New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Sheddocksley Road

Start Date and Time : 29 November 2021 04:00
End Date and Time : 12 January 2022 17:00

Location : Sheddocksley Road

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 04:00 on 29 November, 2021 until 17:00 on 12 January, 2022, is to impose a temporary prohibition of waiting on both sides of Sheddocksley Road, Aberdeen, between its junction with Sheddocksley Drive to Maidencraig Place.

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 measure is necessary to protect public safety during ACC footway resurfacing works.

Councillors Back Motion To End Pandemic Isolation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Draft Project Closes Pending Hearing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – ENDRICK PLACE

 

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Start Date and Time : 16 November 2020 07:30

End Date and Time : 27 November 2020 17:00

Location : ENDRICK PLACE

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

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

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

‘Spaces For People’ Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction Of New smoke Detector Regulations Delayed By 12 Months

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

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

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

Key points of the new regulations include:

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

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

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

Clearing Leaves From Footways

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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?”