All granite and other masonry from Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen has been accounted for – after outrage at piles of stone being dumped in a private garden.
Aberdeen City Council ordered contractor Balfour Beatty to carry out a full audit of items removed from the Victorian park back in June.
It came in response to an explosion of public outrage as it emerged granite and other masonry had been left in a residential garden earlier this year, without prior approval of council bosses.
A £28 million refurbishment of the gardens is hoped to be completed by the end of the year.
But top Town House officials have kept the threat of legal action looming, should “it ever become apparent that items are unaccounted for”.
In a new report prepared for councillors, administration chiefs revealed a new measure has been introduced at the UTG site to control the ins and outs.
Contractors are no longer able to remove masonry from the gardens without approval from the council.
“That means on each occasion that items are to be removed from the site, confirmation will have to be given to the council that it will be transferred to an approved location.
“A full record of each component to be removed including a note of the location that it will be transferred to will be retained by the principal contractor,” the local authority’s planning, project management and legal bosses said.
However, despite the lapse in security being a breach of the local authority’s contract with Balfour Beatty, city planners are “satisfied” with the response that followed and do not intend to take further action “at this time”.
Granite-gate: Why was the UTG masonry audit needed?
It followed stacks of the rock, as well as a globe street lamp from UTG, being discovered in the garden of city businessman Mike Wilson.
Sub-contractor Graeme Cheyne Builders had left the rock at what bosses Balfour Beatty later described as the “unapproved location” in the rush to get finished on a Friday afternoon.
Mr Wilson raised the alarm for the safety of more of the granite – protected by planning law and required to be reused where possible in the huge redevelopment of the park – on finding it in his Cults driveway.
Graeme Cheyne Builders had constructed the £2m house on the edge of the suburb, with Mr Cheyne saying he left it there as it was “perfect” for a lorry to come in and drop it.
UTG masonry all accounted for
A report to be considered by the council’s audit, risk and scrutiny committee next week states the probe into the whereabouts of the granite, railings, lights and heraldic shields from the pocket park in Rosemount Viaduct are all accounted for.
Balfour Beatty was tasked with ensuring the safe storage of the masonry, measuring what was there against an inventory taken in 2019 before work began.
The scandal is also expected to impact future projects affecting Aberdeen’s most celebrated sites.
Similar to the stricter controls introduced at UTG, those planning work and bidding for council contracts will be asked to identify measures to protect and monitor heritage materials.
Police were first brought in to investigate how the granite had come to be left in Mr Wilson’s garden.
In July, officers announced they had found no evidence of criminality.