Works to help people to physically distance and a big clean up of weeds, dirt and mess from pavements helping people back to city centre streets

The newly-installed pavement extension benches, outdoor eating areas and a big clean-up of weeds, dirt and mess from pavements all help people to physically distance during the coronavirus pandemic and also help to attract people back into the city centre.

Footfall in the area has increased by 24.6% compared to last week as some shops reopened. More are due to reopen on Monday along with interior spaces in cafes, restaurants and pubs.

Outside eating areas were allowed to reopen earlier this week and Aberdeen City Council has produced a handy guide at

 https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/coronavirus-covid-19/spaces-people-including-city-centre to help cafes, pubs and restaurants with the changes.

Pavement extension benches are being installed around the city centre along with flowers and greenery to make the new pedestrianised areas more attractive to walk around.

The City Council’s street cleaning staff have removed thousands of weeds along with debris from pavements from around the city centre in a short space of time after their returned to their regular work schedules due to the lockdown.

Areas around the city, including the central part of Union Street and adjoining streets, are now temporarily pedestrianised to allow people to safely walk, cycle, and queue for buses, and to visit shops, bars, and restaurants while adhering to physical distancing guidance.

The project, which is part of a national strategy to create walking and cycling spaces in towns and cities across Scotland, has been designed after the City Council was awarded a ringfenced £1.76million grant from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People fund.

These measures will help protect public health in reducing COVID-19 transmission and help prevent a second spike of the virus. The temporary measures will further help the economic recovery of the city and allow people to continue to use active travel such as walking and cycling.

Aberdeen City Council transport spokesperson Councillor Sandra Macdonald said: “It is really great to see more and more people returning to the city centre for shopping or leisure and supporting local businesses and jobs, and we look forward to welcoming more in the coming weeks.

“Along with the important physical measures we’ve put in place to ensure there is space on city centre streets to allow people to walk and queue safely when shops reopen, other council staff have been extremely busy getting rid of accumulated weeds and rubbish.

“Shops with street-facing doors and outside eating areas have already reopened and shopping centres can reopen from Monday so we’ve concentrated on getting the busiest areas ready first so that people can walk and queue safely. This is all part of building confidence around Aberdeen city centre to help the social and economic recovery of the city.”

Adrian Watson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “We continue to support business around the ‘Spaces for People’ project in looking to minimise levy payer disruption and maximise opportunities around extending the ‘cafe culture’ within our city centre.

“These are challenging times for all but it is important for us to ensure there is healthy communication and that we positively work together to get the best possible outcomes in moving our city centre forward and welcoming people back safely."

The works in the city centre are part of Aberdeen City Council’s Spaces for People programme which includes measures taking place in several locations around the city including temporary pedestrianisation, pavement widening, bike lanes, and one-way walking.

The length of time the temporary measures will be in place will be determined by NHS and Government guidance for physical distancing.

PIX CAPTIONS: Here are some 'before' and 'after' photos of places where weeds had grown during lockdown, the pavement extnsion benches being installed, and people enjoying outdoor cafes.