Road work re-think?

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A Forfar businessman and residents from the South Street area of town are calling for a council U-turn for plans to close South Street in the two weeks prior to Christmas, writes Janet Thomson.

Umar Sher of 1st Stop 2 Shop fears he will lose “tens of thousands of pounds” if the “road closed” signs go up, blocking off one of the main arteries in and out of Forfar from December 12 to 23.

With his Christmas and New Year stock about to be delivered, he has asked for a council re-think and for the works to be delayed until at least February to keep disruption to a minimum. After meeting with Angus councillors, representatives of the council’s roads department, residents of Easterbank, South Street and Restenneth Drive and Forfar Community Council on Monday morning, Umar told the “Dispatch” he had had a “progressive” meeting.

He said: “I think we are on the right path. I appreciate the road has to be closed at some point. Roadworks have to happen but it is just the wrong time of year to do it. All these supermarkets are taking local trade away from small businesses. More local businesses are suffering and we may cease trading because of the road closure.”

If the work goes ahead as planned on December 12, Umar said he would be forced to postpone the opening of his take-away business, which was due to open in the first week in December.

He continued: “We would get no customers. I am the heart of this community, serving their day to day needs. I am also the voice of the community as they all came to me about the closure.

“I put together a petition on Saturday and, in two days, we had over 200 signatures. We are asking for the work to be delayed until the worst of the bad weather is over, and that the road is not closed but that some sort of traffic signalling is put in place.”

A local resident who contacted the Dispatch added the closure of South Street would divert a “massive flow of traffic” through Restenneth Drive.

He was concerned for funeral processions heading to Newmonthill Cemetery, and for the loss of passing trade for the “Easterbank Shop”.

He acknowledged the roadworks were needed because of the amount of pot-holes on the road but warned Academy Street would” grind to a halt” as the traffic gathered to clear the East Port traffic lights. “St James Road would fare even worse as Asda customers can’t use West High Street because of (you’ve guessed it) traffic works!”

When contacted on Monday a spokesperson for Angus Council said: “We met with local residents, shop owners and others today and have been asked to defer the planned road resurfacing works which would involve the closure of South Street for two weeks. We are currently considering options but have yet to come to a conclusion.”