Apr 282017
 

With thanks to Aberdeenshire SNP.

Aboyne, Upper Deeside & Donside SNP councillor Geva Blackett has written to Aberdeenshire Council’s Director of Infrastructure Services, Stephen Archer, requesting that the cost of a functional bridge on the A939 at Gairnshiel is built into the council’s Capital Plan as a matter of urgency to save the Grade 1 listed bridge currently in use.

In her letter, Cllr Blackett says:

“Almost exactly five years ago, this beautiful bridge was closed for some weeks to allow extensive – and expensive repairs – to take place and not for the first time.

“The resulting 40-mile detour caused chaos for motorists and had a severe impact on the fragile economies of Braemar, Ballater, Strathdon and Tomintoul.

“Now we find that despite the 18 ton weight limit imposed, even more expensive and extensive repairs are required in the near future and as traffic increases with the Snow Road linking Grantown to Blairgowrie gains in popularity, so too will the need for major repairs as the bridge is no longer fit for purpose”

Cllr Blackett’s letter points out that when the current bridge was built after the 1745 Jacobite uprising to form part of the Military Road, cars, coaches and 38 ton lorries did not exist. 

“Imagine for one moment a Chippendale chair” continues Cllr Blackett’s letter

You would not allow the public to continually sit on it and break it; you would say that people can look at it and admire it but if they want to sit down they should use the functional chair placed alongside. The same argument should be applied to this bridge which plays an important part of our built heritage, is of historical importance and could be a tourist attraction with picnic tables and proper parking”

Cllr Blackett’s case for an adjacent bridge is supported by a candidate from Perth & Kinross and by a candidate from Moray, both of whom have written to Aberdeenshire Council.

Alison Mullholland standing for Blairgowrie & the Glens Ward in Perth & Kinross said:

“I understand that historically, repair work necessitated by previous damage, took some weeks to be completed. During which time, the resulting forty mile diversion curtailed the number of tourists travelling along the A93 through Glenshee to Blairgowrie and west to Kirkmichael and beyond.

“Therefore I would strongly support consideration of an adjacent replacement bridge, thus facilitating the repair and subsequent preservation of the beautiful and historical Gairnshiel Bridge, whilst allowing all forms of traffic access via the new bridge.”

Angus Anderson standing for Moray’s Speyside Glenlivet ward said:

“The purpose of my writing to you today is to make you fully aware of the significant financial impact businesses in Tomintoul and beyond will suffer should the bridge have to continually close for repairs. One business owner advised me that over one hundred and fifty coaches visit his shop each year and virtually all of them arrive via the A939 from Aberdeenshire.

“There is also obviously a preservation and historical concern given the bridge’s age and status and I would urge you to consider that too. I support Councillor Blackett’s request that a new bridge be factored into the Capital Plan and thus reassure the businesses in Tomintoul and beyond that Aberdeenshire Council is taking a long term and pragmatic approach to the importance of this bridge to the Snow Road route.”

A 60 second video by Cllr Blackett is also being released on social media.

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Jul 212016
 

With thanks to Phil Moar, Account Manager, Citrus:Mix.

BON ACCORD BIG BOUNCE EVENT AT THE ST NICHOLAS CENTRE, ABERDEEN.

Nearly £8,000 has been raised for charity after a new event had a city centre garden jumping for joy.

Big Bounce at Bon Accord welcomed kids and big kids to the greenspace last month (June 25-26) for the fundraising event which saw attendees able to enjoy eight inflatables installed within the space.

From bungee runs to bouncy castles, people turned out in their numbers to support Bon Accord & St Nicholas in its fundraising efforts for both CLAN Cancer Support and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital Charity. 

The event also fell under the UK-wide One Great Day initiative.

As well as the inflatables, a range of pop-up food and drink retailers were also present, with music and entertainment throughout both days adding to the party atmosphere.

On Friday (June 24), the fundraising effort was also aided by five classes from Walker Road Primary School carrying out a sponsored Mini Bounce within the garden, with pupils each playing their part in helping their class jump continuously for 30 minutes. The big-hearted school’s efforts added more than £1,100 to the overall fundraising total.

Craig Stevenson, centre manager at Bon Accord & St Nicholas, said:

Susan Crighton, CLAN’s fundraising manager, said:

“The Big Bounce weekend was a fantastic new addition to the city centre event calendar and we’re thrilled to have been selected as one of the beneficiaries of the day.

“I’d also like to say a massive thank you to all those who took the time to visit over the course of the weekend and a special mention to the fantastic efforts of the Walker Road pupils who went above and beyond with their own fundraising session.

“Money raised for CLAN through the One Great Day initiative will go towards the charity’s provision of free wellbeing and support services for anyone affected by cancer across the north and north-east of Scotland; it really will make a massive difference.”

One Great Day is the brainchild of Bon Accord & St Nicholas owner BMO Real Estate and sees a range of local fundraising events held at over 60 shopping centres across the UK. All funds raised go towards Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and other local charities.

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Sep 102015
 

Alex Salmond head and shouldersWith thanks to Tom Collins, Press Officer, Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond MP MSP

Alex Salmond MSP (Aberdeenshire East) MP (Gordon) has hailed the Aberdeen to Inverness transport network as a “corridor of prosperity”.
Earlier this month, Derek Mackay MSP, Minister for Transport and Islands, unveiled the first of 40 new-look trains as part of a £14-million modernisation project.

The refurbished trains are tailored for use on Scotland’s scenic routes and will be released onto the rail network at a rate of one a month.

The SNP’s local agenda for transport and economic development includes more than £170 million worth of improvements to the railway line and the development of key tourist destinations around each station. The upgrades will be complete by 2019.

The Scottish Government has also put plans in place to dual the A96, which will involve a total of 86 miles worth of upgrades. The project will deliver many benefits including improved journey time and reliability, delivering economic growth, improved connectivity and reduce the rate and severity of accidents.

Commenting, Mr Salmond said:

“The SNP Government is dedicated to improving transport services throughout Scotland. This is evident in the £177 million worth of improvements that are planned for our existing railway line.

“I am pleased to hear that the Scottish Government continues to invest in public transport and I cannot wait to see these tailored carriages on our fantastic Aberdeen to Inverness line.

“It is also important that we continue to improve our road network too – ensuring that it is both reliable and safe for passengers to use.

“This dedication to our transport network will create a corridor of prosperity between Aberdeen and Inverness.

“All of these important upgrades will provide an economic boost as well as reducing overall CO2 emissions, benefitting communities at every stage of the 108-mile long line.”

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Jul 162014
 

gtm_classic_vintage_gatheringWith thanks to Martyn Smith.

A wide selection of cars, commercial vehicles and motorcycles will descend on the village of Alford for the annual Classic and Vintage Gathering, this Sunday at the Grampian Transport Museum, from 1pm until 4pm

Visitors will be able to view displays of pre-1990 vehicles, including cars from the likes of Austin, Ferrari, Triumph and MG, as well as a selection of vintage buses and other commercial vehicles.

Anyone interested in entering a pre-1990 vehicle can do so on the day, simply by turning up between 11.30 and 12.45. For just £15 the driver and one guest will get entry to the event, complimentary access to the museum, and light refreshments.

Visitor admission to the event is included in the standard museum admission fee. Adult admission is £9.50, concessions are £7.50 and two children are admitted free with every adult.

Further information on the museum and all its outdoor events is available online at www.gtm.org.uk

Jun 062014
 

With thanks to Martyn Smith.

Maudslay2Grampian Transport Museum will be the venue for a special treat for Dads on Father’s Day, Sunday 15th June.

Some of the world’s fastest and most exotic cars will take to the museums purpose-built road circuit, each with a passenger seat waiting to be taken. Just £10 will buy one of our Fathers Day Supercar Rides tickets, giving several laps around the track as a front seat passenger.

An eclectic mix of cars including Ferrari, Lamborghini, TVR, Luego, and Porsche will give Dad a day to remember.

Rides are limited to dads only – who must be over the age of 18 – but the event is a great day out for all the family. Tickets for the rides sessions are £10 if pre-booked or £15 on the day, subject to availability.

Later in the summer children will be able to enjoy a ride around the circuit as part of the ‘Big Stuff’ session, which takes place on Thursday 10th July – or the ‘Fast Car Rides’ session which takes place on Wednesday 23rd July.

The Grampian Transport Museum features a number of exciting and exclusive exhibitions for 2014 including The Great Train Robbery exhibit and multi-million pound HGV simulator. Also, the unique Junior Driving School will be open for younger visitors to enjoy.

Nov 142013
 

Clown in the jewel by Duncan Harley By Duncan Harley

In the recent “Aberdeen Parking Permits To Hit Garthdee Residents” article Aberdeen Voice looked at how the elected councillors and paid officials of the Granite City have seemingly decided to use the easy option of targeting car parking to make a bit of cash.

Since then more information has emerged to back up this assertion and a further residents meeting has taken place to discus the issues involved.

Aberdeen Council also had a meeting to discuss the matter.

In typical council speak it was called something like “EPI Committee Meeting 12/11/2013.”

If you had been fortunate enough to be there, you might have heard Cllr Mrs Angela Taylor saying that it was “unfortunate” that the previous administration had misled the residents over the fact that they might have to pay for parking permits in the future.

This in many Garthdee and indeed many Kaimhill residents’ eyes, raises some quite serious questions regarding the validity and legality of the proposed CPZ (Controlled Parking Zone) charges.

Said one resident:

“what difference does it make which administration put the parking restrictions in place, if they are wrong then surely that is the important thing.”

“I can understand folk in the centre of town having to put up with this” said another “but in Garthdee? I know we have a student parking issue but to be honest that’s not a huge problem. RGU have been offering to pay to sort it out, why don’t the council just tell the officials to talk to them?”

parking 2 garthdee duncan harley

Parking in Garthdee – Credit: Duncan Harley

The financial implications for the people of Garthdee and Kaimhill are clear. Pay up to £200 each year to park outside your own door of face a fine of £60 per day.

This is an area of mixed fortunes.

Only around 49% of houses in Garthdee are owner occupied.

The rate of car crime is higher than the city average. The rate of vandalism is double the rate for the South of Aberdeen City.

Garthdee has a 2% unemployment total compared to the Aberdeen average rate of 1.6% plus a higher than average claim rate for Severe Disablement Allowance leading to calls from relatives of disabled residents to scrap the unfair charge.

Garthdee is not in the same league as some other Aberdeen inner city deprived areas, but it is certainly not as affluent as the adjoining Morningside where, just 100 metres away across the Old Royal Deeside Railway line residents are, until now, blissfully unaffected by any threat of parking restrictions.

Aberdeen City Council are of course looking to curb expenditure and in these times of economic distress are perhaps understandably looking to take in revenue wherever they can.

It’s no real surprise then that according to EPI Committee Report EPI/13/203 the council makes a hefty surplus (council speak for profit) on parking charges city wide.

Figures suggest that in recent years income from parking fees has totalled around £6.4 per annum with around £3.5m in costs. The resulting surplus of £2.8m has been used seemingly for “various transport projects throughout the city.”

Is this legal? Possibly. Is this moral? Possibly not.

“Who can tell in the absence of a judicial review?” said one resident?

parking 2 morningside duncan harley

Parking in Morningside – Credit: Duncan Harley

What is certain is that the residents of Garthdee stand to lose a fair chunk of their disposable income due the decision of their elected representatives to impose a parking charge tax which many feel is not only quite unfair but also completely unjust.

The poorer residents of Garthdee will of course be particularly affected and many local folk are angry at the seemingly uncompromising stance of those whom they elected to represent their interests. Many feel that this situation must be rectified and rectified very soon.

RGU (Robert Gordons University) have been blamed for causing the problem due to the expiry of a claimed “10 year agreement” which the council seem reluctant to re-negotiate. RGU has helpfully published a map which advises students where to purchase parking tickets and suggests streets available to park in within the city.

Many residents of Aberdeen will wonder why their elected representatives are seemingly targeting the poor and vulnerable. Many will just shake their heads and say “it doesn’t affect me.”

In situations such as this it is often useful to recall the words of Pastor Martin-Niemöller:

“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”

If this situation resonates with you then consider contacting your local Aberdeen councillor to ask if they have any views on the issue.

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Nov 052013
 

With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.

http://www.freefoto.com/preview/28-15-13/Road-Traffic-AccidentCome to Safe Drive Stay Alive 2013 and find out how your being in a road crash can have a massive impact on your friends, your family and the people who respond to emergencies.

In the past five years, 150 people have been killed in 134 collisions and 42 of those killed were in the 17-25 age group – don’t be next.

The event for S5 pupils in Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Moray will be held in Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom from Monday 4th November to Thursday 7th November.

A performance open to the public takes place on Wednesday 6th November at 7:15pm. It is free of charge and no ticket is necessary.

For more information, contact Kate Rigby:

Tel: 01467 628439
Email: kate.rigby@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

Images © http://www.freefoto.com

Nov 012013
 

Parking permits are to be applied to Garthdee residents, a move which Duncan Harley describes as ‘A Scottish Labour disgrace’.

Parking in Garthdee Duncan Harley

The councillors and officials of the Granite City have seemingly decided to use the easy option of car parking to make a bit of cash.

From 1st August 2013, parking charges apply to Garthdee residents who wish to park outside their own house.

The official line reads:

“Introduction of Charge for Garthdee Resident’s Exemption Parking Permits (Zone Y). From 1st August 2013, residents who are entitled to apply for a Resident’s Exemption Parking Permit will have to pay for a permit. Any existing permits on 1st August 2013 will be honoured.

“Any resident who has an existing permit will be required to pay if they decide to renew their permit(s).
Please note: the council will no longer issue Permit Renewal Reminder letters after 31 July 2013. Permit holders must be aware of the date their permit(s) expires. Permits can be renewed from 20 days prior to its date of expiry.
The cost of a permit is as follows,     1st permit – £80.00,     2nd permit – £120.00.”

The local government regulations attached to lamp posts in the area helpfully inform residents that:

“There are 2 types of permit available. Fixed permits are only valid for one specific vehicle and cannot be transferred to any other vehicle. The vehicle registration number must be declared on the application form. The keeper of the vehicle must be resident in the household.  Flexible permits can be used on any vehicle, e.g. a visitor’s vehicle. If applying for only 1 permit, you may choose either type of permit, Fixed or Flexible.

“If applying for 2 permits, only 1 of the permits can be Flexible. Vehicles must be: A passenger or lights goods vehicle weighing less than 3.5 tonnes and designed for less than 8 passengers (driver excluded). Permits must be displayed on the vehicle windscreen and are only valid for use within the designated residents only, on street pay and display, ticket zone and voucher parking bays.

“You are not guaranteed a parking space in your zone. The maximum number of permits that an address is entitled is 2. Permits are not required for motorcycles which may be parked free of charge in any parking bay. We ask that motorcycles are parked perpendicular to the kerb (front of wheel facing the kerb).”

A reading age of at least fifteen is required to make sense of the new rules, and a fine of huge proportions awaits those who fail to comply. If you own a new BMW or a knackered Fiesta the rules are just the same. Pay up or get fined up to £60 a day for parking in your own street.

All well and good of course: if you own a car, you are liable to pay for parking in busy city streets. But outside your own house and in a residential satellite scheme three miles from the city centre?

Dame Anne Begg, who has been the MP for Aberdeen South since 1997, was contacted by a resident. Could she take up the case on behalf of the folk of Garthdee? Could she fight their corner on this issue? Could she empathise with constituents who are being bullied by Aberdeen City Council and forced to use hard-earned funds to buy a licence to park outside their homes? Seemingly she is powerless to fight the issue.

At a recent meeting in Garthdee Community Centre to discuss the issues, one 73-year-old resident pointed out that if she needed her house repaired for any reason she would now require a visitor’s permit to allow a tradesman’s van to park outside her door. If family or carers visit they too would require to use her visitor’s permit.

“Why should I pay £200 to let folk park at my door, I don’t even own a car,” she said

“what if I call the doctor and he won’t come unless I have a parking permit?”

Many residents feel that Garthdee has plenty of kerbside parking. In fact many residents are too deprived to even own a vehicle. What is the council thinking of?

Get in touch with Anne at:
anne.begg.mp@parliament.uk
01224 252704
Dame Anne Begg MP
Admiral Court,
Poynernook Road,
Aberdeen
AB11 5QX

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Jul 262013
 

Shocked and angered by the deaths of two people on bikes in the space of a week, a group of Edinburgh cyclists has taken action on behalf of all cyclists in Scotland in drawing attention to the latest tragedies. With thanks to Sara Dorman.

Two white-painted ghost bikes were left outside the Scottish Parliament on Monday 22 July to commemorate all eight cyclists including two children already killed in Scotland in 2013.

The number of cyclists killed on Scotland’s roads in 2012 rose to nine from 2011’s seven.
This looks set to rise again in 2013.

Almost as if to illustrate, grotesquely, the protest, just forty minutes after the sombre ceremony at the Parliament building, Mary Brook (59) of Drumnadrochit was killed as she cycled on Loch Ness side, the ninth cyclist to die on Scotland’s road this year.

The Scottish Government has rejected calls made by Pedal on Parliament, public health experts and MSPs to increase spending on cycling infrastructure, including safe, separated cycle tracks, to £20 per head. The recent Cycling Action Plan for Scotland also rejected calls for the implementation of strict liability laws in civil cases, claiming that as road casualty figures were falling overall, there was no case to be made for this change.

Ghost bikes have been used around the world to mark locations of fatal cycle accidents, to act both as memorial and warning. Andy Arthur, a cyclist involved in the Holyrood installation, explained the reasoning behind it.

We feel that the blame for these avoidable deaths must lie as much with the inaction of the Scottish Government as with the drivers concerned. The political leadership in Holyrood have the power and the budgets to do something about the safety of cycling, yet they seem to lack political will.

 “By leaving the memorial in full view of Parliament we hope it will stir our elected representatives into action, or else shame them for their inaction. It emerged spontaneously out of the real anger and hurt we felt at the news of yet another death this week, coming on top of the loss of two members of the Edinburgh Triathletes club in separate crashes this year.’”

Sara Dorman, among the organisers of Pedal on Parliament, said:

Only two months ago 4000 people pedalled on the Scottish Parliament to ask for just £100m a year to make Scotland’s roads safer for everyone, from eight to eighty, to cycle.

“Sadly, this year we’ve seen the death of an eight year old and someone who was almost eighty. Unfortunately, the state of our roads means that deaths are inevitable, as bikes are regularly brought into conflict with fast-moving traffic. Despite the government finding £3bn to dual the A9, supposedly on safety grounds, they’ve told us there’s no money to increase investment in safer cycling and all they’ve suggested is an information campaign urging mutual respect, the sort of campaign which has failed over and over in the past.

“It seems that there’s no sum too large to make the roads safer for driving, but when it comes to the safety of people on bikes, even children, then even the smallest sum is begrudged. We hope that Scotland’s politicians will see these memorials and show real leadership in making cycling safer for everyone.”

A memorial to all cyclists fatally-injured in the last five years was unveiled with the ghost bikes. It reads:

“This Memorial was placed here on July 22nd 2013 by a small group of Edinburgh cyclists; for and on behalf of all cyclists in Scotland. It has been placed here in memory of each cyclist killed on Scotland’s roads in recent years; these were people’s friends and loved ones; husbands and wives, fathers and mothers; sons and daughters; grandparents, aunts and uncles.

“The tally on this memorial shows how deaths amongst cyclists on Scotland’s roads are increasing. In mid-2013, the per-capita death rate for cyclists on Scotland’s roads is 3 times that of London. The Scottish Transport Secretary states that fatalities are down on our roads and that they are safer than ever. This is not the case, and the inaction and denial on the part of the Scottish Government must stop now.

“This Memorial accompanies Ghost Bikes, which have been placed outside the Scottish Parliament so that they are in full view of our elected representatives, who have the power, authority and budgets to do all that it takes to tackle the preventable loss of life on our roads. Ghost Bikes have been used all over the world as a memorial to cyclists who have been killed or severely injured on the road.

“All it takes for people to keep being killed cycling on Scotland’s roads is for our Government to keep doing nothing”

http://pedalonparliament.org/

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Jul 182013
 

With thanks to Chris Anderson, Marketing and Events Organiser, Grampian Transport Museum.

Grampian Transport Museum hosts a traditional afternoon gathering of pre-1990 vehicles this coming Sunday 21st July. A wide variety of cars, commercial vehicles and motorcycles will be on display as the annual Classic & Vintage Gathering takes place from 12 noon until 4.30pm.

Visitors will be able to view an array of vehicles registered prior to 1990 including cars from the likes of Austin, Ford, MG and BMW as well as a selection of vintage buses and other commercial vehicles.

Anyone who wishes to enter a pre-1990 registered vehicle can do so by turning up to the site on the day between 10.30am & 11.30am.

For just £15, the vehicle driver and one guest can get entry to the event, complimentary access to the museum and light refreshments. Entry for any additional passengers is £5 per person.

Visitor admission to the Classic & Vintage Gathering is included with the normal museum entry fee. Throughout 2013, two under 16’s are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an Adult with any additional children £3. Adult entry is £9.50 with Concession entry £7.50. For more information on the museum and all its events visit the website: www.gtm.org.uk

Event:        Classic and Vintage Gathering
Date:            Sunday 21st July 2013
Venue:       Grampian Transport Museum, Alford, Aberdeenshire
Time:          12.00-4.30pm

For more information contact:

Chris Anderson, Marketing and Events Organiser, Grampian Transport Museum.
Tel: 01975564517
email: marketing@gtm.org.uk