The final nail in the coffin of Union Street.
That’s how Aberdonians are describing the shocking news Markies is being moved to Union Square.
In spite of earlier rumblings about the closure of the St Nicholas Street branch, no one believed the company would axe its flagship store. How things have changed.
Decades ago, that site was in prime position for shoppers; bang in the middle of teaming Union Street and at the entrance to the retail paradise of George Street.
Fleets of busses and their stops up and doon in a’ directions.
Sadly, oor disastrously advised and ignorant cooncillors in the 70s fell for the lure of ‘central comprehensive development,’ ie bulldoze the old shops a’body loves so much, then build the St Nicholas and Bon Accord malls. First nail in Union Street’s coffin.
Later, when Union Square was on the drawing-board, locals agreed the old railway site needed renovation, but that also came with a huge helping of coffin nails for you-know-where.
Ah but, said oor misguided city fathers and mothers, shoppers can easily move between the two areas by using the stairs at the back o’ the Trinity Centre. Aye and climbing crampons if you’re on the wye up?
Aberdeen victim to officials whose vision for city has been ‘catastrophic’
The sad truth is, Aberdeen has been lumbered with decades of planners, officials and councillors whose ‘vision’ for the heart of our city has been absolutely catastrophic, splitting us doon the middle.
Now the place is haemorrhaging, probably fatally, with the past loss of major and much-loved stores like E&M’s, Debenhams and John Lewis.
For women, the places we used to schmooze roon looking for outfits for special occasions have all gone. Nothing for it but online – or out of town.
Apart from my knickers and bras, which have grown exponentially ower the years, my favourite thing aboot Markies is food. I actually hae to stop masellie from going.
For example, if I pop in for maybe a nice quiche, I end up such a victim to temptation, in minties I’ve a two-ton basket overflowing with prawn mousse, fish pie, beef Wellington, strawberry roulade … onything affa fine.
So mony times I’ve ower-calculated my toting ability and ended up tottering, bent double like Quasimodo, through McCombie’s Court with a bulging rucksack and four, depth-charge carrier bags, to my bussie across the road.
Ah, but there’s the rub. Markies’ new superstore in Union Square – set to swallow TK Maxx – will be hugely inaccessible to so many folk.
For example those, especially pensioners and the less mobile, whose buses don’t go anywhere near Guild Street and face getting two to hit the mark.
I’m lucky, my bussie goes down Bridge Street to the Square. But there’s still a major hike through the mall and oot the back door to get to M&S.
Imagine my trek on the wye back wie my rucksack and carrier bags. Oxygen nobody?
If the new store is nae to suffer a nail in its young coffin, First bus bosses need to totally re-jig their routes and set up stops near the Union Square car park.
Meanwhile, surely we should be hearing some inspiration from Marischal College and/or the Town House about fit becomes of the old Markies shell.
Moreen Simpson is a former assistant editor of the Evening Express and The Press and Journal, and started her journalism career in 1970