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Plans to let cars into Elgin town centre rejected on safety grounds

Elgin town centre
Elgin town centre

Proposals to allow vehicles to drive through Elgin’s town centre have been rejected.

Yesterday a trial of round-the-clock access to the high street for motorists was thrown out on safety grounds.

The idea was brought forward following a charette consultation last year, with many suggesting it could drive more shoppers into the town centre.

But Elgin City South councillor Graham Leadbitter thought there were better ways to enhance the town.

He said: “Recently there has been a significant amount of events that are now being hosted in the pedestrianised section, whether it’s by the Bid, Rotary or the Christmas lights.

“At this time the high street is at its busiest and you have a good number of people there, it’s so busy you wouldn’t be able to get the vehicles in. You would have to close the road anyway so I can’t see any sense in doing it.”

Traffic engineer Dave Malpas told Moray Council’s economic development and infrastructure committee yesterday he found conflicting evidence about whether opening the street up would boost businesses in the town centre.

Elgin City North councillor Patsy Gowans said reintroducing traffic to the town centre would mean disabled residents were less free to navigate the area.

She said: “Currently, disabled people can quite easily get from the Plainstones all the way to the council annex building, without having to worry much about traffic.

“As it is, the centre is safe for everyone – and that wouldn’t be the case with buses or cars going through it.”

During the meeting councillors decided to back proposals to create a new coach stop for bus tours travelling along the A96 in a bid to attract more tourists to the town.

Mr Malpas said a site had been identified on the High Street near Marks and Spencer and it would now be considered as part of Elgin’s parking strategy.

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