A series of projects worth £1.2 million have been approved to boost the city – but opposition councillors fear a lack of detail.
The Scottish Government has given Aberdeen City Council £1.3m to spend on schemes that improve the city centre and officers have been developing eight ideas.
One – a proposal to spend £120,000 transforming part of Archibald Simpson House on King Street into a creative work hub – has been withdrawn. It is understood this is due to outside parties keen to do something else with the space.
However, councillors have given the green light for the other seven projects – spending £80,000 on creating mini parks on Huntly Street and Castlegate, with benches possibly containing phone charging points, and £90,000 on sprucing up an underpass on Hayton Road.
A £400,000 proposal to install suspended signs marking city-centre streets was approved along with £125,000 on installing 3,000 high-tech streetlights.
They also gave the go-ahead to spending £68,502 on lighting up Union Street Bridge – a measure to make the area more attractive – and £390,000 on a new boiler for Mither Kirk as well as £60,000 for a “living wall” of plants on Flourmill Lane.
During a heated city growth and resources committee meeting yesterday, all members backed the schemes but opposition members criticised the level of detail made available to them.
SNP councillor Stephen Flynn said: “What is the suspended signage going to look like? Nobody round this table knows and yet we are approving £400,000 on it. How can we do that? It is simply astonishing.”
While Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney said: “My biggest concern is we’re putting the cart before the horse. As usual, as with everything with this council, it absolutely stinks of poor governance.”
Cllr Delaney later retracted his criticism and clarified it was not aimed at officers.
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The convener, Conservative councillor Douglas Lumdsen, said the cash has been given on a “use it by next April or lose it” basis and praised officers for doing a good job on developing the plans.
He added: “We have to trust what the officers have come back with to make a decision and I’m happy to make a decision.”
A new report containing more detail about the schemes is to be presented to the committee in September.
After the meeting, Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, which lobbied the Scottish Government for the cash and proposed the mini parks and suspended signage schemes, said: “We are delighted the council has supported both our proposals.
“Further engagement with the council and other relevant stakeholders is hugely important and the work begins in earnest to ensure we now deliver the best possible product in the tight timescales applied nationally.”