P&J Column for 6.5.13

‘Give my regards to Broad Street’

This week, Some of our regular contributors stick in their tuppence worth on the Marischal Square proposals.

PROFESSOR HECTOR SCHLENK, Senior Research Fellow at the Bogton Institute

As a man of science, I am a fervent proponent of efficiency in all things. That is why I believe that the pedestrianisation of Broad street is a master stroke. Think how much valuable decision-making time our City Fathers will save when nipping across to Markies for a sandwich now that they wont have to wait for the green man! I understand we have ‘Muse’ to thank for these plans. Amazing to think that not content with designing big shiny buildings they are also Britain’s foremost twiddly rock group (I’m a great fan of their ‘Supermassive Black Hole’).

TIM BEE, the conscientious objector

The latest planning ‘farrago’ emanating from the Town House has left me speechless, dumb-founded and lost for words. So much so, I felt compelled to write this complaint: Our civic leaders suggest that Marischal Square – which is to include offices, an hotel and retail units – will create a “24-hour economy”. Well I object to that. Cities with 24-hour economies are rife with sin (binge-drinking, lewd displays, gambling, ‘fun’). Look at Las Vegas, Amsterdam or Peterhead. I strongly object to re-developing an area of our city centre simply to transform it into a den of iniquity. That’s why we have the harbour.

ARCHIE FRASER, gentleman of the road

I have more to lose than most by the re-development of St Nicholas house. Thanks to a loose bit of boarded-up window I’ve recently been kipping in what used to be, ironically, the office of the head of the Housing Department.  Nonetheless, I’m firmly of the view that the council has come up trumps. The proposed ‘Secret Garden’ will be the ideal place to surreptitiously contravene the by-laws against drinking in public, and will also provide a botanically intriguing selection of bushes in which one may secrete two litres of White Lightening, or, if the mood prevails, pass out. The variety of retail units, offices, hotel and gym facilities will provide a plethora of exciting new doorways in which to sleep. I only hope I can come through the 3 more winters until it’s finished.

STRUAN METCALF, MSP for Aberdeenshire North (and Surrounding Nether Regions)

Once again, I really ought to apologise for the latest errant tweet wherein I called into question the capabilities of Aberdeen’s Civic leaders. In my defence, I had been accidentally whisked along on an ill-advised all-day bender with some strapping lads from the Ellon rugger team. Oosh! I’m pretty sure it was Bertie, the tight-head -prop from Barthol Chapel who put me in a friendly head-lock, got hold of my Android and tweeted the following in my name: “To let – massive carbuncle in East Aberdeen. Tenant must have GSOH. 10 storeys of stunning views of councillors asleep at their desks”

TANYA SOUTAR, local lifestyle guru

I da ken fit all the fuss is aboot.  Abody kens fit’ll happen.  They’ll pit up some bonnie buildings, a nice hotel and some smairt shops. Abody will ging there for aboot twa years, then something else will open up and the new St Nicholas Hoose thingie will jist hae pound shops, pawnbrokers and bookies. It’ll be deserted except for Eastern European beggars and single mithers with bairns using their prams tae shoplift.  Just like Union Street.  Still, a change of scene suits me fine, noo that all the security guards in the Bon Accord Centre ken my face!


I’ve read just about enough of the proposed corporate monstrosity opposite Marischal College –  another hymn to the Multi-nationals, rendered in concrete and glass. When will our Civic leaders be bold and opt for something that speaks to we ordinary people?  How can we realistically bid for City of Culture in 2017 when we lack such basic essentials as a Kabbalah Centre, shiatsu massage clinic or Nespresso boutique?  The space left vacant by St Nicholas House would easily accommodate all of that plus a branch of Christian Louboutin or Balenciaga.  But I fear we ordinary folk shall forever remain the silent majority.

RON CLUNY, Council Spokesman

You realise, when you enter into the bear-pit that is local politics, that you will face opposition.  You learn to accept it.  Sometimes, you thrive on it.  Local government is no place for the faint-hearted or the thin-skinned.  But today, I am shocked and disappointed.  I am shocked that this Council’s bold and innovative vision for the replacement of the much-maligned St Nicholas House has prompted such derision; and disappointed at the response to its innovative funding scheme.  Our critics contend that by letting the developers initially share rental revenues before full ownership reverts to us after 35 years we have given them a risk-free premium while saddling ourselves with a white elephant right at the time when it will be coming to the end of its useful life.  It is disappointing to see such cynicism; disappointing that they take us for fools; and most of all, it is bitterly disappointing that nobody pointed this out before we signed the bloody contract.