Still open for business

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Businesses in Inverurie continue to suffer from slow or almost non-existing trading due to the road closure forced upon the town by the Bancon Development.

After a meeting called by Inverurie Business Association (IBA) last week, at which Aberdeenshire Council Roads Manager, Alan Burns, sympathetically listened to the concerns of the traders, some positive action has been taken, but businesses are still reporting a massive downturn.

One of the main concerns expressed during the meeting was poor signage which failed to clarify that Inverurie was open for business as usual, poor reporting by the media, and radio announcements suggesting the town was closed and traffic gridlocked.

As a result of the meeting, local signage has been altered to reflect ‘business as usual’, road policing put in place and Bancon were granted weekend working to speed up the process.

While no-one can fault Bancon’s efforts to complete the work without delay, and they are actively helping the town by advertising on local radio that Inverurie as “open”, the mood among traders is still gloomy.

At the south side of the closure, Cheryl Rowland of Donside Frames reported that trade was “shocking” and added: “People are still ringing up and telling us that they can’t get in because Inverurie is closed. Bancon are cracking on, but the sooner the work is finished, the better. If only the radio would stop saying the road is closed.”

Sloans also reported few customers. Rod Sloan said: “The road closure has absolutely devastated our business. We are getting very few customers - there is no through traffic.”

On the north side, Mary Sloan of Watsons said: “I would say business is down by 30 per cent and by half at weekends.

Speaking of the consultation process, she added: “If they had spoken with the businesses first, they may have changed the way they worked.

“We all pay rates that are so significant to the council, so we should not be excluded from the decision making process.”