The owner of the Abbeygate shopping centre in Arbroath has bowed to pressure and scrapped plans for a permanent barrier across a popular shortcut.
The shopping centre owner caused outrage earlier this month by barricading the thoroughfare between the Abbeygate Shopping Centre car park and the High Street.
The unpopular obstruction was destroyed by residents less than 24 hours after it had been put in place, damaging the wall where it had been fixed into place.
Marc Mills, from the owner’s agent David Samuel Asset Management Limited, said: “The temporary barrier was erected on land wholly owned by the owner of the shopping centre in advance of a gate being installed post-Christmas.”
He said the owner moved to ensure a permanent right of way was not created over private land after receiving legal advice.
“The owner did not fully appreciate the extent of the concern this has raised within the community and the importance of this thoroughfare for the people of Arbroath”, Mr Mills added.
“The owner has therefore decided not to proceed at this time and to continue to offer this benefit.
“It is important to note, however, that there continues to be no public right of way across this land onto the shopping centre’s land.”
The barrier forced shoppers to either go through the Abbeygate shopping centre if it was open or add around an extra half mile to their journey.
Arbroath councillors, who were flooded with complaints, said an 85-year–old lady slipped on ice after being forced to travel the extra distance and was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg.
Arbroath councillor Lois Speed, Independent, said people had congregated round the barrier and were “shocked, angry and upset” by the shortcut block.
It is understood local people kicked the barrier down after the outcry, which even saw the image of the blockage turned into a social media meme featuring prime minister Boris Johnson.
Angus Council confirmed the Abbeygate is privately-owned.
Angus South MSP Graeme Dey, SNP, wrote to the owner to highlight the level of local concern.
He said: “The erection of this barrier created considerable concern amongst constituents.
“I am pleased that the owner of the Abbeygate Shopping Centre has seen the feelings of local people and reacted positively,” he added.