Union Street - we all love it don't we? What Aberdonian doesn't have fond memories of this buzzing city centre? Stopping off at Woolies to buy some peanuts on open display ("quarter a pound please") and watching the shop assistant scoop them into a paper bag before heading off to Pittodrie on the Grampian bus. Ah, the Seventies. Those were the days.
But what of Union Street now?
Not a nice place that's for sure. Nowadays a trip down Union Street means never-ending hassle. Problem numero Uno - the beggars.
Oh it's such a shame isn't it, those poor folk with no home to go to. Well, no it's not a shame. Beggars are the scourge of Union Street. The same ones every time. Who can tolerate the requests for "any change please" on your fortnightly trip into town, followed by the sarky "God Bless You" or "Have a nice day" as you try to walk past ignoring them, carefully stepping over their paper cup placed in the middle of the pavement. Or the sleeping bag, cardboard and coat discarded carelessly where you are liable to trip over it. It never used to be like this. There was a time when begging was outlawed and it just didn't happen. When can't it be like that again? And what about those who reside in Union Street, who have to put up with intimdating requests half a dozen times a day as they simply try to get back and fore to their home?
Aberdeen City Council need to get a grip on this problem. There is no reason for anyone to be homeless anymore given that the Council has a legal duty to find accommodation for all homeless people. If these individuals have had that opportunity and wasted it then they must be removed from the street by the police, with force if necessary. These beggars are a blight on our city centre. If the City Council really does have its sights set on making Aberdeen City Centre a draw for tourists then it needs to sort out the beggars first before it begins planning for cable cars and parklets.