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Anger over Turriff street plans

By David Porter

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Business owners, residents and local councillors in Turriff have reacted with incredulity at the actions of Aberdeenshire Council officers over plans to introduce restrictions in the town centre.

Why do Turriff's High Street pavements need restrictions applied?
Why do Turriff's High Street pavements need restrictions applied?

Across Aberdeenshire, measures have been introduced, with considerable negative feedback across the board in Ellon, Inverurie, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Banchory and Fraserburgh as part of the Scottish Government Spaces for People scheme.

These were implemented at the start of this week and are still receiving comments over unresolved issues in Ellon in particular.

It emerged at the start of this week that Aberdeenshire Council had submitted roads orders to manage traffic flow in Turriff which was picked up by local blogging site My Turriff who published the details as they were on public record.

Planned restrictions for Turriff's town centre
Planned restrictions for Turriff's town centre

The Advertiser approached Aberdeenshire Council on this matter on Monday and were informed by a council spokesman: " “There is no set date for implementing any Spaces for People measures in Turriff.

"Initial proposals have been drawn up, but will only be implemented if required.

“We will be monitoring the measures which are being introduced in other town centres and will, of course, include Turriff in that process.

"Data gathered will help us to make an informed decision as to whether or not we proceed.”

However on Wednesday morning, Turriff Business Association were contacted by council officers who informed them with no prior warning that they would be implemented on Monday, July 6.

Officers also said that feedback would be taken on the proposals, which prompted a move by the Bussiness Association to gather comments at short notice.

To date over 200 comments from local residents and businesses have been made to this request, all pointing out the lack of prior consultation and engagement.

They also point out the universal opinion that these measures are not required in a town the size and layout of Turriff.

This prompted the Business Association to raise a petition in line with a move taken by traders in Peterhead in previous weeks.

A spokeswoman for the association said: "We need to encourage footfall back to Turriff Businesses after the last three months lock-down.

"With the road changes and parking restrictions proposal it will drive people away from Turriff making it a ghost town and have a detrimental effect on local trade.

"Government pushing to stay/shop/support local but these restrictions will keep them away and make them shop elsewhere.

"We understand social distancing is vital at the moment but the size of Turriff and quantity of people on our pavements we are managing great, as people are friendly, and understanding.

"We do not have shops that have large queues outside, if any, as we are a beautiful market town, not in the centre of a big city were large queues are forming.

"Turriff has won in the past Most Beautiful High Street and been runner up In Scotland's Best High Street of the year last two years.

"We want to keep it that way."

Aberdeenshire Council, have to date not responded to a formal request on Wednesday morning from the Advertiser to clarify the actions taken, nor the implementation of the proposals.

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