Local business man Matthew Neve met with Angus Council’s head of road’s, Jeff Green, to hand over the petition against the road improvements carried out at St Ninian’s Square.
The purpose of the meeting was also to determining why the Council chose to carry out the work and how much the work cost as well as explaining the problems which have occurred since the work began with the hope to find what the council will so to resolve these problems.
Matthew said: “When asked what reasons were for the improvements and he responded by saying that they are set targets for cluster sites and the square was one of these cluster sites for accidents. Their 2010 targets have been met and they are now focusing on targets for 2020.
“He also stated that a standard road is 7.3 metres wide and the square was originally 20 metres wide before it was reduced to 10 metres.
“Jeff stated that the site was the third worst junction for accidents in the rural areas of Angus with three reported accidents.
“These accidents occurred in 2007 and 2009 with one accident involving a three year old boy.
“How can a three year old be used in these figures when they have no road sense at the best of times?
“Jeff stated that if there are three accidents within a three year period then something has to be done to reduce the risk and this was the main reason for these works.
“The other reasons for these works were so called traffic calming measures to prevent boy racers flying around the corners as well as increasing the view for pedestrians to see more clearly what was coming around the corner.
“When asked why the works took so long and left in such a mess for a long period of time he responded by explaining that were problems with drainage from one of the properties next to the works being carried out, gas utility problems and that they used sub contractors.
“It was basically everyone else’s problem expect the council’s.
“Jeff explained that due to the road being on a conservation area they did not do anything except extend the black top footway, however, I have spoken to a local resident who was declined planning permission to change windows on their property who feels that it is only a conservation area when it suits the council.
“If it was a true conservation area then every door along the street would have to be the same colour, they wouldn’t have moved the monument from the Mechanics’ or added the stone balls at the opposite side as this is changing the look.
“He informed me that they were working on the drainage system for the new footway he could see the cobbles that used to be there, so if it was a conservation area then they would still be on show and that would be the roadway.”
Following on from this Matthew asked why they had used the drainage system that they did.
“Their answer to this was that they would be the only suitable system and would be cheaper in the long run,” said Matthew.
“If they were to use the usual drainage system then they would have had to create gullies to drain the water away which would have been more costly.
“When I asked him why they gave very little notice about the work I was informed that a leaflet drop had been done through every door in the area. However, residents state that they received no word of the works and they just appeared one day and started working.
“I challenged them about this and was told that they offer little notice for a relatively low costs job. Would you class £25,000 as low cost because I wouldn’t. You should be notified regardless of the price.
“Heavy goods vehicles can no longer turn properly but when I explained the situation they simply rolled their eyes and would not take me on for this problems. They did say that they carried out sweep test and found that two HGVs have no problem turning when something is turning left.
“I disagree. I have seen the problem and captured the problem on camera, the paper shop has seen it, local residents have seen the problems, but the council insist that the sweep tests were done and was no problem. I would love to know where they did these so called sweep tests.
“Finally I asked why was the road done but not the pavement or steps and I got a simple answer - “That’s not our department, their are various departments deal with different aspects, I will notify the relevant department and get someone out.”
“Well we will see what happens here especially the state of the steps now.
“At the end of the meeting I was told that things will calm down after people get used to it because “people don’t like change” and “its unusual for public not to be happy with the work carried out”.
“If there are any incidents or problems with the new works we are to contact the Angus Council access line and report it there.
“I have also been told if there is still a problem in six months time to phone back and speak to Jeff Green again.
“I was told from Jeff that he will read the comments made on the petition.”