As the result of a meeting between the Dingwall and Seaforth Ward Members and Planning Officials, the go ahead has been given for officers to start detailed design work for the Dingwall High Street Streetscape project. Taking into account the results of the recent public consultation exercise, over the summer three options for the refurbishment of the first phase of the High Street will be prepared for further public consultation and debate.
Officers will be presenting the results of the consultation exercise that was used to brief the designers of the scheme to a meeting of Dingwall Community Council on the 11th August. The questionnaire had 21 'tick box' questions where respondents were asked to simply indicate their preference with a yes or no and 10 free format questions where a textual response could be given..
The Council received 560 responses from the questionnaires that were posted to households or issued at the drop in exhibition event. This equates to a response rate of 28% - almost double what would normally be expected with this type of survey.
A partial analysis of the key responses that the Council received is that:
• 32 of the responses came from High Street Businesses.
• 92% of those who responded said they used the High Street
• 68% were in favour of a natural stone surface with many expressing the view that the centre section of the High Street should be surfaced in tarmacadam.
• Most wanted the High Street pedestrianised with no reduction in the number of bollards.
• Overwhelmingly 87% of responses favoured the present Victorian style of street furniture.
• Three quarters of respondents felt that more seats were required on the High Street and that it should be 'greened' with more flowers, trees and planters.
• Many were unhappy about the condition of the surface on the High Street.
• Litter and cleanliness were a key issue with 85% being opposed to any reduction in the number of litter bins.
• Four out of five respondees felt that lighting in the High Street closes needed to be increased and more than half also felt that the High Street lighting could be improved.
• Views on whether there were enough notice boards and where they should be located were mixed.
• There was a similar pattern of comments on the need for cycle stands and their locations
• 319 respondents felt there was no need to reduce the number of signposts and to reposition them on walls.
The Dingwall and Seaforth Councillors all welcomed progress on the project which has been slowly moving forward in The Highland Council's capital programme over the past 4 years.
Councillor Margaret Paterson said: “This will be the first phase of an ongoing upgrading programme of the High Street and we as Local ward Councillors will be pressing for additional funding to complete the works.
“We are looking forward to working with others in partnership to make the High Street a more attractive shopping environment for locals and visitors alike. The High Street is a barometer of the vitality and business confidence in the town and these works will hopefully draw more shoppers and visitors into the town centre and act as a catalyst to promote much needed further private sector investment.”