Spaces for No People?

By Jane Cruickshank / August 3, 2020

A STONEHAVEN businessman has requested an urgent review of the Spaces for People measures in the town centre.

Ian Philips, who owns Aly Bali jewellery shop on Evan Street and Pebble Boutique on Market Square emailed our councillors today asking for a formal meeting. He told The Bellman he has also made contact with our MP and MSPs.

Aberdeenshire Council was awarded £310,000 from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People fund to roll out temporary projects to allow for social distancing in its busy urban areas.

Mr Philips wants Aberdeenshire Council to undertake the reviews that were promised when the measures were put in place at the end of June.

In his email he stated: ”As another week begins I again view from my window and during my walk in I still see lots of cones – I’m really looking forward to another week of less takings again. The trends aren’t good.

”We are not alone and the restrictions are affecting nearly every town centre business.”

Later, he said: ”Social distancing measure might keep us safe, but if things don’t pick up, then businesses will be gone by Christmas.”

Loss of parking for locals popping to shops

Mr Philips’ plea was echoed by the Business Association’s administrator Dawn Black.

She stated: ”Although my business is run from home, therefore not affected by the Spaces for People cones and parking restrictions, I am fully behind the pleas for a review from the town centre businesses.

”I have been in the vicinity on many days, at peak times and there has been little or no footfall in the streets and certainly only two queues outside McHardy’s Butchers and Giulianotti’s.

”Although well-meant, the widening of the walkways, which has inevitably imposed parking restrictions, has discouraged locals from using the town centre.

”Many in our town need to utilise their cars to visit the shops in the centre either due to disability or simply because of the nature of our town being in a bowl and having to carry shopping home up the hills.”

Some Cones removed in Banchory

Ms Black asked that councillors put the matter on the agenda for their their next ward meeting on Wednesday.

She stated: ”It has been brought to our attention that there has been a review in Banchory and as a result some of the cones there have been removed over the weekend. Please can this common sense approach also be taken in Stonehaven.”

”Our local businesses are the heart of our community and the unique, family run businesses need all the help they can get at this moment after a very hard few months.”

Jim Stephen, who chairs the Stonehaven Town Partnership, also backed Mr Philip’s call for a review.

He said: ”There will be hot spots where this still needs to be in place but surely we can review the less used areas and get some parking back.”

Councillors will discuss

Cllr Dennis Robertson told The Bellman: ”There can be a raft of other reasons, and although Spaces for People can be seen as an unnecessary obstacle, which is damaging to local Businesses, we should
take everything in to consideration.”

He added: I will back the business community to have a meeting and to have some of the restrictions taken away, if it is deemed safe to do so.”

Cllr Sarah Dickinson said: ”I look forward to having an opportunity to input to the issues raised at the councillor ward meeting on Wednesday.

”I do believe, as Cllr Robertson has intimated, that the return to the town centre may be affected by more than just the cones.

”Also, headlines about clusters of cases occurring not just elsewhere in the country but one cluster as close as Aberdeen are a reminder that the measures are about public health and enabling people to shop locally safely.

”However, I am also of the view that the cones should only be where they are demonstrably needed and so I will welcome the opportunity to discuss the monitoring.”

Douglas - August 4, 2020

Good luck in your endeavor to persuade the Local Authority to re-think the current situation. If one comes along Allardice Street from David Street and a car wishes to turn right into the Square, all vehicles behind are held up, because there is no “inside lane.” Clearly no thought was given to this.

During the most recent Offshore Europe week, this Local Authority decided to re-surface Allardice Street. According to them the work had to be done that week. The logic would be that had there been subsidence, or a burst water main, the work would still have had to proceed. Such temporary signage as there was confusing, leading at (peak) times to chaos, but the Local Authority said that the signage was a matter for the contractors. Thus, if there had not been any signs, the logic would be that the contractors would have been to blame.

It is much easier for some people to say “No,” than think through the matter properly, by balancing business interests with public safety, and I fear that is what will happen in relation to the social distancing measures.

Norman Archibald - August 4, 2020

What I can’t understand is why do McHardy’s Butchers get preferential treatment to permanently park a trailer on the corner that does not allow social distancing to be carried out due to the barriers being strategically positioned?

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