Deep clean of Union Street set to make the city centre sparkle

A specialist cleaning firm was today at work on Union Street as part of Operation Union Street Rejuvenation, launched this month.

Operation Union Street Rejuvenation – being led by Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeen Inspired, operator of the Business Improvement District – is the first phase of a regeneration programme under the City Centre Masterplan.

The Council is spending more than £1 million on a range of measures aimed at restoring the majesty of Union Street. This has included the creation of a Hit Squad dedicated to keeping the thoroughfare in top condition over the coming years.

This week’s deep clean is being carried out by contractors and will involve a power wash of pavements, doorways and street furniture – signs, bollards and benches – as well as the removal of chewing gum.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “The deep clean, which will be repeated annually, should start to reveal just how good Union Street can look.

“We hope that when people see the results they will want to keep it that way. By working together we can start to transform the heart of Aberdeen as envisaged by the City Centre Masterplan.”

Over the last year Council workers collected an estimated 434 tonnes of litter from Union Street and its side streets – 286 tonnes by machines and 148 tonnes by manual sweeping.

Deputy Council Leader Councillor Marie Boulton, who chairs the cross-party City Centre Regeneration Board, said: “Our own staff work very hard to keep Union Street and the city centre clean and tidy, and we should recognise their efforts in the face of what is a significant challenge.”

Operation Union Street Rejuvenation will take place over the next nine months. Longer term plans include preserving historic buildings and pedestrian priority on a section of Union Street.

The Hit Squad taskforce are on hand to fix, paint, and clean items on Union Street in a poor condition. Other measures to be carried out as part of Operation Union Street Rejuvenation include:

• Upgrading/removing/fixing/painting street furniture, all bollards, railings, planters and benches.

• A professional clean of St Nicholas Kirkyard façade (Smith’s Screen) and painting all railings and gates, highlighting the detail in gold leaf.

• Resurfacing of the south pavement of Union Bridge.

• Purchase of extra cleaning equipment.

• A survey to ascertain the condition of buildings on Union Street.

• Recruiting a building standards officer for one year.

Adrian Watson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “One of our key pledges when re-elected for a second term earlier this year was to do our utmost to drive forward enhancements to Union Street and it is great to see this becoming a reality.”

The Council has contacted the owners and occupiers of properties on Union Street appealing to them to support efforts to help make the mile-long street sparkle again by maintaining their buildings and frontages to the highest possible standard.

Aberdeen City Council is bidding for £1.5 million from Historic Environment Scotland to help repair and preserve key buildings on Union Street. The Council has agreed in principle set aside £1.5 million of its own money as match funding should the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme bid be successful.

There is also a push to bring empty properties back into use.