An Aberdeen councillor has criticised multi-million-pound plans to revamp Union Terrace Gardens- claiming it will not regenerate the city centre.
Midstocket and Rosemount councillor Bill Cormie said the £26million overhaul of the sunken Victorian park was “not the Dundee waterfront” and would do little to attract visitors given the Granite City climate.
The ruling Conservative, Aberdeen Labour and independent administration has hailed the scheme as a way of boosting the city’s cultural and tourism offerings.
But while SNP councillor Mr Cormie welcomed the decision to prioritise the installation of a safety barrier along Union Terrace bridge, he was critical of the overall vision.
Plans for the site include elevated walkways, new pavilions, an event space and play facilities will be created.
There are also plans to install bars and restaurants into the arches and old toilets, adding fresh life to the area.
Work began this week, with hoardings erected around the site and pavements blocked. The gardens will be closed for around two years to allow the construction.
Last night Mr Cormie his group’s more modest £3million plans would have been better given the tight finances of the council.
He said: “It’s been a long road and I am very glad the bridge work is being done first – despite the fact it should have been down six or seven years ago.
“At the time when the plans first came there was little we could object to within the law.
“We will have three pavilions looking onto a now spoiled vista, it will not regenerate the city centre. Folk won’t come to see this, it is not Dundee waterfront.
“In this economic climate we put forward a more most £3million revamp.”
But council culture and masterplan spokeswoman Marie Boulton said the features in the scheme had come as part of a large public consultation and that the cash injection was needed given the historic nature of the gardens.
She said: “This project has always been at the heart of the city centre masterplan and will fit in with various other projects like the art gallery and Provost Skene’s House nearby.
“The risk is that without the investment you could end up with a watered-down version of the project.”