Tarmac laid over historic Aberdeen cobbles to be removed

A stretch of tarmac laid over historic cobbles in the 'medieval heart' of Aberdeen is to be removed.

Aberdeen's Windmill Brae cobbles are covered by tar. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The stones are made from the city’s famous granite and have been a feature on Windmill Brae for hundreds of years since the hilly road was the entrance to the medieval town.

But residents discovered they had been tarred over at the weekend with council workers accused of vandalism.

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One local posted photographs of the street on social media sites stating that it was “utterly incredible that such vandalism should be perpetrated”.

The resident added that it was obvious from the quick fix of the road that the heritage and history of the city were both sadly lacking in the perspectives of the people responsible for the removal of the cobbles.

Others described it as a “blatant breach” of the conservation area.

The street, which leads to the centre of Aberdeen, is one of the oldest in the city with the nearby market Green recognised as one of the four administrative medieval quarters in 1399.

Now, local government minister Kevin Stewart, who also serves as MSP for Aberdeen Central, has written to the Aberdeen City Council’s chief executive, Angela Scott, calling for the reinstatement of the cobbles as soon as possible.

Mr Stewart visited the road and discovered that other parts of the cobbled surface had also become loose and were breaking away from the road.

He said: “It’s embarrassing that professional road repairs teams have laid tarmac as a material to repair a cobbled street.”

Liberal Democrat city councillor Iain Yuill said he was aware of the problem and called for the cobbles to be reinstated.

He said: “I don’t know why they have been replaced with tarmac. I can’t understand why and I certainly hope that the cobbles are reinstated as soon as possible.

“Windmill Brae is part of Aberdeen’s historic centre and cobbles are the right road surface for there.

“I look forward to finding out why the cobbles were replaced with tarmac and why it has been laid in such a slap dash manner.”

Aberdeen City Council said the resurfacing on Windmill Brae was necessary because some of the stones had come loose.

A “permanent solution” is being sought after the local authority said the work was below standard.