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New Temporary Traffic Lights Imposed – Ross Crescent

Start Date and Time : 06 May 2021 07:00 
End Date and Time : 12 May 2021 17:00

Location : Ross Crescent

Description : There will be temporary traffic signals on Ross Crescent with its junction with Mastrick Drive.

These signals will be in operation from 07:00 6th may until 17:00 12th May and will be in operation 24 hours a day.

This is to protect public safety during Scottish Water works. 

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – CITY FIBRE PN296, SHEDDOCKSLEY, ABERDEEN

Start Date and Time : 19 May 2021 08:00 
End Date and Time : 29 June 2021 17:00

Location : CITY FIBRE PN296, SHEDDOCKSLEY, ABERDEEN.

Description : Aberdeen City Council has made the above-named order in terms of its powers under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

The effect of the order is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on the following streets: Sheddocksley Drive, Aberdeen, from the boundary between number 149 and 151 Sheddocksley Drive to the gable end of number 165 Sheddocksley Drive from 08:00 on 19th May, 2021, until 17:00 on 20th May, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Sheddocksley Drive, Derbeth Crescent, Lewis Road and Taransay Crescent;

Sheddocksley Drive, Aberdeen, between its junction with Wardhead Place and the gable end of number 150 Sheddocksley Drive from 08:00 on 21st May, 2021, until 17:00 on 22nd May, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Wardhead Place, Sheddocksley Road and Harthill Place;

Sheddocksley Drive, Aberdeen, from its junction with Harthill Place to the boundary between number 116 and 118 Sheddocksley Drive from 08:00 on 25th May, 2021, until 17:00 on 26th May, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Wardhead Place, Sheddocksley Road and Harthill Place;

Sheddocksley Drive, Aberdeen, from its junction with Harthill Place to the boundary between number 102 and 104 Sheddocksley Drive from 08:00 on 27th May, 2021, until 17:00 on 28th May, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Harthill Place, Sheddocksley Road and Auchlea Place;

Harthill Place, Aberdeen, between its junction with Sheddocksley Drive and the gable end of number 10 Harthill Place from 08:00 on 31st May, 2021, until 17:00 on 1st June, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Sheddocksley Drive, Auchlea Place and Sheddocksley Road;

Harthill Place, Aberdeen, from its junction with Sheddocksley Road to the boundary between number 3 and 5 Harthill Place from 08:00 on 2nd June, 2021, until 17:00 on 3rd June, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Sheddocksley Drive, Auchlea Place and Sheddocksley Road;

Auchlea Place, Aberdeen, from its junction with Sheddocksley Road to the boundary between number 3 and 5 Auchlea Place from 08:00 on 4th June, 2021, until 17:00 on 5th June, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Sheddocksley Road, Auchlea Road and Sheddocksley Drive;

Sheddocksley Road, Aberdeen, between its junction with Kingsford Road and the gable end of number 47 Sheddocksley Road from 08:00 on 7th June, 2021, until 17:00 on 8th June, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Kingsford Road, Springhill Road and Brodinch Place;

Auchlea Road, Aberdeen, between its junction with Sheddocksley Drive and the gable end of number 27 Auchlea Road from 08:00 on 9th June, 2021, until 17:00 on 10th June, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Sheddocksley Drive, Auchlea Place and Sheddocksley Road;

Sheddocksley Drive, Aberdeen, from the boundary between number 86 and 88 Sheddocksley Drive to the gable end of number 96 Sheddocksley Drive from 08:00 on 16th June, 2021, until 17:00 on 17th June, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Auchlea Road, Sheddocksley Road and Auchlea Place.

Access to properties will be maintained, but no through traffic will be possible.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting on either side on the following streets between 08:00 and 17:00 Mon-Sat; Auchlea Road, Harthill Place, Kingsford Road, Sheddocksley Drive, Sheddocksley Road, Wardhead Place, Aberdeen from 08:00 on 19th May, 2021, until 17:00 on 29th June, 2021.

Due to any ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the no-waiting restrictions will not be implemented for the full duration of the order and will only be implemented as and when required.

The no-waiting restrictions will be demarcated by the use of no-waiting cones for no more than 50 metres at a time.

For an update as to when the no-waiting restrictions will be implemented please contact GCU (UK) Ltd on 07940333452 

Flexible Travel Bundles From FirstAberdeen.

With effect from 26th April 2021 FirstAberdeen are to offer more flexibility on their ticketing options. They have recognised that weekly, monthly and three monthly bus passes may not work for some people as a result of changing working patterns with the working week split between home and office. This initiative will allow customers to purchase a number of individual day tickets in advance at a discounted price.

Flexible Travel Bundles are available in 5, 10 or 15 ticket options, offering a discount over the normal cost of purchasing a day ticket through the APP. These bundles are only available to purchase from the FirstBus APP with validity for 2, 4 or 6 weeks dependent on which bundle you purchase. They can be found under the Day Bundles section when selecting which ticket to purchase.

Full information can be found here.

New Temporary Traffic Lights Imposed – Mastrick Road

Start Date and Time : 04 May 2021 08:00
End Date and Time : 05 May 2021 17:00
Location : Mastrick Road

Description : There will be temporary Traffic Signals on Mastrick Road by the junction with Arnage Place.

These lights will be in operation from 08:00 on the 4th May until 17:00 on the 5th May. These lights will be in operation 24 hours, this is to protect public safety during City Fibre works.

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Mastrick City Fibre PN297

Start Date and Time : 18 May 2021 08:00
End Date and Time : 08 June 2021 17:00
Location : Mastrick City Fibre PN297

Description : Aberdeen City Council has made the above-named order in terms of its powers under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

The effect of the order, which will operate is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on the following streets: Hallfield Road, Aberdeen, from the junction with Burnbrae Crescent to the boundary between number 8 and 10 Hallfield Road from 08:00 on 18th May, 2021, until 17:00 on 19th May, 2021. An alternative route is available via Springhill Road, Lang Stracht, Fernhill Drive, Burnbrae Avenue and Burnbrae Crescent;

Greenfern Avenue, Aberdeen, from the boundary between number 9 and 11 Greenfern Avenue to the gable end of number 23 Greenfern Avenue from 08:00 on 20th May, 2021, until 17:00 on 21st May, 2021. An alternative route is available via Greenfern Road, Fernhill Drive and Fernhill Road;

Fernhill Road, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Greenfern Avenue and Fernhill Place from 08:00 on 24th May, 2021, until 17:00 on 25th May, 2021. An alternative route is available via Greenfern Avenue, Greenfern Road and Fernhill Drive;

Burnbrae Crescent, Aberdeen, from its junction with Hallfield Road and to the gable end of number 9 Burnbrae Crescent from 08:00 on 26th May, 2021, until 17:00 on 27th May, 2021. An alternative route is available via Hallfield Road, Springhill Road, Lang Stracht, Fernhill Drive and Burnbrae Avenue;

Fernhill Road, Aberdeen, from the boundary between number 3 and 5 Fernhill Road to the boundary between number 7 and 9 Fernhill Road from 08:00 on 28th May, 2021, until 17:00 on 29th May, 2021. An alternative route is available via Fernhill Drive, Greenfern Road and Greenfern Avenue;

Fernhill Road, Aberdeen, from the boundary between number 55 and 57 Fernhill Road to the boundary between number 63 and 65 Fernhill Road from 08:00 on 1st June, 2021, until 17:00 on 2nd June, 2021. An alternative route is available via Springhill Road, Greenfern Road and Greenfern Avenue;

Burnbrae Crescent, Aberdeen, from its junction with Hallfield Road to the boundary between number 21-31 and 33-43 Burnbrae Crescent from 08:00 on 3rd June, 2021, until 17:00 on 4th June, 2021. An alternative route is available via Fernhill Drive, Burnbrae Avenue and Burnbrae Crescent;

Burnbrae Crescent, Aberdeen, between its junction with Fernhill Drive and Burnbrae Place. An alternative route is available via Lang Stracht, Springhill Road and Hallfield Road and also on Fernhill Drive, Aberdeen, from its junction with Lang Stracht to the boundary between number 1-11 and 13-23 Fernhill Drive. An alternative route is available via Lang Stracht, Springhill Road and Greenfern Road from 08:00 on 5th June, 2021, until 17:00 on 6th June, 2021.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting on either side of Springhill Road between its junctions with Lang Stracht and Sheddocksley Drive to allow for regular bus services from 08:00 on 5th June, 2021, until 17:00 on 6th June, 2021.

Burnbrae Place, Aberdeen, between its junction with Burnbrae Crescent and a point 15 metres in a northerly direction from 08:00 on 7th June, 2021, until 17:00 on 8th June, 2021. An alternative route is available via Fernhill Drive and Burnbrae Crescent. The one-way system on Burnbrae Place, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Burnbrae Crescent and Fernhill Drive will be suspended during these times to allow egress from properties. Access to properties will be maintained, but no through traffic will be possible.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting on either side on the following streets between 08:00 and 17:00 Mon-Sat; Burnbrae Avenue, Burnbrae Crescent, Burnbrae Place, Fernhill Drive, Fernhill Place, Fernhill Road, Greenfern Avenue, Hallfield Crescent, Hallfield Road, Lang Stracht, Aberdeen from 08:00 on 18th May, 2021, until 17:00 on 28th June, 2021.

Due to any ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the no-waiting restrictions will not be implemented for the full duration of the order and will only be implemented as and when required.

The no-waiting restrictions will be demarcated by the use of no-waiting cones for no more than 50 metres at a time.

For an update as to when the no-waiting restrictions will be implemented please contact GCU (UK) Ltd on 07940333452

The measures are necessary to protect public safety during duct laying works being carried out by City Fibre. Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to GCU (UK) Ltd on 07940333452

Further Covid Easing

A number of relaxations to covid restrictions come into force for Monday 26 April. This represents the most significant changes since December but please remember many restrictions remain, including the need to maintain social distancing and the wearing of masks. Visiting someone in their own home remains banned at this time except for support visits.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “It’s good to see things starting to return to normal after such a horrible year. The re-opening of shops and other services is very welcome as is the ability to travel within the UK”.

“My advice remains as it has been throughout, within the scope of what is now permitted do what you and your family are comfortable doing and feel safe in doing. That will be different for everyone and that’s OK”.

From 26 April we move from Tier 4 to Tier 3 restrictions. The main changes are as follows:-

  • Non-essential shops and hospitality can begin to open 
  • Non-emergency indoor works such as painting, decorating and repair work can now be undertaken
  • Informal childcare can be resumed
  • Mobile hairdressers and other close contact services can re-open.
  • Numbers attending weddings or funerals has been increased to 50
  • Cafés, pubs and restaurants can resume full outdoor service, subject to local licensing, and serve food indoors without alcohol until 8pm
  • Travel is permitted throughout the UK  

Further information can be found here. If in doubt you can download a helpful guide here or call the coronavirus helpline on 0808 196 3384.

Stagecoach Returns To Pre-Pandemic Bus Frequencies & Replaces The X17 Service

Stagecoach has announced a number of their bus routes in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. These changes will affect the current X17 & No 14 routes as well as the less frequent 218 service.

With regard to routes 14 and 218, the frequency of these services is now returning to those which had operated prior to the pandemic but please check timetables as the timings may not be exactly the same. It’s also worth noting that the No 14 weekend service which was cut by Aberdeen’s Conservative, Labour and Independent councillors last year is not being restored, so that service will only operate Monday to Friday.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “The most significant change for our area is the decision to replace the X17 with three different services, the 4, 5 & 6. Heading to and from the City Centre you can catch one of these three services every 10 minutes (Mon-Sat). If you’re travelling to Westhill, you have a choice of the 5 or 6 (some services are numbered 6A) as the 4 goes to Countesswells. All three routes operate 7 days a week following the current Queens Road route into the city centre”.

The revised timetables should be updated at all bus stops in the next few days. Stagecoach have decided not to print copies of the new timetables but you can find the details for all these routes to view or download here.

New Emergency Road Closure Imposed – Willowpark Crescent

Start Date and Time : 29 March 2021 09:30
Location : Willowpark Crescent

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 09:30 on 29 March, 2021, until emergency works are completed, is to close Willowpark Crescent, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Matrick Drive and and Muirfield Place.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting at any time on the same stretch of carriageway.

The restrictions are in the interests of public safety during ACC emergency resurfacing work due to the sunken carriageway.

Alternate Route : Mastrick Drive, Muirfield Road, Willowpark Place, Muirfield Place and vice versa

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – FERNHILL DRIVE, ABERDEEN.

A New Temporary Traffic Order has been imposed with the following details :

Start Date and Time : 05 April 2021 08:00 
End Date and Time : 09 April 2021 17:00 
Location : FERNHILL DRIVE, ABERDEEN.

Description : Aberdeen City Council has made the above-named order in terms of its powers under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

The effect of the order, which will operate from 08:00 on 05 April 2021, until 17:00 on 09 April 2021, is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on Fernhill Drive, Aberdeen, from its junction with Arnage Drive to the boundary between numbers 51 and 53 Fernhill Drive.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting on either side of the same stretch of road.

Access to properties will be maintained, but no through traffic will be possible.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting on either side of Springhill Road Aberdeen, between its junctions with Lang Stracht and Sheddocksley Drive to allow for regular bus services.

The measures are necessary to protect public safety during works for BT Openreach.

Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to Wright Traffic Management on 01466 751316, or info@wtm.scot

Alternate Route : An alternative route is available via Greenfern Road, Springhill Road and Lang Stracht. 

Changes in Temporary Traffic Order – Corse Gardens / Corse Wynd

An existing Temporary Traffic Order has been modified. The details are as follows :

Start Date and Time : 05 April 2021 08:00 
End Date and Time : 23 April 2021 17:00 
Location : Corse Gardens / Corse Wynd

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 08:00 on 5th April, 2021, until 17:00 on 23 April, 2021, is to close Corse Gardens, Aberdeen, in its entirety and Corse Wynd, between its junctions with Corse Avenue and the North East boundary of number 26, including the cul de sac.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting at any time on the same stretches of carriageway. The no-waiting restrictions will be demarcated by the use of no-waiting cones.

Illegally parked vehicles will be removed at the owner’s expense.

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Community Planning Aberdeen has launched an online simulator to enable citizens to express what is important and of value to them and for their community.  The survey is open to any resident of Aberdeen City.

What is important to you?

Community Planning Aberdeen is the name for your local partnership of public, private and third sector organisations and communities all working together to improve people’s lives across Aberdeen City.

We would like residents of Aberdeen to participate in this short exercise to discover what things you value and what is important to you.

Imagine you are responsible for improving the lives of the people of Aberdeen. You only have 500 points to give to various improvement projects. You must allocate all of these points. How would you allocate these points? How you do this will help guide the work of Community Planning Aberdeen and the priorities within the City’s Local Outcome Improvement Plan.  You can, also, give comments and submit ideas. 

Open until Wednesday 31st of March 2021

Get Started >>

If you have any queries or would like to give us feedback, please use the comments boxes in the link or email us at communityplanning@aberdeencity.gov.uk

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Sheddockley Road

Start Date and Time : 29 March 2021 07:00
End Date and Time : 09 April 2021 18:00

Location : Sheddockley Road

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 07:00 on Monday, 29 March 2021, until 18:00 on Friday, 9 April 2021, is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on Sheddocksley Road, Aberdeen, from the driveway at number 41 Sheddocksley Road to a point 20 metres south-east of its junction with Auchlea Place.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting on either side of Auchlea Place, Aberdeen, from its junction with Sheddocksley Road to the driveway at number 1 Auchlea Place.

The measures are necessary to protect public safety during water connection works.

Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to Nicol of Skene on 01224 74443, or enquiries@nicolofskene.com

Alternate Route : An alternative route is available via Harthill Place, Sheddocksley Drive, and Auchlea Road.

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – MASTRICK HEATING DUCT

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Start Date and Time : 07 January 2021 07:00

End Date and Time : 26 April 2021 17:00

Location : MASTRICK HEATING DUCT

Description : Aberdeen City Council has made the above-named order in terms of its powers under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. The effect of the order, which will operate from 07:00 on 07 January 2021, until 17:00 on 26 April 2021, is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving and prohibition of waiting as per the schedule below.

Advance warning signs will be placed on each road before each restriction begins. Phase 1; Ross Crescent, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Willowpark Crescent and Mastrick Drive. An alternative route is available via Willowpark Road, Willowpark Place, and Muirfield Road. Phase 2; Mastrick Drive, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Ross Crescent and Mastrick Close.

An alternative route is available via Ross Crescent and Arnage Drive. Phase 3; Mastrick Close, Aberdeen for its entire length Phase 4; Hillylands Road, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Croft Road and Fernhill Drive.

Phase 5; Fernhill Drive, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Hillylands Road and Lang Stracht.

The measures are necessary to protect public safety during heating duct installation works.

Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to Nicol of Skene on 01224 74443, or enquiries@nicolofskene.com

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – CITY FIBRE PN 287, EDAY ROAD, ABERDEEN.

Start Date and Time : 11 January 2021 08:00

End Date and Time : 21 February 2021 17:00

Location : CITY FIBRE PN 287, EDAY ROAD, ABERDEEN.

Description : Aberdeen City Council has made the above-named order in terms of its powers under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. The effect of the order, which will operate is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on the following streets: Eday Crescent, Aberdeen, between its junction with Eday Road and the boundary between number 36 Eday Road and 1 Eday Crescent.

An alternative route is available via Eday Road, Stronsay Drive and Gairsay Road and also the one-way restriction on Eday Crescent, Aberdeen, between its junction with Gairsay Road and the boundary between number 5 and 7 Eday Crescent will be suspended from 08:00 on 19th January, 2021, until 17:00 on 20th January, 2021; Fernielea Place, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Eday Road and Fernielea Road from 08:00 on 19th January, 2021, until 17:00 on 21st January, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Eday Road and Fernielea Road; Fernielea Road, Aberdeen, between its junction with Eday Road and the gable end of number 1 Fernielea Road from 08:00 on 26th January, 2021, until 17:00 on 27th January, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Eday Road and Fernielea Place; Gairsay Road, Aberdeen, between its junction with Eday Drive and the boundary between numbers 39-49 and 51 Gairsay Road from 08:00 on 28th January, 2021, until 17:00 on 29th January, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Eday Drive, Eday Road and Stronsay Drive; Stronsay Crescent, Aberdeen, between its junction with Stronsay Drive and the gable end of number 36 Stronsay Crescent from 08:00 on 9th February, 2021, until 17:00 on 10th February, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Stronsay Drive, Stronsay Place, and Summerhill Drive; Stronsay Crescent, Aberdeen, from the footpath between numbers 12 and 14 Stronsay Crescent to the gable end of number 20 Stronsay Crescent from 08:00 on 11th February, 2021, until 17:00 on 12th February, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Stronsay Drive, Stronsay Place, and Summerhill Drive; Fernielea Crescent, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Stronsay Drive and Fernielea Road from 08:00 on 15th February, 2021, until 17:00 on 18th February, 2021.

An alternative route is available via Stronsay Drive, Eday Road and Fernielea Road. Access to properties will be maintained, but no through traffic will be possible.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting on either side on the following streets between 08:00 and 17:00 Mon-Sat; Eday Crescent, Eday Drive, Eday Road, Fernielea Crescent, Fernielea Place, Fernielea Road, Gairsay Drive, Gairsay Road, Lang Stracht, Stronsay Crescent, Stronsay Drive, Stronsay Place, Aberdeen from 08:00 on 11th January, 2021, until 17:00 on 21st February, 2021.

Due to any ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the no-waiting restrictions will not be implemented for the full duration of the order and will only be implemented as and when required. The no-waiting restrictions will be demarcated by the use of no-waiting cones for no more than 50 metres at a time.

For an update as to when the no-waiting restrictions will be implemented please contact GCU (UK) Ltd on 07940333452

The measures are necessary to protect public safety during duct laying works being carried out by City Fibre. Chief Officer Operations, Aberdeen City Council, Town House, ABERDEEN.

A Victory For Disabled & Vulnerable People

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Image by Christian Langballe at Unsplash.com

The Scottish Government’s Covid-19 guidance has been updated to allow visits to offer emotional support to a vulnerable person whose wellbeing is at risk, with specific mention of those who are isolated because of a disability or a caring responsibility.

Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill councillor Steve Delaney who had previously written to the First Minister on this issue, presented a motion to last week’s council meeting requesting the council seek clarity on whether emotional support to those facing isolation was permitted under current guidance or, if not, for this to be introduced. Steve received cross party support from all councillors last week.

He said, “This change appeared online with no official announcement over the past few days, listed under the permitted activities in all four covid management tiers”.

“To date, both UK & Scottish Governments have based support arrangements around ’social bubbles’ which work well for couples who do not live together and for informal childcare arrangements. Where they fail older people and vulnerable adults is that by forming a bubble with one elderly or vulnerable adult, you exclude doing so with others in your family and many families have more than one relative who lives alone and may be struggling. The other issue with bubbles is that we are told there’s no need for social distancing or face coverings and hugs are allowed. Where an individual in a bubble is vulnerable such an approach is of course potentially dangerous”.

“This clarity is absolutely not a green light to go into people’s homes. It is only permitted where the wellbeing of a vulnerable person living alone is considered to be at risk. Those providing support must follow the clear guidelines set out for carers who tend to people’s physical care needs. Hand hygiene and social distancing are at the heart of the guidance to keep those being visited safe”.

The full guidance can be located at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/pages/protection-level-4/ under the ‘Meeting others indoors (socialising)’ heading. The same guidance applies to the other protection levels.

Steve continued, “Charities, third sector organisations and individuals who have been highlighting the detrimental effect of loneliness and isolation on those who live alone and cannot get out and about for health reasons, should be congratulated as we see their hard work pay dividends to thousands of Scots”.

Councillors Back Motion To End Pandemic Isolation

Local councillor Steve Delaney’s call for Aberdeen City Council to write to the First Minister and Cabinet Secretary of Health & Wellbeing for clarity on whether or not elderly or disabled people living alone could be visited and if not, to change the legislation to allow this, today received unanimous backing from across the chamber.

Following concerns raised by a number of residents and personal experience in his own family situation, Mr Delaney felt that something had to be done to tackle social isolation and loneliness. Everyone acknowledged it but nobody seemed willing to address it, despite numerous studies highlighting this issue.

Following the second lockdown those who were housebound or in isolation due to underlying health conditions have once again found themselves ‘locked up’ with no more than drop offs of food and medicines permitted as meeting people outside was not an option for them.

At the end of last week a Scottish Government spokesman confirmed that such visits would now be permitted, something he offered a cautious welcome for.

Councillor Delaney said, “My thanks go to all councillors who, in rare show of unity, put their political differences to one side to support people who live alone across our city”.

“I first raised these concerns in a letter to the First Minister on 8th October, and have received no response. It has taken until 12th December for a Scottish Government spokesman to confirm to the Press & Journal that home visits will be permitted for emotional support if someone’s mental health or wellbeing is at risk”.

“According to the report, people across Scotland who are living alone with a disability or mental illness can now have visitors indoors to help combat social isolation without fear of prosecution. I’m just disappointed it has taken so long to get this clarity”.

“Having said that, this is not a free for all, nor should it be. This exemption only applies to people living alone whose mental health or wellbeing is at risk as a result of disability or a caring situation. Even then the guidance on face coverings, hand washing and social distancing should be observed in order to protect those being visited”.

“Charities, third sector organisations and individuals who have been highlighting the detrimental effect of loneliness and isolation on those who live alone and cannot get out and about for health reasons, should be congratulated as we see their hard work pay dividends to thousands of Scots”.

“All we need now is a Ministerial statement in the Scottish Parliament which sets out how this exception works to to whom it applies, both clearly and unequivocally, to ensure that all elderly and disabled people in Scotland who are living alone, are aware of this”.

We Must Address Our Mental Health Crisis

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Since the first lockdown in March, people living alone who are elderly and disabled, have suffered the greatest harm to their mental health and wellbeing as a result of covid restrictions designed to protect them. Each time there’s a surge in covid cases they are effectively locked up in their own homes, recently described by Boris Johnson as being under ‘house arrest’.

Nobody doubts the risks posed by covid to elderly residents and people with underlying health conditions if good clear guidance is ignored but, to date, there has been no attempt to address the harm these restrictions are causing to those who live alone.

People who live alone have been experiencing loneliness and isolation like never before as a result of being cut off from their families. Some people have not had direct contact with anyone other than carers for months.

Others who are self caring but housebound may have seen nobody at all, other than for food and medicine drop offs, made worse by the fact that they are unable to meet people outdoors and, with winter approaching, even more elderly people who normally meet with others outdoors will now find themselves ‘confined to barracks’.

Current guidance permits indoor visits for the purposes of providing care or support a vulnerable person. Such visits should of course be conducted in accordance with guidelines regarding social distancing, face coverings and hand hygiene. However, the guidance is unclear as to whether or not tending to someone’s mental health and wellbeing comes under ‘providing care and support’, with the presumption being that it does not.

Aberdeen councillor Steve Delaney is taking a motion to next Monday’s council meeting seeking to address the issue by asking the council to write to the First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health & Wellbeing asking for clarification that visits to address mental health needs comes under the definition of providing care and support or, if not, to bring forward appropriate changes to guidance which would allow this.

Councillor Delaney said, “Everyone’s primary aim is to keep people safe but the current restrictions make no allowance for elderly or disabled people who live alone. Visits would almost certainly need to be limited in respect of numbers and it would be expected that the same guidelines applying to paid carers would apply. I’m most certainly not suggesting a complete lifting of restrictions in respect of people living alone. That would put lives at risk”.

“Both Governments have based support arrangements around ’social bubbles’ which work well for couples who do not live together and for informal childcare arrangements. Where they fail older people and vulnerable adults is that by forming a bubble with one elderly or vulnerable adult, you exclude doing so with others in your family and many families have more than one elderly or disabled relative. The other issue with bubbles is that we are told there’s no need for social distancing or face coverings and hugs are allowed. Where an individual in a bubble is vulnerable such an approach would be potentially dangerous”.

“Next Monday I’m asking all parties to put their political differences to one side and come together to support elderly and disabled people who live alone and to do it in a safe way. Indeed the same should apply equally to a younger person who is living alone and struggling with their mental health”.

“We all speak about treating mental health on an equal footing with physical health so lets do something about it”.

“I fully appreciate the guidance requires clarification and/or changes at national level, but that does not preclude Aberdeen’s elected councillors showing leadership by uniting in a common cause and reaching out to our national representatives to make this happen”.

“Accordingly and in the spirit of goodwill, I have written to all five political group leaders in advance of the meeting asking for their support. I’m sure many people across Aberdeen, and indeed across Scotland as a whole, will be looking to them to support this proposal and end the isolation being suffered by those are often unable to speak out for themselves”.

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Eday Drive

Start Date and Time : 08 December 2020 08:00

End Date and Time : 08 December 2020 17:00

Location : Eday Drive

Description : In the interest of public safety during City Fibre works Eday Drive will be closed to traffic between Eday Road and the gable end of 1 Eday Drive from 0800 till 1700 on Tuesday the 8th of December, 2020.

The Council regrets any inconvenience that may be caused by this temporary measure, which is in the interest of public safety.

Alternate Route : An alternative Route is available via Eday Road, Stronsay Drive and Gairsay Road.

Draft Project Closes Pending Hearing

Aberdeen City Council’s Special Licensing Committee met for the first time in five years to consider whether or not to object to a renewal application for the Draft Project, a licensed marquee located on Langstane Place. The Special Licensing Objections Committee is the body which determines whether or not the council should object to alcohol licenses which are then determined by the Licensing Board. The committee meets infrequently and only lodges objections in exceptional cases.

The meeting was called as a result of public concerns raised over the complete lack of social distancing, lack of face coverings, shouting and singing which took place recently, much of which has been circulating on social media.

Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney proposed that the council object to the renewal on the basis of public health, public safety and public nuisance.

He said, “Licensed premises are well versed in managing their venues during events, so they should have been better prepared. We’re right in the middle of a pandemic and the event at Draft Project put their staff, their customers and indeed the general public at increased risk”.

“What we don’t need is another local lockdown and the harm that creates to local people, especially those who are housebound, disabled or living alone. Such actions also reflect poorly on the hospitality sector, risking jobs and livelihoods in so many other venues where they are working hard to keep their customers and staff safe”. 

“The Draft Project is run by Soul, one of the premises linked to the August covid spike which led to the three week local lockdown. That was another incident where there was no social distancing and few, if any, face coverings being worn both inside and outside the premises”. 

“During a pandemic everyone needs to take responsibility and we all need to work together to keep our citizens safe. And this is a time when this council needs to show leadership and do right by its citizens”.

“Any premises which demonstrate complete lack of adherence to strict covid regulations would appear to be putting profit before people and putting lives at risk. Not only the lives of customers and staff but also their families and friends and indeed the wider population”.

 Councillor Ryan Houghton, supported by his two Conservative colleagues moved that Aberdeen City Council should not object to the renewal of the license. He won the vote by 3 votes to 2 with Councillors Delaney and Copeland entering their dissent at the decision.

Later in the day the Licensing Board met to consider the renewal application. They have decided to hold a Public Hearing at a future date to determine whether or not to renew the license. This hearing will give those who have objected an opportunity to have their say. The “occasional licence” for Draft Project expires today and they will not be permitted to re-open prior to the hearing being held.

New Covid Travel Restrictions

From 6pm today (Friday 20 November) the guidance on non-essential travel will become law.

If you live in a Level 4 or 3 local authority area you should avoid any unnecessary travel out of the area except for essential travel

If you live in a level 1 or 2 you should avoid unnecessary travel to places in Level 3 or 4 except for essential purposes.

Essential travel is defined by the Scottish Government as:

* Travel for work, or provide voluntary or charitable services where they cannot be done from your home
* Travel for education
* Travel for essential shopping only where it is not possible in your local area
* Travel for healthcare, social care, childcare or other essential services, including recycling, but only if they are not available in your local area
* Travel to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
* Travel to visit a person receiving treatment in a hospital, staying in a hospice or care home, or to accompany a pregnant woman, vulnerable person or child to a medical appointment
* Travel for shared parenting or travel between the two parts of an extended household
* Travel to meet a legal obligation
* Travel to move house

Further guidance and a full list of essential travel exemptions can be found on the Scottish Government website.

For avoidance of doubt Aberdeen is currently classified as level 2.

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – City Fibre 28 Springhill Road

Start Date and Time : 21 November 2020 08:00
End Date and Time : 22 November 2020 17:00
Location : City Fibre 28 Springhill Road

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 08:00 on 21st November, 2020, until 17:00 on 22nd November, 2020 is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on Springhill Road, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Dickson Terrace and Davidson Place.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting on either side of the same stretch of road Access to properties will be maintained, but no through traffic will be possible.

The measures are necessary to protect public safety during duct laying works being carried out by City Fibre.

Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to GCU (UK) Ltd on 07940333452, or roadworkscoordination@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Alternate Route : An alternative route or light vehicle traffic is via Dickson Terrace, Davidson Drive and Davidson Gardens; For heavy goods vehicle traffic is via Provost Fraser Drive, Byron Avenue, Quarry Road, Granitehill Road and Provost Rust Drive

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Clova Park

Start Date and Time : 20 November 2020 08:00
End Date and Time : 21 November 2020 17:00

Location : Clova Park

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Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 08:00 on Friday, 20 November 2020, until 17:00 on Saturday, 21 November 2020, is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on Clova Park, Aberdeen at its junction with Clova Crescent.

Access will be maintained for local residents. There will also be a prohibition of waiting on either side of the same stretch of road.

Illegally parked vehicles will be removed at the owners’ expense.

The measures are necessary to protect public safety during works for ACC junction resurfacing works. 

Temporary traffic signals with operate at the junction with Clova Crescent from 0800-1700 on both days.

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – ENDRICK PLACE

 

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Start Date and Time : 16 November 2020 07:30

End Date and Time : 27 November 2020 17:00

Location : ENDRICK PLACE

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 07:30 on Monday, 16 November 2020, until 17:00 on Friday, 27 November 2020, is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on Endrick Place, Aberdeen.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting on either side of the same stretch of road. Illegally parked vehicles will be removed at the owners’ expense.

The measures are necessary to protect public safety during works for ACC footway resurfacing works. 

‘Spaces For People’ Update

Councillors had their first chance to publicly discuss the temporary “Spaces for People” changes made to road layouts in the city centre and elsewhere at a council committee meeting on Wednesday 28th October.

These temporary changes are part of a Scotland-wide initiative funded by the Scottish Government via the charity Sustrans. The objective of Spaces for People is to make it safer for people to walk, cycle and wheel during the pandemic. Aberdeen City Council was awarded £1.76 million of Spaces for People funding. 

As these temporary changes were made as part of the emergency response to the pandemic, decisions were made by council managers and not by councillors. 

The initial changes in the city centre were made without any consultation with residents and businesses. There has been consultation with residents and businesses about the more recent changes – but until the meeting Wednesday 28th October decisions were still being made by managers and not councillors.

The committee meeting instructed council staff to review the impact and effectiveness of the various changes made and report this back to the committee’s next meeting. The committee also agreed to remove most of the temporary changes made at the Beach Esplanade.

Better communication needed
My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I support the objectives of Spaces for People (protecting health and lives) but have made it clear to council managers that we have concerns about some of the specific changes made. We have also repeatedly said that we believe the council needs to improve consultation and communication about these changes.

Introduction Of New smoke Detector Regulations Delayed By 12 Months

The Scottish Government has announced that it is going to ask Parliament to delay the introduction of new requirements for smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors in homes in Scotland until February 2022.

The new regulations were due to come into force from February 2021.

These regulations will apply to all tenures. and I]it is the responsibility of each homeowner or landlord to ensure homes they own comply with the new regulations. 

Key points of the new regulations include:

  • one smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes
  • one smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings
  • one heat alarm installed in every kitchen
  • All alarms should be ceiling mounted and interlinked.

In addition, where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance – such as a boiler, fire (including an open fire) or heater – or a flue in a room, a carbon monoxide detector is also required. Carbon monoxide detectors do not need to be linked to the fire alarms.

You can find more information about the new regulations on the Scottish Government website.

Clearing Leaves From Footways

Council street cleaning staff have now started the work of clearing fallen leaves from pavements and street gutters across Aberdeen. To work as efficiently as possible, they do this area by area.

This leaf clearing work will be carried out over the next 10-12 weeks.

During that time, council staff do not follow the usual sweeping routes and programmes but concentrate on leaf fall hots spots and areas prone to flooding. That means some places will receive several visits from street cleaning staff over the next few weeks.

If you know of a particular problem area where fallen leaves are a hazard or may cause flooding, please do let me know and I will ask council staff to prioritise it.

Scottish Government Announces Plans For National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher

National 5
There will be no National 5 exams next year. An alternative certification model will be developed based on teacher judgement and this will be supported by resources which are currently being developed and quality assurance measures will be in place to ensure consistency across the country.

Guidance on evidence gathering and estimation was published by the Scottish Qualifications Authority a few days ago and further guidance will be issued on exactly what will be required of schools, staff and of course candidates after October. The focus will be on the quality of evidence rather than on the quantity and teachers’ professional judgement will remain of key importance.

Higher and Advanced Higher
The current planning assumes that exams will go ahead but the exams will start two weeks later than usual, on 13th May 2021, giving an additional two weeks of teaching time compared to previous years. A contingency plan is also being developed should exams not be able to proceed again next year as a result of the pandemic.

We Must Protect The Elderly and Disabled Without Placing Them Under House Arrest

Whilst it’s important that public health concerns are acted upon and restrictions observed, both Governments are causing confusion with the ever changing regulations and more so with some of the mixed messages they are sending out.

You can meet loved ones in a pub full of strangers but you can’t meet in your home or theirs where there will be less people and where you can put in place your own safety measures. That’s only one of a handful of conflicting messages being promoted at Government level.  

Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney said, “It’s vital that all restrictions must be complied with and we cannot pick and chose which ones we can ignore, unlike some prominent individuals who really should have known better”.

“There’s no excuse for breaking the law but I believe the time has come to challenge those who represent us to explore how we can better support those who live alone. We need to end their isolation and give them hope”.

“Accordingly I have written to the First Minister asking her to work with her medical and scientific advisors in order to put an end to this cruel loneliness which is being imposed on our elderly relatives, especially those who are disabled and/or housebound”.

“I wish to be clear that elderly and disabled people should not be put at greater risk as a result of any change. Instead, what I’m proposing is a “safe visiting protocol” with appropriate restrictions where necessary, to allow for visits to resume with everyone knowing what precautions need to be observed to help them keep their loved ones safe”.

“Although it’s vital that we keep at risk groups safe from covid, we need a rethink in order to end their “house arrest” and take care of their mental health and wellbeing”.

My letter to the First Minister can be viewed here.

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Eday Road City Fibre PN273

Start Date and Time : 22 October 2020 08:00 


End Date and Time : 02 December 2020 17:00

Location : Eday Road City Fibre PN273

Description : Aberdeen City Council has made the above-named order in terms of its powers under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

The effect of the order, which will operate from 08:00 on 22nd October, 2020, until 17:00 on 2nd December, 2020, is to impose a temporary prohibition of waiting on either side on the following streets between 08:00 and 17:00 Mon-Sat; Bressay Brae, Cava Close, Eday Court, Eday Gardens, Eday Road, Fara Close, Lang Stracht, Ronaldsay Road, Ronaldsay Square, Samphrey Road, Shapinsay Court, Shapinsay Road, Shapinsay Square, Swannay Road, Swannay Square, Aberdeen.

Due to any ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the no-waiting restrictions will not be implemented for the full duration of the order and will only be implemented as and when required.

The no-waiting restrictions will be demarcated by the use of no-waiting cones for no more than 50 metres at a time.

For an update as to when the no-waiting restrictions will be implemented please contact GCU (UK) Ltd on 07940333452

The measures are necessary to protect public safety during duct laying works being carried out by City Fibre.

Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to GCU (UK) Ltd on 07940333452 

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Sumburgh Crescent Lewis Road

Start Date and Time : 05 October 2020 08:00 

End Date and Time : 16 October 2020 17:00 
Location : Sumburgh Crescent Lewis Road

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 08:00 on Monday, 5 October 2020, until 17:00 on Friday, 16 October 2020, is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on Sumburgh Crecent, Aberdeen, between its northern junction with Lewis Road and the parking bay 15m in a southerly direction.

Once works are completed at the junction there will then be a one-way restriction on Sumburgh Crecent, Aberdeen, from the junction at the southern boundary of number 8 Sumburgh Crescent to Lewis Road.

The permitted direction of travel will be northbound only. An alternative route for both restrictions is available via the western junction of Sumburgh Crescent and Lewis Road.

For the duration of the order there will be a prohibition of waiting on the east side Sumburgh Crecent, Aberdeen, from the junction at the southern boundary of number 8 Sumburgh Crescent to Lewis Road, and on the west side of Sumburgh Crecent, Aberdeen, from the junction at the southern boundary of number 8 Sumburgh Crescent to Hillswick Road, and also on either side of Lewis Road, Aberdeen, from its junction with Orkney Avenue to a point 25m north of its junction with Shetland Walk.

Illegally parked vehicles will be removed at the owners’ expense. The measures are necessary to protect public safety during works for BT Openreach.

Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to Wright Traffic Management on 01466 751316, or info@wtm.scot

Alternate Route : An alternative route for both restrictions is available via the western junction of Sumburgh Crescent and Lewis Road. 

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – C128C Cults-Kingshill Road, Aberdeen

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Start Date and Time : 21 September 2020 06:00 
End Date and Time : 20 December 2020 22:00

Location : C128C Cults-Kingshill Road, Aberdeen

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 06:00 on 21 September 2020, until 22:00 on 20 December 2020, is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on the C128C Cults-Kingshill, Aberdeen, between its junction with Kingswells Roundabout and Nether Kingshill.

Access to properties will be maintained, but no through traffic will be possible.

The measure is necessary to protect public safety during carriageway reconstruction works.

Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to WM Donald on 01569 730590, or info@wmdonald.co.uk

Alternate Route : An alternative route is available via the A944 Skene Road, B9119 Skene Road, Queen’s Road, King’s Gate, Anderson Drive, Seafield Road, and Countesswells Road. 

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Shedocksley Road

Start Date and Time : 12 October 2020 08:00

End Date and Time : 30 October 2020 00:00

Location : Shedocksley Road

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 08:00 on Monday, 28 September 2020, until 17:00 on Friday, 16 October 2020, is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on Sheddocksley Road, Aberdeen, between two points 10m either side of its junction with Auchlea Place.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting on the same stretch of road. Illegally parked vehicles will be removed at the owners’ expense.

The measures are necessary to protect public safety during gas and water connection works.

Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to Nicol of Skene on 01224 74443, or enquiries@nicolofskene.com

Alternate Route : An alternative route is available via Auchlea Road and Sheddocksley Drive.

Winter Maintenance Plan Published

Aberdeen City Council’s Winter Maintenance Plan has been published. The document is very similar to last year’s retaining the same priority system for the clearance of roads and footways. The full plan can be found here and the progress of gritters can be tracked here.

There are over 900 grit bins in residential areas across the city. As in previous years the council is not accepting any requests for additional grit bins. You can locate your nearest one on this map.

There will be a contact number on all grit bins which can be called when it requires topping up.

Applications for the one tonne salt bag will be opening up in about two weeks and these too can now be topped up if they start running low. Please keep checking this link or the local press for details.

Liberal Democrat Operations Spokesman Steve Delaney said, “This winter is likely be a challenging one, regardless of of its severity with the unknown additional issues the covid-19 pandemic may show up”.

“The Liberal Democrats have for some years advocated making resources available to community groups so that we can all do our bit to help keep footways within our own streets clear of snow and ice”.

“I am therefore pleased to see the continuation of the large community grit bags in 20 locations across the city as well as the one tonne community salt bags. The only issue with these community salt bags was the difficulty experiences in distributing contents to community members. That’s why I welcome the distribution of smaller bags with these for residents to fill up and take away”.

“This does not in any way absolve the council’s of its responsibility to keep all main routes clear and to do are much as they can on other routes subject to prevailing weather conditions. It’s more about all of us who are able to do so, keeping our own little patch cleared and helping out those who are less able”.

“With the council likely to be under additional pressures this year due to covid-19 we’re all going to need to pull together to help each other and in particular to look out for elderly and disabled neighbours who may find themselves struggling if we’re hit by a particularly bad winter”.

Aberdeen to Westhill Corridor Study – Public Consultation

Aberdeen City Council has just launched an online public and stakeholder engagement on the Aberdeen to Westhill corridor.

The purpose of this study is to consider options to improve transport connections along the A944 and A9119 (formerly the B9119) i.e. Westhill – Kingswells – Lang Stracht – Queens Road – City Centre corridors.

It builds upon an initial stakeholder engagement undertaken earlier this year and it seeks feedback on the options for improvement that have been developed so far.

This study is independent of the Westhill to Kingswells Cycle Connectivity study being undertaken simultaneously by Aecom, although options identified through this study will be integrated with any identified options as part of this project.

This is being undertaken in the context of the revised Roads Hierarchy and in response to repeated calls for active travel improvements along the corridor and it’s identification as a priority corridor for improvement by the North East Bus Alliance.

Among other things, it is hoped that the outcomes of the study can feed into ACC’s application for a share of the bus priority infrastructure funding identified in the most recent Programme for Government once this becomes available.

Although the study commenced prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, consideration is being given to both the potential short- and longer-term transport impacts of the pandemic as much as these can be anticipated at this time. 

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesman Steve Delaney said, “This study looks towards creating much improved infrastructure in our area and potentially affects all of us by way of our links to and from the city centre. A balance needs to be struck between the needs of different groups of road users to hopefully result in improvements along the A944/Lang Stracht and Skene Road/Queens Road corridors which will bring benefits to all”.

“It’s unfortunate that no face to face exhibitions can be undertaken at this time, making it even more important that you make your views known by completing the online consultation exercise”.

Please take a few minutes to make your views known. The consultation document can be found here.

A further round of engagement, on the final outcomes and recommendations of the study, will take place at a future date.

Closure Of Kingswells To Cults Road

Off-site works recently recommenced on the new road which is to replace the existing C128C Kingswells to Cults road. The consortium behind the new Countesswells development have been in touch to confirm they are nearing the point where it will prove necessary to close the existing road.

There will be a signed diversion for the duration of the closure which will be advised by Aberdeen City Council Roads Department.

Once completed, the West Link Road, incorporating a cycle way and pavement from Kingswells through the development, will provide a much needed upgrade with improved safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. 

Local Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney said, “These works, which were delayed as a result of the pandemic, will inevitably cause significant inconvenience to anyone who uses the C128C to get to and from work. However, the end result will be a brand new much improved route which will benefit everyone”.

“The period of closure has been kept to a minimum as a result of some off site works having been progressed in advance of the closure. In addition, with the AWPR Kingswells South junction works now completed, we’re no longer facing the prospect of two major roads projects running concurrently as had originally been envisaged”.

The road closure will take place as at 21st September 2020 for a period of 13 weeks to 20 December 2020.

VSA Carers Magazine

Voluntary Service Aberdeen are celebrating their 150th anniversary in 2020.

One of the many services they offer is support for unpaid carers, often those who help look after family members with disabilities or medical conditions.

Although their activities have had to adapt as a result of not being able to visit people in their own homes or facilitate group meetings, they have, nonetheless, continued to support carers throughout the pandemic.

Their Autumn 2020 newsletter is now available online. A copy can be found here. It’s an interesting read which provides a useful resource for unpaid carers everywhere.

Please pass on this link to other carers in our area.

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Eday Road (from Rousay Drive to Eday Drive)

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Start Date and Time : 14 September 2020 07:30
End Date and Time : 25 September 2020 17:00

Location : Eday Road (from Rousay Drive to Eday Drive)

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 07:30 on 14 September, 2020, until 17:00 on 25 September, 2020, is to close Eday Road from Rousay Drive to Eday Drive, Aberdeen.

Access to homes and businesses will be maintained. There will also be a prohibition of waiting between 07:30 to 17:00 Monday to Friday, on either side of same stretch of carriageway.

The no-waiting restrictions will be demarcated by the use of no-waiting cones. Illegally parked vehicles will be removed at the owner’s expense.

The restrictions are in the interests of public safety during ACC resurfacing works.

Alternate Route : Stronsay Drive, Langstracht, Rousay Drive and vice versa.

Aberdeen Local Lockdown Latest Update 23 August 2020

Aberdeen’s local lockdown is being lifted over the next few days. This follows on from a row between Aberdeen City Council’s co-leaders and the Scottish Government on 20th August with the council co-leaders arguing against the decision not to lift restrictions at that time.

Liberal Democrats in Aberdeen have said there must be no place for politics in decisions about the city’s local lockdown. A lockdown is not a game of chess. It is only imposed when absolutely necessary in order to get Covid-19 back under control and to keep people safe. Decisions on how and when restrictions are lifted needs to be based on medical and scientific guidance.

Commenting on the lifting of the local lockdown Councillor Yuill said, “The decision by the Scottish Government to end Aberdeen’s local lockdown is welcome. Every day the lockdown continued – necessary though that was – damaged local businesses, jobs, and Aberdeen’s economy”.

“The commitment of people in Aberdeen to sticking to the local lockdown rules and the hard work of NHS staff has driven down the Coronavirus infection rate to a point where it is now possible to end the local lockdown”.

“Every single person and business in Aberdeen must continue to stick to all the rules and guidelines to minimise the risk of a further Coronavirus outbreak in Aberdeen. A further outbreak, with the attached risk of a further local lockdown, would be disastrous for our city and its economy.”

Changes announced on 23rd August were as follows:-

▶︎ Restrictions on visiting people indoors lifted from 24 August

▶︎ Limitations on care home and hospital visits lifted from 24 August

▶︎ Five mile limit on non-essential travel lifted from 24 August

▶︎ Organised outdoor contact sports, some outdoor live events, driving lessons, child contact centres, face-to-face advice services, bingo halls, amusement arcades and casinos, snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling and both static and travelling funfairs can re-open – subject to strict adherence to guidance and appropriate safety measures such as physical distancing with effect from 24 August.

However, this excludes any hospitality element within them (see next item)

▶︎ Restaurants, pubs, casinos and other hospitality businesses can open from 26 August subject to environmental health checks.

The Scottish Government has not ruled out extending restrictions if necessary to protect public health.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “The lifting of restrictions on meeting people indoors and on hospital and care home visits will mean so much to so many people who have once again been cut off from family and friends as a result of the reckless behaviour of others. Lets all work together to ensure this never happens again”.

“In our family we have adopted Preston’s “Don’t kill Granny” motto. When we visit elderly relatives we wear face coverings in communal areas and when entering their homes until we reach the living room and able to maintain a safe 2m distance. In the end it’s all about keeping those we love safe so that once this is all over, they are still around to enjoy a visit”.

“In my view it’s still too soon for pubs to be permitted to re-open, given recent experiences. Keeping our schools open and being able to visit elderly and disabled family members ranks so much higher on my list.”

“However, previous guidance, which was not always adhered to, is now being backed by enforcement powers and fines, so lets just hope that’s enough to reinforce the need for adherence to the remaining restrictions and avoid any further local lockdowns”.

Aberdeen’s Liberal Democrats Call For Face Coverings On Dedicated School Transport

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Scotland’s national Clinical Director Jason Leitch has been reinforcing the requirement for social distancing in school environments.

https://www.scotsman.com/health/professor-jason-leitch-tougher-measures-aberdeen-schools-if-officials-lose-control-cluster-2937497

To improve safety, Aberdeen City Council’s Liberal Democrat Group is calling for the wearing of face coverings to be made compulsory on dedicated school buses. Currently, face coverings are compulsory on public transport but not on Council managed school buses.

More information on the provision of school buses is at:

https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/education-and-childcare/school-life/school-transport

Liberal Democrat Education spokesman Councillor Martin Greig said:

“There have been cases of covid19 infection in schools so it is vital to take every possible opportunity to encourage and enforce physical distancing. There should be a consistent message to wear a face covering when travelling on the bus. Council operated school buses should not have a different policy. People can just get confused when the safety rules vary so much from one situation to the next. It is reasonable to expect that everyone travelling in close proximity should cover up”.

“If face coverings can’t be made enforceable on school transport, this should be a very strong recommendation from the Council. This is a clear commitment not just for the safety of the bus passenger but also for the wellbeing of every individual they later come into close contact with.”

Opposition Leaders’ Joint Call For Council Meeting To Take Place

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Aberdeen’s Liberal Democrat and SNP councillors have accused Aberdeen City Council’s ruling Conservative, Aberdeen Labour and Independent coalition of running scared of democratic accountability after they rejected an opposition call to hold a council meeting in August.

SNP Group Leader Alex Nicoll said, “In March, at a meeting of the Urgent Business Committee, we agreed a range of emergency measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic including reducing decision making to a core of five Councillors and delegating decision making to officers. Whilst that made sense at the time, it soon became clear that these special arrangements were not needed. Other councils across Scotland adapted to the changing situation by holding virtual committees and council meetings.”

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Ian Yuill commented, “In May, we urged that the council reinstate the meetings of its committees and the full council. Disgracefully, the Conservative, Aberdeen Labour and Independent coalition refused to even add that to the agenda of the council’s Urgent Business Committee meeting that month.”

Alex Nicoll added, “When the Conservative, Aberdeen Labour and Independent councillors finally agreed with us that council committee meetings should restart there was a sting in the tail – they cancelled the August meeting of the council!”

Earlier this week, Councillors Yuill & Nicoll wrote to the Co-leaders of Aberdeen City Council, Councillors Jenny Laing and Douglas Lumsden, and Independent Leader Councillor Marie Boulton, calling for the reinstatement of the August meeting of the council.

Councillors Laing, Lumsden and Boulton rejected the request to hold a council meeting.

Alex Nicoll said, “ Given the last meeting of Council was in March and there is no scheduled meeting until December, there will be some nine months before all councillors have the opportunity to meet together to take decisions that require to be taken by Aberdeen City Council.

“I am at a complete loss to understand why the ruling administration feel there is no business for the full council to discuss given the recent events in the city and the calls from businesses and ordinary folk to address the issues affecting us all during these most difficult times.”

Ian Yuill added, “This has nothing to do with party politics and everything to do with accountability. Aberdeen’s citizens expect all their councillors to be meeting to discuss the major issues affecting our city, not least the impact of the current local lockdown on individuals and businesses across Aberdeen. The ruling coalition‘s refusal to agree to hold a council meeting is an abandonment of their responsibility. They are clearly running scare of democratic accountability.”

Scottish Exam Results Chaos

I am very pleased for all the young people whose hard work and ability is now going to be properly recognised by the regrading of National 4 and 5, Higher and Advanced Higher results.

This whole disgraceful shambles was the fault of an arrogant Education Secretary and Scottish Government who refused to listen to repeated warnings that the scheme adopted to make the awards was grossly flawed. As a result they put tens of thousands of young people across Scotland through a hugely difficult week.

Like many other young people and parents, I will never forgive John Swinney and the Scottish Government for what they have put our young people through.

Have Your say On Draft Regional Transport Strategy

The North East transport partnership Nestrans is carrying out a consultation on a range of proposals for travel in Aberdeen City and Shire in the coming years.

The strategy is grouped into six themes:

  • Plans for travel in the city centre
  • Increasing walking and cycling
  • A focus on alternative energy
  • Enhancing connectivity through fit-for-purpose road links
  • Plans to address the challenges of rurality
  • Cross-Rail and InterCity Rail enhancements

Full information on the draft Regional Transport Strategy and how to take part in the consultation is available at Nestrans2040.org.uk

All comments on the draft Regional Transport Strategy must be submitted by Friday 16th October.

Large Vehicles, Vans & Trailers Can Now Use Recycling Centres But You Need To Book A Slot

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Household Waste & Recycling Centres (HWRCs) are now permitting entry to large vehicles, vans and vehicles with trailers but residents must book a time slot first.

Following the re-opening of HWRCs there have been long queues as residents get rid of the build up of materials for disposal which have accumulated over the lockdown. Queues are still lengthy but they are not nearly as bad as they were when these facilities first opened.

The lockdown was a great time to do a spring clean but not a good time to get rid of anything as HWRCs were closed for about three months. Similarly, garden waste collections are initially stopped, then resumed on a reduced frequency.

Not all materials which were previously accepted are currently being accepted as some reprocessing facilities are still no open. If you are intending visiting a HWRC please check online first as the list of items which can be accepted is increasing but not yet back to normal.

Cars typically spend about 5 minutes on site but larger vehicles can take around 20 minutes, so a booking system has been introduced to allow larger vehicles to use the facility on a controlled basis to try to ensure everyone can access the site.

Those in cars, 4×4 vehicles (SUVs), MPVs (up to 7 seats) and small vans (car-like vans) do not need to book and can continue to use the sites freely as they do now.

Larger vehicles that require an appointment include; 

  • Transit-type vans 
  • Cars with trailers   
  • People carriers above 7 seater capacity  
  • Pick up trucks 
  • Vans with a capacity above 4 cubic metres 

Same day bookings are not possible, and residents should book at least the day before their visit. Booking a slot does not give priority access and people with bookings will still require to queue at busy times.

Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney said, “I’m pleased to see these facilities opening up to larger vehicles. Residents have been struggling to store excess waste and recycling in recent months and will be delighted to hear of this change”.

“There was always a balance to be struck and allowing access to as many vehicles as possible in the course of a day was essential in the interests of fairness”.

Now that queues are becoming more manageable it’s only right that we open up capacity to larger vehicles but that capacity remains limited and will hopefully increase over time”.

The four HWRC sites are operating normal summer opening hours from 10am to 7.45pm from Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 7.45pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The Tullos site is closed on Wednesdays.

Upon arrival, you will need to show proof of address (i.e. council tax bill, utility bill, bank statement), your booking reference number and hire vehicle documentation if applicable.  

Latest updates on HWRCs can be found here.

Local Lockdown In Aberdeen

The Scottish Government imposed a local lockdown in Aberdeen which took effect on 5th August 2020. The decision was taken following a significant rise in covid-19 cases over the previous weekend. Infections have been traced to around 30 premises in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. The lockdown affects the entire area administered by Aberdeen City council.

Amongst the re-imposed restrictions we can no longer visit friends or family indoors. This is undoubtedly the hardest one to bear, especially where elderly relatives are infirm or housebound and therefore unable to go outdoors to socialise.

As a result of this local increase in covid cases the following measures are now in place. These will next be reviewed on 12th August then weekly thereafter.

  • Residents of the city should not travel more than five miles for leisure or recreational purposes.
  • If you live outwith Aberdeen you should only travel in to attend work or to attend an educational establishment.
  • Indoor and outdoor hospitality has been closed down. Take away facilities can remain open.
  • Hotel restaurants can remain open – but to provide food for residents only
  • Residents of the city should not go into other peoples’ homes unless they are part of their extended household.

Further guidance on the local Aberdeen restrictions are available at Coronavirus restrictions in Aberdeen.

Covid-19 Spike In Aberdeen

Many residents have expressed their anger at scenes such as those seen outside Soul (above). Queueing with no social distancing outside a number of other city centre licensed premises was also observed.

Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill councillor Steve Delaney said, “We have all sacrificed so much during the lockdown in order to take us to a position where it has become possible for shops and other businesses to re-open safely and, more importantly, for us to be able to visit family and friends once more”.

“Covid-19 has not gone away, it is not yet beaten, it remains an invisible killer and I can’t emphasise that strongly enough. Anyone who is experiencing covid-like symptoms needs to self isolate and contact NHS 111 to be tested. Ignoring the symptoms and going out and about is totally irresponsible and puts other people’s lives at risk”.

“I look forward to the day when we can all enjoy getting out and about and socialising with friends and family without the current restrictions. Sadly, last weekend’s disregard for social distancing may well have pushed that goal further away”.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Ian Yuill said

What happened outside Soul – and I am told some other venues – over the weekend must not be allowed to happen ever again. Crowds like this put everyone single one of us at risk”.

“Venues need to manage their premises, marquees and queues responsibly. Individuals visiting pubs and bars must also take responsibility for their actions and stick to the rules, observe social distancing and help keep themselves and others safe.

The current spike in Coronavirus cases in Aberdeen shows just how infectious and dangerous this virus is. It also makes very clear just how vital it is that every single one of us and every single business sticks to the lockdown rules. We cannot afford to let our guard down. The last thing anybody wants is for more people to become infected, the infection spike to get worse and for even more people to lose their lives to Coronavirus.

Steve concluded, “We have managed to keep the spread of covid-19 at a low level in Aberdeen during the lockdown but I fear we may risk everything unless we learn lessons from this outbreak and act upon those lessons”.

Many people will understandably concerned if they have been visiting pubs, cafes, restaurants and other food and drink establishments last weekend. More information on what to do if you are experiencing symptoms can be found here.

Venues Affected By the Covid-19 Outbreak And What To Do If You Are Concerned

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If you visited any of the named venues last weekend you may be understandably concerned. If you are exhibiting covid-like symptoms you are required to self isolate and call NHS on 111 for further advice. You can self refer yourself to be tested but only if you presently have symptoms.

Otherwise if it is considered likely you may have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for covid-19 after having visiting one of the listed venues, you will be contacted directly by NHS Test & Protect who will issue appropriate instructions. However, it may take a few days for everyone to be contacted.

The list of venues which has been published by NHS Grampian as having been affected by the covid-19 outbreak are as follows:

1. Bieldside Inn

2. Bobbin

3. Brewdog

4. Buckie Farm Carvery

5. Café Andaluz

6. Café Dag

7. Café Drummond

8. Cock & Bull (The) (Balmedie)

9. College Bar

10. Dutch Mill (The)

11. Dyce Carvery

12. East End Social Club

13. Ferryhill House Hotel

14. Hawthorn/Adam Lounge

15. Howff (The)

16. Justice Mill (The)

17. Marine Hotel (The)

18. McGintys’s

19. McNastys

20. Malmaison

21. Moonfish Café

22. No.10 Bar

23. O’Donoghues

24. Old Bank Bar

25. Prohibition

26. Soul

27. Spiders Web

28. The Draft Project

There were also four leisure settings named – Aboyne Golf Club; Deeside Golf Club; Hazelhead Golf Club; Banks O’Dee Football Club.

Scottish Government Definition Of Extended Household

A number of people have asked what an extended household is and just as many others have completely misunderstood what does and does not constitute an extended household.

The following is the exact wording from the Scottish Government’s definition reprinted here so you don’t have to try to find it within a long document which also covers other issues.

Forming an extended household

The regulations have been changed to allow 2 households to be able to form an extended household group.

In Phase 3, our advice is that extended household groups may be appropriate for people who live alone and/or people who are in a relationship, but don’t live with their partner.  

People who live alone

If you are an adult and you live alone, or if all the others in your household are under 18, you, any children who live with you, and the members of one other household (of any size) can agree to form an ‘extended household’.  

Everyone in the extended household will be able to act, and will be treated, as if they live in one household – meaning they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and not need to stay at least 2 metres apart. 

This will allow people who live alone (or those living only with children under the age of 18) to be considered part of another household in order to reduce loneliness, isolation and to provide mutual social support. 

However, we know that if one member of a household gets coronavirus, there is a strong likelihood that other members of that household will also catch it. For this reason, there are some important rules which extended households should follow to remain as safe as possible:

  • one of the households must be a person who lives alone (or who lives only with children under 18 years old) 
  • a household should not form an extended household with more than one other household 
  • households can end the arrangement at any time, but should not then form an extended household with a new household
  • this means that all the adults living in both households should agree to form the extended household. We would also encourage parents or guardians to discuss this with any children in their household. This is an important decision that should be properly discussed and agreed beforehand

If someone in the extended household develops COVID-19 symptoms, all members of the extended household must isolate immediately if they met the symptomatic person 2 days before and up to 10 days after their symptoms started.

If the symptomatic person tests positive, all members of their direct household must isolate for 14 days from the start of symptoms. And other members of the extended household must isolate for 14 days from when the most recent contact took place. Isolate means staying in your own home for the full 14 days.

Those who have been advised to shield and those at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (including people over 70, people who are pregnant and people with an underlying medical condition) may  take part in an extended household arrangement, but should strictly follow the handwashing, surface cleaning and respiratory hygiene guidance on the NHS Inform website.

Once two households have agreed to form an extended household they may meet outdoors or indoors, visit and stay at each others’ homes, and do everything that people in other households can do, such as watch TV, share a meal and look after each other’s children.

Physical distancing between members of an extended household is not required, but you should continue to follow advice on the NHS Inform website about handwashing, surface cleaning and respiratory hygiene. For example you should wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. 

Members of an extended household are considered to be one household for the  legal requirements on meeting other households and going outside, and for the guidance in this document about seeing friends and family and about exercise and leisure activity. 

Couples who do not live together

If two adults are in a relationship and they do not live together they, and any children they each live with, can agree to form an ‘extended household group’.  

Everyone in the extended household will be able to act, and will be treated, as if they live in one household – meaning they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and not need to stay at least 2 metres apart. 

However, we know that if one member of a household gets coronavirus, there is a strong likelihood that other members of that household will also catch it. For this reason, there are some important rules that extended households should follow to remain as safe as possible:

  • a household should not form an extended household with more than one other household 
  • households can end the arrangement at any time, but should not then form an extended household with a new household

We would also encourage parents or guardians to discuss extended household arrangements with any children in their household. This is an important decision that should be properly discussed and agreed beforehand

If someone in the extended household develops COVID-19 symptoms, all members of the extended household must isolate immediately if they met the symptomatic person 2 days before and up to 10 days after their symptoms started.

If the symptomatic person tests positive, all members of their direct household must isolate for 14 days from the start of symptoms. And other members of the extended household must isolate for 14 days from when the most recent contact took place. Isolate means staying in your own home for the full 14 days.

Members of an extended household are considered to be one household for the  legal requirements on meeting other households and going outside, and for the guidance in this document about seeing friends and family and about exercise and leisure activity.

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Sheddocksley Drive, Derbeth Crescent.

Start Date and Time : 07 September 2020 08:00

End Date and Time : 11 September 2020 22:00

Location : Sheddocksley Drive, Derbeth Crescent.

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 08:00 on Monday, 7 September 2020, until 22:00 on Friday, 11 September 2020, is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on Sheddocksley Drive, Aberdeen, from the footpath leading to numbers 19 to 27 Sheddocksley Drive, to the boundary between numbers 37 and 39 Sheddocksley Drive.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting on the same stretch of road. Illegally parked vehicles will be removed at the owner’s expense.

Access to properties will be maintained, but no through traffic will be possible. Alternative routes are available via Windford Road and there will also be a prohibition of waiting on either side of Derbeth Crescent, Aberdeen, from its junction with Sheddocksley Drive, to the electricity sub-station access.

The measure is necessary to protect public safety during works by BT Openreach.

Alternate Route : Sheddocksley Road, and via Derbeth Crescent and Dinbaith Place.

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Willowpark Crescent

Start Date and Time : 07 September 2020 09:30 

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End Date and Time : 18 September 2020 15:30

Location : Willowpark Crescent

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 09:30 on 7 September 2020, until 15:30 on 18 September 2020, is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on Willowpark Crescent, Aberdeen, from the western boundary of number 14 Willowpark Crescent to the eastern boundary of number 13 Willowpark Crescent.

Access to properties will be maintained, but no through traffic will be possible. There will also be a one-way restriction on Willowpark Crescent, Aberdeen, from the western boundary of number 14 Willowpark Crescent to its junction with Mastrick Drive.

The permitted direction of travel will be westbound only. Also, there Prohibition of waiting on either side of Willowpark Crescent, Aberdeen, from the western boundary of number 7 Willowpark Crescent to the eastern boundary of number 15 Willowpark Crescent.

Illegally parked vehicles will be removed at the owner’s expense. The measure is necessary to protect public safety during sewer repair works by Scottish Water.

Alternate Route : An alternative route is available via Mastrick Drive, Muirfield Road, Willowpark Place, and Muirfield Place. 

Treatment Of Weeds On Footways

Photo of weeds in pavement and gutter

A number of residents have raised concerns about the weeds growing on pavements and in gutters in our area.

Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney said, “Like grass cutting, the spraying of weeds was not an activity permitted during the initial lockdown so weeds have grown to an unusually high level and have spread like wildfire”.

“The council employs a contractor to carry out this task and they commenced work a few weeks ago. Weather permitting, all weeds should hopefully have been treated by 7th August”.

Please do not hesitate to contact me about any areas of weeds that appear to have been missed by the contractors.

End of Temporary Traffic Order – A90, A944 Westhill Road

Start Date and Time : 31 July 2020 22:00 

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End Date and Time : 05 August 2020 06:00

Location : A90, A944 Westhill Road

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 22:00 in the evening until 06:00 the following morning, beginning 31 July, 2020 until 5 August, 2020 is to close the northbound slip road on A90, Aberdeen at the Kingswells south junction.

Schools Return Between 12th – 15th August

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

All parents will receive communications from both Aberdeen City Council and their child’s school in the next few days reminding them of the date/time of the planned induction session for their child along with any additional information they may require.

Induction sessions will take place at some point between 12th and 15th August with all children expected to return to school full time from 17th August.

These induction sessions are needed to introduce new children to P1 and S1 and also to familiarise all children and young people with the additional measures which have been introduced in order to reduce the likelihood of Covid-19 being spread within schools.

Some changes such as the use of hand sanitiser when entering different classrooms, management of breaks (including lunch breaks) and movement within school buildings will be common to all schools, whereas certain schools may require children and young people to become familiar with additional requirements.

The age and layout of the school, whether it’s a primary or secondary and a number of other distinct factors will dictate which measures are required at individual schools.

Aberdeen City Council has updated their information to parents and carers on the re-opening of schools and this can be found here.

New Bus Timetables

Video from FirstGroup explaining how their buses are currently operating

First Aberdeen has announced new timetables commencing on 3rd August. This represents to gearing up of public transport operators to accommodate the forthcoming re-opening of our schools and the expected increase in passenger numbers as more people come off furlough, returning to work in the coming weeks.

All buses will continue to operate at reduced capacities to allow for social distancing, so passengers are still being asked to sit in window seats and keep a row of seats between themselves and other passengers. Where double deckers are in use, more able bodied passengers are asked to sit upstairs to leave downstairs seats free for those who may not manage the stairs.

As capacity is currently reduced on buses, passengers with smart phones are asked to download the First Bus or Stagecoach APP as this gives live departure times and displays the number of seats expected to be free when the bus reaches your stop. Passengers are also asked to allow extra time for their journey as they may not be able to board their intended bus and will have to wait for the next one, or even the one after that.

Passengers are reminded that face coverings are required and anyone not wearing one, who is not exempt from doing so, is liable to face a £100 fine. Although face coverings are not mandatory at bus stops, it is recommended that you wear one in enclosed spaces such as bus shelters and other places where it may not be possible to socially distance.

Please note that, although Stagecoach also has new timetables from 3rd August on some of its routes, no changes have been made to the Kingswells services.

New timetables from First Aberdeen can be found here.

“Spaces For People” Marquees Causing Concerns

Several residents and business people have raised concerned about the size of marquees erected outside businesses on Union Street and Belmont Street.

The reason for temporarily closing roads and widening pavements is to create additional space for pedestrians during the pandemic. 

People have said they are very unhappy that some very large marquees have been put up on Union Street and Belmont Street which reduce the space available for pedestrians.

The marquee outside “The Grill” on Union Street not only fills the bus lane, it also blocks some of the pavement with the result there is less space available for pedestrians than normal.

People have also complained that the marquee outside “Books and Beans” on Belmont Street is far too big and means people walking past it are finding it difficult to stay two metres apart.

Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Delaney said, “Creating additional space to allow for customers to social distance is absolutely fine, just as long as these additional spaces do not impact on the ability of pedestrians to social distance safely”.

“There’s no point in bringing in measures to restrict traffic and create safe spaces for pedestrians only for businesses to occupy those spaces to the exclusion of the general public”.

Changes in Temporary Traffic Order – A944 at Borrowstone Road junction

Start Date and Time : 13 July 2020 07:30 
End Date and Time : 07 August 2020 17:00

Location : A944 at Borrowstone Road junction

Description : The were be a lane two closure on A944 at the AWPR South Kingswells junction. The lane closure will also extend to a lane two closure on both the north and south slip roads from the AWPR. This lane closure is necessary to protect the public during traffic light installation. 

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – A90, A944 Westhill Road

Start Date and Time : 31 July 2020 22:00 
End Date and Time : 05 August 2020 06:00

Location : A90, A944 Westhill Road

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 22:00 in the evening until 06:00 the following morning, on evenings beginning 31 July, 2020 and 5 August, 2020 is to close the northbound slip road on A90, Aberdeen at the Kingswells south junction.

The restrictions are in the interests of public safety during Road repairs works by Bear Scotland.

Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to Balfour Beatty on 01224 838282, or roadworkscoordination@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Alternate Route : An alternative route is available Via A90, Northbound, Northbound slip at the Craibstone junction, A96 Eastbound under A90, southbound slip road access to A90 and A90 southbound 

Update on Weekend Bus Service To Kingswells

A number of residents have raised concerns over the withdrawal of the No 14 bus service to Kingswells at the weekends. There is also been some confusion over previously announced changes to the X17 service which have not been progressed.

Local Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Delaney said, “The No 14 service is funded by Aberdeen City Council and the ruling Tory, Labour and Independent coalition took the decision to axe these and other weekend services as part of their budget cuts on 3rd March. This was publicised at the time both online and in Focus but, with the passage of time and the fact most people were at home during the lockdown, many people had forgotten about it”.

“Although my Lib Dem colleagues and I opposed these changes at the time, the majority view won the day. Aberdeen City Council is the provider of last resort and they have taken a decision not to provide weekend bus services. I believe it is morally wrong to leave a whole community effectively cut off from the rest of the city at the weekends but I regret there is no possibility of reversing their decision at this point in time”.

“I have raised the community’s concerns with the council’s Public Transport Unit and they have responded as follows”.

Financial support for weekend services on the number 14 was withdrawn at the end of March 2020 following the budget decision to withdraw all weekend supported bus services.  During the period when Stagecoach were operating emergency timetables due to the COVID19 lockdown, they did maintain weekend services on the 14 but these have now been withdrawn. 

Funding has been put in place between Transport Scotland and bus operators to allow an increase in bus service provision across the Country.  The funding is intended to cover the anticipated loss of fare-paying passenger revenue that operators will experience due to physical distancing and reduced carrying capacity, while at the same time increasing service provision, to almost 80% immediately and then up to almost 100% by 3rd August. From the 29th June 2020 Stagecoach Bluebird are now operating around 80% of bus services that they would have been operating were it not for the coronavirus pandemic.  As such the service 14 timetable has had to be brought in line with what would be operating normally at this time which does not include weekend services.

The changes to the Westhill service with the X17 replaced by the 4, 5 and 6 were due to take place on 6th April but this was prevented by the lockdown situation and the emergency timetables that Stagecoach were required to introduce.   Stagecoach will continue to operate the X17 at the present time and any proposed timetable/service changes will be considered at a later point in time.

Following the Council’s decision to withdraw financial support for the weekend service, Officers did explore options with Stagecoach Bluebird to retain some level of service, but no viable solution could be found. This matter will of course always be reviewed as changes to the public transport network take place, but due to the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 on public transport an immediate solution is unlikely.

Changes in Temporary Traffic Order – A944 at Borrowstone Road junction

Start Date and Time : 13 July 2020 07:30
End Date and Time : 07 August 2020 17:00

Location : A944 at Borrowstone Road junction

Description : The were be a lane one closure on A944 at the AWPR South Kingswells junction.

The lane closure will also extend to a lane one closure on both the north and south slip roads from the AWPR.

This lane closure is necessary to protect the public during traffic light installation.

Fortnightly Recycling Collections Are Back

Fortnightly Collections Are Back!

Aberdeen City Council is to reintroduce fortnightly kerbside collections for garden waste/food waste and for dry mixed recycling with effect from week commencing 3rd August 2020.

These services have been operating on a four weekly cycle since April as a result of the covid-19 restrictions in order to protect staff and ensure continuity of service. Now we are beginning to move out of lockdown as a result of the infection rate being much reduced, it will soon be possible to resume fortnightly collections. New calendars which set out the schedule for pick ups in your area can be downloaded from 20th July onwards using this link.

Liberal Democrat Operations Spokesman Steve Delaney said, “Residents have been so keen to embrace recycling in recent years, that it has been a real challenge for everyone managing to get by with less frequent collections, especially elderly and disabled residents who do not have their own transport. For most households the fortnightly mixed recycling bin was always the fullest”.

“Residents have been very patient and understanding of the situation which arose as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, but there has been a great deal of frustration at the length of time it has taken to return to fortnightly collections due to the challenges it presented them with”.

“The Conservative, Labour, Independent  run council’s decision to offer no refunds and not to extend the expiry date of current permits has resulted in quite a number of angry comments from residents and understandably so. The reduced reduced frequency is easily understood and accepted but the failure to recognise this in respect of a chargeable service has not gone down well”.

“I know council staff have done their level best to provide a service, albeit on reduced frequency, during very challenging times and I’d like to thank them for all they have done over the past few months. Keeping staff safe and ensuring the service kept running were always the primary concerns and it’s really good to see this service returning to normal”.

Update On Household Waste & Recycling Centres

Household Waste & Recycling Centres re-opened in Aberdeen on 1st June but were initially only able to accept a limited range of items for recycling. In addition, residents have to show proof they are resident in Aberdeen, only one person is permitted to leave the car and staff are currently unable to assist members of the public.

Over the past few weeks the range of items and materials which can be accepted has gradually increased as more reprocessing outlets across the country have started to open up again. The current list of what can be recycled can be found here.

As a result of recycling centres having been closed for so long and residents having built up a backlog of items for recycling, it was decided that entry would be restricted to cars only, with a temporary ban on vans and trailers. This was done to allow for a faster turnaround at the centres so more individuals can make use of the facilities.

Work is ongoing to determine how, what and when further changes can be made, for example, extending the range of materials accepted and/or allowing access to vans or trailers. Consideration will be given to changing government guidelines, available supply chains (i.e. whether reuse/recycle suppliers are operating fully) and any controls necessary for the continued safety of staff and public.

Liberal Democrat Operations Spokesman Steve Delaney said, “I fully appreciate how difficult it has been for residents waiting in long queues, still not being able to recycle certain items and being restricted in the amount they can recycle on a single visit due to the van and trailer ban”.

“I would like to thank residents for their patience and understanding as we move towards providing a fuller and less restricted service. The safety of visitors and staff will of course dictate the timescale for any changes, as will Government guidance”.

“I have been pleased to see the range of items which can be accepted, increasing every few weeks and would like to extend my thanks to staff for their hard work during these challenging times. Hopefully it will not be too long before something close to a full service can return”.

Major Road Works Set To Recommence

The long awaited works to improve safety at the Kingswells South junction of the AWPR are set to commence on or around 13th July with an estimated completion date of 10th August.

Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Delaney has been campaigning for intervention at this junction for the last year, following a number of accidents, occurring on an almost daily basis.

He said, “The solution put forward by Transport Scotland is for the junction to be fully signalised with traffic signals on the roundabout itself and the two slip roads”.

“Thankfully these will not operate on a fixed timed basis like the Kingswells roundabout but will instead be triggered by traffic volumes. They will be linked into the council’s intelligent traffic management system which monitors all other movements on surrounding routes with the aim of optimising the number of vehicles getting through the junction whilst ensuring public safety”.

The works were originally planned to start in April and last for up to six weeks. Unfortunately the covid-19 lockdown regulations did not permit such activities to be undertaken. However, the council has continued to work with the contractors on preparatory works off site to ensure they could start on site as quickly as possible and minimise the time required for the on-site works.

Steve continued, “I’m pleased to see these works being carried out during the school holiday period when our roads are a bit quieter. Better still if it could have been done during the lockdown but that was outwith everyone’s control”.

“There are bound to be some delays delays during these works but the aim is to keep these to the minimum. Given the high number of accidents over the past year or so, it’s vital the works are carried out as soon as possible”.

Check The Security Of Your Shed

Following a number of break-ins to sheds in the area, police are reminding residents to take some simple precautions to protect their property.

Make sure it is not easy for people to get into your rear garden. A hedge or fence two metres high is a good barrier. Fit a strong, lockable, high rear gate to stop a thief getting to the back of your home. Thieves don’t like gravel, it’s noisy to walk on. Don’t make it easy for a thief by allowing them to walk into your garden unchallenged.

Place your shed in your garden so you can clearly see the door and window of your shed from inside your home.

Like your home, it is important to keep your shed secure. Invest in a good lock or padlock and consider fitting reinforced hinges. Keep valuable garden equipment locked away and ensure it is marked with your postcode. It is worth considering fitting a battery-powered shed alarm,

Make sure the doors and panels of the shed are strong enough not to be kicked in or forced by bodily pressure. Fitting steel backing plates makes it more difficult to kick in or force doors and panels.

Deter “window shopping” by placing a screen, net curtain or even a bin bag over the inside of your shed’s windows. Fitting Perspex or laminated glass will offer good protection.

Make sure you lock ladders inside your shed or garage to stop a thief using them to reach an upstairs window.

Use a ground or wall anchor to secure your bike or other valuables in the shed. Lock valuables together to prevent them being easily removed.  Visibly and permanently marking your property helps identify it as yours and makes it less desirable for a thief.

Lockdown Easing – Phase 3

As of today, we enter Phase 3 of the Covid-19 lockdown easing. A number of changes are coming into play, several of which will be phased in over the next few weeks.

The most notable changes are as follows:-

Face coverings must be now worn in all shops in order to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. This follows on from the mandatory wearing of face coverings on all public transport. Fines of £60 can be imposed for failure to comply with this requirement.

Visting people indoors is now permitted but social distancing still needs to be maintained.

Most “non-essential” shops will be able to open up from next week, including those inside enclosed shopping centres.

Dentists, opticians, hairdressers and childcare are all set to start opening up within the next week or so.

Other “non-essential” businesses will be permitted to open in the coming weeks but different sectors will re-open on different dates and appropriate measures will need to be put in place to protect customers and staff in advance of opening.

Council services will start to re-open in the next few weeks, though some will resume before others. Firm dates are not yet available but information will be posted here as soon as this is known.

Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney said, “It’s great to see society starting to return to normal, accepting of course that the new normal is not what it used to be. This process will take time but we’re now starting to move in the right direction and I’m sure everyone will welcome this”.

“All of this has been made possible as a result of the vast majority of people abiding by the restrictions in order to help bring the infection rate down. These changes come with significant risks unless we continue to abide by the current revised regulations”.

“There has been some confusion regarding people who are shielding as the initial guidance suggested a period of 12 weeks. People who are shielding should continue to do so until 31 July unless Government advice changes as they remain at significantly higher risk than most of us. Guidelines relating to this can be found here“.

“My view remains that we should enjoy once again being able partake in whatever activities we are comfortable with. Each individual needs to make their own personal judgement on what is safe for them, taking into account their own health and personal circumstances.”

“There are many things I will do now that the restrictions have been lifted but there are others which I will not. Everyone will be different and that’s how it should be”.

Fuller information on the stage 3 easing of lockdown can be found here.

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Fairley Road

Start Date and Time : 20 July 2020 07:30
End Date and Time : 31 July 2020 17:00

Location : Fairley Road

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 07:30 on 20th July 2020 to 17;00 on 31st July 2020, is to impose a prohibition of driving on Fairley Road, Aberdeen from the link road to C89C – Old Skene Road.

There is also a prohibition of waiting between 07:30 and 17:00 Monday to Friday. The restrictions are necessary to protect public safety during ACC resurfacing works.

Alternate Route : Chapel of Stoneywood-Fairley Road, Kingswood Drive, Fairley Road

Covid-19 – Beware Of Scam Calls

Some unscrupulous people are trying to con people out of money during the Coronavirus pandemic.

NHS Grampian Test and Protect contact team will never ask for details of card or bank account numbers, ask you to provide or fill in social media login details, ask you to set up a PIN, or ask you to download anything. 

If someone contacts you claiming to be an NHS Grampian contact tracer and asks you to do any of the above please hang up. 

If you then phone 01224 558795 this will put you through to the contact tracing team who can confirm if the call was genuine. 

If you have lost money as a result of a scam call then you should report the crime to Police Scotland by calling 101 immediately.

Next Council Meeting Delayed Until December!

As the result of a decision by just three Conservative, “Aberdeen Labour” and Independent councillors, the next meeting of the city council will not be held until 14th December.

As the last meeting of the council was on 3rd March, that means there will be a gap of more than nine months between council meetings!

Full council meetings are where many of the major decisions of the council are taken. Aberdeen’s Liberal Democrat councillors believe a council meeting planned for 24th August should have gone ahead with councillors taking part online. Aberdeenshire Council has met throughout the lockdown using Skype and there is absolutely no reason why the city council could not meet using a similar system.

People expect their local councillors to be able to hold those in control of the council to account and to be involved in making the key decisions about the council and council services. The action by the Conservative, “Aberdeen Labour” and Independent councillors in cancelling the August council meeting makes this much more difficult.

Lib Dems Condemn Cuts To Council Budget Agreed By Just Three Councillors

Photo of Town House, Aberdeen

The Liberal Democrats have condemned a decision by just three councillors to make millions of pounds worth of cuts to council services in Aberdeen.

The decision to make these cuts was made by the Conservative, “Aberdeen Labour” and Independent Alliance Group Leaders at the 30th June meeting of Aberdeen City Council’s Urgent Business Committee.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Ian Yuill said: “The council’s finances have been hard hit by the pandemic. It is between a rock and a hard place. No one would argue that substantial changes need to be made to the council budget.”

Councillor Yuill continued: “The Liberal Democrats believe though, that in the interest of openness and democracy, changes to the council budget should have been made by all 44 councillors. Sadly the Conservative, ‘Aberdeen Labour’ and Independent Alliance Group Leaders were happy for this decision to be made in a meeting of just five councillors. Such an important decision being made by a small group of councillors is not in the best interests of democracy, openness or the people of Aberdeen.”

Help Social Distancing – Prune Hedges And Shrubs

The need for social distancing makes it important that pavements are kept clear of obstructions. If you have a hedge or shrub that overhangs the pavement, it would be a great help if you could prune these back. 

If you know of any hedges or plants on council-owned land which are overhanging the pavement, please let me have the details and I will ask for these to be pruned.

Bus Operators Increase Frequency Of Services From 29 June

Video from FirstGroup explaining how their buses will operate from 29 June

First Aberdeen and Stagecoach have both announced changes to the frequency of their services with effect from 29 June. This is being done to help accommodate the expected increase in passenger numbers due to the re-opening of some shops and other businesses from that date.

However, although the frequency of buses on each route will be increasing, passengers need to be aware that social distancing applies to bus travel so many of the seats will be cordoned off and the driver will not be permitted to allow you to board if the number of passengers has already reached its maximum capacity.

This means that passengers must allow extra time just in case they cannot get on the bus as a result of capacity issues and need to wait for the next bus. Passengers using the updated First Bus APP or Stagecoach APP will be able to see whether or not there is still capacity on the bus prior to it reaching your stop.

It should be noted that passengers are required to use face coverings when using public transport unless they are under 5 years of age or have a medical exemption. Passengers not wearing face coverings will not be permitted to board the bus.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “It’s good to see improved frequency of bus services but disappointing that restrictions which are necessary to minimise risk to the public will result in reduced capacity, especially at peak times. If your job can be done from home, current advice remains that this should continue at present”.

“Government guidelines still recommend you should avoid using public transport unless absolutely necessary. I would therefore suggest that people who are over 70 or have underlying health problems which put them at higher risk of complications if they catch covid-19, should use carefully weigh up the risks before deciding to travel by bus at this point in time”.

“Please note that though services have more or less returned to pre-lockdown frequencies, there may slight changes to actual timings, so please check out the latest timetables before travelling”.

Stagecoach timetables for Kingswells services can be found here.

First Aberdeen timetables are available for the 3, 13 & 23.

My Concerns About Schooling

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

by Steve Delaney – 27 June 2020

I’m sure most parents will agree that teaching staff across the city have done an excellent job putting together online learning resources for our children at short notice and keeping that going over the past 3 months.

However, there are significant challenges ahead as we adapt to new ways of getting back to something resembling normality whilst still have a requirement to take appropriate precautions to keep ourselves and others safe.

The Scottish Government’s initial plan was for all children in Scotland to return to school on 11 August 2020 on a part time basis using a “blended” teaching model which was to include some face to face classroom work along with some online learning. Plans were already well advanced for this as we head towards the final week of the virtual school term.

These plans would have involved smaller numbers of children in each classroom with a number of measures put in place to support social distancing and limit any possible spread of Covid-19 within a school environment. Councillors were recently briefed on these plans and I was most impressed by the amount of work which had gone in to ensure that both our teachers and pupils can stay safe.

There was of course one major challenge for all and that related to childcare. It is expected that many more people are likely to be back to work by the time the new school term starts. If in-class attendance is not following the usual timetable from Monday to Friday each week, who is going to look after the children the rest of the time? Parents will be at work and it may be unwise to ask elderly grandparents to help out in the current situation. Additional childcare comes at a cost but there’s never enough places to meet normal demand, never mind this increased demand. This was a real concern for parents and one for which the Scottish Government had been unable to offer answers.

A few days ago the Scottish Government had a re-think and decided to open all schools to all children full time from 11 August . My concern is that, like the previous “blended” model, this latest approach may also be undeliverable as it currently stands, but for different reasons.

It will not be possible to put in place social distancing if all children return full time as there’s not the space to do this. Therefore, unless social distancing rules change, it appears that teachers and pupils will be afforded less safety measures than the rest of the population.

The decision on whether to re-open schools on 11 August on a full time basis will be taken towards the end of July and nobody can second guess where we are going to be in respect of the Covid-19 recovery at that point in time. I would hope the virus has by then become a reducing and hopefully negligible threat but this remains unknown at present.

I’m sure we can all agree that the longer children are away from full time schooling the more risk there is of them falling behind. We would all like to see education get back to normal as soon as possible, but this must not be done at the cost of increased risk to Covid-19 for our children and their teachers.

Although no public authority (UK Government, Scottish Government or local council) has got everything right, most decisions to date have been taken in good faith based upon the science. My greatest fear is that we may now start to see decisions being taken for political expediency without due regard to the risks posed from both a practical and a safety point of view.

The Scottish Government needs to gain the trust of parents and teachers by publishing the scientific evidence upon which they have based their current plans. They also need listen to parents, listen to teachers and most of all adhere to the medical and scientific advice. Only by doing this will they be able to come up with a solution which is deliverable, safe and workable for everyone.

What Does Phase 2 Of Easing The Lockdown Really Mean?

Image by Graham Hobster from Pixabay 

As we move into phase 2 of the lockdown easing there are a number of changes to the list of activities which are now considered to be safe as long as appropriate social distancing is observed.

With regard to the services provided by Aberdeen City Council and other local service providers which had been either suspended or reduced, some of these are already starting to return to normal but others may take much longer.

Here’s a brief summary of what you need to know with regard to the main changes as they affect us in an everyday context.

Frequency of recycling collections

No change at present and no timeframe has yet been given for the return to normal service in Aberdeen. Due to the social distancing requirements, it is likely the reduced collections will continue for some time

Grass Cutting

This has resumed but it will take time to get round the whole city. More information can be found here.

Roads & Construction Sites

Non-emergency repairs resumed a couple of weeks ago. Road and footway resurfacing and construction sites are putting in place preparations to re-start and we will see a phased return starting from 22 June onwards.

Public Transport

Buses remain on a much reduced timetable and people are advised not to use public transport unless absolutely necessary. More frequent services are likely to resume in coming weeks but buses will have restrictions on the number of passengers they can take due to social distancing requirements. From 22 June it becomes an offence for passengers in buses, taxis, private hire cars and other modes of public transport not to wear face coverings.

Sport & Leisure

Non-contact sport such as golf and tennis are now permitted but gyms remain closed in the meantime. Numbers participating will be limited. Contact Sports will not be possible until the later stages of the lockdown easing. More information can be found at Sport Aberdeen.

Childrens play area will re-open on 29 June. Parks are already open. However, public toilets remain closed and no decision has yet been taken on their re-opening.

Housing

The restrictions on moving house will be relaxed from 29 June so it will now be possible for buyers and sellers to move from that date. Council and Housing Association allocations, other than just homeless applications, will also be able to resume.

What’s Opening Up & What’s Not?

All types of retail units will be permitted to re-open from 29 June but only if they have put in place social distancing measures within the premises and outwith, in order to accommodate safe queueing.

Some opticians are to re-open from 29 June primarily for urgent appointment with the fuller range of services being phased in over the coming weeks. Dental surgeries can treat urgent cases from 22 June.

The registry office will reopen from 29 June, initially for essential services only but resuming full services at a later date.

Hairdressers will remain closed until at least 9th July, possibly later. There will be an announcement regarding pubs and restaurants on 2 July.

Council buildings currently remain closed but a review is currently underway to determine how best to open these in a manner which is safe for both customers and staff.

Fuller information relating to phase two of relaxing the lockdown can be found here.

Local Development Plan – Have Your Say

Aberdeen City Council is seeking people’s views on the Aberdeen Local Development Plan: Proposed Plan 2020. Amongst other things, this sets out locations for new homes, businesses and facilities and identifies areas for protection. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there will be no public meetings or drop-in sessions about the Proposed Plan 2020.

Comments on and objections to the Proposed Plan 2020 and the associated Delivery Programme and Environmental Report can be made online. These documents can be viewed on the council website.

You can complete the council’s online consultation here. The consultation closes on 31st August 2020.

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Sheddocksley Road

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png

Start Date and Time : 29 June 2020 08:00 
End Date and Time : 31 December 2020 22:00 

Location : Sheddocksley Road 

Description : Aberdeen City Council has made the above-named order in terms of its powers under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

The effect of the order, which will operate from 08:00 on 29 June 2020, until 22:00 on 31 December 2020, is to impose a temporary prohibition of waiting on either side of Sheddocksley Road, Aberdeen, from the boundary between numbers 29 and 31 Sheddocksley Road to a point 32m in a north-westerly direction.

Illegally parked vehicles will be removed at the owner’s expense.

The measure is necessary to protect public safety during the movement of construction vehicles.

Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to Robertson Construction Eastern on 01224 788300 or at j.mchardy@robertson.co.uk 

Update On Grass Cutting

Grass cutting re-commenced in council maintained areas two weeks ago but quite a few people have been in touch, quite understandably, asking when the grass beside where they live is going to get cut. In addition, there’s been concerns about the volume of cut grass which will be left behind and the mess this is going to make as it spills on to footways.

As everyone will be aware, only services deemed critical to the Covid-19 response were permitted from 26th March until 31st May. This was set out in the Covid-19 regulations and the situation in regard to grass cutting is a pretty much mirrored throughout the UK.

Work has indeed started in all areas but the progress is understandably slower than normal due to the length of the grass. The intention is to do as good a job as possible but it might take two or three cuts to achieve this.

The council is concentrating on green space that is well used by the public and not all grass areas will be cut this year. The priority is parks, road verges, cemeteries and sheltered housing.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “I share everyone’s frustration about the unsightly overgrown grass but I can assure you the ground maintenance teams are doing their best to get this tidied up as quickly as possible. However, it’s an issue affecting the whole city so the task is huge”.

“Ordinarily they would not remove grass cuttings as their machines don’t collect the grass and they don’t have the time or manpower to do this manually. However, they are doing this on the first cut idue to the length of the grass. The downside is that it’s slowing them down”.

“In addition, their machines are not designed to cut such long grass and that too is adding to the timescale and, in some cases the end result isn’t as well cut as they would like”.

“These guys are doing their best to turn around a situation that was entirely outwith their control. I am unable to say when any specific area will get cut. All I can ask is for everyone to have a little more patience and hopefully everything will start looking a bit tidier over the coming weeks”.

City Centre Road Closures – What’s Your View?

A number of residents have been in touch to say they are very annoyed that the council is closing roads and making other traffic management changes in the city centre without having consulted residents, businesses and others affected.

These temporary road closures and other changes in the city centre are being made to create more space for people so they can pass each other on foot, queue for buses and queue to get into shops whilst staying two metres apart. Further changes are planned for the city centre and for neighbourhood shopping areas such as Culter, Torry and Rosemount. You can read more about these changes here.

When Lib Dem Group Leader Ian Yuill was first told about these planned changes by senior council staff he urged them to seek the views of residents and affected businesses. When they said “no”, he made it clear he thought that was wrong.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “People have told me they understand the need for temporary changes to be made in the city centre but they are angry that the council did not consult those who would be affected by the plans”.

“My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I would like to hear your views and comments on these plans. I would be very grateful if you could take a couple of minutes to answer a few questions.”

Keep Bicycles Safe & Secure

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

We have all noticed an increase in the number of cyclists on our roads over the last few weeks. Whether you have just purchased your first bike or are a seasoned cyclist it is worth investing in a good quality bicycle specific lock to keep your bike safe and secure. 

Bike thieves will routinely carry bolt croppers or even battery powered angle grinders and light weight, poor quality locks offer little resistance. As a rough guide consider spending around 10% of the value of your bike on a lock.

Always buy the best quality lock you can afford and look out for those that have been endorsed as “Sold Secure” or “Secured by Design”.

It’s not enough to just lock your bicycle whenever it is left unattended for a longer period. Modern bikes are light and can be carried away quickly. Whether a bicycle stand, lamp post or metal fence: a bike must be locked to something and whatever you choose, it must be at least as secure as the lock itself. Ideally, use two different types of lock – a thief will need more tools to steal it.

The best place for your bike at night is a locked room, e.g. a cellar or garage, and it should always be secured with a bicycle lock; ideally combined with a ground anchor. If bicycles cannot be locked to something, for example in the hall or garage, simply lock several bikes together.

Photograph your bike and record all of your bike’s details and distinguishing features and keep in a safe place. The serial number can be found on the bottom bracket. Consider using a bike registration scheme to mark your bicycle. Not only is this a deterrent to thieves but should you be unlucky enough to have your bicycle stolen it increases the chances of getting your bicycle back.

Further advice and guidance on keeping your bike secure can be found here.

Help Stop The Vandalism At Kingswells Playing Field

The local playing field beside Kingswells School was in need of repair as a result of a sizeable dip having developed over time. Local children and their families raised some money to have the area professionally restored by landscape gardeners. The work was undertaken two or three weeks ago at a time when the field was not in use, so as to give the new grass the opportunity to get established.

Unfortunately the repaired area was purposely damaged within a day or two and this was repeated until it got to the point where the repair has been totally destroyed. Further acts of vandalism have resulted in damage to other parts of the field.

This does not appear to be random acts of vandalism but instead, a deliberate attempt to damage the playing field and to limit its usefulness. It is likely chemicals may have been used on the field, so please keep pets and children away from the area in the meantime.

These incidents are currently the subject of an ongoing investigation by Aberdeen City Council and Police Scotland.

A single point of contact has been set up so that residents can get through to the person who is co-ordinating the investigation. They can be contacted directly by email or by phoning 07843850974.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “If you have witnessed any unusual behaviour in the area over the past two or three weeks, no matter how insignificant you may consider it to be, please get in touch”.

“They are also actively gathering evidence relating to other similar incidents which have taken place in Kingswells over the past 10 years or more and are asking for anyone who can assist with their enquiries to come forward, including those who have previously given statements”.

“Because there is an ongoing investigation, I would ask residents not to make assumptions and not to name any possible suspects. Please do not share your thoughts on this mater online or anywhere else as this may prejudice the inquiry”.

“Your help is needed now, so if you have any information, even from a few years ago, I urge you to come forward. Please make use of the supplied contact details and help put a stop to these actions once and for all”.

The Scottish Government has published a “four phase” route map for easing lockdown restrictions in response to COVID-19.

Commenting on the easing of the lockdown which come into effect today, local councillor Steve Delaney said, “The Scottish Government has announced a four phase process towards getting society back to normal, accepting of course that it will be a “new normal”, with some restrictions remaining in place for a considerable period of time”.

“Covid-19 has not gone away and it continues to present a real and present danger, especially to elderly residents and those with underlying health conditions. Please continue to follow appropriate guidance issued by the Scottish Government and Aberdeen City Council in order to keep yourself and others safe”.

Council Services

Aberdeen City council has announced a number of changes to bring back services which were suspended during the lockdown. Some services are moving towards full implementation and others will operate on a reduced or restricted basis. The main changes are covered below.

Grass Cutting

This resumes on 1st June. Initially efforts will be focused on parks and other recreational areas, grass verges, cemeteries and Sheltered Housing.

Unfortunately, as well as being behind schedule, it will take longer cut the grass due to the time it has been left. With the grass being longer the squads will be strimming and removing grass cuttings from footways on the first cut where possible, which also takes time.

The squads will do the best they can but it is likely most areas of open space may be cut less frequently than usual and some may not get cut this year.

Waste Collection & Recycling Collections

The current fortnightly collections of general waste and four weekly collections of garden waste/food waste and mixed recycling remain unchanged. It is not yet possible for these to return to their normal frequency.

Household Waste & Recycling Centres

The facilities at Hazlehead, Tullos and Bucksburn will re-open on 1st June but they will have a number of restrictions in place. Only cars will be permitted, proof of address will be required, staff will be unable to assist residents, only one person per vehicle will be admitted (unless the driver has a Blue Badge), not all items will be accepted for recycling and there may be long queues. Opening hours will be 10.00 – 19.45 Mon-Fri and 9.00 – 19.45 at weekends. Full information can be found here.

Education

Schools will re-open on 11 August, a week earlier than usual following the summer break. Attendance will be part time with some school work still being delivered remotely through Google Classroom. There remains more questions than answers about how everything will work. Further updates will be given nearer once matters become clearer.

Road Maintenance

Routine road maintenance will re-commence on 1 June. Up until then only emergency repairs were being done. There is still no word on when the council’s programme of resurfacing roads and footways will commence.

Council Buildings

All council buildings will remain closed. The intention is to open these in later phases of the lockdown easing. Further announcements will be made in due course.

Housing

You can contact your local housing office on 03000 200 292. Area offices remain closed but the service continues to operate remotely.

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, as usual you should contact the Homelessness helpline on 0800 917 6379.

Currently only emergency housing repairs are being undertaken with no date yet available for the resumption of non-emergency repairs. Please call 03000 200 292 for emergency repairs.

Parks & Open Spaces

Large public parks including Duthie Park will re-open today. Children’s play parks will remain closed meantime. Residents are reminded to observe social distancing rules at all times.

Public Toilets

Public toilets will remain closed, including those in public parks. They will re-open as soon as Government advice says that it is safe to do so.

City Centre

Necessary works are to be undertaken in the city centre to limit vehicular access in order to provide the space needed for people to move around safety and to allow for shops to re-open. A separate article on this is available here.

More Information

Further information relating to the changes involved phase 1 of the easing of the lockdown restrictions can be found here.

City Centre Covid-19 Changes

In order to create safe space for people to get back to work and for shops to re-open a number of changes are being made to our city centre and these will be rolled out to some other parts of the city where this is required. Work on Union Street begins tomorrow.

Union Street will have the carriageway reduced to a single lane in each direction from Holburn Junction to Bridge Street and from Market Street to King Street. The section from Bridge Street to Market Street will be closed to all traffic including buses which will be diverted via Bridge Street, Wapping Street, Guild Street and Market Street.

A number of other changes are planned around the Thistle Street/Chapel Street area, the Belmont Street/Schoolhill area and others.

Acknowledging that we should not be using public transport unless absolutely necessary, access to city centre car parks will be maintained.

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesman Steve Delaney said, “These measures are designed to give space to pedestrians to allow a 2m (6ft) separation outside shops, for queueing at bus stops and for safely getting around on foot in the city centre. Segregated cycle routes are also planned where it is possible to put these in place”.

“My advice is to plan your route when driving to avoid Union Street and the other affected streets, otherwise you are likely to face considerable diversions and delays”.

“I appreciate these measures are likely to create an element of inconvenience for many residents but we are still facing a public health emergency which has not yet been eradicated, These restrictions are needed to allow us to open up our city centre, allow our shops to re-open and to do so a way which protects people, reduces transmission of the virus and helps protect lives”.

The complete closure of the section of Union Street from Bridge Street to Market Street will be in force in a matter of days with other measures in the city centre and elsewhere being rolled out over the next few weeks. These measures will remain in place for as long as they are required.

More detail on these changes and how they will operate can be found here.

The Scottish Government has announced important changes to the lockdown restrictions from 28th May. What does it mean?

• You will be able to meet people from one other household, though initially in small numbers, and at two metres distance outside. You still can’t go inside other people’s homes unless it’s for a permitted reason.

• You will be able to sit or sunbathe in parks and open areas as well as exercise.

• Some leisure activities will be allowed to restart – such as golf, tennis, bowls and fishing.

• You can go to outdoor retail outlets such as garden centres.

Please note that these changes have not yet come into force and won’t until after 28th May. So please remember that the existing restrictions still apply and that you can only leave your home for a limited number of reasons.

Celebrate Aberdeen In Bloom 2020

Celebrate Aberdeen In Bloom 2020

It is time to Celebrate Aberdeen in Bloom and we are looking for photos from you to help show the beauty, diversity and wildlife in Aberdeen’s gardens.

Instead of the annual garden competition, which is cancelled due to coronavirus, we ask that you send in photographs showing your work in six themes – make or design a scarecrow, garden wildlife, favourite viewpoint, splash of colour, home-grown dish, and proud of my planting.

Any resident of Aberdeen can take part so encourage your friends and family to take part – there is no age restriction for submitting photographs.

The intent is that the photos would be used in an exhibition later in the year, when Government restrictions allow. In the meantime you will be able to see a selection of submissions at the Celebrate Aberdeen in Bloom facebook page Celebrate-Aberdeen-in-Bloom

The photographs should be sent to CAIB@aberdeencity.gov.uk showing work in the following themes:

  • Make or Design a Scarecrow

Submit image of your own scarecrow, built from materials only limited by your imagination. Use recycled /upcycled materials and get creative. Alternatively submit an image of your design for one.

  • Garden Wildlife

Submit your favourite photograph of wildlife in your garden or nearby green space. Could be butterflies on a buddleia flower, birds feeding on nearby shrubs, or trees or insects foraging a compost pile.

  • Favourite Viewpoint

Choose your very favourite outdoor space in your garden or green space and tell us why in no more than 200 words? Accompany with a photograph.

  • Splash of Colour

Take a snapshot of your favourite flower, leaf or vegetable which injects colour into your life, the brighter the better.

  • Home Grown Dish

Send in a picture of your meal produced from your own grown vegetables. Meal ideas and broad outline recipes can be included, with a 200-word restriction.

  • Proud of my Planting

A category to represent anyone young or old to the pleasures of planting seeds or cuttings. A picture of your favourite and a description of 200 words maximum preferred but not essential.

Please remember to tell us which category best fits each photograph you are submitting.

This will be an ongoing celebration and a closing date will be determined at a later date, depending on coronavirus restriction.

We look forward to seeing what you have been up to, and what is important to you, in the garden and let’s all Celebrate Aberdeen in Bloom.

Kingswells Says Thank You

Residents thanking carers at Kingswells Care Home

Following the sad deaths of a number of residents at Kingswells Care Home last month, the local community came together on 21 May 2021 to acknowledge the dedication of all the staff at the home and to thank them for al that they do.

A piper joined a gathering of local residents (all respectfully adhering to social distancing regulations) at 7pm playing outside Kingswells Care Home. A number of staff came out (keeping a safe distance) and others watched from upper windows with some of the residents. Residents clapped along with the piper for more than half an hour, only falling silent to Amazing Grace. As the event drew to a close, the crowd burst into applause for all the staff.

Local resident Nicky Caldwell set up a Just Giving page with the aim of raising £100 for pamper packs for every carer working there. It was just meant to say thank you to them for all their hard work and for the excellent care they’ve been giving to residents in such difficult times.

In just a few days the amount raised has exceeded £2000 and a number of gifts have also been received. This means that a bench can now be put in place at the care home with a plaque paying tribute to both the hard working caring staff and to those who  lost their lives during the pandemic.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “This was a fitting tribute to those who care for our elderly and vulnerable residents in a homely setting just like they were part of their own family. People who have continued working through these difficult times while most of us have been at home”.

The fundraising page remains open for anyone else who may wish to make a donation. You can find it here.

Food Train Offers Shopping Service For Over 65s

A new 1:1 shopping service ‘Food Train Connects’ will cover all of Scotland and is for anyone aged over 65.   It will officially be launched in the next couple of weeks but they are taking any referrals and volunteer enquiries that are coming in just now.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “I’m delighted to hear that Food Train is coming to Aberdeen. Many older people either don’t have their own transport or are unable to do their own shopping but may not be comfortable with online shopping or their preferred supermarket does not currently offer home deliveries”.

“This service matches people who need the service with volunteers who will use their own vehicles to get your shopping from a local supermarket, have it delivered to your door and even unpack it for you! The service is available to anyone over 65 years of age and is now looking for both customers and local volunteers in advance of their launch in Aberdeen in the next few weeks”.

If you are aware of any older person who may benefit from this service, there is a referral form below. Obviously many older people are needing help with their shopping due to COVID-19 restriction and many local communities are doing a brilliant job of enabling this to happen. Food Train hopes to fill any gaps there may be in this provision and, of course, they will provide a long term service providing access to food that will continue after current restrictions are lifted.

Find out more and make a referral here. Please share this post to anyone who either needs this type of service or may be willing to volunteer.

A944/B9119 Corridor Study

Aberdeen City Council is carrying out a study into the A944/B9119/Lang Stracht/Queens Road corridors following the opening of the AWPR last year.

The study is being undertaken in the context of the council’s revised Roads Hierarchy and in response to repeated calls for active travel improvements along the corridor and it’s identification as a priority corridor for improvement by the North East Bus Alliance.

Among other things, it is hoped that the outcomes of the study can feed into ACC’s application for a share of the bus priority infrastructure funding identified in the most recent Programme for Government once this becomes available.

Lib Dem Infrastructure spokesman Steve Delaney said, “The priorities of this route have changed over the past year as it has become a main route for accessing the AWPR from the west of the city”.

‘The current facilities for active travel along these routes is patchy at best, especially in respect of safe cycle provision but also for pedestrians who often have to share a path with cyclists. This will need to change if we are to encourage more people to make the modal shift”.

“This study provides a unique opportunity to identify how these routes can be re-designed and re-prioritised to better serve us in the future, in particular by incorporating significantly improved facilities for walking, cycling and public transport at the design stage”.

The council is currently only consulting stakeholders on these plans so there is currently no facility for the public to feed in their views.

A full public consultation is of course essential to coming up with a workable solution. The current intention is for the public to have their say later this year, though an exact timescale cannot currently be finalised due to uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 restrictions.

Further information will be posted as soon as details of the public consultation have finalised so everyone can have their say.

39 Aberdeen Councillors Excluded From Council Business

During the lockdown Aberdeen City Council took a decision to suspend council and committee meetings temporarily in order to expedite decision making and free up senior officer time to focus on putting in place emergency planning to keep the city running and protect vulnerable people.

Ordinarily any dilution of the democratic process would be wholly unacceptable but we were in unprecedented times. Other than the planning committee and urgent licensing applications, only the council’s urgent business committee remained and its membership was then reduced to the five group leaders.

At this week’s urgent business committee opposition leaders called for proposals on restoring normal committee business from August to be brought to next month’s meeting. Conservative, Labour and Independent group leaders refused to even discuss this natter.

Another proposal to consult with all group leaders on a report coming to the next meeting, effectively offering an inclusive approach, was also blocked, effectively limiting any meaningful decision making to just three councillors.

Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney said, “All parties agreed  to suspend council committees until August. This was the right decision to make in March based on the information we had at that time. The immediacy of the response of the pandemic had to be prioritised over all else”.

“Those circumstances have now changed and it would be entirely feasible to restart committees and for that matter, the full council. Aberdeenshire Council have run all their meetings remotely during the lockdown as have a number of other councils, so there is no reason why Aberdeen City Council cannot do likewise”

The coalition leaders had the chance yesterday to review this decision and to start the process to bring all councillors back in August but they refused to do so.  Three councillors are for all intents and purposes running things now. The three coalition group leaders have effectively suspended 39 councillors, including their own members, which surely calls into question their own fitness to hold office”.

“I have in the past described a number of decisions taken by the ruling administration as a blatant abuse of power but this decision really takes the biscuit! Just how long do they think they can block elected councillors from the scrutiny and decision making roles they were elected to carry out and on what basis?” 

Street Lighting Upgrades, Carriageway & Footway Resurfacing

Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay 

Aberdeen City Council has approved this year’s programme of works for the resurfacing of roads and footways as well as lighting column replacements and lighting upgrades.

Under normal circumstances we could expect the works specified in the main list to be undertaken and for some works the reserve list to be done if there is an underspend on the main list works or if any of those works slipped due to unforeseen circumstances.

Although the normal order of play will be followed, it is currently impossible to say how many of the identified works can be completed due to current lockdown conditions, the need to follow social distancing requirements by road crews and other issues outwith the control of the council and its contractors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The list below highlights proposed works in both the main and the reserve lists as approved in respect of the Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill and Mastrick areas.

Replacement Lighting Columns – Main List

39 columns in the Willowpark area

Replacement Lighting Columns – Reserve List

Corroded columns across the Summerhill area

Column replacements in Jura Place, Kingsford Road, Lewis Road car parks, Maidencraig Place, Mull Way, Sheddocksley Drive, Stroma Terrace, Three Crescent, Windford Road, Windford Square, Arnage Crescent, Arnage Drive, Arnage Place, Burnbrae Place, Croft Place, fern hill Road, Gillahill Place, Mastrick Drive, Greenfern Road & Springhill Road.

Footway Resurfacing – Main List

Endrick Place

Eday Road – North side from Stronsay Drive to Eday Crescent

Sheddocksley Road phase 1 – Both sides from Kingsford Road to Maidencraig Place

Footway Resurfacing – Reserve List 

East Main Avenue – Mastrick Drive to Arnage Drive – west side

Eday Road – East side from Stronsay Drive to Ferneilea Place

Sheddocksley Road phase 2 – Both sides from Maidencraig Place to Sheddocksley Drive.

Sheddocksley Road phase 3 – Both sides from Bellfield Road to Kingsford Road.

Carriageway Resurfacing – Main List

Kingsford Road from Springhill Road to Kingsford School including the loop at Regensburg Court

Carriageway Resurfacing – Reserve List

A944 Eastbound from the Lodge to the 5 Mile Garage

A944 Westbound from the Lodge to Smiddybrae

A944 Westbound from DJ Automotive Engineering access to 100 meters before B9119 (Tarland Road)

Mastrick Drive from No 2 to No 16

Kingswood Drive from Kingswells Avenue to Coldstone Avenue

Fairley Road from Kingswood Drive to No 26

C89C (Chapel of Stoneywood) from Dykeside Roundabout to Kingswells Crescent

Flood Prevention Works

Old Skene Road, Kingswells

Lang Stracht, Summerhill & Maidencraig areas

Liberal Democrats Call For Mass Testing To Enable Visits To Elderly & Vulnerable

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton has today for the Scottish Government to explore using mass testing to enable people to safely visit elderly or vulnerable family members, in order to boost spirits during the lockdown.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“One of the most difficult kinds of correspondence I get at the moment are from grandparents, desperate to see and to hold their grandkids. The same goes for a range of other meaningful relationships that have been parted by social distancing and shielding.

“Now that we are entering a phase of mass testing, the Government should consider introducing a scheme to allow families to visit vulnerable relatives, or those in other meaningful relationships.

“Such a scheme would involve registration, testing, a period of voluntary isolation and even re-testing to allow such a visit and physical contact to go ahead in safety on confirmation of a negative Covid status. Given there are suggestions that social distancing and some forms of shielding will have to continue for the foreseeable future, such a scheme would offer hope and comfort to so many people who may be starting to struggle.

“The Government have indicated their willingness to explore this as a possibility. They must now make it a reality.”

Please Don’t Dump Used Dog Waste Bags!

Photo by Pauline Gerard

A minority of dog walkers, although they are cleaning up after their pets, are then discarding the bag with the dog waste. Sadly this habit has become more prevalent over the past few years.

Unfortunately, due to unprecedented pressures on critical council services and with more people currently able to take their dogs for long walks, dog waste bins are filling up and overflowing more often than usual. In many cases excess bags are being dumped next to the dog bins, resulting in unsightly piles of used dog waste bags.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “Dog waste bags can be put out with your normal household waste if need be. I know it’s annoying if the dog waste bin is full but please don’t discard them outside, otherwise you risk being fined for littering. Besides, we really don”t want to risk further health issues on top of this horrible pandemic. Thank you”.

Aberdeen City Council “Lockout” Continues

Liberal Democrat councillors in Aberdeen have condemned a refusal by Conservative, “Aberdeen Labour” and Independent councillors who control the council to even discuss recommencing council and council committee meetings from August. 

Councillor Jenny Laing, the Convener of the council’s Urgent Business Committee, refused to allow that committee to even discuss a proposal about this from Liberal Democrat Leader Ian Yuill and SNP Leader Alex Nicoll when the committee met on 6th May.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Ian Yuill commented: “Councillor Laing’s refusal is a disgrace. This is not about party politics. It is about allowing council and council committee meetings to recommence online from August. Councillors have a key role in decision making and scrutiny but most councillors have been completely excluded from this since mid March. People in Aberdeen expect their councillors to be involved in making key decisions affecting our city – yet Councillor Laing has blocked this even being discussed.”

Councillor Yuill continued: “Just last week Aberdeenshire Council had an online meeting of its full council involving over 80 participants. Aberdeenshire Council also continues to hold council committee meetings online. There is absolutely no reason why what works successfully in Aberdeenshire would not work just as well here in Aberdeen. What is good enough for Aberdeenshire should be good enough for Aberdeen. Just what are Councillor Laing and her colleagues scared of?”

What Was Proposed?
The full text of the urgent notice of motion submitted by Ian Yuill and Alex Nicoll for consideration by the 6th May meeting of Aberdeen City Council’s Urgent Business Committee was:

Governance Arrangements

That this committee:

1. Thanks all members of council staff for the exceptional professionalism and commitment they have shown and continue to show during the Covid-19 pandemic.

2. Notes that in meeting the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic it has been necessary to review and amend procedures to ensure the essential delivery of services by governments and councils.

3. Notes the Urgent Business Committee’s decision of 20th March 2020 to cancel meetings of the council, most committees and sub-committees until 21st August.

4. Recognises that councillors have an essential role in scrutiny and decision making and that many members of this council are currently excluded from this.

5. Notes that on Thursday 30th April 2020 Aberdeenshire Council held a full council meeting online involving over 80 participants and that Aberdeenshire Council continues to hold committee meetings online.

6. Notes that it is likely some measure of social distancing will continue to be necessary after 21st August.

7. Agrees to suspend Standing Orders 12.6.1 and 43.2.1 to enable parts 8 and 9 to be considered.

8. Agrees that the normal cycle of council, committee and sub-committee meetings will recommence on 22nd August 2020 and that full use will be made of online meeting facilities as required to ensure social distancing requirements can be met.

9. Agrees, in the interests of openness and accountability, that all future online council, committee and sub-committee meetings will be webcast live as soon as practicable.

10. Agrees, with effect from 7th May 2020, to reinstate the composition of the Urgent Business Committee to the position on 19th March 2020 (3 SNP, 2 Conservative, 2 Aberdeen Labour, 1 Liberal Democrat, 1 Independent Alliance).

11. Instructs the Chief Officer – Governance to report to this committee no later than 30th June on the implementation of the above.

Latest Update On Household Waste & Recycling Centres

An increasing  number of residents have been asking about Household Waste and Recycling Centres and when they are likely to re-open. This is at a time when many residents have been making good use of the lockdown to carry out a spring clean or some DIY, all of which normally generate extra trips to the recycling centre.

Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HRWCs) in Aberdeen have been closed since 24th March and currently all HRWCs in Scotland remain closed. The reasons for this decision is two fold. Current working practices were not designed to accommodate  social distancing. Also. the lockdown regulations state that no-one can leave their house without a reasonable excuse and visiting a HWRC is not considered to be an essential journey under those regulations. 

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has written to the Communities and Local Government Secretary this week calling for recycling centres to be re-opened as soon as possible on a socially distanced basis, as he warned of increases in fly-tipping and the build up of household waste during the lockdown.

He said, “Our councils could follow similar schemes to those in England where Recycling Centres have been allowed to re-open. Where only a certain number of slots were made available each day and then residents invited to book a time to visit, registering car details for workers to confirm people were arriving at their appointed time. Allowing people to clear their homes of large items of waste they may have generated will give a much needed boost to the wellbeing of our communities”.

Lib Dem councillor for Kingswells, Sheddocksley & Summerhill, Steve Delaney said, “The safety of both staff and the general public must be at the forefront of all decision making. However, with Governments, Local Authorities and other public bodies now looking towards a safe but gradual exit from the lockdown, it’s vital that we look towards opening these HWRCs as soon as possible, albeit on a carefully managed basis”. 

Aberdeen City Council confirmed earlier this week that HWRCs are likely to remain closed unless the travel ban is lifted. In the meantime they are taking practical steps to consider under what circumstances they could be re-opened, once the national travel advice is changed.  However, they have said it will take time to adequately prepare for reopening the sites safely and there are many issues to be considered

Steve continued, ““Fly tipping remains an offence which can attract fines up to a maximum of £10,000. I understand these are challenging times but would ask that residents be mindful of carrying out spring cleans or DIY projects in the interim unless they have somewhere to store the excess waste or recyclable items until our HWRCs re-open. I will of course post any updates regarding timescales for the re-opening of HWRCs one this becomes clearer”.

To report fly-tipping, residents should visit https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/environment/report-flytipping

Where residents employ a private contractor to remove your waste, they should check they are an authorised, licensed collector and ask where they will dispose of the waste they collect.  

To check whether a contractor is a licensed Waste Carrier see here: https://www2.sepa.org.uk/wastecarriers/

Crime Prevention Advice During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Police Scotland have created this document to provide advice to Business and Home owners during these unprecedented times. 

Advice and information is changing daily as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, so please ensure you only take information from trusted sources. 

Please consider signing up for the Neighbourhood Watch Scotland Alert system to receive regular updates from the Police and partner agencies on what is happening in your area –

https://nwscotland.neighbourhoodalert.co.uk/

National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) 

NCSC have launched the new Cyber Aware campaign promoting behaviours to mitigate cyber threat. The cross-governmental ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign, offers actionable advice for people to protect passwords, accounts and devices. You can find out more about what NCSC have launched recently here.https://www.ncsc.gov.uk  This includes new guidance for individuals and organisations using online video conferencing.

Closed Premises/Venues that have been temporarily closed:

  • Test your alarm, ensure it is monitored and fully operational 
  • Identify any vulnerable areas. Rectify these. 
  • Ensure service doors are closed and locked when not in use  
  • Make sure you have list of key holders who can be contacted in times of emergency. 
  • Consider moving high value items into secured stockrooms and out of view
  • Ensure keys to the premises or other venues are not left inside and are instead with dedicated key holders.
  • Consider timer switches or ensure sufficient lighting is left on at the premises/surrounding area.
  • Ensure there are no combustible materials left in the proximity of the building such as packaging – consider the risk of fire-raising 
  • Review your CCTV to confirm it is operational, provides good quality images and is positioned to cover as much of the stores public and private areas. You may wish to consider a mobile phone app that allows connectivity and a vocal capacity to engage with any intruder 
  • Ensure that no cash is retained on the premises overnight (consider placing a note on your premises stating that no cash or valuables are kept overnight) or store monies in a security accredited safe bolted to the floor 

Physical Protective Measures  

  • Secure by Design products – use security rated products where possible.  
  • Ensure all doors leading from public to staff arteries-loading areas etc are kept secure and monitored. – Laminated glass or security film that can be applied to existing glass to make it more resistant to a physical assault. Shutters and grilles, subject to planning regulations, may also be a consideration 
  • An insurance rated safe should be bolted to the floor. Anti-tamper sensors can be fitted to set off an alarm if attacked 
  • Consider use of anti-theft alarms on most desirable household item
  • Fogging devices that activate as a result of an intruder activation may also be beneficial-you can’t steal what you can’t see

Targeting of works vans

  • Best practice is to remove all valuables from any unoccupied work vehicle
  • Vans are often targeted by thieves for the tools stored inside. If you have to leave tools in a van overnight, it’s a good idea to mark them clearly with your name / company name and address using paint pens and seal with a clear lacquer spray. 
  • Alternatively, you can use a variety of other property marking systems. Items that are clearly marked are less desirable and more difficult to sell on
  • Consider using a lockable cabinet within your van to store tools – a number of security rated products are available.
  • Small cameras are also designed to record inside vehicles. 
  • You can also take photographs of items of value, make a note of the serial numbers and consider registering them online at a property register site.

Securing Diesel in vehicles:

Ensure your vehicle is locked when unattended, consider installing anti-siphon devices.

OFTEC or the “Oil Firing Technical Association for the petroleum industry” offers advice and guidance for those who use and store oil at their premises.

There are certain rules and regulations that may apply to you and OFTEC will help clarify these for you. They can be reached at: www.oftec.org or by calling 0845 6585 080.

Building Sites

A building site with tools, materials, plants and other machinery lying about can be very inviting to a thief. The site can also be used as a route to break into adjacent premises. Here are a few simple tips to help keep your site more secure:

  • Set up CCTV
  • Fences or hoardings are effective and should be used whenever possible.
  • Good security lighting
  • Cash should not be kept on site when possible
  • Machinery should be left in a well-lit part of the site with the keys removed.
  • Fit wheel clamps and/or locking posts or consider an alarm.
  • Park larger vehicles in front of access doors to prevent easy access.
  • Security locks and ground fixings are great for extra security
  • Keep a record of engine numbers chassis number, vehicle ID numbers etc.
  • Mark all of your tools with a unique identification number, photograph them and 
    keep a record of it. 
  • Store your tools in a secure area or take off site.
  • Display a contact board outside the site at all times giving names and telephone numbers of staff who can easily be contacted to respond to any concerns of the police
  • Take down scaffolds structure down.
  • Stop unauthorised people from climbing up any structure by using sheet material, overhangs or other methods
  • If necessary use scaffolding alarms.

Around your home

  • Make sure you lock your home – this includes when you go to bed.
  • Always set alarms and use security devices whenever possible.
  • Also ensure you lock outbuildings, garages & sheds 
  • Remove keys from the internal locks of doors and, along with any other keys, store them out of sight.
  • Make sure you utilise window locks and remove the keys from the locks and the area around the window.
  • Ensure there is sufficient lighting around your home by using low level dusk to dawn lighting and also PIR (movement detection) lighting.  
  • Make sure your home looks occupied by using timer switches especially as the dark evenings approach.
  • Close blinds when appropriate to ensure there is no line of sight into your home.
  • Never leave anything of value in your garden.
  • Do not leave items (spades, ladders, etc.) insecure that could be used top effect unauthorised entry into your home, vehicle or outbuilding.
  • Lock all vehicles and keep the keys out of general view in your locked house. 
  • Never leave anything in sight in your car and remove all valuable items completely
  • Park your car in a well-lit location and if possible have it the subject of movement detection lighting. 
  • Make sure you lock your garage, shed or outbuilding.
  • All items in the garage shed or outbuilding which are of value or easily moved should be secured to the fabric of the building or other similar items.
  • Any windows in the garage shed or outbuilding should be covered by a blind or a curtain and if light is not a major necessity they should be boarded up.
  • Where up and over garage doors are used consider installing bolts and padlocks at the bottom of each side of the door.  Padlocks can also be put through the runner rails at the top of the doors.

The Safer Communities, Safer Scotland booklet aims to bring together key security and safety advice in a handy and very usable A5 booklet.

It is the product of a wider Building Safer Communities partnership and contains a wide range of contributions from organisations such as Police Scotland, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks, amongst others. It is free to download at 

https://www.neighbourhoodwatchscotland.co.uk/security-advice/our-safer-scotland-booklet/home

Further information can be found here:

https://www.securedbydesign.com/

https://www.sbrcentre.co.uk/

www.scotland.police.uk