Groups looking for quick fixes as well as long-term
As part of the Vanguard initiative, a group of volunteers have been working on ideas to find “quick” and “practical” ways to regenerate Aberdeen city centre.
Mr Smith said he signed up because he “wanted to make good stuff happen in the region, which without Vanguard would not”.
He said the group he was working with had been focusing on “quick wins” which included converting Union Street into a more pedestrian friendly area.
This, primarily would be by creating seating areas on pavements outside cafes and restaurants as well as “parklets”. These are small raised areas like decking which sit on the road themselves leaving the pavements clear.
Mr Smith said both Starbucks and Muchacho have expressed a keenness to find a way to incorporate these at their Aberdeen premises.
He said: “The improvements to Union Street as set out in the city centre masterplan won’t happen until the impact of the AWPR is known, that the substantial investment required is found, as well as political backing for the changes – whatever form that may take at the end of the day.
“This is just our small attempt in the meantime to try and improve things now, quickly and costeffectively. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it might just help to get people to use Union Street in a different way.”
Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “The passion, positivity and enthusiasm that exists for the Aberdeen City Region comes across loud and clear from the Vanguard groups and the project updates and new ideas the volunteers bring to the table are truly energising. They also continue to demonstrate ambition in their thinking and the desire to start a conversation which may, in turn, inspire others to get involved.”
Seating in Union Street has been suggested
Russell Borthwick of AGCC