Motorists up in arms over Inverurie High Street closure

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THERE was chaos in Inverurie on Monday morning as the roadworks on the High Street were due to begin.

Matters were made worse as drivers failed to see the diversion signs and still tried to make their way through the High Street only to have to turn in the Banks of Ury car park or Nursery lane. The full scale of this was seen as a transporter and trailer precariously made a tight turn, taking up the entire width of the car park. A bus followed in close pursuit.

Although diversions were in place at various locations in the town, drivers complained that signs didn’t follow the entire route thus leading to further chaos.

Tuesday morning turned out to be much more ordered as drivers in the town had established their preferred routes, but there was evidence of some illicit parking either side of the works between David’s Lane and Nursery Lane.The closure is expected to be for four weeks to allow for sewage and services to be installed at Bancon’s Knightsbridge development. Aberdeenshire Council has apologised for any inconvenience caused while the work is being completed and has advised motorists to check the authority’s website for regular updates on all road closures in the area as the best source for live information.

However, three days into the closure, traders are angry on a number of counts. Trade has dropped by as much as 50 per cent and there is no clear signage to indicate that the shops are still open for business. Anger has also been expressed over the fact that businesses had not been consulted prior to the closure, as was indicated by Aberdeenshire Council.

Traders and businesses in the town are represented by Inverurie Business Assocation (IBA) whose chairman, Graeme Ross has written to the council and to Bancon, relaying the concerns of it’s members. He wrote of the “significant adverse impact” the closure has had so far on what he called “already fragile trading” and asked for the works to be expedited to allow the High street to be reopened and normality to resume.

He said: “The impact on some business is very frightening and of course local radio reporting that you should add 20 minutes to your journey in Inverurie doesn’t do much to entice visitors.”

Traders were furious that there was no sign of any digging in the road until late on Tuesday afternoon and asked why the road had been closed all day Monday and Tuesday morning when there was no activity from the work force.

Mr Ross said there were a large number of “very unhappy” businesses in the town and added: “The negative impact stretches right through to Port Elphinstone.

“Shops to the south of the closure have reported a very significant drop in customers with virtually no foot or car traffic while the majority of shops to the north have reported a decline - some as high as 50 per cent.” Ian Duguid, of the Port Paper Shop, had noticed a fall in morning trade since the work started.

He said: “It’s definitely been quieter. There’s not been the same number of people stopping off. You would have thought they would have started the work earlier before the schools were back and people were off.

“A lot of people have also been asking why it is going to take four weeks to do the work.”

The traffic disruptions experienced from Oldmeldrum and Rothienorman has been a major source of annoyance with traffic backed up from the north bypass roundabout to Morrison’s, along Burghmuir Drive and down Blackhall Road and has caused late arrival of staff and frustrated delivery drivers but one of the major fears relating to the disruption and consequential loss of footfall, is that lack of trade could lead to loss of jobs.

Mr Ross asked that Bancon should work later and over weekends to complete the work as quickly as possible and has also asked Aberdeenshire Council to take measures with immediate effect to increase the provision of signage, to promote the fact that Inverurie is still very much open for business and to impress the need for urgency on the part of the contractors to get the work completed “safely” and as “quickly as possible”.

Mr Ross has also contacted Mr Salmond’s office in this regard.