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The tar over the cobbles on Windmill Brae, Aberdeen back in September last year
The tar over the cobbles on Windmill Brae, Aberdeen back in September last year

Letters show how ‘Cobblegate’ council blunder was just meant to be a “temporary repair”

A high-profile £10,000 council blunder which resulted in historic Aberdeen cobbles being covered in tar was only intended as a “temporary repair”, new correspondence indicates.

The medieval stones on Windmill Brae were tarmacked over by council workers in August last year to the fury of residents and heritage groups.

Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart wrote to the local authority shortly after the botched job was revealed and has now received a reply around eight months later.

Revealed: The cost of laying – and removing – tar from historic Aberdeen cobbles

The letter, from the interim director of infrastructure Bernadette Marjoram, said the cost of removing the tar increased “the cost of the trial to approx. £10,000”.

It reads: “There were requests to infill or reinstate the many damaged areas of granite setts around the city centre. This is a problem that has been increasing over the years and the manual process of filling the setts is time consuming and expensive.

“Although this would provide a temporary repair the operation was intended as a trial. It was considered that the asphalt paving machine may be able to infill the gaps between the setts and that any materials adhering to the surface… would break off or be able to be swept off…

“A method of making safe the city centre setts will need to be found and further trials will be required…”

Bungling council workers tar over historic Aberdeen cobbles

Mr Stewart said: “This response really rubs salt into the wound of the disastrous council-led vandalism inflicted on our city last summer.

“No explanation has been given as to why the historical and cultural relevance of medieval Aberdeen was not taken into consideration, nor why that particular cheap and hideous tar was even used.

“When I went to Windmill Brae last August to see the site myself I was able to pick up clumps of tarmac which had become loose and scattered across the hideous hack repair job.

“Aberdeen City Council has wasted £10,000 on laying and removing a ‘trial’ road repair material, rather than spending money on a quality long-term solution.

“I am seeking assurances that measures are put in place so this kind of blunder does not happen again, and I will expect an improvement on the response time for that.”