Councillors will retain the right to have the final say on any redesign plans for the Piper Alpha Memorial, Aberdeen City Council has decided.
Piper Alpha remains the world’s worst offshore disaster, with 167 lives lost when the North Sea platform exploded on July 6, 1988.
In the wake of the tragedy, the permanent Piper Alpha Memorial and surrounding North Sea Memorial Rose Garden were established in Aberdeen’s Hazlehead Park on its third anniversary.
The Pound for Piper Memorial Trust launched a redesign project for the memorial site on May 13, sharing a conceptual design, gathering feedback, gauging the level of support, and raising funding.
However, while some believe the redevelopment is necessary, others say it shouldn’t go ahead and a petition against it has been signed by thousands.
On June 6, a petition with more than 5,000 signatures – entitled “Stop the redesign and renaming of the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden” – was received by Aberdeen City Council.
Aberdeen City councillors decided on Wednesday that staff will discuss and agree next steps with all relevant parties, including survivors of and families affected by the disaster, as well as trade unions, to redesign the rose garden.
They also agreed that as part of the formal process, any proposed changes to the gardens will be subject to consultation and all relevant planning approvals and the final decision on the future of the memorial and the gardens will be made by the council.
A report to Full Council said the memorial and surrounding gardens are of “huge significance” to those affected by the tragedy, as well as to the people of Aberdeen, and emphasized the importance of fully consulting on any proposal to ensure all voices are heard ahead of making any decisions.
The council unanimously agreed that the outcome of the meeting with the Pound for Piper Trust and all relevant parties will be reported back to Operational Delivery Committee in August, along with a cost estimate and funding options for the planting of the rose beds as an interim measure.
They also agreed as part of the formal process, any proposed changes to the gardens will be subject to consultation and all relevant planning approvals and the final decision on the future of the memorial and the gardens will be made by the council.
The report said there has been no discussion between the Pound for Piper Memorial Trust and Aberdeen City Council on rebranding or renaming the memorial or the gardens, with no final decision made on the garden redesign as of yet.