Almost 100 empty properties on Aberdeen’s Granite Mile this year as calls made for Union Street to be ‘rates-free zone’

28/12/2023
Union Street

ALMOST 100 properties on Aberdeen’s Granite Mile have sat empty so far at one point during this financial year, new figures reveal.

Statistics obtained by the Scottish Conservatives from Aberdeen City Council show 96 different properties on Union Street have been vacant at one point so far in 2023/24.

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These include 64 offices, 26 shops, two banks, two betting shops, the former Budz Bar and the former Espionage nightclub, which is now occupied. 

Among the ratepayers for the empty buildings include Virgin Money, Bank of Scotland, British Airways and Munro’s Travel.

Meanwhile, 18 units have sat vacant on King Street in 2023/24 compared to just three on George Street.

Those on King Street include 12 offices, shops and the former La Lombarda and Maya restaurants. 

Scottish Conservative North East MSP Douglas Lumsden has called on the SNP-Green Government to make areas such as Union Street rates-free zones amid concerns spiralling costs are forcing businesses to move elsewhere.

The former city council leader has also backed taskforce Our Union Street and its white paper, focussing on five key themes to turn around the fortunes of the diminished city high street.

Scottish Conservative North East MSP Douglas Lumsden said: “These devastating figures underline the downward spiral of Union Street in recent years, but we must reverse the tide of decline.

“I fully support the work being done by Our Union Street which is looking at fresh ideas to breathe new life into the city centre.

“But it’s evident the Scottish Government’s rates system is killing our high streets in Aberdeen and is punishing the North East disproportionately.

“Businesses across Scotland should be treated equally but in Aberdeen they are not, with a bias towards the Central Belt.

“Owners who are in dire straits are being left with no choice but to knock down their buildings because of the punitive effect of business rates on the city.

“With firms under tremendous pressure, the SNP Government must start listening to their concerns and make areas such as Union Street a rates-free zone.”

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