North-east road closure extended to allow building conversion project to progress

© DC ThomsonBridge street in Banff is to be shut for 3 months for regeneration works.
Bridge street in Banff is to be shut for 3 months for regeneration works.

A Banff street originally closed for three months will now remain shut until the end of summer.

Bridge Street has been shut since February to allow a derelict building to be transformed into accommodation for the Smiddy Centre of Excellence for Silversmithing and Jewellery.

North East Scotland Preservation Trust are leading the efforts to transform two B-listed structures in townhouses for guests.

But now it has emerged the one-way street will be shut off until the end of August, due to “structural matters” with the development.

Retailers operating along the route have mixed views about the delays, with some arguing it is necessary to further the regeneration of the town while others have complained of a hit in their trade.

Rachel Kennedy, who runs Ivy’s Emporium, said while there have been less customers in the shop she is “generally delighted” with the regeneration work.

She said: “What is the alternative?  That nothing happens on the street?

“I think this is a wonderful investment in the town.”

Alexis Sivewright, from Bridge Carpets, however is worried that the further closure will impact the business.

She said there has already been a drop in customers visiting the store as vehicle access currently off limits.

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Mrs Sivewright said: “It’s not great at all and there are less customers coming through the door.

“We’ve got no access for customers to come down and it is far from ideal.”

Councillor Glen Reynolds who is chairman of the Banff development partnership said: “The current inconvenience will be outweighed by the end result.”

Belinda Miller, head of economic development for Aberdeenshire Council apologised for the delay and that more time was needed for the construction due to “structural matters.”

She said: “Projects in historic buildings can be challenging and while we’re happy with the progress that is being made we’ve had to extend the overall timescale to address some structural matters.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience but are looking forward to the positive impact these works will have in the longer term, providing a much-improved environment on Bridge Street and helping bring more people to the area and to Banff as a whole.”