New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Shedocksley Road

Start Date and Time : 28 September 2020 08:00

End Date and Time : 16 October 2020 17:00

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                                              

Supermarket Coronavirus Shopping Arrangements

Photo of supermarket trolleys

The big supermarket chains have all put special arrangements in place during the Coronavirus pandemic.

I have tried to summarise the current position for each of the big four chains below but it is best to check each store’s website for the latest arrangements.

Please remember to stick to social distancing rules whilst you are in a supermarket.

Asda
Asda has changed its opening hours and put special arrangements in place its stores.

NHS and care staff have priority for the first hour of trading every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and exclusively on Sunday mornings between 9am and 10am. You can find information about specific Asda stores here.

Morrisons
Morrisons now has an NHS hour from 6am to 7am, Monday to Saturday.

Morrisons has created a range of different food boxes to meet the needs of customers who are self-isolating. These boxes can be ordered online through https://www.morrisons.com/food-boxes/ and are delivered by courier, usually the next day.

Sainsbury’s
Sainsbury’s has increased its Groceries Online and Click and Collect capacity. Even with the additional capacity delivery slots are still difficult to get so you should try the click and collect facility.

They have also introduced a new Volunteer Shopping Card to enable friends and helpers to shop on behalf of someone else. 

8am to 9am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday is dedicated to serving elderly, vulnerable, disabled customers and their carers.

7.30am to 8am, Monday to Saturday is dedicated for NHS and social care workers.

Tesco
Tesco has introduced priority hours for NHS staff. Please check with your local store for details of this.

As well as priority hours, Tesco is giving NHS, emergency service, and care workers priority access to its stores to help them shop when they have the time. You should go to the front of the queue to get into the store with your employee ID.

9am to 10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Tesco is dedicated to serving elderly and vulnerable customers.

Council Suspends Grass Cutting

Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash

Aberdeen City Council has suspended all grass cutting across the city until further notice. All council services which are deemed to be non-critical have either been suspended or are operating on a reduced capacity. This has been done in order to ensure that all available resources can be redeployed where they are most needed.

Lib Dem councillor for Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill, Steve Delaney said, “I’ve had an increasing number of residents contact me in recent weeks asking when the grass cutting is going to commence”.

“As I had expected, this is one of the services which has been suspended at the moment. A number of staff from our grounds maintenance and roads services have been assisting with bin collections and other critical services”.

“In the current unprecedented circumstances in which we find ourselves, I’m afraid we need to accept that the council just doesn’t’t have the capacity to do everything we expect of them”.

“The most critical services are running well under challenging circumstances and I thank staff for their willingness to take on different duties to help us all get through this”.

Help Local Singers Raise Funds For Aberdeen City Mutual Aid & NHS Grampian

During this pandemic we’ve seen lots of innovative ideas by many people to raise money for good causes and now we have Aberdeen’s alternative to Elton John’s rendition of “I’m Still Standing” on his grand piano in his back garden.

Gary Duncan of 5th Avenue and Steve Curtis of Floortom Studios have brought together eighteen local singers to produce an excellent cover version of the 1985 classic”We Are The World”, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie.

All contributions were recorded in their own homes by the 18 contributors using the iPhone’s voice memos app and put together by Gary & Steve. It has taken several weeks to produce this great cover version.

All monies raised will be split equally between Aberdeen City Mutual Aid Group and NHS Grampian. The ACMA group was set up to create a network of volunteers within the community to support those affected by the Coronavirus.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “This is one of my all time favourites and it’s quite appropriate for the current circumstances. It’s also a great way to raise money for good causes. It’s also amazing what you can do on an iPhone! Pulling everything together remotely and coming up with such a professionally sounding rendition of this popular song just shows what people can do when they put their minds to it. Well done guys”.

The song is not available for download but you can listen to it on YouTube by clicking the graphic above. One you’ve listened to it, please consider donating to show your support for NHS Grampian and for local volunteers. Even a small amount is appreciate as it all adds up. You can donate here.

Aberdeen City Council Administration Rejects Live Webcasting Of Committee Meetings

Photo of Town House, Aberdeen

Liberal Democrats in Aberdeen have condemned the Conservative, “Aberdeen Labour” and Independent councillors who control Aberdeen City Council for rejecting the Liberal Democrats’ call to live webcast council committee meetings during the Coronavirus lockdown.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Ian Yuill revealed that the Conservative, “Aberdeen Labour” and Independent group leaders rejected the Liberal Democrats’ proposal because of the amount of work it would take.

Ian Yuill  said: “I absolutely do not accept that webcasting council committee meetings would create any significant extra work for council staff. At the most basic it would only involve pointing a camera at a screen displaying the online meetings.

“Decision making needs to be open and accountable. People should be able to see decisions being made in their names as it happens, not in a recording broadcast only later.

“I am appalled that the Conservative, ‘Aberdeen Labour’ and Independent group leaders have refused to back live webcasting council committee meetings.”

Pebbles Out & About In Kingswells

Almost everywhere you go in Kingswells you’ll find a trail of pebbles painted with beautiful designs or uplifting messages This is a great way to brighten up your day and make you smile as you take your daily exercise.

The photo above represents a tiny number of these artistic works, there are many more to discover. If you find one, by all means take a photo but please leave it in place so others can enjoy them too.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “In these difficult times it’s great to see everyone pulling together to keep our spirits up. This is a great idea which has caught on and I can only assume by the numbers of these that we now have quite a few individuals contributing to the collection”.

“A number of local people have been out and about spotting them on their daily walks. This is a great fun way to occupy the kids during the lock down, but please remember to keep your distance from other people for everyone’s safety”.

Fairy Doors In Sheddocksley Woods

The coronavirus lockdown has brought out the best in many people, especially young children.

Sisters Pola (10) and Stefania (8) from Sheddocksley were getting a little bit bored of the daily walks in our neighbourhood and they thought it would be good idea to make it a little bit more exciting for them and other kids. They first painted a lot of rocks and hidden them in various places in our woodland.

Every day they were excited to find out if they have been moved or not.
They then came up with the idea of painting and hiding fairy doors. The sisters have now painted 25 wooden fairy doors for a bit of fun and hidden them in Sheddocksley woods along the pathway to the ‘swing’.

The girls’ mother Alicia said, “We have lots of friends with younger kids and thought that with the limited options available to entertain during lockdown, it’d be good to give them something to look forward to when going on a daily walk”.

“I ordered the doors online, my girls painted them and put names on each door (male names too😊) and we hidd them in the forest.
“The feedback on Nextdoor.co.uk website has been very positive which
we are very happy about”.

A number of local people have been out and about spotting them on their daily walks. This is a great fun way to occupy the kids during the lock down, but please remember to keep your distance from other people for everyone’s safety.

Unfortunately, some of these doors have been either moved or taken away. Hopefully they will turn up again soon so everyone can enjoy them.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “I would like to thank Pola and Stefania for all their hard work creating these lovely doors and putting a smile on everyone’s faces. If anyone has moved some of these doors, please return them so we can all enjoy a mini expedition out and about looking for them”

Coronavirus – Sources Of Local & National Information & Advice

There are several useful sources of local and national information and advice which can be of help during the Coronavirus (CORVID-19) pandemic.

Information and advice
You can find helpful information and advice at: 

Revised bus and rail timetables
The lockdown has meant big changes to bus and rail timetable. The links below take you to the latest information from the bus and rail companies:

Sadly, More Care Home Deaths from COVID-19 in North East

Most people will have heard about the sad news earlier this week regarding the deaths of several residents of Kingswells Nursing Home from COVID-19. The latest press reports today claim that 39 lives have been lost in care homes in the North East, representing over a third of all COVID-19 related deaths in the area.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “My thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones and also with the dedicated staff who continue to provide excellent care at the home and who too, will feel the pain associated with this tragic loss”.

“COVID-19 is something we’ve never faced before and all public services are doing the very best they can under extremely challenging conditions”.

“However, I believe that families who have lost loved ones have the right to know what happened and those who still have relatives in our care homes are very much in need of reassurance, especially since they cannot presently visit their loved ones. Every single life lost matters, the numbers are of so much less significance than each and every individual taken before their time”.

“Following on from the Kingswells announcement earlier this week I have written to the Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership asking for the cause of these deaths to be investigated so that any lessons learnt can be used to minimise the possibility of further outbreaks in care homes and for those findings to be made public”.

Sad News At Kingswells Nursing Home

I have just been informed of the deaths of a number of residents of Kingswells Nursing Home from COVID-19. The sadness this brings will be felt by so many.

My thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones and also with the dedicated staff who continue to provide excellent care at the home and who too, will feel the pain associated with this tragic loss.

Online Shopping Concerns Raised With First Minister

Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash

People who are self isolating for health reasons are finding it increasingly difficult to get what they need online, with store purchases continuing to be prioritised. In addition, it is becoming more difficult each week to obtain a delivery slot. This is all against the backdrop of the major supermarket chains claiming to have increased the capacity of their home delivery services.

Lib Dem councillor for Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill, Steve Delaney said, “I’ve had a number of concerns raised with me about this since before the lockdown but I’m afraid it appears to be getting worse rather than better. The issues highlighted to me have specifically related to Tesco and Asda”.

“The first issue is availability of booking slots, which has been getting progressively worse since the lockdown with shoppers having to wait up to two weeks for a delivery. Earlier this week not a single delivery slot was available from either Tesco or Asda. On 17/4/20 Asda offered some availability for 27/4 and 28/4 only with nothing sooner or later. From the same date Tesco were offering slots from 20/4 to 26/4 only, with nothing beyond that date”.

“The other issue relates to availability of goods. Online shoppers are having to place their orders well in advance but goods which are in stock and available when ordered are later being marked as out of stock  and removed from customers’ online baskets as in-store shoppers are buying these goods off the shelves”.

“We are all grateful to the hard working supermarket staff, delivery van drivers and everyone else involved in the supply chain for  their sterling efforts to maintain the food supply chain during such difficult times. I am also aware of the considerable logistical challenges supermarkets are facing with increased demand for online shopping and the inevitable staff absences they must be facing as a result of the pandemic”.

“However, removing items from online shoppers’ trolleys is resulting in people who, for health reasons, cannot physically get to a shop, losing out every single time to more able bodied shoppers who can, if required, check back the following day for any out of stock items”.

“I raised these issues with Aberdeen City Council more than two weeks ago and they confirmed the issues had already been highlighted nationally. I also know of a customer who called Tesco to explain these difficulties only to be told they were aware and matters should improve within the next couple of weeks as stocks were replenished. However, the situation has got worse, not better”.

Steve has also written to the First Minister in some detail outlining these concerns. He has requested that matters be raised with the Chief Executives of supermarkets which offer home delivery services asking them to review their processes to ensure those placing orders online are no longer put at a disadvantage

Further Support For Business

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Around £220 million of further grants are being made available to support businesses in Scotland during the pandemic.

The Scottish Government measures include £120 million to extend the Small Business Grant scheme to ensure that, in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business rate payers will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties.

A £100 million fund is also being made available to protect self-employed people and viable micro and SME businesses. This fund will be channelled through local authorities and enterprise agencies to target newly self-employed people and businesses who are ineligible for other Scottish Government or UK Government schemes.

Applications will be open by the end of the month, and the new arrangements for the Small Business Grant will be in place to receive applications on 5th May.

What Is Shielding?

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically at high risk from Coronavirus, by supporting them to self-isolate to minimise all interaction with others.

If you received a letter from NHS Scotland saying you have a condition that makes you at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, you’re strongly advised to shield yourself to reduce your chance of getting the virus.

People identified as needing to shield should:

  • not leave their homes
  • minimise all non-essential contact with other members of their household

This is to protect those who are at very high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus (COVID-19) from coming into contact with the virus.

More information about shielding is available here.

If think you should be shielding but have not yet received a letter regarding shielding, then you should contact your GP to confirm whether you should be shielding and, if necessary, arrange for registration with the support service.

First Aberdeen Timetable Changes

First Aberdeen have confirmed that they will be revising their emergency timetables from Monday 19th April until further notice to accommodate the current levels of demand during the COVID19 pandemic.  The changes being made incorporate feedback from key workers in order to provide the most suitable journeys to allow them to travel to their places of work.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “The changes in respect of the Nos 3, 13 and 23 are fairly minor during the week, other than the time of the last bus being 1-2 hours earlier dependent on the route. There are significant frequency reductions to the 13 route on Sundays and the last bus on all routes is 1-2 hours earlier as per the revised weekday timetables”.

“Although these are mostly minor timing changes during the week, please do check out the full timetables if you’re a key worker as a few minutes difference can result in a long wait on these reduced frequencies. Full details are available on the First Aberdeen website

National Helpline Launched

Welcoming the launch of a helpline for people who are isolated, digitally excluded and without support during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lib Dem councillor for Kingswells, Sheddocksley & Summerhill, Steve Delaney said

The following information was issued on behalf of the Scottish Government and COSLA. It is intended to reach people who are isolating and do not have access to the internet.

Only too often we forget about the digitally excluded. This support line offers a vital safety net for those who cannot access online services. Please pass this information to anyone you know who falls into this category. Thank you.

A new national helpline has been set up to provide essential assistance to those who don’t have a network of support but who are at high risk if they contract Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Scottish Government and Local Government have been working with Local Resilience Partnerships across Scotland to set up and launch a coronavirus helpline for people at high risk with an urgent need for support. It has launched today (Tuesday 14th April). This support will be delivered by a range of local groups, including councils, the third sector and volunteers.

The service will offer help to those who do not have family or existing community support and cannot get online and who are over 70, disabled people, require the support of mental health services, are pregnant or receive a flu jab for health reasons. This service is in addition to localised support already available for people who have received letters advising them to shield themselves. However, any of those in the shielding category who are not yet receiving assistance, who do not have family and cannot get online can access support via this new helpline.

We know that constituents may be in touch with you for help at this time and would ask you to direct appropriate cases to this helpline. The helpline (number below) will initially operate during core working hours of 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday while plans are developed and implemented to extend it to operate for a longer period each day. 

Coronavirus free helpline: 0800 111 4000

Callers will be automatically connected to their local authority who will support them to access the service they need, such as:

  • essential food and medication
  • links to local social work services for vulnerable children or adults
  • emotional support
  • contact with local volunteer groups.

Please remember this helpline is dedicated to helping those who cannot leave their home and who cannot get help online.

Hearing Aid Batteries

Because of Covid-19, many deaf people have not been able to collect new hearing aid batteries because it is not safe to go to hospitals to pick them up.

The Scottish Government aims to ensure a supply of batteries so that people have enough to see them through the lockdown (stay home).

The new arrangement is:

1) Contact your local Health Board to let them know you want new batteries.

2) Arrange with the Health Board for you either to collect from a community hub, or deliver them to your home along with your food delivery.

Taking Exercise During The Lockdown

Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay

Even with the lockdown, it is important that we all try to keep fit. Taking appropriate exercise is good for our physical and mental health. 

People across the UK have been taking part in free online workouts, including those provides by Joe Wicks. The BBC has provided links to free workouts you can do at home. You can find lots of other resources available online.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “For many others, including myself and my wife, our daily exercise is a walk, often through the countryside paths which run from Sheddocksley to Kingswells or towards Tesco or Lidl if we’re run out of something! Please do say hello if you (I was going to say bump into us…) come within six feet of us!”

“Enjoy your walks, remember social distancing and please ring your bell if you’re cycling and just hope someone doesn’t think it’s an alert on their phone, as I did the other day!”

Aberdeen’s Libraries Go Online

Aberdeen City Library has had an online presence for some time and these services have seen an increase in use during the current lockdown. Unfortunately many residents are unaware of this and others might not have considered going digital. All you need is your library card to access these services.

The library service has increased the number of digital resources available to members. These include BorrowBox, RB Digital UK and PressReader which provide free access to thousands of eBooks, eAudiobooks, eComics and digital copies of newspaper and magazines.

Aberdeen City Council has confirmed that no fines will be issued for books currently out on loan and cannot return them due to the closures.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “There’s a vast resource of library books and other materials online. Whether you want to do some reading yourself to help pass the time or you’re looking for books for the kids, there’s a wealth of material you can access free of charge. If you’re no longer a member of the library, you can even register online”.

The library is also looking into ways to engage with users via its website and social media channels. This includes providing online help and reading recommendations, Bookbug sessions for children delivered over YouTube and Facebook Live, and much, much more.

The Bookbug sessions can be viewed here:

For more information, visit www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/library or contact Aberdeen City Libraries by emailing LibraryEvents@aberdeencity.gov.uk.

Look Out For Vulnerable Children And Adults

The City Council’s Integrated Children’s and Family Services and the Child Protection Committee are urging communities to adopt an ‘eyes open’ approach to young individuals struggling without the support of schools and nurseries network.

Anyone with any concerns about the health, safety or wellbeing of a child or young person should contact Police Scotland on 101 or the Aberdeen Joint Child Protection Team on 01224 306877 (0800 731 5520 for emergencies out of office hours).

Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership is also asking for an ‘eyes open’ approach for vulnerable adults. 

Measures are in place to provide the right level of support to those adults most in need of care and protection.

There will, however, be vulnerable people who are not known to the services and we need to ensure that they are safe and well.

If you think an adult may be at risk of harm and in need of protection, please contact Duty Social Work on 0800 731 5520.

You can also submit a reporting form online through the Aberdeen City Council website https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/social-care-and-health/adult-support-and-protection./.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “I’m pleased to see support services in place to support vulnerable people during these unusually difficult times. Please don’t assume that someone who is clearly struggling has a support network in place. Unless you know this to be the case, please make contact on one of the above numbers”.

“There are going to be people who slip through the net, most especially elderly people who have no family, so please make that call. If you’ve got it wrong and support is already in place, at least you cared enough to take action”.

Update On Recycling & Brown Bin Collections

Aberdeen City Council has announced the resumption of brown bin recycling collections but on a reduced monthly frequency.

Commenting on the partial reintroduction all mixed recycling, garden and food waste collections in Aberdeen Liberal Democrat Operations Spokesperson Steve Delaney said, “ The Liberal Democrats welcome the reintroduction of collections of mixed recycling, food waste and garden waste in Aberdeen”. 

“Some residents were left confused and dismayed when the decision was taken to temporarily suspend emptying both brown bins and recycling bins in order to stick to social distancing rules. Not everyone got the news of this change which meant bins were still put out on dates when there was no collection. Some people also mistakenly thought they had to put all their waste and recycling in the same bin”. 

“I am delighted that staff from other council services have volunteered to help with waste and recycling collections. Thanks to them, mixed recycling and brown bin collections can restart, albeit on a reduced frequency.”

Councillor Delaney continued, “Whilst four weekly collections of mixed recycling, food and garden waste will present a challenge for some families, this is certainly a vast improvement on no service at all.

“With all household recycling centres closed throughout Scotland, the only remaining option is for excess recycling to be taken to supermarket recycling centres. I have done this myself, as have others but it’s not an option for residents who are either in the shielding group and unable to leave their home, or those do not have access to a car. For these people the challenge of what to do with overflowing recycling will remain unresolved”.

“Most people I have spoken with understand why this situation has arisen and the need to protect council staff. We should never be asking anyone, let alone our key workers, to put themselves at risk in order to deliver the essential services upon which we all depend. That’s why it was important for the council to find a solution that gets the job done without risking the lives of staff collecting waste and recycling”.

A calendar showing which collections are on which days can be found here.

Mind Of My Own APP Now Includes Coronavirus Support

Aberdeen City Council has issued a reminder to the city’s vulnerable young people that they can access support through the current Covid-19 pandemic via an innovative app launched by the council last year.  

Since March 2019 the Mind Of My Own app has helped the city’s care-experienced young people make their voices heard and make decisions on their lives by saying how they are feeling, what support they need and to tell their care worker about the things that are important to them.  

With the use of Mind Of My Own, users can help overcome feelings of anxiety, isolation or loneliness by sending their worker a statement , which will be received by email, to let them know how the user is feeling and allow the individual to feel connected and digitally close to them at this time.

The app can be downloaded from an app store or by creating an account at https://one.mindofmyown.org.uk/

If potential users find this difficult, they can contact their worker and be supported through the downloading process.  

Vouchers Issued For Those Entitled To Free School Meals

Following the closure of our schools on 27 March, pupils who were entitled to free school meals were still able to get these but had to attend school at lunchtime for these.

With effect from 6 April, supermarket vouchers will instead be issued to eligible families. These will be issued fortnightly and will also cover what should have been the Easter break. During this first week when vouchers are being sent out, school meals will continue to be provided at school as normal.

Lib Dem councillor for Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill said, “I’m sure families will appreciate the move to vouchers as it helps protect children by allowing for social distancing and avoids the need to travel to school daily at at time when we’re all much safer at home”.

Parents should automatically receive these vouchers by email or text. If you do not receive these next week or the school do not have your email or mobile number please call the Virtual School Helpline on 01224 523322.

Everyone’s Bin Confused!

As I look through my mailbox this morning and look out my window, it appears that last week’s announcement from the council about suspending recycling collections has left people confused. Today is recycling day in Sheddocksley but most people have put out their household rubbish bins.

The statement from Aberdeen City Council said, “Services have been suspended so the collections team can implement new ways of working, following the Government’s guidance on social distancing. The team can then assess the impact of the new ways of working and review. “

For avoidance of doubt, please note the following

  1. There will be no pickups of recycling bins or brown bins until further notice.
  2. I will post online when these resume.
  3. Mixed recycling can be disposed of at supermarket recycling points, otherwise it will need to be stored until collections resume..
  4. Food waste can be put in with household rubbish at the moment.
  5. There is no way to get rid of garden waste at the moment.
  6. Household rubbish collections remain fortnightly
  7. There is currently no collection at all on recycling days.
  8. Please don’t shoot the messenger 😟

Help For Communities

A new website and phoneline launched today, providing people all across Grampian with information on how to access social, practical and emotional support on Coronavirus (COVID-19).  

The new Assistance Hub goes live this morning, pulling together links to the latest advice from a range of partners including all three local authorities, Police, Health, Red Cross, volunteers and community information. It is a site for anyone in Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray, with information for residents and businesses alike.   

The website address is www.GCAH.org.uk or call 0808 196 3384 (8am-8pm 7 days a week). The number will complement other helplines, including Aberdeen City Council’s Crisis Support Line, which was launched last week and can be reached directly on 0800 0304 713.

The website is full of links with up-to-date information. The main objective is as a focal point for information and assistance for anyone affected by coronavirus anywhere in Grampian. It is also a way for residents to offer their support which they can safely deliver in their communities. Staff are on the phone to provide callers with up to date information, or to link them up with the right person who can quickly answer questions.  Another important feature is that the site can be used to request help on behalf of someone else, allowing friends and neighbours to signpost to someone in need. 

Lib Dem councillor for Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill said, “There’s so many useful new websites popping up offering advice about the coronavirus, public services, the lockdown and much more, that people are getting confused about where to go to locate specific information”.

“The amount of work which has gone into Aberdeen City Council’s coronavirus page is commendable as it the Business Gateway, NHS Grampian’s dedicated resource and a number of others but now we need to join the dots so people can find what they need quickly and easily without having to check a dozen sites with the risk that they encounter misinformation amongst the wealth of fact based resources”.

“My advice is simple, make the Advice Hub your homepage and you can’t go wrong. It links directly to all the other pages but offers much more besides, in a user friendly interface. Thanks to all the public sector partners in our area for this invaluable resource”.

Crisis Helpline

0800 0304 713

Aberdeen City Council has launched a freephone Crisis Helpline for people who find themselves in urgent need.

This service is for crisis only. It is for those who are hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak and unable to find the information they are looking for or unable to get help from their existing support networks, in these unprecedented times.

This number will be open from 8am-6pm Monday to Friday until further notice.

Members of the emergency helpline team are ready to provide welfare and financial advice and support, including what to do if you are struggling to get food or pay bills.

Further Reductions To Kingswells Bus Services

Following the temporary closure of most local businesses, bus passenger numbers have fallen even further.

With effect from Monday 30 March there will be further reductions to the frequencies of all Stagecoach services. Their new Kingswells timetables can be found here.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “Last week I raised serious concerns about the X17 starting an hour later than usual and the 14 starting two hours later, as these times were unworkable for shift workers. I’m pleased to say the 14 is now starting an hour earlier than last week, though still too late for most key workers on early shifts”.

“These new timetables, which start on Monday, result in the first X17 arriving at the Park & Ride at 06.44 then operating on an hourly service. The first 14 leaves opposite the medical centre at 07.09 and operates on a two hourly frequency all day”.

Steve continued, “Given the temporary closure of most places of work, it was only to be expected that passenger numbers would fall further. However, those who do need to get to work to support the efforts of the NHS, the Police, the Council, our supermarkets and our key supply chains are going to be put under additional stress and further inconvenienced by these service reductions”.

“I continue to have concerns for residents who have no option but to use public transport as reduced frequencies may increase the risk of more people on each bus, making social distancing somewhat challenging and potentially increasing the chances of spreading the virus”

A link to the new timetables for all Stagecoach services across our area and beyond can be found here.

Business Support Portal Launched

Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils have set up a page with useful links and the latest information for businesses affected by the measures put in place to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic. 

This page, which also links to various national agencies and the Business Gateway, is being updated regularly  The link is HERE.

The page includes information on the Council’s administration of the business grants scheme – there is a dedicated number that may be used in relation to specific applications – 01224 346146

A dedicated email address (businessgrowthteam@aberdeencity.gov.uk) has been set up to handle enquiries from local businesses. All issues are being logged and a response system is in place.

Are You Receiving Steve’s Email Updates?

Steve Delaney is the Liberal Democrat councillor for Kingswells, Sheddocksley & Summerhill. He sends out regular local news updates to residents by email.

These updates are normally infrequent, only going out when there’s something of local interest to bring to people’s attention. However, they have become a useful source of accurate information about the impact on public services in our area during the coronavirus pandemic.

If you are not already receiving these updates and would like to be added to the list, click here.

The list is open to anyone living in the Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill Ward, so please forward this page to others who may have an interest. You can of course unsubscribe at any time.

Council Suspends Recycling Collections

Aberdeen City Council has had to temporarily suspend the uplifting of our mixed recycling bins and garden waste brown bins. Their statement on this is reprinted in full below. 

Please read to the end of this page for the latest updated information.

Collection of household mixed recycling bins and brown bin collections (for garden waste and food waste) have been temporarily suspended to allow the City Council’s waste service to introduce measures aimed at adhering to recent guidance on coronavirus prevention.

The waste service will now be working at reduced levels and, in order to prioritise resources to the general waste collection, other services have temporarily been suspended.

This affects only households with wheeled bins and residents should not present their recycling bin or brown bin for collection. Residents are asked to keep their brown bin and recycling bin for now. Food waste should go in the general waste bin during the suspension. The general waste bin is being collected.

Recycling points are still available at many supermarkets and shopping centres but residents should not make special trips to use them. Instead, residents could use them while they are doing their essential shopping, in line with Government guidance. Residents should, where possible, clean their hands before and after use.

Householders should be aware any additional items left beside bins will not be collected. Residents are also reminded that they should not leave anything beside the bins at recycling points or communal bins.

In addition, all household waste and recycling centres in Aberdeen have closed to the public. The household waste and recycling centres are at Bridge of Don, Hazlehead, Bucksburn, Dyce, and Tullos. The decision to close the centres has been made following the new measures imposed by the UK government.

With the closure of the household waste and recycling centres and the suspension of the bulky uplift service, residents should ensure that large items intended for disposal are stored safely away from communal areas.

There is also a Frequently Asked Questions section which can be found here.

Changes To Registrar Services

Aberdeen City Council has published the following information

As from today [March 23], Aberdeen City Council has introduced the following measures in relation to registration service (Births, Deaths, Marriages, Still-Births, Civil Partnership and Citizenship Ceremonies) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Births

• Birth registrations have been suspended until further notice.

Deaths

• Face to face still birth registrations and face to face death registrations have been suspended until further notice. We are awaiting emergency legislation changes and will update our website when the information is available.

Civil Ceremonies

• New measures are in place for our civil ceremonies. A maximum of 4 people can attend a civil ceremony at our offices. This includes the couple and their witnesses.

• Pre-booked civil ceremonies must also adhere to the current attendee restrictions of 4 persons.

• Any marriage/civil partnership paperwork which was due for collection (eg schedules) will be from Marischal College.

• Notice of marriage or civil partnership can only be accepted by post to Marischal College. Please do not send your documentation if your wedding is any further than 6 weeks ahead.

• Should you wish to postpone or cancel a marriage or civil partnership ceremony, please contact the office as soon as possible on 01224 522616. If you wish to cancel you will be entitled to a full refund or we can hold onto your booking until you have decided on another date.

Citizenship Ceremonies

• Citizenship Ceremonies have been postponed until further notice.

Copy Certificates

• Request for historical certificates are only be available via our online service at present.

Coronavirus Assistance

Housing, Welfare, Business & Financial Information All In One Place

Aberdeen City Council has set up links to information which will assist people and businesses who find themselves running into difficulties during the coronavirus outbreak. These difficulties may be health related, financial or indeed have arisen as a result of measures taken by local or national government to control the spread of this deadly virus.

Help For Individuals & Families

It is understood many people may be unfamiliar with the benefits system since the recent introduction of Universal Credit or they be unaware of the raft of additional support measures introduced by UK and Scottish Government to assist them and their families to get by during the enforced closure of their workplace.

With extra strain on household budgets, additional protection has been put into legislation to ensure you do not lose your home (be it council, housing associated, privately rented or mortgaged) and you don’t get your fuel supply cut off if you can’t pay. There’s also help available if you find yourself homeless.

There’s help for people who are in “at risk” groups are self isolating and have no family to support them. There’s also crisis loans and grants for those who have been hit hardest and are unable to get by in the short term.

Help For Businesses

Business can now apply for help to the Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund. The fund is administered by local authorities. Depending on the type and size of your business premises, you can apply for either a £10,000 grant or £25,000 grant.

Finally there’s a freephone Crisis Helpline for people who find themselves in urgent need.

This service is for crisis only. It is for those who are hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak and unable to find the information they are looking for or unable to get help from their existing support networks, in these unprecedented times.

The telephone number 0800 0304 713 will be staffed initially from 8am-6pm Monday to Friday from Tuesday 24 March until further notice.

Members of the emergency helpline team are ready to provide welfare and financial advice and support, including what to do if you are struggling to get food or pay bills.

Local Councillor Steve Delaney said, “I commend council staff for putting this helpful resource together so quickly. The council’s switchboard is being inundated with calls and your waiting times are going to be lengthy if you do decide to call”

“Please use this online help page, which links into information on what assistance is available to you and how to access it, as your One Stop Shop. You will either find the information you need or be transferred to another site with more information. This page lets you access information much quicker than you would by trying to get help over the phone”.

All the information mentioned above, and much more, can be found on Aberdeen City Council’s updated Coronavirus Help Page

Please Help Us Keep Our Children Safe

Aberdeen City Council has issued a plea for communities to support local children and young people through the current Covid-19 outbreak.

Graeme Simpson, Chief Officer for Aberdeen City Council’s Integrated Children’s and Family Services and Sheena Gault, Independent Chair of Aberdeen City’s Child Protection Committee (CPC), issued the following joint statement: “Regardless of the unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in, the health, wellbeing and safety of our young people remains of paramount importance.

“With schools and nurseries having closed from today for the foreseeable future, the onus is on all us to be watchful and to know what to do if we become aware of a child who is struggling or in distress.

“We urge everyone to play a part to keep local children safe. The onus of care has now shifted from schools to local communities, and we’re asking everyone to keep their eyes and ears open.

“Local communities always provide a significant protective factor for children and that’s even more important at a time when families may be under significant additional stress. If you’re at all worried about a child’s welfare, it’s much better to say something than do nothing.”

Anyone with any concerns about the health, safety or wellbeing of a child or young person, should contact Police Scotland on 101 or the Aberdeen Joint Child Protection Team on 01224 306877 (0800 731 5520 for emergencies out of office hours).

Council Frees Up Parking For NHS Staff

Aberdeen City Council has issued 200 free parking permits to NHS Grampian allowing key staff to park within the Foresterhill Controlled Parking Zone during the coronavirus outbreak. Permits will be prioritised and will allow holders to park in any parking bay within the zone, including residents only bays.

NHS Grampian has also lifted all parking restrictions on the Foresterhill site, with the exception of disabled parking bays, which will continue to be enforced to ensure people with disabilities can continue to park close enough to facilities. The restriction preventing NHS staff from using the multi-storey car park has been removed.

These measures have been put in place to ensure NHS staff can get to work and parked during the current pandemic

First Reduces Services In Wake of Coronavirus

Following on from reductions in Stagecoach services earlier this week, FirstAberdeen has announced that its routes will operate on a Sunday services from Thursday 26 March 2020 until further notice.

Lib Dem councillor for Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill Steve Delaney said, “With all but workers in the NHS, the council, food stores and other key support and supply roles now in self isolation it had become inevitable that First’s services would be cut back”.

“Early morning services are to to commence at least an hour later and all services outwith the first few buses will run on a 30 minute frequency”.

“Everything has changed in the last 24 hours. For your own safety please do not travel on public transport unless you are a key worker or you require essential food shopping for yourself or others who are self isolating”.

Within our area the No 3 will start at 06.45, the 13 starts at 07.10 and the 23 starts at 06.40.

Full timetables for all First’s Aberdeen routes effective from 26 March 2020 can be found here

First’s Press Release is reprinted in full below.

First Aberdeen has announced that bus services will operate a revised Sunday timetable during the working week effective from Thursday, March 26th 2020, with additional morning journeys added in to ensure it sustains services for those key workers and emergency service staff needing to make essential travel across the region.

The bus operator is committed to continuing services wherever possible so that those who need to make essential journeys, like health service and emergency workers, can continue to do so.

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined strict new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus, including advice that people should leave home only to exercise once a day, travel to and from work where “absolutely necessary”, shop for essential items and to fulfil any medical or care needs.

Recent days have seen bus passenger numbers continue to reduce as people adhere to the government lockdown

This is reflected across other sectors, all of which have had to review and reduce their operations in view of the fast-moving coronavirus outbreak.

First has written to the Local Traffic Commissioner about its intentions as well as keeping the relevant local authorities and key stakeholders up to date. Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director of First Aberdeen, said: “With much of the UK effectively ordered to stay at home for at least the next few weeks, we have made the decision to move to a Sunday timetable to support those who still need to get to and from work and get out to shops and pharmacies, whilst fulfilling our own role as vital key workers during this time of national crisis.

“Just a few weeks ago it was almost inconceivable that these restrictions would be in place, which only underlines what a challenging, dynamic and rapidly evolving situation the UK faces, and one which First Aberdeen is monitoring and responding to day-by-day, hour-by-hour.

“It’s important to emphasise that we are in constant contact with stakeholders, including local authorities and ministers, and rest assured everything is being done to keep those key workers mobile as the nation comes together to limit the spread of coronavirus.

“We are doing everything possible to deploy staff across our operations with a view to minimising the impacts for everybody.

“Regular customers can be assured we will endeavour to get more frequent services back up and running as soon as the Government decides it is safe to do so.

“Please bear with us as given the fast-changing nature of the situation it will be difficult to keep all our communication channels updated with the latest information.”

The service information in the First Bus app for example, will not reflect updated timetables, so customers are advised to refer to the First Aberdeen website for the most up to date service information, travel advice and information about Coronavirus.

https://www.firstgroup.com/aberdeen/plan-journey/covid-19-update

Emergency Timetables Axe Kingswells Early Morning Services And Reduce Bus Frequencies

Stagecoach have announced a reduction in frequency on all their services with effect from Monday. The X17 service is reduced to half-hourly and the council funded 14 reverts to a Sunday service 7 days a week. There are also changes to the 727 Aberdeen Airport service which can be found here.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “Passenger numbers across all bus routes have dropped dramatically in light of Government advice not to use public transport unless you have to, but many people have no choice”.

“These new timetables result in the first X17 arriving at the Park & Ride at 06.44 rather than 05.49. The changes to the 14 are even worse with the first bus opposite the medical centre leaving at 08.03 rather than the usual 06.03 which is going to prevent many residents from getting to work on time”.

Steve continued, “whilst I can fully understand that adjustments to timetables may be necessary if some of the drivers are having to self isolating, the later starting times leave many people unable to get to work”.

“In addition, the reduced frequency on the X17 is likely to result in more passengers on each bus, which makes social distancing somewhat challenging and increases the chances of spreading the virus. I am very concerned that Stagecoach have not thought this one through”

Current Kingswells timetables can be found here

New Kingswells/Westhill timetables can be found here.

Stagecoach’s Press Release is reprinted in full below.

Temporary changes to bus services in Aberdeenshire and Moray are being introduced by Stagecoach from Monday 23rd March following new government advice around social contact and non-essential travel to help combat the coronavirus.

A reduced timetable will operate across the region until further notice. The timetables have been carefully created to ensure that critical routes are maintained wherever possible.

The majority of bus services in Aberdeenshire and Moray will operate to a Sunday timetable with additional journeys in the mornings to allow those continuing to commute by bus to work can do so, 7 days a week. Discounted bus travel continues to be available for NHS staff commuting with Aberdeen zone 2 (zone 2 covers services in the city centre and to Balmedie, Westhill and Portlethen). The discounted 7-day bus ticket is available to purchase direct from any Stagecoach bus driver.

The reduction in service follows extensive action by bus operators to enhance cleaning regimes and protect the safety and well-being of customers and employees.

Peter Knight, Managing Director for Stagecoach Bluebird said: “Along with other bus operators and key sectors, we are working hard to support the national effort to tackle the current challenging situation.

“The safety of our customers and our employees is at the heart of everything we do and the vast majority of the workforce cannot work from home. We also know that our bus services play a vital role in keeping the country running and ensuring key sector personnel get to work.

“Following the latest government advice, we have reviewed our timetables and made temporary changes which reflect the reduced level of travel. Our objective has been to focus resources on where we know they are needed most at this time.

“We are working hard to best maintain essential services, safeguard jobs and ensure the long-term sustainability of a sector which is central to our economy and communities.

“I want to reassure all members of the community that Stagecoach Bluebird remains closely engaged with a number of local and national stakeholders to ensure that our services meet the needs of the communities that we proudly serve, in what is a dynamic situation.”

Since the impact of the coronavirus in the UK, Stagecoach has implemented additional hygiene measures to protect passengers, frontline bus workers and office-based staff.

In addition to well-established and rigorous cleaning regimes, there has been more frequent cleaning of main customer touch-points on buses, such as hand poles and grab rails.

Travel shops in Aberdeen, Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Elgin and Inverness will also close until further notice.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “This announcement relates to all services travelling in and out of Aberdeen with the exception of the No 14 Kingswells service which is funded by Aberdeen City Council. There are currently no changes proposed for this service apart from the removal of the weekend service, as previously advised, from a yet unspecified date in April”.

Customers can stay up to date with all the latest news from Stagecoach on Twitter @StagecoachBBird or by signing up to their email mailing list, full details are available at stagecoachbus.com.

Information On Available Support Following School Closures

Following the Scottish Government’s decision to close of all schools from 20 March 2020, Aberdeen City Council has put in place a number of measures to try to minimise the impact on both pupils and their families.

Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill councillor Steve Delaney said, “In a national emergency such as this, it has become necessary to close our schools to the majority of pupils for their own safety during what is expected to be the peak period in the life cycle of this virus. Those who will remain in our schools – pupils, teachers and support staff, should find social distancing to be less of a challenge due to the vastly reduced numbers”.

“The education team, working with others, has done an excellent job of putting in place support measures for our children to allow them to continue learning at home during this difficult time. I would like to thank all staff for the work they have done to pull everything together in such a short timeframe”.

“However, these and other support measures listed below will not take the place of regular schooling and it is understood many families may struggle to make suitable childcare arrangements at such short notice”.

Arrangements During School Closures Are As Follows

Schools will remain open for S4, S5, S6 pupils who require to attend sessions to complete senior phase course work for national qualifications. This vital service must as there will be no formal examinations this year, with grades being awarded on the basis of course work.

Families whose children who would normally receive free school meals during term time will be contacted through Groupcall to advise on how this service will continue to operate for their children.

Parents who work in the NHS and other workers defined by the Scottish Government as being critical to supporting the coronavirus response (who have nobody available to look after their children) will be able to apply online for childcare places. These places are limited and will often not be at the child’s usual school. There is a waiting list and two categories of key workers, with category one parents receiving access to places first. Work is ongoing to create additional places.

A Digital Learning Hub learning has been put in place to allow children to continue their work through the curriculum from home. Separate log ons will be available to support teachers and parents. Digital provision will be made available for children who have no access at home. The Digital Learning Hub can be accessed here.

A virtual school helpline has been established to support children and families in need of assistance.  The phoneline will be made available from 9am on 23 March 2020 and the number is 01224 523322.

Necessary Changes To Ensure Delivery Of Essential Services

Aberdeen City Council is in the process of moving into resilience mode in order to ensure they have sufficient resources to tackle the coronavirus whilst protecting the most vital public services and our most vulnerable citizens.

This means that certain services we expect the council to deliver will be reduced or even stopped for a number of weeks, possibly months, to ensure essential core services can still be delivered. This has become necessary as a result of staff being sent home after displaying virus-like symptoms and others having to self-isolate for their own safety due to underlying health conditions, all in accordance with Scottish Government guidance.

The council’s statement reads as follows:-

The core services include gritting as road surface temperatures are still going to about 0C overnight, traffic coordination and traffic lights to assist emergency services, emergency repair work and health and safety maintenance to council homes and properties, collection of recycling and waste bins from households, ensuring a capacity of HGV-licensed drivers, crematorium and burial services, essential janitorial and school meal provision services, and essential health, environmental protection and trading standards services.

To ensure these core services can be carried out over the coming weeks, other work will be reduced or is stopped meantime. This includes planned road repairs (excluding emergency works), special refuse collections also known as bulky uplifts (excluding where there is a fire risk in multi storeys), communal recycling and waste bins, planned repair or maintenance works to council homes, and reduced grass cutting and gardening work. All libraries across the city have now closed.

While cremations will continue to take place, no new bookings for chapel services at Aberdeen Crematorium are being taken from Monday to help minimise the spread of coronavirus. There will only be City Council staff at the Aberdeen Crematorium building.

Kingswells, Sheddocksley councillor Steve Delaney said, “None of want to see council services reduced but, sadly, we need to face the reality of a national emergency situation and ensure that Aberdeen City Council have sufficient staff and resources to play their part in the work being done by all public sector partners, including NHS, Police, Fire Service and voluntary sector partners”.

“These measures will enable us to play our part in the fight against the coronavirus as well as ensuring our household bins are emptied and our key workers, our most vulnerable residents and those self isolating are all adequately supported”.

Coronavirus (COVID19) Latest Update On Council Buildings & Council Services

Message from Councillor Steve Delaney

The situation around the Coronavirus pandemic is evolving daily, if not hourly. I would advise everyone to take heed of the official advice coming from UK Government, Scottish Government and Aberdeen City Council, which will continue to evolve based upon the best evidence available.

Aberdeen City Council has had to shut down all public buildings with the exception of Marischal College (which is opening for reduced hours).Most council services are continuing to operate but this may be subject to change to ensure the most critical services can continue to run at all times.

For the latest information from Aberdeen City Council click HERE

Changes in Temporary Traffic Order – Stronsay Drive

Start Date and Time : 17 February 2020 06:00 
End Date and Time : 30 March 2020 06:00

Location : Stronsay Drive

Description : The effect of the order is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on Stronsay Drive, Aberdeen, between its junction with Stronsay Crescent and the access to numbers 110-120 Stronsay Drive, from 06:00 on 17 February 2020, until 022:00 on 18 March 2020, and on Gairsay Road, Aberdeen, between its junction with Stronsay Drive and a point 40m in a westerly direction from 06:00 on 17 February 2020, until 06:00 on 30 March 2020.

There will also be a prohibition of waiting on the same stretches of road. Access to properties will be maintained.

An alternative route is available via Stronsay Place, Summerhill Terrace, Summerhill Road and Lang Stracht.

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

The Stronsay Drive section is expected to be completed within three weeks if no difficulties are encountered.

The measures are necessary to protect public safety during sewer installation works for Aberdeen City Council.

Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to Hatton Traffic Management on 01224 795399, or info@hattontraffic.co.uk