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scott.wright

Union Terrace Gardens

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I'm fed up of hearing about this shit. W eall agree the gardens need something doing to them, they don't work at the moment and aren't particularly accessible. I'm not overly keen on the way the current plans look like they will be implemented in all honesty.

Vote no by all means but can we not just come up with something that is actually useful for the populace of Aberdeen rather than a pompous backslap like all the ideas that have been flung around in the past few years (i include the nonsense Peacock proposal in with that lot for the record).

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Vote no by all means but can we not just come up with something that is actually useful for the populace of Aberdeen rather than a pompous backslap like all the ideas that have been flung around in the past few years (i include the nonsense Peacock proposal in with that lot for the record).

That's one good thing that might just come out of this shit. It has fired up people to actually do something with the Gardens. There's alternative plans flying about now that don't involve bankrupting the City, which is why a 'Retain' vote is important now. If Retain wins, then we can go on and sort the problem properly. Unfortunately the CGP is being sold as the only option now in an attempt to capture the votes of people who just want something done. And if they do win the vote and try to go ahead with it, then I really think the City Centre and the City finances could be completely fucked.

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Before the referendum, there was an invitation for anyone wishing to register a campaign group. As it turned out, six separate groups registered with a 'Retain the Gardens' view, and only two registered with a 'pro CGP' view. As a part of registering as an official campaign group, they were each allowed to make a 300 word statement, and their respective campaigning budget is set at £8,500 each. The information pack can only represent the groups who wish to be represented. Can't really be any fairer than that.

As it happened, there is another another campaign group which is very heavily involved, but they didn't register as an official group. This group is called 'Vote for the City Garden Project'. Because they aren't official, they didn't get a statement in the voting pack. But they also don't have any cap on their campaign budget. This group - self-described as businessmen who wish to remain anonymous - have been responsible for all the glossy pamphlets being mailed out to every house, and also the massive radio advertising campaign, and others. They have also employed the biggest PR Company in the region 'The BIG Partnership' to run the promotion campaign. (This is the very same PR company that the official group 'Aberdeen City Garden Trust' have employed.) I saw one estimate that they've spent over £50,000 so far but I can't verify that just now. They've certainly spent many times the permitted budget for registered groups anyway. Nowhere has it been made clear that they are not an official group. It might be easy to draw the conclusion that this is no more than a cunning way to get around the official rules on budget spending, that's up to you to decide.

I didn't know that, thanks for clearing it up. I didn't realise they had to agree to the campaigning budget or any of the other things. I did find much more aggressive marketing from the pro CGP groups as many people have said, so was a bit surprised to find so little pro CGP in the voting pack, especially when the contents where arguably worse than what the other pro CGP group have paid to distribute more widely. Makes sense now.

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The group responsible for the CGP were classed as a charity were they not? While on the face of it this seemed like a move to make things seem above board rather than under control of big bad oil people, it was probably actually a nifty way of making the 'donation' tax deductable so SIW technically doesn't give away anything, it's just a large sum of money shifted around.

I also like how just before the vote happens all these revelations appeared concerning numerous other developments around the city which are 100% reliant on the CGP vote being 'yes'. Plus of course add in Salmond the Hutt backing it so the hardcore independence mongs will fall for his line as well.

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2. Once again, I don’t think TIF is the best way to fund this and I’ve repeated myself over and over again. I’d like to see some more information on how it relates to this scheme and until I see that I remain sceptical in that regard.

This is what I don't understand. It is to your credit that you can see the folly of TIF funding in this case. So why are you still pushing this project to go ahead by using it? Surely if you have any business sense at all you can't be happy to take such a massive risk with the civic finances?

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This is what I don't understand. It is to your credit that you can see the folly of TIF funding in this case. So why are you still pushing this project to go ahead by using it? Surely if you have any business sense at all you can't be happy to take such a massive risk with the civic finances?

The past few pages of this thread are what really annoy me. There are so many lines of argument from FoUTG that are utter nonsense and based on no fact whatsoever - a glance at their website illustrates my point. If you're going to object to CGP then do it on the grounds of TIF. I personally believe that TIF needs either more scrutiny or a full explanation of how it will be applied to the development. Im not voting in the referendum purely because this hasn't been answered. All the chat about Ian Wood making benefitting financially, trees not surviving, concrete squares, car parks underground etc are ludicrous.

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The past few pages of this thread are what really annoy me. There are so many lines of argument from FoUTG that are utter nonsense and based on no fact whatsoever - a glance at their website illustrates my point. If you're going to object to CGP then do it on the grounds of TIF. I personally believe that TIF needs either more scrutiny or a full explanation of how it will be applied to the development. Im not voting in the referendum purely because this hasn't been answered. All the chat about Ian Wood making benefitting financially, trees not surviving, concrete squares, car parks underground etc are ludicrous.

There are many points that have been raised that are genuine concerns, some not so much, but I think we agree that the main issue just now is the money. And given that there's only a week to go until D-Day, I think we can safely say that you're going to see neither more scrutiny, nor a full explanation. In which case surely the only answer is to vote no at this stage, and leave the option open for a more reasoned, thought out, and properly explained proposal to be put forward. No applications have been signed off yet, it's not too late. A 'Yes to CGP' vote means you will never get what you want as it then will be too late, and not voting at all effectively risks being the same as a yes vote.

A 'Retain' vote now is just the beginning. Put the brakes on this now so we can avoid the car crash, and then drive on.

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Thats just the thing though, i want the new design to be implemented just the same as i want St Nicholas house, the green and the Denburn health centre to be developed in accordance with a master plan. Development and regeneration is good for Aberdeen City whether thats CGP, TKs or any other scheme. I want this development to go ahead. I reason that the Scottish Government must have faith in the TIF system working here. Im probably opening myself up to more "don't trust the man" type tosh that gets thrown about but when a case with as high a profile as UTG gets scrutinised by the government, they have to make the numbers stack up to push ahead. If this does all go tits up after a "yes" vote by Aberdeen citizens then the embarrassment not just for ACC but for Alex Salmond would be immense - it would have a negative impact upon his Scottish independence referendum.

If the referendum results in a "no" then that'll be the end of a very unique opportunity. Personally i thought the PVA proposal was crap and didn't go far enough. I also didn't see why they got to use the park when it's meant to be for the use of the entire city. You say that we can avoid the car crash and then drive on but i simply don't trust this point of view, not with a vocal minority hell-bent on sticking in a disabled ramp and hiring a warden.

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Thats just the thing though, i want the new design to be implemented just the same as i want St Nicholas house, the green and the Denburn health centre to be developed in accordance with a master plan. Development and regeneration is good for Aberdeen City whether thats CGP, TKs or any other scheme. I want this development to go ahead. I reason that the Scottish Government must have faith in the TIF system working here. Im probably opening myself up to more "don't trust the man" type tosh that gets thrown about but when a case with as high a profile as UTG gets scrutinised by the government, they have to make the numbers stack up to push ahead. If this does all go tits up after a "yes" vote by Aberdeen citizens then the embarrassment not just for ACC but for Alex Salmond would be immense - it would have a negative impact upon his Scottish independence referendum.

If the referendum results in a "no" then that'll be the end of a very unique opportunity. Personally i thought the PVA proposal was crap and didn't go far enough. I also didn't see why they got to use the park when it's meant to be for the use of the entire city. You say that we can avoid the car crash and then drive on but i simply don't trust this point of view, not with a vocal minority hell-bent on sticking in a disabled ramp and hiring a warden.

We already had the Local Development Plan to do what was really needed before the CSP/CGP came along. It doesn't have to be a part of it. There are a thousand possibilities we could come up with for UTG, there's no reason why we have to go with the vastly overblown design that Sir Ian Wood is clearly holding us to. And it doesn't have to be crappy half-measures either by any means, but we absolutely have to at least make sure we can actually pay for it first.

Just Imagine (arf) that SIW had never made his offer, and was still only known as a well-respected oil company boss. Aberdeen City Council decide that Union Terrace Gardens are not being used properly, so we're going to take out a £92M loan to sort it, and increase our already sizeable debt by at least £150M for the next 25 years. How well do you think that would go down?

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Everyone has an opinion, there aren't any correct answers in that regard.

Frosty - your last point is a valid one but it also links into the suitability of TIF. If TIF works then no problems, no extra burden on the people of Aberdeen. If it doesn't however....

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'I think we can all agree that rich people are evil because they love making money and are solely motivated by greed and they have more money than people who are poor and so they must be evil. And they cut down trees to make lots of moneys to fill their big vaults full of gold coins'. - A FoUTG press release

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXsjzcC4Jdw

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There's a number of people a heck of a lot more well off than yourself against this project, Robert. FoUTG are definitely behind a gentleman who's willing to put some dough into the gardens as they stand, so it's hardly an anti-capitalist thing

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Four pages late. But i see very little validity in claiming that your opinion is right and everyone else's is wrong because, fuck em, they're stupid.

And if you're a minority, then surely you are the one who is carrying out abnormal behaviour and the majority of people would say you are the moron? Anyway. Carry on.

If you're gonna chime in 4 pages late, you might wanna quote the post you're referring to...?

I assume it's my talk of TGIs being shit?

That "people are fucking stupid" isn't the crux of my argument, it's simply the conclusion. I shan't derail the thread too much by going into detail. If I can be bothered later on I'll post in more detail in Pet Hates.

Paime - your argument seems far more reasonable now. Before I got the impression that you were just swinging wildly in favour of the CGP and ignoring the obvious HUGE GAPING HOLE in the proposal (the TIF). If a redevelopment could be done that somehow adjoins to belmont without burying half of the buildings there and could double the space by covering the railway/denburn, and could be done in a way that wouldn't completely fuck the city's finances and force a fucktonne of local (and even some worldwide) businesses out of Aberdeen via tax hikes et al, then I'd be all for it.

As it is, I don't trust the numbers. I know that it's in the gov't's best interest to make this work, but look at the Houses of Parliament in Edinburgh. Complete abject fucking disaster. Hugely over budget, years overdue. The trams are a bit of a fucking disaster too in the same way. Our government doesn't have a very good record behind it recently and I don't want the only pretty part of our city centre turned up until it's spelled out in no uncertain terms that it WILL work. Even if it doesn't bring any new business to town, and it doesn't have any real benefit, if the gardens are improved and it doesn't COST us anything, I'd be far more favourable of the idea. But as it is, I believe it'll gain us nothing and it'll cost us a fortune.

xx

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If Jim('ll fix it) Milne can give us more ideas as to what his plan B is I think we may have a lot of people looking at TIF again and deciding against the current CGP.

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That’s an inherent problem with forums – arguments get lost in amongst pages of posts. I could write a thesis detailing my opinion but then I wouldn’t have enough time to peruse lolcats and the BBC news website so it’s a no-go. I’ve tried to take a pragmatic view about UTG and I do genuinely like the new plans and im glad that there is an opportunity to enhance the city centre in this way. The questions I have regarding TIF would be as follows:

1. How will they determine which businesses/streets have been positively impacted by the CGP?

2. How can you differentiate between an increase in rateable values due to a rising market and a rise due to the CGP’s existence?

3. Because there is very little new development (and thus an increase in rates income from these) how do you determine whether a business has moved to the centre because of the CGP or because it’s a natural place for them to be with or without the CGP? For example, in my opinion you can’t use TKs development as this has been in the pipeline for a long time and would likely be developed regardless of the CGP.

There may be clear answers to all of these but I can’t think what they would be.

I was a bit confused by Jim Milne’s input at such a late stage. You would’ve thought that he should’ve been saying this months if not years ago if he feels so strongly about it. I’ve heard he likes attention and I wonder if there is any real substance behind his statement?

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I was a bit confused by Jim Milne’s input at such a late stage. You would’ve thought that he should’ve been saying this months if not years ago if he feels so strongly about it. I’ve heard he likes attention and I wonder if there is any real substance behind his statement?

He's been pretty vocal against the plans throughout this whole process.

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Jim Milne commenting in the past:

http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/1597982

http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/1596930

He hasn't put forward any concrete proposal in the past but possibly hasn't had the backing to do so, now people are beginning to realise what's happening and have seen the terrible design and are even less inclined to go for it.

Love the bit where is says Ian Wood has said from the start if the people didn't want it he'd walk away, strange how when people didn't want it via the first vote he conveniently forgot that statement.

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A vicious rumour is circulating that Sir Ian and Donald Trump have a bet on about who can treat the peasants with most contempt and get away with it. Although I cannot confirm this story the same usually reliable source claims that the Coonsil is hedging its bets; apparently they have recently overhauled the maiden which is stored in the Old Toon Hoose.

Yi hiv tae laugh or else yi would greet!

Louis

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A vicious rumour is circulating that Sir Ian and Donald Trump have a bet on about who can treat the peasants with most contempt and get away with it. Although I cannot confirm this story the same usually reliable source claims that the Coonsil is hedging its bets; apparently they have recently overhauled the maiden which is stored in the Old Toon Hoose.

Yi hiv tae laugh or else yi would greet!

Louis

No offense mate but what are you jibbering on aboot?

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