Kingswells Bus Service Changes

FirstAberdeen is consulting on changes to bus services across Aberdeen. It is proposed that any changes commence from 16th September 2012.

The main changes to the current 14/15 service which serves Kingswells are as follows:-

The current No 14/15 service is to become the No 11 and will follow the normal route into the City Centre, then pick up the present No 16 route and terminate at Springhill. Unfortunately the daytime frequency remains as dire as it is at present, running every 30 minutes. The main changes which may be of interest to Kingswells residents relate to the proposed route through the village. Please note the original proposal (as shown on the linked map) was designed to miss out the Fairley Road link but this has now been added back to the route.

Steve Delaney, now Councillor for Kingswells/Sheddocksley, gave evidence to a Public Inquiry in 2010, following on from representation he had made to the Traffic Commissioner as a result of unreliable bus services across Aberdeen. He has continued to campaign for better bus services since then. Steve met with FirstAberdeen ahead of the public consultation and urges local residents to have their say.

Steve said, “I have raised particular concerns with First regarding the removal of Fairley Road from the route. There are a number of elderly residents in this area and, for many, this is their only means of  transport. It  would also appear that First  may not have factored in the 120 new houses planned for West Huxterstone when proposing this change. Strong representation from Kingswells Community Council, local residents and myself has resulted in this vital section of the route being retained. I would commend FirstAberdeen for their commonsense approach in this respect”.

He continued, “The half hourly daytime service to Kingswells remains unacceptable. I have made this clear to FirstAberdeen and you can rest assured I will continue to press for better bus services for our area. However, there are two distinct improvements proposed over the current level of service. The 30 minute service will operate until approximately 2200 (with the last bus leaving the City Centre at about 2300) which is a much needed improvement over the current hourly service in the evenings. The re-introduction of the late night buses to Kingswells at the weekends is also welcomed”.

The consultation runs until 15th July 2012. Residents wishing to make their views known should write to Duncan Cameron, Operations Director, FirstAberdeen, 395 King Street, Aberdeen. AB24 5RP.

Changes to Nos 3, 13, 23 & 25 Bus Routes

FirstAberdeen is consulting on changes to bus services across Aberdeen. It is intended that any changes commence from 16th September 2012. The main proposals are as follows:-

Service 25

This once popular service has been eroded by First in recent years, initially be cutting the Sheddocksley link then following this with reductions in frequency. Currently it operates on an hourly frequency but they plan to withdraw the service in September. An additional bus per hour is being added to the No 3 route as it moves to a 10 minute frequency.

Services 23 & 3

These will move from a 12 minute frequency to a 10 minute frequency during the day. Evening and weekend services remain largely unchanged. Additional measures have been introduced to improve timekeeping on the No 23 route.

Service 13

This service will move from a 30 minute frequency to 20 minutes during the day. Evening and weekend services remain largely unchanged. The route will no longer go to the Beach and will now terminate at Golf Links instead.

Steve Delaney, now Councillor for Kingswells/Sheddocksley, gave evidence to a Public Inquiry in 2010, following on from representation he had made to the Traffic Commissioner as a result of unreliable bus services across Aberdeen. He has continued to campaign for better bus services since then. Steve met with FirstAberdeen ahead of the public consultation and urges local residents to have their say.

Steve said, “I welcome the increased frequencies on bus services on the 3, 13 and 23 routes. However, just as important, or perhaps more so, is  for buses to arrive on time. Although much progress has been made since 2010 it has come at the cost of reduced services in many parts of the city. In particular, the No 13 running on a 20 minute daytime frequency and an hourly service in the evenings remains totally unacceptable, given the number of people who rely on this route. FirstAberdeen are aware of my strong views on this and I will continue to press for an improved frequency on this essential service”.

The consultation runs until 15th July 2012. Residents wishing to make their views known should write to Duncan Cameron, Operations Director, FirstAberdeen, 395 King Street, Aberdeen. AB24 5RP.

Additional Consultation Event On Buses

Councillor Steve Delaney has welcomed the decision to hold a city centre consultation event about proposed changes to bus services.

Steve said, “When I met with FirstAberdeen on 25th June one of the issues I raised with them was the short notice for the consultation events and another was the lack of a central event for those living outwith the areas where events were planned.

As a result they have just announced a further consultation event on their proposed changes. There will be a public drop-in session on Wednesday 4th July at the Douglas Hotel from 10am to 6pm. This will give everyone who was unable to attend this week’s events to go along and have their questions answered”.

Steve will be posting further updates on the impact of the proposed changes over the next few days.

Delaney Hits Out At Undemocratic Labour

Aberdeen City Council Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Steve Delaney, was disgusted at Monday’s undemocratic decision by Labour to neuter the role of the Audit and Risk Committee by changing its remit to prevent it looking at anything other than decisions which have already been taken.

Labour’s Willie Young called for an Urgent Business Committee after opposition leaders decided to bring forward September’s meeting of the Audit and Risk Committee in order to scrutinise the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) business case for the City Garden Project and wider city centre regeneration.

The TIF business case for the City Garden Project is designed to set out the financial viability for the City Gardens Project, the renovation of the Art Gallery, and improvements to the Denburn Valley, and will determine the affordability of the scheme.

Cllr Young had already made it clear he would remove the opposition leaders (who head up this committee) unless they toed his Administration’s line and abandoned the meeting.

Clearly  Cllr Young has had his wings clipped as Labour backed away from the removal of Audit and Risk Committee office bearers and have now agreed to put the TIF case to a Finance and Resources meeting as should have happened in the first place. However, that does not detract from the undemocratic decision regarding the limits now imposed on the committee’s powers.

Councillor Delaney: said:

“The necessity to call an Audit & Risk Committee before the recess came after Cllr Young  withdrew the TIF report from the Finance & Resources Committee last week. We received no valid reason why the report had been withdrawn and this action raised a number of questions.

Audit and Risk is tasked to ensure good governance of the city and hold the Administration to account. Limiting the powers of this committee just because they choose to scrutinise the TIF business case in defiance of the ruling Administration completely undermines due process and reduces the effectiveness of this committee.

Labour’s approach is nothing short of Dictatorship. No administration should, when challenged, behave in this manner. It runs contrary to the spirit of Audit Scotland’s recommendations in 2008 and demonstrates how this Labour/Tory/Independent Administration intends to ‘bully’ the Council. Opposition members are there to contribute to debates and challenge the Administration, not to be silenced by those in power”.

Rotten Tooth Removed

The industrial type telecoms mast which has incensed a local community for nearly three years and was described by a local councillor as a “rotten tooth on the landscape” has finally gone.

The mast was a replacement for one at the former Cocker’s Garden Centre. It was meant to be temporary for a period not exceeding six months and was to be removed as soon as an alternative site could be found in the area. The applicant was on several occasions operating without Planning Permission by remaining on site following the expiry of previous permission, making a mockery of Development Control.

The structure had comprised of a large industrial type base and a mast which rose significantly higher than the more discrete street furniture type masts used elsewhere. It sat in a field adjacent to housing and was clearly visible from most parts of South Sheddocksley.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Steve Delaney said, “I fully accept that most of the population use mobile phones and the masts need to go somewhere. My long running issue here is purely with the type and location of this mast. It is visually obtrusive and not of an acceptable type in a residential area. Had this been proposed as a permanent location, it would be unlikely to have have been granted permission”.

Steve, who battled with the Council for 33 months to have it removed said, “What a relief is is to be able to look out across the fields again, without having to stare at the blot on the landscape. I’m thoroughly disgusted at how often “temporary permission” was extended with little evidence that a new site was being sought. It became a talking point and residents are just glad to see the back of it”.