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Families hit out at charity over plans to rebrand memorial garden

 

Proposed changes to a memorial garden to those lost in the Piper Alpha disaster in Aberdeen have been heavily criticised by those affected by the disaster.

A north east charity is facing heavy criticism over plans to “redesign and rename” a memorial garden to those lost in the Piper Alpha disaster. 

A petition with almost 5,000 signatures has been circulated online calling for plans to rebrand the gardens in Aberdeen’s Hazlehead Park to be abandoned. 

The gardens, which are maintained by the Pound for Piper Trust, could be redeveloped, with £500,000 of cash from oil and gas companies touted for an overhaul of the site. 

Families of those who died and were on the oil platform in 1988 have warned that there has been a lack of consultation, with their petition garnering significant support online

Those who have been affected have also warned they are uncomfortable with the possibility of cash from oil and gas companies being used to partly fund the redesign.

The Piper Alpha platform exploded on July 6 1988, killing 167 men.  The incident is the world's worst offshore oil disaster, in terms of lives lost and industry impact, with an inquiry into the explosion being heavily critical of the platform’s operator. 

The proposed new design would include a large concrete circle around the monument instead of the 167 roses that the families requested.

The petition says: “The Pound for Piper Trust has proposed this redesign but has had no consultation with the families who were affected by the disaster, in spite of the fact that these plans appear to have been in progress for some years. 

“We request that the Garden should not be renamed or rebranded as a generic monument and garden thereby removing the strong association of the space with the disaster. 

“Since 1991, the whole space has been dedicated to the Piper Alpha disaster, and should remain so. The garden should therefore be officially recognised as the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden.”

They also called for the memorial and garden to be protected from redevelopment and rebranding, for example by listed or scheduled status.

An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson said: “The design is being brought forward by the trust and would be subject to consideration by the council. 

“Any work on the gardens currently being undertaken is for maintenance purposes and not directly linked to any redesign.”

Pound for Piper was approached for comment.

 

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