Consultants have been appointed for the £13million project to join together “divided” Arbroath.
The Sustrans scheme to improve cycling and walking provision with a major re-working of part of the A92 through the heart of the town has moved forward with Angus Council’s Covid-19 Special Arrangements Committee putting the design phase for the project out to a tender expected to cost £500,000 to £1 million.
Officials have admitted the pandemic will have an impact on the progress of the Places for Everyone scheme and controversy continues to surround the plans, with critics claiming the design is already a “done deal”.
Concerns have already been raised about a lack of community consultation and potential impacts on emergency services, including RNLI volunteers heading to the town station in response to emergency call outs.
The authority has said social distancing may have a bearing on community engagement events but the hope it to have that element concluded by Christmas.
Arbroath is one of ten projects 10 across Scotland being funded under the Sustrans Community Links Programme. The transport body will deliver just over £9m for the scheme, with the council financing the remaining £4m.
Construction is due to get underway in 2022, with completion towards the end of 2023.
The project aims to improve pedestrian and cycling provision, making better use of green spaces and developing path networks.
Links from railways and bus stations to the town centre will be improved while the main dual carriageway that runs through Arbroath will be redesigned.
Arbroath lifeboat operations manager Alex Smith said: “I’m concerned this is a done deal and the community consultation will be a waste of time.
“They are pushing on with this without giving people a proper chance to air their views or hold the council to account on these plans.”
Angus Council leader, Arbroath Independent councillor David Fairweather said: “The council has already agreed this project and this is the next stage.
“It seems some think there will be problems with emergency services and I can assure them no designs will compromise their passage.
“Ladyloan school is nearby and this project will give the children a safe passage to the school,” he said.
Support The Courier today.
The Courier is committed to delivering quality content to our communities and right now that’s more important than ever — which is why our key content is free. However, you can support us and access premium content by subscribing to The Courier from just £5.99 a month. Because Local Matters.Subscribe