Fears for rev­ellers af­ter city cen­tre street lights go out amid works

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - NEWS -

Aberdeen City Coun­cil has been crit­i­cised for leav­ing late-night rev­ellers in the dark.

As work con­tin­ues out­side the Marischal Square project, Broad Street has now been left with­out street light­ing.

The road and neigh­bour­ing Up­perkirk­gate were closed in March to al­low for the street to be pedes­tri­anised.

The work was due to be com­pleted by June, to co­in­cide with the open­ing of Marischal Square, but it is feared the £3.2mil­lion ven­ture may now not be com­pleted un­til next sum­mer.

The lack of light­ing has led to con­cerns be­ing raised around pub­lic safety, par­tic­u­larly with thou­sands of new stu­dents flock­ing to the city cen­tre for fresh­ers events.

SNP coun­cil­lor Michael Hutchi­son said: “First of all, it is wor­ry­ing that a ma­jor street in our city cen­tre has been left with­out light­ing.

“It poses ques­tions about pub­lic safety and will cause more is­sues for hard­pressed lo­cal busi­nesses.

“I’ve asked for this to be looked into and I hope it will be dealt with promptly.

“When Labour first came to power they promised to fo­cus on the ba­sics rather what they called ‘van­ity projects’ – five years later we have Broad Street plunged into dark­ness while work on Marischal Square over­runs just yards away.”

Labour coun­cil­lor for Ge­orge Street and (inc VAT) Har­bour San­dra Macdon­ald re­sponded: “My con­stituents are ab­so­lutely fed up with peo­ple talk­ing Aberdeen down.

“A lot of work is go­ing on just now and Broad Street is an on­go­ing project.”

A coun­cil spokesper­son A scheme en­cour­ag­ing stu­dents to be­come ru­ral GPs has been praised.

In June, 14 med­i­cal stu­dents said the light­ing is­sue was be­ing treated as an emer­gency, and would be fixed “as soon as pos­si­ble”.

Labour coun­cil­lor Ross Grant said: “I think that Coun­cil­lor Hutchi­son should fo­cus more on rais­ing the is­sue with the from Aberdeen were taken into the Cairn­gorms to meet GPs and pa­tients.

The project jointly won coun­cil for his con­stituents rather than seek­ing to make po­lit­i­cal gain.

“Aberdeen is well known as a pur­ple flag city for its high lev­els of safety. There are a num­ber of stake­hold­ers in­volved in mak­ing sure the city is safe and vi­brant.” the In­no­va­tion in Pri­mary Care Award from the Royal Col­lege of GPs North East Scot­land Fac­ulty. Ten thou­sand out­pa­tient vis­its were made to Raig­more Hos­pi­tal in In­ver­ness last year by peo­ple liv­ing more than 100 miles away in Caith­ness.

The fig­ure, based on re­cent anal­y­sis by NHS High­land, equates to a to­tal dis­tance trav­elled of nearly 100 cir­cum­fer­ences of the Earth, and about 27 vis­its a day.

An NHS High­land spokesman ad­mit­ted the num­ber is “not sat­is­fac­tory”, stress­ing they will start “fo­cused work” in Caith­ness us­ing more video con­fer­enc­ing and phone con­sul­ta­tions – but ruled out em­ploy­ing more staff.

He stressed that many peo­ple are trav­el­ling for treat­ment which has never been pro­vided in Caith­ness.

But the new fig­ure has fur­ther out­raged cam­paign­ers who fear Wick’s Town and County Hos­pi­tal – which pro­vides pal­lia­tive care and in­pa­tient beds – could close by Christ­mas as part of a re­view of in­pa­tient beds also in­clud­ing Caith­ness Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in Wick, and Dun­bar Hos­pi­tal in Thurso.

The health au­thor­ity in­sists no de­ci­sions will be made be­fore pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion next month.

Last night Caith­ness Health and Ac­tion Team (Chat) co-vice chair­man Pro­fes­sor Iain Baikie, said: “Forc­ing peo­ple from Caith­ness to travel nearly 100 times around the Earth each year for their ba­sic health needs is not jus­ti­fi­able on any sen­si­ble terms.”

He also claimed this means a loss in work­ing hours of “tens of thou­sands” and sug­gested a “sen­si­ble so­lu­tion” would be to have con­sul­tants reg­u­larly at­tend Caith­ness Gen­eral on a four-to -six-week rota.

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