This week sees completion of new Caithness slab footways on the south side of Dingwall High Street as the first phase of a £947,000 package of town centre improvements starts to take shape on the ground.
Throughout the project, the Council has been working closely with the Dingwall community through regular stakeholders’ meetings which are chaired by the Ward 9 Councillors. The Stakeholders Group includes representatives of the Community Council, Dingwall Business Association, Dingwall in Bloom, Dingwall Farmers Market and Ross and Cromarty Disability Access Group.
Alison MacLeod of Off The Peg, commenting on behalf of Dingwall Business Association, said: "Shopkeepers have been getting a lot of positive feedback from the public who can now see how great the street is going to look when it is finished. The disruption during the works period has been kept to a minimum thanks to business owners and contractors working closely together."
Nigel Greenwood, Chairman of Dingwall Community Council, confirmed the general feeling that works were progressing well.
The Dingwall and Seaforth Councillors – Peter Cairns, David Chisholm, Angela MacLean and Margaret Paterson - are all delighted with progress so far and the positive way in which local people have embraced the project.
Stakeholders’ meeting have proved to be an extremely effective means of communication and have played a key role in ensuring the smooth running of this project. The open dialogue has enabled issues arising to be dealt with rapidly and community representatives are full of praise for the manner in which the works have been implemented on the ground.
Partnership working with Dingwall in Bloom has enabled additional funding to be secured through the LEADER programme and new floral displays will include a colonnade of hanging baskets and gateway features.
Originally scheduled for completion by 4 December,, certain minor works are now likely to be carried out during one additional week, but disruption by this stage will be minimal. The Dingwall Christmas lights will be erected around December 7th. Council services at Ross House, including the Service Point, are now resumed in full following recent disruption due to a severed communications cable.
A second phase of streetscape works, to be completed in the spring, will complete the High Street upgrade as far as the junction with Tulloch Street.
Other details relating to the works are as follows:
- Members of the public are welcome to raise matters with community representatives whose contact details, together with those of the relevant Council officers, are available from Ross House Service Point, where the design plan for the works can also be viewed.
- An allocation of £460,000 within The Highland Council Planning and Development Service Capital Programme has enabled additional funding of £462,000 to be secured through the Scottish Government Town Centre Regeneration Fund. In addition to the core streetscape project, other measures will be implemented for the improvement of signage, visitor information and key vennels adjoining the High Street.
- The Highland Council has appointed Pat Munro (Alness) Ltd as contractors to implement streetscape works, which will last for approximately 12 weeks and will include the High Street from its western end to the museum.
- WA Fairhurst & Partners (Inverness) have been appointed by the Council as consulting engineers for the work.
- During the streetscape works, temporary traffic measures are be in place, including the closure of the High Street to all vehicular traffic. Pedestrian access is maintained to all shops, during trading hours, for the duration of the project and shops and businesses are open for “business as usual” during the works.
- Contractor working hours are generally from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and Saturday 8am to 1pm.. There may be some evening working to 8pm to complete pavement work adjoining shop fronts and there may be occasional Sunday working for the same reason.
- A road closure is in place on Dingwall High Street for the duration of the works with partial vehicular access for residents and deliveries to businesses being maintained in liaison with the contractor. The extent of the works is from the West Gateway entrance to the High Street extending to the West boundary edge of the museum building, a length of approximately 165 metres. Works will be required over the full width of the High Street between building frontages.
- The section of the High Street to the East of Church Street remains open with access via Church Street.
- While the road closure is in place, the contractor is phasing construction so that vehicular access is maintained to the private parking areas at Mayfield Court and Stafford Place, either from the West (A862) or the East (Church Street), with a one way system being reversed where required.
- Representatives of both Munros and The Highland Council are liaising with properties directly affected to ensure adequate vehicular access for residents and deliveries.