A prominent Forfar business-man, whose family has traded in Castle Street for almost 60 years, is calling for a re-think of the one-way system which has been introduced outside his shop.
Alastair Cameron has suggested better policing should have been put in place to deal with those who have parked illegally in the past, clogging up the town’s main artery and causing traffic congestion.
Alastair, whose father established the popular local business of Alex Cameron, Fishmongers and Poulterers in 1954, and who has personally worked in the business for 46 years, feels the “atmosphere” has been taken away from the street.
Whilst his trade has not been affected by the re-introduction of the one-way system, he is hoping the year-long trial period will be reversed to bring life back to the area.
He is also calling for a re-think of the siting of the taxi ranks along the east leg of Castle Street, which he feels is also causing congestion, a call backed by the chairman of the Forfar and District Taxi Operators Association (see separate story below).
The one-way system, which bans traffic from travelling northwards between Myre Road and Canmore Street, has split public opinion, with many pedestrians favouring its introduction.
Motorists are able to travel through the town more easily, although Mr Cameron has expressed his fear that Castle Street will become a race track.
Prior to the one-way system drivers were often frustrated as they tried to negotiate the congested street, with the problem more prevalent at the weekend with cars parked along the length of Castle Street from the junction of Manor Street to Canmore Street.
Mr Cameron said: “I have nothing against taxis, in fact I am all in favour of taxis, but this is the feedback we get - that all the problems are basically caused by the taxis being on both sides.
“In all fairness to them, the taxis didn’t want to be put on both sides, the council put the provision on both sides of the road.”
He referred to the congestion caused by taxis lining up along the east side of Castle Street, which can get further congested if someone with a disabled sticker parks alongside to pop in to the chemist.
He continued: “That snarls up the street. That is where the main block is, and it’s the same outside our shop.
“The feedback we get is people say we don’t need all the taxis. I don’t want to run down the taxis, they do a valuable service in the town, but the council has put them on both sides. They used to be straight along where Woolies was.”
Referring to the temporary one-way system which ran whilst work was going on to improve the town centre, Mr Cameron admitted it did not affect his business.
“Folk just said Castle Street didn’t look the same, it didn’t have the same buzz. People would look down and say it didn’t look very busy, so we won’t go down there. It just doesn’t have the same feel to it. I was disappointed when they put the one-way system back.
“They timed the traffic jams in Forfar and I think the maximum time of a traffic jam was three minutes, and that was when the scaffies’ lorry came along!
“I would like the traffic to be reversed to the way it was but they must really enforce the parking. I believe this will be a six month trial and would like to think people would get in touch with the council to air their views. The traffic is also a lot quicker coming through. There hasn’t been anyone knocked down in Castle Street, to my knowledge, but it could happen now.”
When asked how long the one-way system would run a spokesperson from Angus Council said: “We undertook surveys prior to the introduction in June, of the one way system in Castle Street and will assess the situation again in a year’s time.”
The Dispatch and Herald would like to know your views on the one-way system. Contact us at 117-119 Castle Street, Forfar, DD8 3AH or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Our websites are currently running an on-line poll asking: “Are you happy with the one-way traffic system in Castle Street?” Cast your vote and let us know by logging on to www.forfardispatch.com or www.kirriemuirherald.com