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Calls grow to bring traffic back to Dumfries

By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Calls grow to bring traffic back to Dumfries

A REPORT due to council later this year could pave the way for cars to return to the centre of Dumfries as part of 'transformational change'.

Reversing elements of the pedestrianisation introduced in 1989 is understood to be one element which might be considered as part of an anticipated report, and comes amid growing calls to bring more life back into the town.
Speaking at a meeting of Loreburn Community Council on Tuesday, Dumfries town centre ambassador Lorraine Wilson said: “The amount of people who have said that to me.
“Today and yesterday I had a conversation and they were saying again that letting traffic back up through the town would make a difference.”
Revealing she has spoken to the to director of planning and environment services about the issue, she added: “I’ve spoken to Alistair Speedie about that, so I have to leave it in his capable hands.”
Ms Wilson was responding on Tuesday to the result of a straw poll carried out by community councillor Niall Cowan in his Friars Vennel jewellers shop — which saw 61 people say cars should be allowed back, 12 opposing the move, and seven saying they did not know.
Mr Cowan said: “We should be looking to ask the people — It’s your town centre. It’s obviously not working the way it is. Is it time to try and do something different?”
However, chairman Robin Wishart voiced his concern about such a move.
Noting the existing parking at The Loreburne Centre and Southergate Centre, he said: “It is completely awash and surrounded by car parking, and allowing vehicles to come up and knock people down on the street would add virtually no additional parking space to the street in any case.”
Dumfries Retailers Chairman Rab Smith has long called for the return of cars to Dumfries High Street.
He said: “I’m as much an environmentalist as anyone else, but we’ve got to get people closer to where they want to be in the town centre, otherwise the town centre will die.”


‘TRANSFORMATIONAL change’ in Dumfries Town Centre is being called for by the leader of Dumfries and Council.
Councillor Ronnie Nicholson has made that call, as it is confirmed that an environmental study focused on the town is hopes to appear before councillors in September.
Councillor Nicholson said: “What we need is transformational change.
“Town centres across Scotland are suffering due to online shopping and better transport links that allow people to get to city shopping centres quickly.
“Traditional market towns need to move with the times and look at ways to bring more people into the town centre.”
Councillor Nicholson confirms that environmental consultants Ironside Farrah are looking at possible ideas, working with local groups like The Stove.
He said: “There will then need to be extensive consultation on any ideas and of course funding.”
And he says Scottish Government and private sector money will need to bolster the £2 million allocated annually for economic development projects, on ideas such as a new cinema and leisure facilities.
Councillor Nicholson said: “Crucially, we need to think out of the box and not rule anything out or we will simply end up with the usual no-change mentally that too often holds Dumfries back.”