THE former chairman of Brechin Community Council has backed local business people who are expressing concern at the loss of parking spaces in St Ninian’s Square.
Douglas Murray said he had spoken to numerous locals who had grave concerns over the on-going improvements.
“As past chair of the community council, and as vice-chair of the Brechin & District Business Association my perception of the need for this work is in accord with all the views that have been expressed to me - it is wholly unnecessary, particularly when the perception is that the money used should be spent on other work such as the increase in potholes, etc.
“I cannot recall the item having been presented in publicly available reports to councillors, nor of any local perceptions of the need for this work.
“Some years ago, an extensive public consultation on changes to Panmure Street/Southesk Street/St Ninian’s Square was carried out by the former District Council - and found to be flawed.
“Technical data was produced at that time, and confirmed, with the use of a locally owned HGV and a council-owned gritter/snowplough vechicle, that changes proposed would make it impossible to navigate the road network with both the safety of vehicle drivers and pedestrians in mind.
“I am horrified that changes are now being carried out, even if only in part, that were comprehensively rejected in the past.”
Mr Murray goes on to say that if scarce funds were available on road improvements, he could provide a list that would be more in keeping with the aims of the council.
“Southesk Street, from the Cemetery Bridge to the anti-slip surfaces at the approaches to the Crossing have all but disappeared. The main drain from the Cemetery Bridge down the street appears to be choked due to excessive run off during reasonable wet weather.
“Swan Street road surface and the pavements are a disgrace. Again the anti-slip surface at the pedestrian crossing is no longer of effective use due to the numerous pot holes and subsidence.
“Therefore, if the main issue is pedestrian safety, should engineers not be making arrangements to programme this work rather than that in the Square?”
Douglas Murray adds: “Initial soundings of the owners of the locally based HGV business that is based behind the Caledonian Railway have confirmed that their vehicles will require traffic to be prevented from parking outside the Gardner Memorial Church, and possibly the repositioning of the bus stance, if they are to safely navigate access and exits to the proposed new set up.
“If my understanding is correct the proposals also include a similar extension of the pavement outside the Chinese Takeaway at the junction
“This will remove further car parking spaces from the street, making six in total. The obvious lack of parking in the city is a subject that has been hotly debated for decades and the steady encroachment of road alterations does not help.
“If, as I have been advised is correct, that the presence of a utility plant in the centre of the road is an issue that has stopped work, it may be more cost effective to rip up what has been done to date, and reinstate the junction back to what it was originally.”
Mr Murray outlined his concerns in a letter to council officials, a senior traffic engineer reiterating that the local authority’s decision to carry out the work was based on road safety statistics.