Union Terrace Gardens transformation to begin next month
The programme of works at the £25.7 million transformation of Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen was confirmed today at a ceremonial turf-cutting.
Construction at the Victorian park will get under way on September 9 with the first steps involving the closing off a slip road that will become the site of one of three new pavilions and improving drainage.
The first phase of construction will also include the addition of a permanent safety structure on Union Bridge.
Consultancy LDA Design engaged with the public and stakeholders in developing the UTG plan, which won strong support before being approved by Aberdeen City Council last year.
Features of the flagship City Centre Masterplan project 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;
- Pavilions on Union Street, Union Terrace and Rosemount Viaduct;
- Landscaping and lighting, and the refurbishment of the Union Terrace arches;
- Retaining the central lawn as a flexible space for large scale gathering and events;
- 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;
- A net gain in trees.
Since its appointment in April, Balfour Beatty has been working off-site to finalise the design and detailed programme for the two-year build and that work has continued over the summer.
On 26 August a permanent “stopping up” order will close the length of Union Terrace that has acted as a slip road for vehicles turning left from Rosemount Viaduct. It will come into effect the day after the Great Aberdeen Run, which utilises the road for support services.
Prior to then, engagement events will be held to ensure stakeholders, local businesses and the public have the opportunity to find out more about the programme.
Balfour Beatty will take possession of the site on September 9 and anticipates a six-week period of site set-up and additional survey work. Hoardings will be erected around the perimeter of the site. The works, some of which are weather dependent, are expected to be completed by summer 2021.
Council co-leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “In transforming Union Terrace Gardens, we are making history in the heart of Aberdeen.
“This is an enormously exciting time for the city as we increase our cultural, heritage and tourism offer and enjoy all the economic benefits that brings.
“P&J Live has just opened, the redeveloped Aberdeen Art Gallery will follow in November, and with UTG we are about to embark a project that will further electrify the city centre.”
Fellow council co-leader Councillor Jenny Laing added: “Union Terrace Gardens is among the city’s best-loved places and it was vital we got this project right in every detail.
“That takes time – but it has been time well spent and we are about to be rewarded for the hours of extensive community consultation and diligent design work.
“The sympathetic regeneration of Union Terrace Gardens will ensure it remains a unique and enduring feature of our city centre, accessible for all to enjoy, and the start of work is another sign of the momentum building throughout Aberdeen during a period of incredible transformation.”