Union Terrace Gardens has re-opened today after a £28.3million refurbishment which improves wheelchair access and includes new amenities such as a new play area for children, toilets, and cafes while restoring historic features.
The Gardens also include extensive seating, new lighting features, refurbishment of the historic arches and Victorian toilets, a new public toilet, new specially-commissioned artworks, new native planting, a net gain in trees, and reinstatement of a planted city crest. It also has a new water feature, the three statues (William Wallace, Rabbie Burns, and Edward VII) have been cleaned, and the ‘grand staircase’ down to the lower Gardens has been reinstated.
There are likely to be snagging issues to complete after the Gardens have opened. Due to SPECTRA exhibits being located on the central lawn area in February causing damage as well as the time of year not being ideal for placing grass turf down, the lawn area is to be turfed in the Spring after SPECTRA is finished.
The works include:
* A new accessible wheelchair-friendly walkway route into the gardens from Rosemount Viaduct;
* A new accessible wheelchair-friendly 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;
* New toilets which are part of the park rather than the pavilions;
* Improved disabled parking facilities on Union Terrace directly adjacent to the new accessible walkway routes into the gardens;
* A new children’s play area;
* Landscaping and lighting, and the restoration and refurbishment of the Union Terrace arches and Victorian toilets;
* Retaining the central lawn as a flexible space for large scale gathering and events;
* Reinstating the ‘grand staircase’ as a central part of the new accessible route into the gardens from Rosemount Viaduct;
* Three new pavilions designed to be cafes, restaurants or arts and cultural spaces;
* Increased seating areas;
* A net gain in trees - several mature trees have been planted and species will include sessile oaks, hop hornbeams, red maples, and new horizon elms which are completely resistant to Dutch Elm disease;
* The works includes planting 122,000 plants, including 78,000 bulbs, and 639m of hedge;
* 2,000 square metres of turf will be laid after February’s Spectra Festival.
The Union Terrace Gardens improvements are part of the City Centre and Beach Masterplan which is designed to invigorate both areas while respecting and enhancing Aberdeen’s unique qualities and characteristics. The Masterplan projects are also aimed at encouraging more walking and wheeling.