7 months on from gathering comments from the Scottish Party Leaders on the development of Union Terrace Gardens, Mike Shepherd enlightens readers as regards where the parties stand 7 days ahead of the Scottish Election.
no images were found
no images were foundCONSERVATIVES: Mixed views. The Conservatives in the council split last year, and the city centre park was one of the contentious issues leading to the split.
One of the splinter groups supported the development; the other has major concerns about the financial exposure to the Council of borrowing money to build the city square.
The Conservative candidate in Central Aberdeen, Sandy Wallace, supports the development of the park:
“21st century public space over 19st century public space is a no brainer. The question is can we afford it? We should make sure we can afford it. Building for our grandchildren’s future takes preference over employing yet more council officials.”
GREEN PARTY: Against the development of Union Terrace Gardens. In an Aberdeen Voice article, leader of the Scottish Greens, Patrick Harvie said:
“The Greens both locally and nationally fully support the campaign to retain the historic Union Terrace Gardens in their current form. The people of Aberdeen were consulted and rejected the proposal: it is shameful for the City Council and business to try to overturn that outcome.”
LABOUR: Against the development of the city centre park. Lewis Macdonald, the sitting MSP in the marginal Aberdeen Central constituency, has highlighted the issue in one of his election leaflets. In this, he pledges to oppose plans to fill in the Gardens:
“The people of Aberdeen should have the final say in what is done with Union Terrace Gardens.”
no images were found
no images were foundLIBERAL-DEMOCRATS: Mixed views. In the Council group, Council leader John Stewart is the prime mover for the City Garden project when votes come up. He is also on the board for the City Garden project and is helping to progress the plans. On the other hand, Councillor Martin Greig and several Lib-Dem colleagues are consistent opponents of the scheme in council debates.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY: The main supporters of the City Garden Project, although largely silent on the issue in their current campaign. Kevin Stewart, a strong contender for the marginal Aberdeen Central seat, is also on the board for the City Garden Project. He has led most of his Councillors in support for the city square in council voting and this is one of the main reasons why it has progressed through the Council to date.
Alex Salmond was quoted in Aberdeen Voice last year:
“Aberdeen City councillors voted in favour of the proposals to build a new City Square and I understand a design competition is underway, which will seek the views of local citizens, as to what the development will look like.
It strikes me that in these tough economic times there is all the more reason to think big for the future of the North-East of Scotland. We should be excited by the scale of this vision and the commitment to ensure great things can be made to happen.”