Business owners fear they will be forced to close due to “ridiculous” social distancing restrictions making it difficult for customers to get access to shops.
The city council was awarded a £1.76 million grant from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People fund to carry out temporary works on streets in May.
Pavements have now been widened across the city with some busy roads turned into one-way routes to make sure there’s extra space.
Road works were carried out in the Rosemount area on Monday with traffic now limited to one way travelling east on Rosemount Place.
And a contraflow cycle lane is now in place from South Mount Street westbound to Esslemont Avenue.
Posted by Rosemount rocks on Wednesday, 8 July 2020
However, business owners fear the changes now make it difficult for disabled and elderly shoppers getting access to shops.
And the bus no longer drops them off close enough to businesses on Rosemount Place.
There’s also been complaints about motorists driving the wrong way down one-way streets – and pedestrians waiting for buses which never arrive because they are now travelling along a different route.
Business owners say the complex changes, which have reduced car parking spaces, have made access a nightmare for both staff and customers.
Faye Howard, the daughter of Wool for Ewe shop owner, Kathy Fraser, fears the business will struggle due to the changes.
She said: “We’ve managed to get through coronavirus, but we’re not going to survive the council. And that’s simply it.”
Motorists have been spotted travelling the wrong way on streets with one council van seen driving the wrong way down an existing one-way road this week.
It then been drove the wrong way down Rosemount Place, where the changes were introduced on Monday.
Vehicles, including a police van, were also been stuck in a queue behind parked cars near the junction with South Mount Street.
And the changes to blue badge parking forced the shop to apologise to customers with mobility issues who are no longer able to stop outside the shop.
Help businesses? What a joke! Apologies to our customers with mobility issues. Blue badge holders can no longer stop…
New cycle lanes are also being ignored, with cyclists instead sticking to the pavements.
Owner Kathy Fraser added : “We’ve got three people, actually adults, cycling up the pavement when we’ve got new cycle lanes.
“Even the council lorries are coming up the one-way street the wrong way.
“I haven’t seen anybody step off the pavement to let anybody past yet either.”
Posted by Wool For Ewe on Tuesday, 7 July 2020
And Faye said: “We had a meeting at the beginning of June and we said one-way would work provided that the direction of traffic was from Mount Street up to the top.
“The bottom half would at least has one road leading on to it.
“At present, nothing coming from the south goes on to it.”
Kathy added: “We’ve got no buses at this corner, as they’ve stopped the bus coming up this way.
“There’s people standing in the bus stop, waiting for the bus that’s never going to come.”
Staff at the shop, which opened 13 years ago and has won multiple awards, are concerned this will force them to close.
Throughout lockdown Wool for Ewe has been offering deliveries and a postal service, with customers as far afield as Shetland still receiving orders next day thanks to Royal Mail.
Faye said: “They said this could go on for anything up to 18 months, if this goes into the winter months we will not survive.
“There’s no question of it. We cannot survive.
“Winter is our busiest time. This is going to shut us – 100% we will close.”
She added: “We’ve had customers calling us telling us they’re just unable to come and how long will these temporary changes be?
“We’re a wool shop, there’s no hiding that our customer base is older – the bus is no longer coming here from town and you can’t actually drive here from the city centre anymore.
“This is my mum’s business, we have been here for 13 years, and have won best independent wool shop in Scotland multiple times.
“We are an established business that has been here for a long time and it’s the council that’s going to shut us down.
“Customers want us to be here and our biggest problem now is the council.
“They just haven’t taken into consideration all the businesses on Rosemount Place, they are small family run businesses.
“Some of them have already said they’ve got a timeline and if they don’t get back up and running soon they will not be opening again.
“A lot of the shop owners are scared of what’s going to happen over the next couple of weeks, or however long this is going to be in place for.”
And she appealed to customers to keep visiting the shop. She said: “We do hope that these ridiculous changes to Rosemount Place will not stop you visiting us.”
Other firms in the area, including ABZ Games have also hit out at the changes, saying they will make any bounce back from Covid-19 even harder.
Kit Wright, owner of ABZ Games, who has been in Rosemount for three years, added: “The business bounce back was going to be hard anyway pulling people back to shopping local and coming in to play games.
“Now its even harder with the one way and parking restrictions.
“We benefited from a single yellow line outside our shop which enabled disability access, now Rosemount has become a very disability unfriendly area.”
And Carol Corinder, director at Crolla’s Gelateria described the changes as ridiculous and dangerous.
She said: “The last few months have been hard enough, but I mean the next months with the restrictions they’ve now put on the road is just going to make things worse.”
She added: “To put parking spaces in the middle of the street is just beyond me, I don’t know who came up with that idea, but it’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard of.
“My staff have been saying they’re scared in case there was going to be some kind of crash because nobody knew where they were supposed to be going and what they’re supposed to be doing.
“It’s going to stop people from parking anywhere to come into various businesses right up Rosemount Place.”
Carol also hit at the consultation over the changes, saying she never received any letters about the planned works.
She said: “I haven’t received any letter or any information of any of this going ahead on this street outside. Not a single thing.
“I saw a thing briefly on Facebook a few weeks ago about the proposals and the plan they put in place. That’s it.
“I didn’t know exactly what was happening until yesterday.”
- General traffic will be limited to one way eastbound on Rosemount Place between the Argyll Place and Westfield Road junction, and at the Mount Street and South Mount Street junction.
- A contraflow cycle lane will be in place from South Mount Street westbound to Esslemont Avenue where a new bus gate will permit entry for buses to a contraflow bus and cycle lane westbound to Westfield Road.
Working to keep people safe during pandemic
Councillor Bill Cormie, who represents Rosemount said: “The consultation here has been far better than it was in other areas of the city, they’ve worked alongside the group Rosemount Rocks.
“It’s obviously not going to suit everybody, there’s no question about that, but this is a pandemic we’re going through. This is folks lives we’re speaking about, and people’s livelihoods there’s no question about that
“We’re very lucky to have these shops in Rosemount.
“Every other city throughout Scotland, towns and shopping areas, are going through exactly the same thing.
“And let’s not forget the pandemic is far from over and the health warning we’re getting from the experts, and if this thing flares up again through the winter months, at least we’ve got these road precautions put in place and we don’t have to go into a complete lockdown again.
“It’s not going to be easy, and life’s not going to be easy ever again until some sort of vaccine or something is found for this pandemic.
“It is also necessary to keep Rosemount going.”
Councillor Cormie added that he believed the changes make it safer for people with a disability or a family with a buggy to navigate queues at shops in the area.
He said: “All these measures have got to be put in place for the safety of the whole community.”
Mr Cormie added, business have been told if they if businesses are experiencing severe problems to contact the [council] officers.”
Aberdeen City Council transport spokeswoman Councillor Sandra Macdonald said: “The measures on Rosemount have been installed over two days and the works required to add lining and signing to direct drivers to the new operation of the street.
“Efforts have been made to maintain accessibility to the area for residents, businesses and general traffic during the works.
“As with all changes to the network, it will take some time to for drivers to become accustomed to the new arrangement and we thank everyone for their patience over this time.
“Guidance is being provided on site and through media releases to support the public through this change.
“Parking and loading areas have been maintained throughout the area to ensure residents, blue badge holders, businesses and visitors can enjoy good access.
“The scheme provides space for pedestrians to move and queue safely, in line with Scottish Government guidance. Bus services to the street are also maintained with one bus stop westbound being relocated to Leadside Road to help accommodate the widening of the footway on Rosemount Place.”