Local Conservatives call on council to rethink plan to pedestrianise part of Perth High Street

Local Conservatives are asking Perth and Kinross Council to rethink their plan to pedestrianise part of the city’s High Street following objections from traders and the public.

A plethora of shop owners have slammed the new pedestrian area, with one describing it as “shambolic” due to motorists still using the area between Scott Street and South Methven Street.

Due to the pandemic the whole system of local governance was put under the process of delegated powers.

The move to install parklets and street furniture in the city centre took place this summer as part of a £1.1 million scheme to make the area safer as the country gradually came out of lockdown. The scheme recently expanded to include the top section of the High Street.

However, irate business owners reported a drop in takings of as much as 80% and many signed a petition addressed to the council’s planning department, asking that the parklets are removed and a consultation process takes place.

Commenting, Murdo Fraser MSP, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “I have been contacted by both traders and property owners in the High Street who are really concerned about the changes that the Council have pushed through. There seems to be little justification for the pedestrianisation, and the kindest thing to say about the ‘tattie box’ installations is that they are unsightly in an urban setting.

“What is really concerning is that these plans were pushed through under emergency powers by the Council with very little input from elected Councillors or consultation with local residents and businesses.”

He continued: “The Council should scrap these plans, get back to the drawing board, and work with traders and residents to produce a new scheme which should be subject to appropriate democratic scrutiny.”

And Councillor Chris Ahern, who represents the Perth City Centre ward for the Scottish Conservatives, added: “Something definitely needs to be done here. This plan has not been well thought out and many drivers are ignoring the pedestrianisation.

“I am very sympathetic in terms of what the shopkeepers have said about the situation.”