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Controversial benches removed from Union Street after days get new life in Victoria Park

Friends of Victoria and Westburn Park Chairman Peter Stephen with Councillor Bill Cormie at Victoria Park, Westburn Road, Aberdeen. New benches formerly used as part of Spaces For People have been added to the sensory garden in the park.
Pictured by Darrell Benns on 13/04/2021
Friends of Victoria and Westburn Park Chairman Peter Stephen with Councillor Bill Cormie at Victoria Park, Westburn Road, Aberdeen. New benches formerly used as part of Spaces For People have been added to the sensory garden in the park. Pictured by Darrell Benns on 13/04/2021

Picnic benches removed from Aberdeen city centre within days last year after encouraging people to gather together against Covid guidelines have been granted a new life in a park.

Brightly-coloured tables were put in place on the pedestrianised stretch of Union Street in September, as part of the £1.76 million Spaces for People scheme.

But after criticism that the benches were seen as an invitation for people to gather in groups against Covid rules, they were taken away shortly after they appeared.

But now two of the benches, which have a gap in their seating for wheelchair users and prams, have been given a new home in the sensory garden of Victoria Park.

Rosemount and Midstocket councillor Bill Cormie says he “badgered” the council over bringing the benches to the park.

He said: “They’re superb, I’m fair delighted.

“They’re good-quality benches, and what’s best is they’re good for families with a buggy, or somebody that’s disabled can have a seat as well.”

Peter Stephen, chairman of the Friends of Victoria and Westburn Park, added: “We’re absolutely delighted, they’re a splendid addition to the park.

“On Union Street, they took away from the point of lockdown, because people would gather around about them.

“So we’re happy to see them being put to use.”

City council co-leader, Jenny Laing, said: “We are delighted local park and community groups are able to benefit from the wheelchair-friendly park benches which were bought with the support of Sustrans, and we hope people will get a lot of use out of them in the warmer months.”

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