Calls have been made to introduce a “friendlier” system of road changes in Aberdeenshire towns amid growing complaints that existing measures are causing “mayhem” for struggling traders.
The council was awarded £310,000 from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People fund to roll out temporary projects to allow for social distancing in its busy urban areas.
Funded by Transport Scotland and administered by Sustrans Scotland, the scheme also encourages people to walk and cycle for essential trips and exercise.
Conservative MP Andrew Bowie, who represents West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, this week took to Twitter this week to highlight the impact of the changes in Stonehaven and Banchory.
He said said there “must be another way” for safety measures to be implemented.
Mr Bowie said: “It’s clear that, however well meant, the restrictions are proving a real issue for small companies, already struggling with reduced footfall and problems with deliveries, as well as causing issues for those people with limited mobility who need set down on the street so as to avoid difficult walks.
“I understand the council are doing what they think is needed to protect public health, but there must be a better way than this.”
The MP has confirmed he is drafting a letter to be sent to the council over the issue to make a more “High Street friendly system” in Aberdeenshire.
In Banchory, an online petition which is sitting on nearly 2,000 signatures urges Aberdeenshire Council to remove pavement widening measures from High Street and Dee Street.
“It’s hard enough to get parked normally, but now it is going to be absolute mayhem outside with this one-way system.”
Aberdeenshire Council has issued a variety of amendments to the measures as public feedback was collated over the last few months.
Immediate priority was given to town centres in Banchory, Ellon, Fraserburgh, Inverurie, Peterhead and Stonehaven.
*Restrictions on Banchory High Street/Stonehaven Square*
Many of you have written to me regarding the new restrictions on Banchory High Street and the Square in Stonehaven. I haven't spoken out before now because it was important, that, before I did, I spoke to local people 1/5
— Andrew Bowie MP (@AndrewBowie_MP) July 28, 2020
Last night, a spokesman from the local authority said: “The underlying aim of the temporary measures is to keep people safe as they return to our town centres and provide reassurance that the town centres are safe environments.
“We welcome feedback on what is a complex matter and will consider the detail of Mr Bowie’s letter once we have received it.”