Operation Union Street Rejuvenation gathers momentum

More than 250,000 pieces of ground-in chewing gum were removed from Union Street during a recent deep clean.

Dirt and grime were also washed from street furniture and walls during the specialist week-long blitz, part of Operation Union Street Rejuvenation.

The work is part of the first phase of a major regeneration programme being brought forward under the City Centre Masterplan.

Aberdeen City Council Deputy Leader Councillor Marie Boulton, who chairs the cross-party City Centre Regeneration Board, said: “Operation Union Street Rejuvenation was launched only a few weeks ago but Union Street is already starting to look better and brighter.

“The effort of our own cleaning staff and the specialist team has revealed to people just how magnificent our city centre can be. We had planned to carry out the deep clean annually but may look at increasing the frequency given the success.

“The hope is that people will eventually start to take a greater pride in their environment – and not be so ready to discard gum or litter in future.”

Operation Union Street Rejuvenation is being led by the Council and Aberdeen Inspired, the operator of the Business Improvement District.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said that members had highlighted discarded chewing gum as a major blight on the city centre.

He said: “To combat this we purchased a new chewing gum removal machine, which is now available for use to aid city centre businesses in their quest to keep their shopfronts clean.

“We’re encouraging people to take responsibility for their own patch. We are firm believers that small changes can come together to make a big difference and we’re keen to work with others to help do this.”

The Council is spending more than £1 million on Operation Union Street Rejuvenation, which has seen the creation of a Hit Squad dedicated to keeping the thoroughfare in top condition over the coming years by fixing, paint, and cleaning items in poor condition.

The deep clean, carried out by contractors, involved a power wash of pavements, doorways and street furniture – signs, bollards and benches – as well as the removal of chewing gum.

Other actions taken since the launch of Operation Union Street Rejuvenation include:

  • The checking and repairing of “big belly” bins
  • A new programme of washing bins, furniture and bus shelters
  • Orders for additional green cleaning machines and scrubbers
  • Close working with the City Centre Manager to identify and fix waste and litter problems

Operation Union Street Rejuvenation, which will run until Spring next year, will also see the upgrading of street furniture, and includes plan for a professional clean of St Nicholas Kirkyard façade (Smith’s Screen).

Longer term plans for Union Street under the City Centre Masterplan include reducing traffic movements and giving pedestrians more priority.