Aber­feldy cen­tre plans un­pop­u­lar with OAPs

Perthshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

Com­mu­nity Coun­cil ex­pressed con­cern at the £900,000 pro­pos­als ex­pected to get un­der way in the spring.

Small busi­nesses re­port­edly de­cided that Aber­feldy’s cen­tre­point could be the key to boost­ing trade in the town by be­ing an at­trac­tive fo­cus for tourists. Three years on from ini­tial talks, de­tailed plans have been shown of the square, lev­el­ling and paving the two sides bi­sected by the main road.

The ad­vanced pro­pos­als re­move all but seven of 20 cur­rent park­ing spa­ces and ex­pect shop­pers and those work­ing in Aber­feldy to park in other nearby streets.

Meet­ing last Thurs­day, mem­bers of Glen Lyon and Loch Tay Com­mu­nity Coun­cil voiced con­cern about the change and what it would mean for High­land Perthshire’s in­creas­ingly el­derly de­mo­graphic.

Trea­surer June Rid­dell said: “I un­der­stand that in 10 years’ time 70% of the pop­u­la­tion will be

over re­tire­ment age. They need more, not less, cen­tral park­ing in Aber­feldy.

“Why is the coun­cil do­ing this [mov­ing park­ing out of the square] and why were we not con­sulted at any point?”

Kath Douth­waite, vicechair of Glen Lyon and Loch Tay Com­mu­nity Coun­cil, had vis­ited the re­cent ex­hi­bi­tion of plans. She said: “It is dis­tress­ing that we are only be­com­ing aware of what it will be like at the very last minute.”

Com­mu­nity coun­cil chair Sue Gar­dener agreed to draft a let­ter to PKC, com­plain­ing that while Aber­feldy Com­mu­nity Coun­cil had been con­sulted, those from Ken­more, Dull and Weem and Glen Lyon and Loch Tay had not been asked for their in­put.

She ex­plained that Aber­feldy was the shop­ping and ser­vice hub for the wider area’s pop­u­la­tion who were over­whelm­ingly de­pen­dent on their cars.

“For older peo­ple, who can­not be ex­pected to walk any dis­tance, this idea of be­ing forced to park out of the square is highly un­wel­come.”

Speak­ing up for the Aber­feldy pro­pos­als, Coun­cil­lor Xan­der McDade coun­tered: “I be­lieve an im­proved square will help tourism.

“These plans are at an ad­vanced stage and likely to go ahead. And while I see peo­ple will miss leav­ing their cars in the square, they en­joy free park­ing through­out Aber­feldy, which is not the case in Pit­lochry, Dunkeld or the ma­jor­ity of other places.”

High­land ward coun­cil­lor Ian Camp­bell, who has seen the Aber­feldy square idea through­out its de­vel­op­ment, was not present at Thurs­day’s meet­ing in Fortin­gall.

But a spokesper­son for Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil said: “The Aber­feldy Square re­gen­er­a­tion project is the re­sult of four years of col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the coun­cil, Aber­feldy Small Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion (ASBA) and Aber­feldy Com­mu­nity Coun­cil, with the over­ar­ch­ing aim to help sup­port and sus­tain lo­cal eco­nomic growth.

“As per the de­tails of the fi­nal pro­posal which was dis­played in the town in late Oc­to­ber 2017, seven park­ing spa­ces, in­clud­ing a ded­i­cated dis­abled bay, will be in­cluded as part of the project.”

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