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Locals and businesses breathe sigh of relief as Fettercairn Arch remedy work is finally completed

The Royal Arch at Fettercairn.
The Royal Arch at Fettercairn.

Remedial work to restore the Fettercairn Arch and realign the road has been completed.

The local authority has tried a number of measures over the years to prevent larger vehicles from travelling under Fettercairn Arch.

However, changes made three years ago proved unsuccessful and were blamed for driving visitors away and causing extensive damage to vehicles and the local economy.

Motorists found it difficult to drive through the arch due to the vertical and horizontal alignment of the road and, as such, councillors called for the road design to be reconsidered.

Mearns Conservative councillors George Carr and Jeff Hutchison said business is now returning to the village following the remedial work.

Mr Carr said: “We have talked to local businesses and they are thrilled with the improvements.

“Local trade and business is returning to the village which, because of the awful traffic layout under the arch, was bypassing the village.

“I also suggested a local consultation exercise which was instrumental in getting these improvements right, and I would also like to pay tribute to former councillor Dave Stewart, who in the last council helped us push for these improvements.”

The Fettercairn Arch is a Category B-listed structure built in 1864 to commemorate the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to the village in September 1861.

Aberdeenshire Council carried out radical alterations on the B966 in 2015 to realign the road and install narrowing devices to prevent the structure from being damaged.

The junction to the south of the arch was reconfigured with kerbing installed to narrow it and prevent heavy goods vehicles from passing underneath.

However, local business owners said the traffic calming measures were putting their livelihoods at risk with a decline in revenue being described as “catastrophic”.

Mr Hutchison expressed his thanks to council officers who helped find a solution for the arch problem which prompted a large number of complaints.

He said: “They sat down with us and on the back of the local consultation tabled various options for us to consider.

“There are still planters to be placed, but these improvements have secured the integrity of the arch.

“At the area committee, we requested that the vegetation which was growing out of the masonry was also removed.

“Once the finials are replaced on top of the towers, the job will be complete.”

Fettercairn Arch was designed by John Milne of St Andrews and consists of two buttressed octagonal towers with short gabletted spirelets and wrought-iron finials.

The arch is finished with a crenellated parapet with central curvilinear gablet feature.

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