Diller Scofidio & Renfro scheme dead in the water after council backs alternative plans

Diller Scofidio & Renfro’s Aberdeen City Garden Project looks to have been killed off for good after the city council revealed its alternative plans for the city centre.

The controversial £140 million project, backed by local businessman Ian Wood, who had pledged to hand over up to £75 million to bankroll it, was ditched after a council vote in August last year. Labour, which holds the largest number of council seats, opposed the plan while Conservatives were supportive.

But Aberdeen’s Conservative group has now backed Labour’s alternative proposals. The local authority has confirmed that its priorities are to pedestrianise parts of the city centre and build a new civic square.

Tory group leader Fraser Forsyth told Aberdeen’s Evening Express that the chances of the city garden plan being revived were now in the realm of “unicorns and fairies”.

Aberdeen City Gardens

“We recognise that the majority of councillors were not in favour of the city garden project,” he added. “It is important that we bring forward our own ideas for the future regeneration of Aberdeen.”

Council leader Barney Crockett said the administration had “come together to fully commit itself to moving Aberdeen forward without progressing with the city garden project”.

However, the alternative city centre plan has already encountered its own problems - with the Scottish Government putting a question mark over the availability of funding.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote to the Aberdeen City Gardens Trust and said: “A revised business case without the City Gardens Project, a central component of the original plans, will not be considered at this time.”