Good words but little detail

The new administration on Aberdeen City Council – a coalition of Labour, Conservative and Independent councillors – has produced its five-year plan for the city.

It was an eagerly-awaited moment because the announcements from Labour have so far been predominantly negative:

  • Despite the majority support in the referendum, Labour would vote NO to the Aberdeen City Garden project.
  • They would also vote NO to the recently re-approved third Don crossing – a project that has dragged on for years.

There was therefore some anticipation for the new five year plan, which would presumably bring forward some positives to counteract the negative messages to date.

Granite City - A Plan for Aberdeen
The Granite City: A Plan for Aberdeen 1952 vision

When the news came that the administration had unveiled their five-year plan, I searched out all the local news sources I could to find out what they were proposing. It was a fruitless search.

To be frank, the five-year plan is heavy on words and light on specifics.

There is certainly no bold, imaginative plan to create a new city centre focus and cover over the eyesore that is the Denburn dual carriageway and railway, just a reference to incremental improvements in the existing gardens.

The nearest to specifics is the commitment to improve Union Street (and Bridge Street too, I hope) ‘building by building’.

It would be easy to dismiss the five-year plan as an exercise in semantics. But, it does seem to project the sort of vision that Aberdeen should aspire to.

However, there have been no shortage of visions for Aberdeen over the years. Most have ended up being expensive exercises in paper usage, resulting in absolutely nothing.

What we now need to see is the good words being turned into action. A good start point would be a plan for Aberdeen.

It would be good for the new council to search the archives and library for a copy of “The Granite City: A Plan for Aberdeen” (Published by Batsford in 1952). Now that is what I call a real plan.
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