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‘An opportunity we can’t afford to miss’: Aberdeen Inspired issues final pedestrianisation plea before council elections

Aberdeen Inspired is making a rallying cry for pedestrianisation.
Aberdeen Inspired is making a rallying cry for pedestrianisation.

Aberdeen Inspired has issued a last-minute rallying cry for councillors to back the pedestrianisation of Union Street as voters prepare to take to the polls.

The business improvement group is speaking out ahead of the council elections on Thursday – addressing residents as well as those who will ultimately control the local authority.

The group is urging new and re-elected councillors not to “miss a major opportunity” to “halt the further decline” of the city centre.

This is the vision for Union Street that Aberdeen Inspired wants to see come to life.

Aberdeen Inspired urges voters to ‘make their views known’ on Union Street

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, insists many businesses back pedestrianisation.

He said: “The partial pedestrianisation of Union Street has generated widespread debate but we firmly believe it is the key to unlocking a brighter future for Aberdeen’s city centre.

“Many of our levy payers agree that proper pedestrianisation would pave the way for renewed investment, and bring businesses back to that part of our main street.

“This is an opportunity to halt the decline of our city centre that we simply cannot afford to miss.

“As we go to the polls this week for the local government elections, we encourage supporters to make their views known.

“And we look forward to working with the new elected members to drive continued change for our city centre.”

What are party positions on Granite Mile?

As outlined in our voters guide, the future of Aberdeen’s main shopping street is an important matter for many.

In our poll, 72% of readers said candidates’ stances on pedestrianisation would influence their vote.

Aberdeen Labour and the Conservatives have pledged to see through their plans to ban traffic for good if in power.

Pedestrianisation is tied to hopes of a new £50m market in Union Street central. Picture: Aberdeen City Council.

The Lib Dems want bus and taxi access to continue “until such time as viable alternative arrangements” are put in place for those with mobility problems.

The Greens say they want to provide “accessible and inclusive pedestrianisation” in the city.

And the SNP are “not ruling out any options at this point in time” regarding pedestrianisation.

Alison Chaney, store manager, M&S, St Nicholas, Adrian Watson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen inspired, and Craig Stevenson, Bon Accord centre manager on Union Streeet last summer.

What next for Union Street?

The section in question has been closed for about two years, firstly under Spaces for People social distancing measures.

The council’s current administration had hoped to seal the future of the Bridge Street to Market Street stretch before the elections.

But the plans were thrown into doubt when councillors sensationally voted to press pause on the major project in February.

In the coming weeks, it will be reopened to buses and taxis.

And its longer term future will be debated next month.

Barriers ‘can be overcome’

Mr Watson said concerns about accessibility could – and must – be addressed.

But he added: “These barriers have been overcome in every other major city in the UK and we need to work together to find viable solutions.”

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