Further £40,000 for street’s improvement

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AN IMPROVEMENT project for Montrose High Street has been awarded another £40,000 from Angus Council, which could help to finance it entirely.

The first phase of the High Street Regeneration Group’s scheme - to provide new seating, litter bins, planters and information boards in a new “corporate colour” for the town - was also backed with £10,000 from the council’s ward-based funding pot of £80,000.

The money was allocated by finance spokesman Mark Salmond through the authority’s budget-setting with £10,000 set aside for community projects in each council ward.

The £40,000 was also made available through this year’s budget, part of an additional capital allocation of £3.46 million of which more than £200,000 was allocated to specific projects including the High Street.

In a report which went before strategic policy committee on Tuesday, infrastructure services director Eric Lowson said there is still a risk that the available funding would not be enough as the scheme have not been designed or costed in detail.

He said: “Local discussion and consultation has taken place concerning the need to improve the street furniture in Montrose town centre, including replacing seats, litter bins and the provision of planters to improve the local environment.

“Further work is required to detail the exact works to enable procurement to be progressed and the project to be implemented.”

Councillor David May, a member of the regeneration group, however, remains optimistic that the funding could “just about” finance the entire improvement scheme, which had been divided into three phases.

The project’s second phase was the addition of planters and information boards while phase three includes the replacement of the railings outside Montrose Library and Castle Place.

Mr May said: “It still has to go through committee and we have to discuss with council officers the procurement policy, as over a certain amount of money the work has to go out to tender.

“It’s really good news because we’re very keen to get the improvements made as soon as possible. Although we’ve done outline costings for things, we have to what everything is going to cost, but we’re confident we can get the vast majority of it done.”

The street furniture’s new colour scheme - maroon - was chosen during a consultation phase launched by the regeneration group in January which Mr May said had received a healthy response from Montrosians of all ages. As well as being lodged in the library, questionnaires were also supplied to the YM and Montrose Academy for local youngsters to have their say.

He added: “We’re delighted with the amount of support for everything we put forward including maroon as the new colour for the seats and lights.”