Protected status for Bridie?

THe Forfar Bridie may soon have protected geographical status similar to the Cornish Pasty, the Melton Mowbray Pie and the Arbroath Smokie.

An update on the situation was given by Angus Council this week following a visit by The Good Soup Guide, Scotland’s on-line tourist guide which lists where to get good soup, good ale and things to see and do in Scottish towns.

Their visit sparked discussion at Forfar Community Council last Thursday evening about traffic congestion in the town centre, and raised a number of issues.

Edward Burns of the guide said: “Further to a visit to Forfar, The Good Soup Guide believes that the Forfar Bridie should indeed be granted PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) in the same way that other unique local items like the Cornish Pasty, the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie and the Arbroath Smokie have. We understand that the local council are in the process of applying, and wish them success.

“As far as Forfar as a tourist destination is concerned, we have a number of points to raise. The town centre has too much traffic. Get rid of it in some way, and let a little peace descend on what could be, given half a chance, a delightful little town.

“In addition, given the importance of nearby Restenneth Priory as a tourist stop, we would ask the council to extend the pavement on the Montrose Road so that it goes at least as far as the priory. At present the pavement disappears about halfway, and walkers find themselves having to dodge large lorries.

“Also, we were very disappointed with the quality of the town’s public houses. Having said that, the new Vine & Monkey is a breath of fresh air and most certainly worth a visit. It is, clearly, the best pub in town.

“But all in all, we would certainly return to Forfar, if for no other reason that to sample more Forfar Bridies and a pint of ‘Loons Ale’.”

Commenting on the traffic congestion, Mrs Isobel Ross said she hoped the one-way traffic system would ease the traffic flow.

She said: “I would encourage people not to park on the street unless absolutely necessary and promote the use of the free cars parks in the Myre and the Greens. Both sides of the streets are blocked with cars - able-bodied people should be prepared to walk.”

Angus Council responded to a number of points raised by The Good Soup Guide.

A spokesperson said: “We consulted with local residents and businesses in the centre of Forfar regarding traffic issues and are soon to introduce a one way system on Forfar’s Castle Street, to alleviate congestion on the busy route. This follows the introduction of a temporary one way system during the environmental improvement works to Forfar town centre during 2009 which was successful in improving traffic flow in the centre of the town.

“We would be happy to assess the request for a footpath to Restenneth, using our priority scoring which relates to potential use, links to schools, or to the town centre. However, it may be that such a link would score as a low priority and available budgets would be used for higher priorities.

“We are currently in discussions with the Food and Drink Division of the Scottish Government, to ensure that our application for protected geographical indication (PGI) status for the Forfar Bridie meets all the correct criteria for a successful application. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has recently given us useful advice regarding the content of the draft application. This is being developed to ensure that it covers all of the necessary points including historical background, links with the local area, ingredients and exactly what makes the Forfar Bridie unique. We aim to have the draft application complete for submission this summer.”