A plan to ban vehicles overnight from parts of the city centre will help boost safety, it has been claimed.
Aberdeen City Council has proposed the restrictions over several streets from 10pm to 5am, seven days a week.
The plan has been praised by city centre venues and would see vehicles unable to travel on some sections of Justice Mill Lane, part of Bon Accord Terrace, part of Langstane Place, part of Gordon Street, Windmill Brae, Windmill Lane, Bath Street and part of Bridge Street.
The proposal excludes cyclists, emergency service vehicles, vehicles displaying a blue badge and any accessing off-street car parking directly adjacent to the roads.
Paul Clarkson, operations director at PB Devco, which runs several city venues including Soul Bar and the College, praised the plan – although he said it would be better if it started earlier than 10pm.
He said: “First and foremost, from a safety aspect we feel it is a great idea, as the volume of people on those streets late at night is high and there is often a worry that something could happen.
“It would also help with the horrendous amount of illegal parking on Langstane Place that creates transport issues.
“We had hoped it could create another cafe culture where you could potentially have tables and chairs.
“However, it only proposes from 10pm, so we would have probably preferred it earlier from a business point of view.
“It would be nice to create something similar to the Belmont Street area which attracts extra footfall due to the lack of traffic. However, the timings again do not lend to this idea.
“It would give us some logistical issues when we do external events as very often we load and offload at the side of Soul, with it being our largest venue, but these would easily be overcome I am sure.
“It could potentially have issues for taxi drop-offs as we do see a lot of these at the rear of Soul on Langstane Place.”
Frank Whitaker, general manager of the Park Inn by Radisson hotel on Justice Mill Lane, called the plan “long overdue and very welcome”.
He said: “Since the Capitol and Silver Fin buildings opened, with delivery areas and car parking leading on to Justice Mill Lane, coupled with the traffic generated by guests arriving or leaving the Park Inn by Radisson, plus deliveries to the Justice Mill pub, a bottleneck has been created that has real potential to cause harm.
“The Uptown Business Network is asking the council to reintroduce a one-way system along Justice Mill Lane as part of these plans.
“Moving in the other direction, towards Windmill Brae, the experience of the night-time economy would be significantly enhanced by the introduction of night-time pedestrianisation.
“The council’s plans not only improve customer experience and safety but are sympathetic to local access and business operations at the same time.”
Toki Hastie, restaurant manager of Cafe Harmony, also highlighted the start time, saying it would be better if it was earlier, adding: “I think we would generally be in favour if it was more a complete pedestrianisation.
“The plans are between 10pm and 5am, which, to be honest, would be to mainly benefit the people coming out of pubs and clubs, rather than any of the other businesses.
“There are a few other restaurants which have people arrive by car and that may be difficult to get picked up outside or get parked if the restaurants are still open after that 10pm start time.
“That might be a concern for us if it makes any inconvenience for customers arriving and leaving.
“It would really benefit us if it started from earlier in the day.
“We’d have a little bit more normal footfall and more people using the street outside our restaurant instead of Union Street.
“It can be quite busy late on with cars but it’s going to remove some car parking in that area, which people use often.
“I also believe they’re going to extend the pay and display and restrict parking on the other side of the road.
“I don’t think it’s to help footfall or traffic, though. I think it’s more about safety for people leaving nightclubs and bars late at night.”
The proposal comes after previous work between the council and city centre groups, such as Street Pastors, to make the area safer for revellers.
Members of the public have also given their views on the plan.
Miriam Garcia, 23, who lives and works in the city centre, said: “It would be useful for people on nights out because there are a lot of people here and a few of them are drunk.
“It would be useful because it wouldn’t be dangerous for cars going up and down and I think it would be a good idea.”
Liam Tavendale, 17, a student at Aberdeen University, was also in favour of the plan, adding: “I think it would just stop it from being crowded, because it’s a pain for taxis to get round here.
“The majority of people don’t get up and drive at five in the morning. Even if people need to get picked up there are roads that I’m sure people could walk to.
“I don’t think it would have that much of an impact on many people.”
Any objection should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org before February 10 and include contact details.