A newly re-elected Aberdeen MSP has called for a decades-long vision to guide the city through the turbulent times.
The SNP’s Kevin Stewart increased his share of the vote in Aberdeen Central, as he was voted in by constituents for a third time with 14,217.
Once a Labour stronghold, the Conservatives took second place over Anas Sarwar’s party in the vote as council co-leader Douglas Lumsden got 7,623.
Mr Stewart said: “The SNP government has already pledged money to regenerate towns and city centre.
“What we need is the vision from the like of the 1952 local plan which set the way forward for this city for generations.
“We need to do something similar to ensure our level best is done to ensure we have a quality city centre.
“That may mean we have to move away from so much retail space, looking at bringing households back tot he city centre, a mix of commercial and residential is what we should be looking at.
“What we require is to bring everyone together here, all politicians, businesses and citizens at large in order to debate what is required and then a serious strategic plan to ensure the future of our city centre.”
Come together to improve Granite City
The 1952 plan, a big, bound copy of which Mr Stewart was gifted for his 50th birthday, is credited with shaping Aberdeen as it is today: with blueprints for an outer ring road – the Aberdeen bypass, the inner ring road – Anderson Drive, and even works still in the making – such as Berryden Corridor improvements.
Aberdeen City Council is currently working on a £150million refresh of a 25-year city centre masterplan, which they want to use to rejuvenate the beach, the east end of Union Street and George Street – which was hit by the recent closure of John Lewis.
Mr Lumsden – the man he beat to second place and co-leader of the city council – took issue of calls for unity, as he told us: “What Kevin Stewart needs to put aside is the constant threat of independence. That would help the city recover from the pandemic.
“If he was to do that I would be happy to work with any party who were committed to helping the city recover.
“We have a city centre masterplan and we are always looking for funding to bring projects to reality.
“If the Scottish Government are willing to come forward with funding I am all ears, and I look forward to that coming.
“However, we have consistently been among the lowest-funded councils in Scotland which is shameful.”
Hopes of a north-east clean sweep for the SNP
Mr Stewart also spoke of hopes of a clean sweep across all north-east constituencies with three seats up for grabs tomorrow.
He told us: “”I hope we do have a clean sweep, Fergus Mutch is working very hard in Aberdeenshire West.
“And I would like to see all of the north-east yellow.”