Concerns have been raised over Aberdeen University’s plans to obliterate a memorial garden used by some to scatter ashes.
Last month, the university officially lodged plans to demolish an old extension, as part of a multi-million pound project to transform its King’s College campus.
The university is seeking permission to knock down the 1954 “Book Stack” building and kitchen extension at the old library James MacKay Hall and create new facilities for teaching space in the North Courtyard and Odell Courtyard.
Alterations to repurpose and improve existing buildings such as Elphinstone Hall, Old Senate Wing, Kings College Centre, the Linklater rooms and the Cromwell Tower have also been proposed to improve campus access.
However, more than 21 objections have been lodged against the plans, with many arguing the modern designs proposed would not fit well with the historic surroundings.
Within the North Courtyard lies the memorial O’Dell Garden created in memory of the university’s Professor Andrew O’Dell.
He helped in the discovery of the famous St Ninian’s Isle Treasure in 1959, before his death in 1996.
Under the plans, the current garden will not be retained and a new garden will be made to the south of the site beside College Bounds.
The new site would also be accessible without the need for steps, stairs or ramps.
One objector, a graduate of and current adult learner at the university, wrote: “I feel the plans are highly inappropriate for the extremely sensitive site, involving as they do the obliteration of a charming garden, the demolition of listed buildings and the irrevocable loss of the setting of some of Scotland’s most historic structures”.
Another objector wrote: “I am horrified that the university sees fit to even think of building over the Professor O’Dell Memorial Garden, never mind proposing a monstrosity of glass that clashes with all the surrounding historic buildings.”
Former councillor and historian John Corall said: “Being a student can be extremely stressful, and being able to retire to a nice quiet green area like this with its cherry trees for a moment of calm is very important.
“Professor O’Dell was a much-loved and highly respected figure in the academic community, and the garden was created in his memory, and used thereafter for anyone that wished to scatter their ashes there.”
A spokesman for Aberdeen University said: “From the outset, we have sought to ensure that our plans to revitalise the heart of our King’s College campus are sympathetic to its unique heritage and history.
“Less than 20% of the currently underused space is accessible to students, and this would revitalise the centre of campus with quality new teaching and learning space, while strengthening and protecting the use of King’s College.
“Throughout this process we have engaged extensively with the local community and Historic Environment Scotland.
“Regarding the O’Dell Garden, we have set out detailed plans to recreate and enhance this quiet and reflective environment in an adjacent tranquil area of King’s Quarter.
“Meanwhile, the removal of the front of the Book Stack will reveal the original façade dating from 1921, thereby remaining sympathetic to its heritage and the character of its surroundings.”
The application will be considered by Aberdeen City Council at a later date.