Peterhead town centre set for two-year traffic trial

Chapel Street in Peterhead town centre.
Chapel Street in Peterhead town centre.
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Popular plans to reopen Peterhead town centre could be pushed through as Aberdeenshire Council recommends a two-year trial period.

At today’s (Tuesday) Buchan Area Committee councillors will be asked to scrap a 10-year-old pedestrian-only scheme in the town’s Chapel Street and part of Marischal Street.

It follows the publication of the Aberdeenshire 4 Towns Report which showed huge support for the move.

In a survey last year, 55 percent of residents were in favour of reintroducing traffic.

Should the committee approve the recommendation, several exising traffic orders would need to be revoked and others put in place.

Construction work to change the layout of the streets would also need to be undertaken before the area was opened once more.

Planning chief Stephen Archer has recommended a 20mph speed limit to ensure pedestrian safety and to minimise the noise of cars over the Chapel Street cobbles.

In a report to the committee, Mr Archer said: “The current layout of these streets was designed as a pedestrianised zone with no kerb upstand and only a textural difference between the vehicle and pedestrian surfaces.

“As a result, in the interests of pedestrian safety it will be necessary to provide a physical separation between pedestrian and vehicluar traffic to prevent incursion onto the footway by vehicular traffic.”

Mr Archer proposes installing granite bollards similar to those already in place in Marischal street.

Although the council have yet to say where funding will come from, should the area committee approvce the Policy and Resources Committee will be asked to ring fence £110,000 for the works.

To allow traffic to flow freely, the bus stops on Chapel Street would need to be rearranged and the council also intends to consult with motoring organisations.

The introduction of cobbles and prohibition of traffic to the town centre has been the subject of much debate since it started as part of town centre improvements in 2001.

The move to reverse the pedestrianisation comes as part of a wave of developments.

Scaffolding which has blighted the street has been replaced and a new hotel will open in the coming months.