Aberdeen councillors approve detailed plans for Union Terrace Gardens

The £22 million transformation of Union Terrace Gardens (UTG) is poised to start this year after the detailed planning application was unanimously approved by Aberdeen City Council.

Planning officers had recommended supporting the project which aims to improve access, amenity and activity while enhancing UTG’s green space and heritage features.

An outline design was backed in principle by Aberdeen City Council in March 2017 before a detailed planning application was submitted and later amended in response to feedback from key stakeholders.

Refinements made by consultants LDA Design to its original designs allowed for any future development of the adjacent railway and also followed advice from Historic Environment Scotland. The amendment included realigning the UTG/Union Bridge walkway and modifying the position and appearance of the Union Street/Union Terrace building.

Members of the council’s planning committee were due to cast their vote on the application last week but councillors agreed to carry out a site visit first.

Planning development management committee convener, Councillor Marie Boulton, said: “I’m delighted that the detailed planning application for Union Terrace Gardens has been approved and that Aberdeen City Council can focus on the final step – preparing to start work on the ground.

“The design promises to transform the gardens into a usable, inclusive and dynamic space that will serve generations to come. It was a vision shaped by the people and one which everybody could unite behind.

“We need to bring this flagship City Centre Masterplan project to fruition as quickly as possible so that residents and visitors can fully enjoy Aberdeen’s special green heart. The regeneration of Union Terrace Gardens can drive the transformation of the whole city.”

LDA Design was appointed in autumn 2016 to develop plans based on the council’s City Centre Masterplan vision. Feedback gathered during a public engagement exercise in December 2016 helped inform the detailed design.

Features of the scheme include:



  • New accessible walkway route into the gardens from Union Street



  • Lift access from Union Terrace into the upper level of the gardens through a new entrance building on Union Terrace at the existing Burns Monument



  • Improved disabled parking facilities on Union Terrace directly adjacent to the new accessible walkway routes into the gardens



  • Retaining the central lawn space as a flexible space for large scale gathering and events, and a new entrance opposite His Majesty’s Theatre to accommodate smaller scale events



  • Reinstating the ‘grand staircase’ as a central part of the new accessible route into the gardens from Rosemount Viaduct



The next step is to appoint a contractor, with work expected to start in the autumn. The target completion date is summer 2020 at the latest.

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