A former Culter cafe owner is delighted to be part of a new venture for Aberdeen, when a trial to create a ‘cafe culture’ scene in the city starts next month.
Culter families were disappointed when Jamie Hutcheon (pictured with Cults-Culter Cllr Marie Duncan) moved his chocolate shop, Coco-Ooze, from the village’s North Deeside Road into the city centre, but he is now delighted to be involved in the new trial.
In response to cafe owners’ requests, Aberdeen City Council is creating a trial space around Belmont Street, Little Belmont Street and Gaelic Lane which will be closed to almost all traffic from 11am to 6pm, seven days a week, for three summer/autumn months starting next Monday, August 3, during which cafe owners will be putting tables and chairs outside their premises in the hope that residents and visitors will go for a coffee or tea and cake and ‘watch the world go by.’
It is hoped to also have a series of cultural events in the streets to encourage people into the area, and cultural use will be encouraged from art, music and street performers.
There will also be free public wi-fi.
The feasibility of a trial with the City Council for the cafe zone was put forward by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired after learning of a demand from the city centre business community, and
Jamie Hutcheon welcomed the pilot and said: “We have been approached by many customers asking why we didn’t have any tables and chairs outside for them to enjoy their drinks and lunches. It seems like we’ve really been missing out on an opportunity to develop the cafe culture so I strongly welcome this pilot, which should attract people to what is the cultural heart of the city centre.”
Angela Kozak, of Cup Tea Salon in Little Belmont Street, added: “It makes sense to capitalise on our heritage (in the Merchant Quarter) and make this THE place to go for an alfresco social experience. Where Aberdeen leads the way in the oil and gas industry perspective, it has so far lagged behind in the cosmopolitan alfresco dining experience. I’d like the area to be jam packed - the potential lies beyond the three months of summer.”
The closure will be in place from August 3 during the three month trial, and the only traffic allowed through will be for drivers using two private parking areas. Four Blue Badge spaces are being relocated, three by 590ft to new bays on Schoolhill, and another which will be moved 285ft to a new bay on Back Wynd.