Welcome for improvements

montrose hIGH sTREET: The first phase of improvements will cost �50,000'Staff photo
montrose hIGH sTREET: The first phase of improvements will cost �50,000'Staff photo

THE FIRST phase of environmental improvements for Montrose High Street looks likely to get the go ahead from councillors this week.

Put forward by the Montrose Town Centre Regeneration Group after public consultation, the £50,000 scheme includes new seating, litter bins, planters and information boards of complementing designs and in a new “corporate colour” for the town.

In a report this week to Angus Council’s infrastructure services committee, director Eric Lowson recommended approval for the plans and pointed out that the High Street’s overall appearance and quality of environment in the town centre “will not be as high as it could be if the proposed enhancements do not proceed.”

The project’s first phase was backed by a £10,000 award from Angus Council’s ward-based funding pot of £80,000 which was rubber-stamped at the January meeting of the council’s infrastructure services committee.

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

An additional £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.

Mr Lowson said: “It is proposed that a number of existing bench seats in the town centre be replaced with metal seats. The new seats will be painted maroon in line with the local consultations undertaken by the Town Centre Regeneration Group. The group had proposed a cast metal seat but the cost implications of maintaining such a seat a very high. Indeed, some of the manufacturers do not recommend cast metal seats in coastal locations. It is therefore proposed that a galvanised mild steel seat be used instead.

“The specific style proposed is similar to that chosen originally and is in keeping with the historic town centre.”

He added that mild steel litter bins and galvanised metal planters will also be installed at several locations, although a plan to reinstate railings in front of Montrose Library will have to wait due to the cost involved. The proposed replacement of pedestrian railings in Castle Place will also have to be shelved temporarily as the cost cannot be met from the available budget.

Mr Lowson’s report was welcomed by regeneration group member Councillor David May, who said it is the culmination of two years’ of hard work.

He said: “Our group had consulted the local community over our proposals and, thanks to decisions made by the previous administration, funding is in place to take these proposals forward.

“The delay has been caused by the need to follow procurement procedures and I now call on the committee to back the report so real progress can now be made. Providing the committee support the report our group will meet very soon to liaise with the officers over the detailed proposals prior to them proceeding and I certainly welcome this being done.”