There are “no plans to intentionally rebrand or rename” the gardens containing the Piper Alpha memorial, the Trust behind a mooted redesign has said.
Pound for Piper said “confusion” has been caused due to the “numerous names the gardens are known by”, written in different documents and signage.
Earlier this month, the Trust outlined a proposed redesign of the gardens to improve them and preserve them for posterity, which will require external funding of £500,000.
Nearly 5,000 people have signed an online petition seeking to block the proposals, particularly over what has been perceived as a “renaming or rebranding” of the site to the “North Sea Memorial Garden” and dilution of its association with the tragedy.
Pound for Piper has issued a lengthy statement stating this is not the case.
It said the Trust had “assumed they were named the North Sea Memorial Gardens” as that is the title given on the notice board adjacent to the gardens, and as that was how it was referred to by the Lord Provost and Oil and Gas Chaplain during the 25th anniversary.
Meanwhile, the original brochure describing the memorial statue and its creation, by Sue Jane Taylor in 1991, referred to them as the North Sea Rose Gardens – the same name given to them on the Aberdeen City Council website.
Pound for Piper said it has asked Aberdeen City Council to confirm the name recorded in the title deed or land registry records and clarify the “confusion”.
It said: “We assumed they were named the North Sea Memorial Gardens. We used this also to signify it was the ‘Gardens’ we were looking to improve and proposed to redesign and not the Piper Alpha Memorial itself. We had no plans to intentionally rebrand or rename these gardens.”
Aberdeen City Council told Energy Voice that the site has been “called the North Sea Memorial Rose Garden for a number of years” and contains the Piper Alpha memorial.
The local authority has not yet confirmed which name is used in the title deed, though this is likely listed as simply “Aberdeen City Council”, according to a spokesperson.
Pound for Piper said: “It is not the Trust’s place, nor will it ever be, to rename or rebrand these gardens which remain the property of Aberdeen Council.”
It added that, the gardens are “deteriorating rapidly”, despite continued renewal and maintenance work, and that “without significant investment they will eventually consume the funds we have invested to protect their longevity”.
The Trust addressed a series of issues linked to the rose gardens and a lack of consultation on the redesign with families.
It said it took the decision to launch pre-consultation “knowing that even with our best efforts it would be unlikely” in connecting with many of those impacted.
The Trust added: “On reflection, we appreciate this may have been perceived as not caring for their opinion which could not be further from the truth.
“The Trust will learn from this going forward. We also want to emphasise that given this is a ‘proposed’ redesign and is therefore not cast in stone, we knew that we would have opportunity to gather feedback and make changes as deemed appropriate.”