Key Decisions On City Centre & Beach

The council meeting which took place on 28 February lasted for over 10 hours. As well as reversing the decision to close Union Street Central (the section between Bridge Street and Market Street) to all traffic, a number of key decisions were taken on the City Centre & Beach Masterplans, the first of which was to merge them into a single Masterplan. There was also agreement from all on an initiative to clean up the frontages of all buildings on Union Street.

Kingswells, Sheddocksley & Summerhill councillor Steve Delaney said, “The initiative to clean up Union Street is very much welcomed. This is something that’s brought up time and time again by constituents, just how run down this great street has become. The Lib Dem Group is firmly in favour of moves such as these to breathe life back into our granite mile”.

This scheme is designed to help improve all buildings on Union Street. However, Lib Dem Group Leader Ian Yuill received assurances from council officers that owners who had let their buildings get into a state of neglect would not be find themselves being ‘rewarded for failure’ under the scheme.

Councillors also backed an initiative to expand the cafe culture in and around the Belmont Street area. Steve Delaney was perhaps less convinced than some when he said, “Making the place more attractive and inviting to both local people and visitors is what it’s all about. But why do we have to keep the focus on cafe culture? Sitting out in the sun on a lovely summer’s day sounds just about right when you’re off on your summer break. But we do live in the NE of Scotland where a great summer lasts for little more than a couple of weeks if we’re lucky. The rest of the time we’re either facing blustering gales or running for cover to avoid getting drookit. That’s the simple reason why pavement cafes have never caught on big time in Aberdeen to the same extent as we see them in France, Spain, Italy and other countries which enjoy a Mediterranean coastline”.

“I’m all for people enjoying a seat outside. However, I feel there’s too much expectation being placed around the contribution of cafe culture towards the regeneration of the city centre. Personally I see much more benefit being derived from further enhancing the streetscape and the exterior of buildings to ensure that patrons can still enjoy the warmth of our Scottish hospitality when mother nature awakens them from their Mediterranean dreams”.

Over a dozen new projects make up the Beach Masterplan with only one proving controversial. The Lib Dem Group asked councillors to commit to spending no public money on a Football Stadium to replace Pittodrie. Steve said, “I would like to think that the council will work alongside AFC to help them realise their dream of a new stadium at the Beach. What we can’t do is expect Aberdeen’s residents to pay for it through their council tax. What I can’t understand is why Labour, Conservative and SNP councillors were unwilling to commit to this principle”.

Other projects planned for the beach area include a re-vamped Beach Ballroom fronted by a plaza, an outdoor amphitheatre, an urban park for all ages, a pavilion building, a new sports and leisure centre, a sports area and pump track, new and improved landscaping, a pier and boardwalk, a surfing village and energy centre and more.

The City Centre and Beach Masterplans will be returning to the newly elected council in August with full business cases for each of the component parts. Steve said, “There’s a lot of good ideas in both Masterplans. What we now need is the detail and the costings for each of these projects. It will then be for the council to take a view on both their desirability and affordability”.