Traffic will be banned from busy streets in Peterhead for at least the next six months – in an effort to protect pedestrians.
The Buchan Area Committee agreed to extend the current closure of Marischal Street and Thistle Street this week.
They heard that the new Arc Cinema, and other changes such as the under-construction Drummers Corner project, have “changed the dynamic” of the town centre.
Drivers flouting rules
The local authority began looking into the issue at the start of 2019, with many meetings held about it since then.
And closures were put in place as part of Spaces for People social distancing measures last year at the height of the pandemic.
It was shut again when work began at Drummers Corner, where a £285,000 performance space is being built.
But drivers have been “ignoring signs” on Marischal Street, and continuing to use the road regardless.
Peterhead traffic ban needed
Aberdeenshire Council’s principle roads engineer Stewart Ingram urged the committee to approve the changes.
He said: “Following the opening of the Arc Cinema, along with the completion of improvements to Drummers Corner, the group feel that the street’s dynamic has changed…
“And allowing vehicles to travel through Marischal Street and Thistle Street would lead to more instances where pedestrians and vehicles meet.”
He added that the road closure would “promote a safe environment”, help to attract new businesses and allow events to be held in the town centre.
Extra loading areas will be provided in the Erroll Street and Maiden Street car parks for businesses in the street that accept deliveries at their front door.
Permanent Peterhead traffic ban could be approved next year
Councillor Stephen Calder said Marischal Street used to be a “free for all” prior to the pandemic.
He added: “People were just ignoring the road signage and driving and parking where they wanted.
“Hopefully this will resolve the Marischal Street and Thistle Street situation.”
Their permanent closure will go before the committee in June following a public consultation.
Last year, the local British Heart Foundation charity shop told us about their concerns over pedestrianisation.