AN evergreen topic in Peterhead these days is whether or not the town centre should be opened up to traffic once again - bringing us back to the heydays of bustling shops, a vibrant atmosphere and ringing tills.
However, on the flip side, do we want to be dodging traffic, struggling to find a car parking space and taking our life in our hands each time we want to cross the main thoroughfare?
The question has been asked many times over the past few years and Peterhead Community Council included it in their consultation during Scottish Week a couple of years ago, with surprising results.
While many folk had criticised the cobbles and blamed pedestrianisation for the demise of our town centre, the result of the consultation revealed only a small percentage of folk would want to see cars back into Marischal Street.
There was, however, a more favourable response to the idea of allowing traffic back onto Chapel Street, which buses already use as a thoroughfare.
Last week the local authority in Paisley were asked to debate a similar question, with town centre trade suffering due to pedestrianisation.
Is this something that’s affecting our town centre too?
We asked you for your thoughts on the matter and here are just a few of your Facebook comments...
“I can see both sides of the argument. The town can be pretty busy at the weekends and it’s nice not having to squish into a pavement with everyone else.
However, I do think some shops would benefit if customers could park outside the front door. Surely though, the walk encourages shoppers to pop into other shops they might have driven past otherwise?”
“I’m not crazy about the cobbles having had a very nasty fall on them about three years ago now but I think it’s a good thing to have a pedestrianised area in the town centre to provide a safer, more leisurely environment.”
“I don’t see what is to be achieved by allowing traffic down there other than pushing everyone on to a pavement. As a mother I like the fact that we can walk around without having to dodge people with the pram and that my older child has a bit of freedom and doesn’t have to be tethered to my side.
There is plenty of parking at the back of the shops, although it would be beneficial to see it free for the first 30 mins so that people can just nip to the shops if they need as paying for an hour at the current price is extortionate!
As for the cobbles I think they should go and it should be paved. They are a tripping hazard and add nothing to the look of the town.”
“Think Chapel Street should open up to traffic again.”
“I am unsure what benefits there would be. If it is opened up again there would no doubt have to be double yellow lines due to traffic volume, so driving through would benefit who?
There is room however to enhance the area to make it more attractive (meantime a concrete jungle).
I did notice after all the coverage about filling in the cobbles to make it more safe, there seems little difference and must be difficult for older folk to get around, so that needs properly tackled.
Nikki Mission Donald:
“Waste more money? What about cutting the cost of rent and rates to get more shops opened and give more jobs. And bring more people to the town? There are too many shops lying empty.”
“We need a Poundland!”
“Yes opening the road would benifit our shops. I have noticed a big change since its pedestrianisation.”
“If I were a shop owner I’d say YES but as a customer it has to be a big NO. And there are more customers than shops!”
“Elderly friends of mine hate walking on uneven cobbles because they’re afraid they’ll fall. They would love to be able to park closer to the shops they are visiting, especially Iceland.”
“If the road is opened up, there’s no need to remove the cobbles!”
“I agree with Paul...what is the point in wasting money and lifting the cobbles?, just change the sign!..and with the cobbles there and a one way system in place there would be less risk of an accident.”
“I think we are using the pedestrian area as an excuse for other failings. Most town centres are now facing the same issue, with or without pedestrian zones, and I think money would be better spent on supporting local businesses to take a chance and open up by reducing rates etc.
However, another issue is that most of the shop units are privately owned and not the councils, so the owners can charge what they like.
Maybe a sit around the table with council and private landlords is needed to discuss a way forward to support small and large businesses get started without too much initial risk to them ?”
“Why waste money? The cobbles are here so get on with helping businesses and filling empty shops.
The town needs a good clean-up. Someone owns the empty buildings - get them sorted and perhaps more folk would come back to centre. We sure don’t need traffic again!”
Murdoch Allan The Scottish Baker:
“Broad Street can be a bit of a ghost town. Especially on a cold windy day.We have a lot of competition around us and are always trying to find ways of improving our business for our customers. We have put up new signs and a new door to help improve our premises. However the comments we regularly get is that people can’t get parked. Some customers only have time to nip in for a sandwich or a couple of butteries. They dont have time to go and get parked and then walk up. We take telephone orders to try and help the working customer have a speedy transaction. We would benefit from footfall and this would help our local bakery business in Peterhead. This would be the same for ALL businesses in this area. There are few pedestrians who venture down this side of town. Help to promote your local business.”