Action on city centre? Or just another mountain of paper?

Ask visitors to Aberdeen what they think of the city centre and many will be complimentary – especially if their visit has been graced by sunshine that makes the granite sparkle, rather than matching the grey of the skies on a bad day.

Ask Aberdonians what they think of the city centre and they will usually come back with references to Union Street looking down at heel, or comments about the state of the back streets. That’s good, because it means that Aberdonians have a pride in their city and want it to match their aspirations.

But, there have been so many defunct initiatives aimed at giving the city centre a lift. So the arrival of yet another set of guidelines could as easily be met with a weary sigh as a whoop of joy!

But maybe, just maybe, it could be different this time.

View from Union Bridge
Blot on the cityscape: Something needs to be done about the unattractive view from Union Bridge.

It seems that there is growing demand – dare one say even a move – to action.

  • The opportunities are certainly there. The Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) is moving forward.
  • The whole Union Terrace Gardens debate is raising the need to improve that part of the city centre (whether by renovating the existing gardens and terracing over the railway and the road, or by creating a new green space at street level).
  • Not far away, the move of Aberdeen City Council to Marischal College is clearing the way for the demolition of St Nicholas House and the creation of a civic square.

Into this growing interest in a revitalising of the city centre, Aberdeen City Council has pitched the Aberdeen City Centre Development Framework.

This time we have to hope that it all galvanises into action rather than joining the mountain of defunct reports detailing the development plans that might have been.
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