the argument, and have asked all of them some fairly probing questions. So I haven't just sat back and waited for the opportunity to vote.

Having questioned all sides one thing was clear to me, the only thing that is motivating people is a genuine desire to do the best for Aberdeen. They just happen to all hold different visions of what that may be.

In terms of your hopes, we'll see what happens in 2012, you might get your wish.

In all seriousness, it costs no money whatsoever to stand, so if folk on here feel genuinely that change is needed then they should put themselves onto the ballot papers

can you provide the numbers of people who wrote to you in favour versus the amount who wrote against? it would be interesting to hear.

also, i fear you're taking one for your colleagues here. it's admirable but you should all be held to account, not just yourself mark. the council needs to explain clearly to it's citizens why it's chosen this route over the cheaper more sensible option.

we were told at the consultation stage that citysquare would be funded through scottish government capital funding, not a long term loan secured against possible future increases of business rates with the council responsible for interest payments. surely you can see why this is bad? particularly when the evening express front page has news of school closures alongside citysquare being approved.

i would agree that allegations of corruption and backhanders do no one any favours, but it's no worse than the slander tom smith and his allies have gotten away with. including this nonsense of an orchestrated campaign and misinformation, if you address one point address that one. how can a public quango get away with blatantly lying to influence councillors? there had been no misinformation, we merely read their feasability study and asked some questions. if you could point out one piece of genuine misinformation i'll retract that but i doubt that you or anyone on acsef can.

if the debate wasn't polarised before, it fucking is now. all that this has done is kickstart the real majority into waking up and voicing anger and disgust at the councils actions. people who i've never even discussed city square have approached me asking how they can help. in glasgow this week, my colleagues can't believe our council have decided to destroy the beautiful park they saw on the tv report.

every single councillor should write to their constituents and justify their actions. unfortunately they won't be voted out because as you well know independent councillors have little to no budget for campaigning, it may be free to stand but political power is bought. just ask lord ashdown. what we need is accountable politicians, not one issue independent councillors.

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we were told at the consultation stage that citysquare would be funded through scottish government capital funding, not a long term loan secured against possible future increases of business rates with the council responsible for interest payments. surely you can see why this is bad? particularly when the evening express front page has news of school closures alongside citysquare being approved.

Right. Why are the council voting for this expensive white elephant in our current dire financial situation? I'm in the leave it alone camp (and so :rockon::rockon::rockon: to Kirsty W) and I'd prefer to have some grit on my street next winter, as I'm sure Aberdonian parents would like fewer of their schools to close.

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but it's no worse than the slander tom smith and his allies have gotten away with. including this nonsense of an orchestrated campaign and misinformation

Classic devious business tactic, do something underhand then simultaneously blame your target for behaving underhandedly in order to divert attention from your own underhandedness. The when your own underhandedness comes to light claim it was your target that actually committed those acts as per your original warning.

In this instance ACSEF executing a carefully orchestrated campaign of malicious propaganda and misinformation, under the guise of a public consultation (and funded by the taxpayer I may add), whilst simultaneously accusing PVA of orchestrating a malicious campaign of misinformation. Then to cap it all ACSEF being completely inconsistent, if not duplicitous, in the information they themselves put out, knowing that any misunderstanding can now be blamed on PVA's alleged campaign of misinformation.

So apparently all 10,000 of us who have posted online, written letters to councillors, written letters to the press, visited the gardens, showed up at meetings, signed the PVA petition... we're all in cahoots with each other and taking orders from PVA. Next stop National Enquirer Magazine.

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Quote from Tom Smith in the Scotsman today -

"Mr Smith added: "I think the term 'city centre garden' is a more accurate term. There are a number of things we have learned through the consultation process and one is to get the right label for this. This is about gardens. This is about civic space. I think we will be dropping that 'square' word."

Aberdeen's Union Terrace Gardens plan: 'Concrete has won but we fight on' - Scotsman.com News

So it's not a square. It will be a 'garden'. So that's alright then.

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