Jun 162017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

Primary school pupils have been working to add their own splash of colour in Aberdeen by sowing seeds for a city centre wildflower meadow. Alongside representatives from Aberdeen Inspired, a class of 22 P6 pupils from Hanover Street School have planted wildflower seeds on the grassy area where Bridge Street becomes College Street.

The aim of the session was to create greater biodiversity in the area while also encouraging community involvement in city centre activities.

Last year, children from Hanover Street Nursery also planted crocuses at the St Nicholas Centre rooftop garden.

Following the seed sowing, it is hoped that the school will take over looking after the wildflower meadow as part of Aberdeen Inspired’s ‘Adopt an Area’ initiative.

The organisation has played a key role in identifying areas within the city centre which could benefit from a refresh with the hope of making them more visually attractive and appealing to use.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We were delighted to invite children from Hanover Street Primary School to help us plant a wildflower meadow beside College Street which will brighten up the space in the coming weeks.

“As well as teaching them a bit about nature, this session was important to introduce a variety of wild flowers to the area. Increasing biodiversity in the city centre is very important and we are keen to encourage more projects like this.

“We are passionate about creating a more vibrant and appealing city centre and believe efforts like this, which involve working with school children, are hugely important in achieving that.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district and drive increased footfall to the area.

More information about Aberdeen Inspired is available online at: www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Feb 052015
 
Copyright: Newsline Scotland

Steve Harris, Chief Executive of VisitAberdeen

With thanks to Stevie Brown.

VisitAberdeen has responded to news of an unwelcome award for the City.

Aberdeen has been awarded the ‘Plook on the Plinth’ trophy having been named as the winner of the title ‘most dismal town in Scotland’ at the latest of Urban Realm magazine’s annual ‘Carbuncle Awards’.

Referred to on the Urban Realm site as “where architecture goes to die”, Aberdeen was awarded the trophy ahead of towns such as Cumbernauld, East Kilbride and Leven.

Steve Harris, Chief Executive of VisitAberdeen says,

“I am pleased that we have been given this award as anything that draws attention to Aberdeen can only help people realise how preposterous and ignorant its award is.

“Aberdeen is a stunning city with beautiful parks and gardens, a beach that runs for miles right into the city centre and some stunning architecture.

“Marischal College is the second largest granite building in the world and stands comparison with buildings in any city. At the other end of the scale, the stunning, modern Sir Duncan Rice Library has won awards from both the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

“In between there is the fabulous granite architecture created by Archibald Simpson, amongst others.  Not only was he responsible for Marischal College but also many other fine buildings including The Athenaeum, what was The North of Scotland Bank and Bon Accord Terrace.

“Aberdeen also is blessed with many fine merchant houses, a sunken Victorian garden and a theatre designed by Frank Matcham (who also had the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, London Palladium and London Coliseum amongst many others to his name).

“With development proceeding apace in many parts of the city and a new City Centre Regeneration Plan due this summer, the future looks bright.

“Urban Realm, the creator of this award, is Glasgow based and has no presence in Aberdeen. Their circulation isn’t available on their website and their page on “forthcoming issues” is blank.  (http://www.urbanrealm.com/magazine/forthcomingissues) They clearly need all the publicity that they can get!”

VisitAberdeen is a partnership between Aberdeen City Council and the industry including Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels Association and Aberdeen Inspired. For further information contact VisitAberdeen on 01224 900490 or visit www.visitaberdeen.com.

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Jul 212014
 

By Ken Hutcheon.

Provost Skene's House by Stanley Wright

Provost Skene’s House – Credit: Stanley Wright

The date for lodging any comments/objections to the Marischal Square and/or Provost Skene Developments has now passed with 146 formal comments/objections having been received by Aberdeen City Planning Dept.

The Council are now considering whether to have a public hearing regarding this development.

The Planning Committee will meet next Thursday 24th July to decide.

Unfortunately it appears that leading councillors are confident they can push this present development plans through WITHOUT a public hearing. If we can get enough councillors to understand that they should be voting to support the wishes of the people that put them in power we can achieve a public hearing to get the developers to think again.

The developers can surely produce a far more innovative design that will open the magnificent view of the shining granite of Marischal College and the historic frontage of Provost Skene’s House for generations of Aberdonians and tourists to the city.

To condemn the centre of Aberdeen (the silver city) to a series of boring square boxes which hide the beauty of Marischal College and Provost Skene’s House is a terrible act of vandalism by our council.

Anyone who is understandably concerned regarding this development should email the Councillors for their area to suggest they vote to hold a public hearing. Over 1100 Aberdeen citizens stated at the exhibitions of this development they do not want these plans to go ahead.

To find your councillor and their email address, the easiest way is to put your postcode into the Aberdeen City Interactive map.

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Jun 232014
 

Provost Skene's House by Stanley WrightBy Ken Hutcheon.

The Marischal Square Development objections closing date may be gone, but MUSE developers have further plans in mind.
Proposals to remove the historic archway, stairs and wall in front of Provost Skene’s House are being considered. The plans can be viewed here.

This is despite the fact that on MUSE’s own website it states:

“Provost Skene’s House will be at the heart of the Marischal Square project……. The role and setting of Provost Skene’s House will be given special consideration in the new development. It will be protected from the demolition then re-opened at an appropriate time.

“Money is being set aside for conservation work.”

There is also a picture of Provost Skene House as it is now, complete with arch and surrounding wall, on that page. Presumably the money that is being set aside is for the removal of part of the frontage of Provost Skene’s House.

You still have time, till 3rd July to comment on, or object to these changes.

You will find more information on my website at www.marischalsquare.weebly.com. Note reference for this plan is 140755.

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Nov 012013
 

By Duncan Harley

St Nicks in the building ofThe old Aberdeen Council office building formally known as St Nicholas House is being torn down piece by piece after less than fifty years.

At today’s prices, the £2m cost of the 1965 project may seem small fry to many Aberdeen residents, who are more used to municipal architectural bills on a far grander scale.

Granite-built projects such as Marischal College, which lies just across the road from the part-demolished 1960s concrete multi-storey office block, often last for hundreds of years at a far lower cost per century.

Of course, in its day, St Nicholas House was seen as the way ahead in terms of municipal architecture. Scottish Secretary Willie Ross officially opened it on the first of May 1970. The retiring city architect, George Keith, was present at the opening. Seemingly St Nicholas House was one of the “outstanding features of the considerable role Mr Keith played in the design of post war Aberdeen.”

Many city residents were looking forward to its demolition. The blowing up of the building was a favoured option, and camera enthusiasts are reported to have been enthusiastically checking out vantage points all around the city in expectation of the event. However the building’s tightly contained position within the city centre precluded destruction by an explosives team, and the current demolition carries on piecemeal.

Aberdonians are this week invited to comment on plans to re-develop the site. Gordon McIntosh, Director of Enterprise and Planning, has described the new proposals by Muse Developments, as “exciting.”

If you care about the future of your city, take a look at the consultation exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery. It runs until November 2nd and is free to view. Employees from Muse Developments Ltd and the Aberdeen City Council will be on hand to advise and listen to your comments.

Until 8th November, you can have your say online. Relating to Marischal Square, views are being sought on transport options for Broad Street. An online questionnaire will be open until 22nd november.

A more detailed scheme to re-develop the site is expected to be lodged with the City Planning Department in a few months.

Comments to the Marischal Square Working Group can be sent via Councillor Marie Boulton, Depute Leader of the Council at :  mboulton@aberdeencity.gov.uk

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Nov 012013
 

By Bob Smith.

what-they-now-do-with-waste-plastic flat

We hiv a problem in Aiberdeen
Keepin the bliddy pavemints clean
Litter strewn fae pillar tae post
Plastic cups an half aeten toast
.
Fag eyns lyin ootside office doors
As weel as aat o shops an stores
Lazy buggers jist fling them doon
Fin binnin them wid be a boon
.
Grub containers aa ower the place
Efter some bodie’s fed their face
If on the hoof ye maan eat
Dinna leave boxies on the street
.
Young mithers strollin doon the wye
They hear their little darlins cry
A sweetie is gien tae the geet
The wrappers drappit at their feet
.
Skweelkids oot fer denner or lunch
Some are a maist untidy bunch
Throwe a bag o crisps they cha’
Syne chukk the bliddy bag awa
.
Pavemints strewn wi chuddy blob
Spat oot o some nyaff’s gob
Stickin tae the slabs an sheen
Aroon oor toon o Aiberdeen
Fowk oot waakin their family pet
Some hinna got the message yet
Seems they think it fair absurd
Tae pick up their doggie’s turd
.
Nae jist in the toon ye’ll see
Fowks trash an cuttins fae a tree
Oot some bonnie kwintra lane
The litter dumpers are a bane
.
Auld cookers, beddin an sic like
Left aa aroon bi some orra tyke
Ower damn’t lazy tae show their face
An tak it tae a recyclin place
.
Ess problem society his richt aneuch
An een aat’s proovin affa teuch
Fowk are feart tae challenge dumpers
Fa micht turn oot tae be face thumpers
.
They say educashun stairts at hame
It’s time tae pit litter in the frame
So’s the neist generation are mair aware
An littered streets they are nae mair.
.
.
.
.
©Bob Smith “The PoetryMannie” 2013
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May 092013
 

By Bob Smith.

Boxes, boxes, boxes
Is aa we nooadays see
The “darlins” o modern architects
Be it Aiberdeen or Torquay

Thingies like yon Rubik’s Cube
O a Uni Library biggin
Leukin like the pint his run
A think it’s bliddy mingin

Union Square, o michty me
It’s jist aa steel an gless
Oor toon’s in the hauns o Philistines
Creatin a maist affa mess

The city skyline is fair important
Says Aiberdeen mannie Eric Auld
Seen throwe his artistic ee
Marischal Square it leaves him cauld

Fowk noo are fair upset
At fit they see gyaan on
Aa in the guise o progress
In the toon twixt Dee an Don

“Progress is jist the exchange
O ae nuisance fer anither”
So wrote  yon Havelock Ellis
Writer, Doctor an life giver

Boxes are fer storin things
Bit nae the human race
Stop biggins fit are jist bland
Dinna chynge oor city’s face

Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2013
Image credit: Corporate Tree 2 © Andres Rodriguez | Dreamstime Stock Photos

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Mar 212013
 

By Bob Smith.

Neist time yer doon in the cinter o Aiberdeen jist hae a wee keek at the filthy state o the pavements. Fit ye’ll see wull fair scunner ye.
Chuddy, fag eyns, bitties o polystyrene, pyocks an at the wikk-eyns lots o spue. Noo fin fowk are in their ane hames am bliddy sure they widna chukk ony o iss stuff doon on the kitchen fleer or in the livin room.

They’d maist likely git a richt owergaan fae their mithers, better-haafs or pairtners an telt ti pit it in the waste or kitchie bins, so fit wye div a nummer o orra tykes fling aathing doon on the grun fin there’s waste bins about ivvery 50-75 yairds or so on the pavements o the main streets.

If fowk wint tae hae their daily “fix” o the nicotine drug aats their business, aa jist wid ask them nae tae leave ahint their discardit bitties o “needles”. A maan say a fin it keerious fin fowk huddle aroon the doorwyes o their placies o wark even if it’s cumin doon hailwatter an puff awa like choochin billies, syne throw their tabbies doon near the doorwye fin they cwid stub it oot an tak it back inside an pit it in a  waste backet.

Lazy buggers the lot o them!!

A sometimes think  the hail o Aiberdeen’s chuddy chawers maan walk up and doon Union Street, either aat, or a gang o pinters wi  dreepin tins o emulsion. The amoont o fite splatches on the planesteens is myn bogglin.

Eence mair a pit iss doon tae sheer laziness cos they canna be ersed leukin fer the nearest waste bin or they’re ower bliddy thick tae ken ony better.

As ma mither wid hae said, “They’re showin their upbrochtness”.

Fin it cums tae the bitties o polystyrene an pyocks, iss is aften doon tae skweelkids faa aet on the hoof. Noo some o them hiv gweed intinshuns an bung the mait containers an pyocks in the airt o the waste bin, bit mair than afen miss. The win dis the rest.

Some fowk blame the faist grub placies, sweetie shoppies, an fag sellers fer aa iss mess bit it’s nae them faa fling fit they sell ye doon on the pavement!!

Fit ye fin on the planesteens  an in shop doorwyes efter a wikk-eyn o binge drinkin bi the young an the nae sae young wid hae an auld spinster fintin on the spot.

Lots o spue, used dick hats, signs o piss, even the odd pair o knickers. Noo I hinna  bin brave aneuch ti stroll doon Union Street or aroon the ceety cinter on a Friday or Setterday nicht fer ‘ears an ‘ears bit a hiv aa iss on gweed authority fae  a younger freen faa noo an again his a dander aroon at the wikk eyns.

We keep hearin Aiberdeen maan move intae the 21st century. If we canna tidy up oor act maybe it’s time we turn’t the clock BACK. 

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Jan 182013
 

Duncan Harley reflects on Life, the Universe and Everything. A sideways look at the world and its foibles.

Salmond Cleans Up.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond this week announced the creation of a fund to restore Scotland’s War Memorials. To be called the Centenary Memorials Restoration Fund it will “allow for the sensitive restoration” of the 6,000 or so memorials in villages, towns and cities across the country.

Every town and village has at least one memorial and many more are dotted about the landscape at crossroads, local vantage points, inside churches and public buildings.

Many of course are well maintained by individuals, local groups and civic authorities.

The Inverurie Town Square statue is a very good example, as is the quite moving Roll of Honour found within Insch Memorial Hospital in Aberdeenshire. Insch, of course, being one of a very few towns which chose to use funds gained via public subscription to build a hospital instead of a statue to commemorate the dead of war.

The sons of the folk of Premney, Old Rayne, Colpy and Insch are very well remembered on the carved plaque in the entrance hallway. If you are in the area, I would certainly recommend you call in and have a look, a wee sob and a reflection on the nature of mankind.

Hasta La Vista Madrid

Alongside the above, my personal favourite is the plaque in Aberdeen’s Music Hall commemorating the local folk who fought and died for democracy during the Spanish Civil War (July 17 1936 to April 1 1939).

It’s not a well known memorial and it’s a bit forlorn and quite scratched. In fact, you can easily miss it unless you know where to look. There are only a few names on it and they compete with the notice board and leaflet display for attention.

However, somewhat unusually for a war memorial, it includes those who fought and survived alongside those who died at Ebro and Gandessa during 1937-38.

The Centenary Memorials Restoration Fund is seemingly open for applications right now, with funding available over the course of the four-year centenary commemorations, from 2014 through to 2018.

I’d get in quick though, if I was you, since if you divide a million pounds by 6,000 memorials, that works out at £166 for each project, if I’ve got my maths correct.

I personally will be asking Aberdeen City Council to restore the Spanish Civil War Memorial to its former glory. I am sure that £166 will buy a few a nice new frame and some scratch remover.

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Mar 222012
 

Old Susannah takes a humanoid angle on the Provost’s exit, the who’s who of deer cull councillors, alledged  cybercrime, the police box/granite web, and the Cameron and Clegg creatures.  By Suzanne Kelly 

 

Happy Friday everyone!  So much has been happening in our Vibrant ‘Deen it is hard to know where to start.

Bad news first I suppose:  with a heavy heart I must inform you that our Lord Provost will not be joining the council next year.  Soon his clothing allowance and civic car privileges will pass to another.

But which young pretender will take the crown, chain of office and supply of carriage clocks?

HoMalone, if she manages to get re-elected may stand some chance; she was  deemed the worthiest LibDem in the land.  And now that she leads the LibDems, I’m sure there’s no stopping her.

At least we’ll all get to go to Provost Stephen’s portrait unveiling party before the end comes. . .  guess his LibDem pals will have to find someone else to hitch rides with other than in the civic car at our expense.  Steve Delaney, who will contest the Lord Provost’s seat in the May, got a ride from the obliging taxpayer in the civic car as he was late for something or other.  We are too kind. I’d have given him a carriage clock as well, so he wouldn’t be late next time.  Perhaps he already has one?

A very silly rumour reaches Old Susannah; it can’t be true.  I hear that the virtuous ex-Councillor Richard Robertson, who quit the city council over the 3rd Don Crossing, wants to run in Torry/Ferryhill.  Now, as a Torry resident who’s been going to the community council meetings recently, I am not sure that someone who voted in favour of shooting our deer and against letting me and the Cove Community Chairman speak to the Housing & Environment Committee to try and save the deer is going to find many votes in this part of town.

In fact, if the people who we spoke to last Saturday in town while handing out flyers about the cull are anything to go by, then I doubt any of the following deer killers are going to get great receptions at the ballot box.

 One ambitious girl seems to have grown up with the Dalek as a role model.  Step forward Aileen Malone.

Remember these people; they are the ones to thank over the affairs on Tullos Hill:   John Corall, Jackie Dunbar, Neil ‘Fletch’ Fletcher (who sadly is leaving us anyway), Jim Noble, Richard Robertson, Wendy Stuart, Ian Yuill, and new LibDem Darling, HoMalone.  The deer’s friends?  Neil Cooney, Yvonne Allan, Norman Collie,  James Hunter,  Alan Milne and Willie Young.

Dr Who has another new companion this week;  I’ve been recalling all the frightening monsters, world-destroying creatures, and evil masterminds we’ve seen over the decades.  But never mind the city council and its advisors – on with some definitions….

Dalek   (noun) part human creature created by Davros, a Dalek is a single-minded creature, repeating the same phrases over and over again, in a robotic voice; most notably ‘Exterminate!’.  Daleks are not known for their ability to negotiate, only to destroy.

We all remember being terrified and trembling behind our sofas and forts made of cushions and blankets as the Daleks rolled across our TV screens crying ‘Exterminate!  Exterminate!’.   Most of us were afraid of these creatures, but one ambitious girl seems to have grown up with the Dalek as a role model.  Step forward Aileen Malone.

She will not negotiate a peaceful settlement with thousands of people who want to keep Tullos Hill as a meadow.  She operates a scorched earth policy (well, mostly scorched rock policy – I’ve been up there and seen where the trees are going to be planted before they die), and she is going to EXTERMINATE the deer which live there.

Can no one stop the march (well, glide) of this Dalek in its quest for world domination?   Like the Daleks in Dr Who, she is aided by one or two humanoids who should know better,  but don’t.

Cybermen:

 The Cybermen likewise terrified generations of children; they were humans which had been ‘upgraded’ – or rather turned into humanoid machines powered by remnants of human brains.  But the question for Aberdeen is:  has there or has there not been any Cyber-crime?

Just as time was running out for the referendum vote, along came Tom Smith (connected to the private Aberdeen City Gardens Trust entity – amongst other hats worn) with allegations of illegal cyber crime.  Had Cybermen hacked into his emails?  Were they intimidating him?

Well, we still don’t know.  He’s said nothing, and we wait patiently for the police’s statement on the matter.  Until we know otherwise, be on the lookout for cyber-crime – and cybermen.  If it turns out to be a case of ‘the boy who cried cybercrime’, Old Susannah will tell you all about it.

Regeneration:

The Doctor occasionally sacrificed one of his several incarnations; usually to save others or for a noble cause.  Councillor Robertson, having lost a life when he threw himself out of office over the Don crossing, is going to try to regenerate as a Torry/Ferryhill councillor.  Like the doctor, it will be best if he has amnesia, for his support of the deer-cull-for-tree-scheme will not add to his appeal in this (or indeed any other) part of town.

TARDIS:  (noun) acronym standing for Time And Relative Dimension In Space – Dr Who’s time-travelling apparatus – normally taking the outward form of an old-fashioned police box; much bigger on the inside than on the outside.

Well, the TARDIS doesn’t have to be a police box, in fact other time lords used different kinds of TARDIS machines.  I think I have possibly located one.

Where in Aberdeen will we soon have something that is bigger on the inside than it is outside?  Why in the Granite Web, of course.

The architects have promised that we will magically have twice the green space we currently have in the garden now!  Surely this is Timelord technology.  Despite the potato-crisp shaped concrete web over the concrete indoor/outdoor theatre/skating rink, despite the required ventilation units and means of holding the granite web up, the new improved gardens will be double the size of the existing ones.

There will be all sorts of weird and (allegedly) wonderful underground areas which will be far bigger than the outer structure.  I think the plans have space for a lair for the Master, and some Silurians.  Yes, I see the Granite Web as a time-travelling icon – it is taking us back to the ‘60s and/or ‘70s –  and yet promises to take us proudly into the future.  This is time travel at its best – and possibly at its most expensive.

Dr Who and The State of Decay:  (noun, television show) Part of the Dr Who Saga in which a planet is dominated by bloodsucking vampires who have caused society to regress.

Old Susannah can’t think why this series (featuring the inimitable Tom Baker) has sprung to mind, but in this story, a small amount of greedy powerful  bloodsuckers have taken so much away from the existing society, that it has regressed to  a more primitive, poverty-stricken state than it had been in before power was seized by these vampires.

The blood-sucking creatures, Cameron and Clegg, have reduced the NHS to rubble, impoverished the old, got rid of any decent schools, and use the young as fodder for their own selfish ends.  One of the scariest parts of the Dr Who story so far.  Thankfully, the Doctor and Ramana eventually find a way to rid the planet of its tyrannical despots.

Next week:  (Hopefully) deer update, Milne update, Referendum update – and a cheerful look at Aberdeen City Council’s happiest publication – ‘Our Green Times’.