The public is to be given a say on whether Aberdeen’s Piper Alpha Memorial Garden should be given special recognition.
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is looking to add the rose garden to its Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.
This would put the site on the map as a place of national importance and would join other locations including Duthie Park and Balmoral Castle.
It would also protect the gardens should any future plans be lodged that could impact the site.
The heritage body also wants to give the bronze memorial sculpture B-listed status.
This would recognise the city memorial as a place of historic interest.
HES say the listing status would “prevent unnecessary loss or damage” to the sculpture.
Opinions are also being sought on how the name of the garden should be recorded.
The move comes after a member of the public asked the organisation to consider the site to protect it from any redevelopment.
What changes could be made to the Piper Alpha Memorial Gardens?
The Pound for Piper Memorial Trust unveiled £500,000 plans to redesign the gardens last year.
Its proposal includes creating a larger area around the monument that sits at the heart of the site.
New seating would be installed with more than a dozen new benches added.
The charity also wants to add information boards around the site, each one explaining the history and legacy of Piper Alpha.
But, the plans received some opposition from families of those killed in the disaster.
They said they had not been consulted on the proposal and objected to the changes, with a daughter of one survivor branding it as an “insult”.
A petition was later launched pleading Aberdeen City Council to stop the revamp which gathered more than 5,000 signatures.
However, the local authority has said it will have the last word over any potential changes to the memorial gardens.
If the protected status is granted, HES would be consulted on any future development that requires planning permission.
What does Pound for Piper have to say?
Chairman of Pound for Piper and survivor of the disaster, Steve Rae, was involved in the review and spoke with HES representatives earlier this year.
He revealed that the trust is “supportive” of the findings and welcomes the designation.
Mr Rae explained: “There is no question on how significant the gardens and the memorial statue are to those directly impacted by the Piper Alpha Disaster, citizens of Aberdeen and the wider community.
“The proposed outcome aligns with the long term aims of the trust, which is to ensure that the memorial and gardens are maintained to a high standard for years to come and remain a special place for solace, comfort, and contemplation.”
He added: “We see the designation as the catalyst for Aberdeen City Council to initiate consultation on the future of the gardens, with all stakeholders, and look forward to actively participating in these discussions.”
Public comments on designation plan welcomed
Members of the public have until September 5 to comment on the proposal.
HES will then consider the feedback before making a final decision on the matter.
The memorial, featuring three figures representing the platform’s workers, was designed and created by artist Sue Jane Taylor.
Names of all 167 men who died on July 6 1988 are engraved on the pink granite plinth.
It was unveiled on the third anniversary of the disaster in 1991.
The 35th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster was marked earlier this month with a moving memorial service.