Businesses claim one-way hitting trade

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BUSINESSES along the length of Castle Street have joined together in an attempt to make Angus Council reverse its decision and allow traffic to once again flow up and down the main thoroughfare in the town.

The one-year trial system was introduced to motorists in June, and right away local businessman Alastair Cameron of Alex Cameron, Fishmongers and Poulterers, warned it was the wrong decision.

Although his business has not been affected by the one-way system, Alastair reflected better policing should have been put in place to deal with those who parked illegally, clogging up the town’s main artery and causing traffic congestion.

Now Alastair and his son Neil have canvassed fellow shopkeepers and businesses along the length of Castle Street - and a resounding 92% have called for a council re-think. They have put pen to paper with some 62 signing a petition.

The petition states that, since the introduction of the trial one-way system, a number of businesses have, in some instances, registered a “significant” fall in turnover.

It continues: “In this difficult economic climate we do not require any new system which may be detrimental to the well-being of our business community.

“With the arrival of the new Asda store in Forfar, many existing businesses will find conditions even more challenging and any obstacles threatening their survival should be removed.

“We the undersigned, representing our businesses in Castle Street together with the support of a large percentage of the public, suggest the reversal of the one-way system and a return to two-way traffic with a firm implementation of the parking laws.”

The petition has now been handed in to Angus Council’s Head of Roads.

Commenting on the responses the petition received, Alastair said only a handful refused to sign it as they were not affected by the loss in passing trade.

He said: “The majority were delighted to sign it. Most thought the one-way system was a really bad idea and that the town didn’t need it. They felt it spoiled the street and quite a few have lost a fair bit of trade. We worked out 92% were in favour of getting rid of the system as soon as possible. The feedback we are getting from customers is that as many are in favour of getting rid of it as there are in favour of keeping it.

“We want to get the street back in business. There are two main ways into Castle Street, from East and West High street, but the traffic is diverted into a car park or onto minor back roads. It’s not a good system and is putting people off coming down the street.”

Alastair added there were fears the loss of business may result in shop closures, adding: “One shop lost in Castle Street would be one too many.”

A spokesperson for Angus Council said: “We undertook a public consultation which included all residents and traders in Castle Street last year, prior to the implementation of the scheme. The one-way traffic management scheme began in June, for a 12 month trial period.

“We received a petition from the local traders a week ago, and will take their views into account at the end of the trial period. We will also include their opinions in the assessment of the scheme.”