A last ditch plea for the removal of Spaces For People in Rosemount is being put to officials as a decision on its future looms.
Aberdeen City Council introduced a controversial one-way system in Rosemount Place as part of the £1.76 million physical distancing project to allow people extra space on pavements during the pandemic.
A popular shopping spot due to its number of small independent businesses, traders have long fought the change which removed the bottom half of the street between Mount Street and Esslemont Avenue from the bus route heading up the hill.
Traffic is only allowed to travel down the hill from Argyll Place to Mount Street, with a bike lane in the other direction.
The temporary change has not been limited to Rosemount, with the central stretch of Union Street pedestrianised and other change around Belmont Street, Upperkirkgate and Schoolhill, Torry and George Street.
Rosemount trader: ‘Customers have given up getting here’
But the work in Rosemount has left business owners, such as Faye Howard of Wool For Ewe, feeling cut off – with many customers unable to take on the slope or to find their way through the new roads system.
She told us: “We need the bus back; customers have told us that they have given up on getting here.
“The one-way system has been in place for over a year but people have not been driving but that’s combined with huge amount of roadworks going on in Aberdeen just now.
“I take five detours to get to the shop from Inverurie and there is another starting next week.
“People are actually not coming because they cannot get here or other local businesses that the council are so ‘desperate’ to keep open and help survive.”
Around Aberdeenshire, similar work in towns such as Ellon, Inverurie and Stonehaven has already been scaled back.
There are hopes – bolstered by the demands of former council co-leader Douglas Lumsden days before he was elected to Holyrood – at least some parts of Aberdeen will soon follow suit.
Claims Rosemount one-way is ‘an utter disaster’
Local councillor Bill Cormie has raised speeding concerns with police as Rosemount Place is used “like a racing track” – and is pushing for the chicanes of cones to be removed on safety and commercial grounds.
Mr Cormie said: “From the start, it was overkill in Rosemount; everybody felt that.
“We are fortunate to have a good shopping experience in Rosemount and we don’t want to lose that.
“The one-way system has been a complete, total and utter disaster; there is no question about that.
“We need the parking taken out of the middle of the road to allow buses to go both ways, so people can come in and use the shops. The sooner the better.”
Recommendations on the future of the measures – brought in with NHS backing – will be published on Thursday, with councillors to decide what should happen – amid reports of the arrival of a third coronavirus wave – a week later.
Council leader Jenny Laing, also a Midstocket and Rosemount member, said: “On each occasion the Spaces For People interventions have been discussed the administration has always relied heavily on the advice of the Scottish Government and NHS Grampian.
“Councillor Cormie and the SNP have had the opportunity on a number of occasions to propose the removal of the Rosemount measures but have failed to do so.
“In May we asked officers to bring a report to the city growth and resources meeting on June 24 detailing how and when these measures put in place to protect public health can be removed.”