Jan 19 2011 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Wednesday
BUSINESSES have backed a £400,000 project to revamp part of Stirling’s city centre, beginning today.
Both Baker Street and nearby Corn Exchange Road will benefit from a 16-week facelift, carried out by Lanarkshire-based contractors the QTS Group.
Pavements and roads will be altered to enhance their appearance and improve pedestrian access.
The Baker Street work will focus on the section between junctions with Friars Street and Morris Terrace, while the latter thoroughfare will be upgraded between Back Wall and Spittal Street.
It’s the fourth stage of the council-run Vital Stirling project, an initiative which has already seen Port Street, Friars Street and Barnton Street upgraded since 2006.
A 10-week traffic management plan will come into force on Monday (January 24), which will see Baker Street closed to almost all vehicles.
Access to Dalgleish Court Car Park is available until February 28.
Ryan McMillan, assistant manager of the Corn Exchange bar, said he felt the project – paid for by the Scottish Government’s Cities Growth Fund – could provide a shot in the arm for local entrepreneurs.
Mr McMillan said: “This has the potential to benefit us quite a lot. Because the pavements are being widened we’ll be able to apply to put more tables and chairs outside. It’ll be great if it’s complete in time for summer, but I suppose there’s always the possibility of delay – nobody can predict the weather.
“There might be some difficulties with deliveries and things, but nothing that’s going to impact directly on our customers.
“It will be a case of business as usual for us. We won’t be closed because of the work at any point.”
Jill Morrison, of Nature’s Solutions on Baker Street, said: “Generally, I’m in favour of the work but not at the moment because I don’t feel it’s a good use of public money given the current economic climate,” she explained.
“I’ve been given all the information I’ve needed, I’ve no problems with the way it’s been organised or with the contractors.
“But I just don’t think it’s right to be spending this money on a road when there are cuts being made in other areas.”
Adele Robertson works in Jennifer Morrison Florist on the corner of Spittal Street, between the two areas set to undergo a revamp.
She said: “Nobody can predict the impact the work will have until it actually gets underway, but if it all goes to plan then it should be good.
“I don’t think it’s going to affect us too much, a lot of our business is done over the phone or on the internet. But I guess it might if you ran a business that relied on people mainly coming in off the street.”
Councillor Jim Thomson, the local authority’s portfolio holder for environment and sustainability, said the construction work was part of a wider, long-term plan.
The SNP politician said: “We fully understand that businesses will be impacted as a result of the project, that’s why we’ve chosen to carry out the work at a traditionally quiet time of year.
“We want to make sure that when people visit Stirling they don’t just go to the castle and disappear, but explore the rest of the town."