A £250,000 project to repair a wall has been shelved after doubts emerged over funding and land ownership.
Aberdeen City Council officers recommended members of the communities, housing and infrastructure committee sign off the cash to repair a retaining wall at Balnagask Motte monument on Baxter Street, Torry.
They argued that could unlock £50,000 from Suez’s Landfill Tax Fund and £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to improve the access to the area around the monument.
However, when the committee met yesterday Councillor Jackie Dunbar, of the SNP, argued the council does not know who owns the wall and questioned whether the £250,000 should come from the council’s housing revenue budget.
The committee’s chairwoman, Cllr Yvonne Allan, of Labour, said the council’s legal officers had stated in the report there were no direct legal implications of funding the project.
However, Cllr Allan’s Labour colleague, and council co-leader Cllr Jenny Laing, disagreed and scolded legal officers present at the meeting.
Cllr Laing said: “Cllr Dunbar is quite right.
“I certainly would have expected officers to have looked at this.
“It is not all that long ago that we as a council had an issue with not clarifying the ownership of a wall before going ahead with repair work and there have been considerable amounts of reputational damage to the council and also to former members of the council who managed to get caught up in the crossfire.”
Cllr Laing was referring to the “Wallgate” affair in which former councillor Willie Young was falsely accused of being the owner of a wall that stood to benefit from repairs.
She added: “I would have expected (the legal team) to have seen this coming.”
Nobody from the legal team who could address the points was at the meeting.
Cllr Dunbar said: “I have no problem with the project, but we must know who owns the wall and ensure the funding comes from the right account.”
The committee decided to defer the decision until the council’s legal team had clarified the situation.