Traffic lights hit Ardrishaig businesses, but community spirit shines

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Businesses in Ardrishaig claim they are being impacted by works on the Slainte Bar building.

The building was deemed ‘dangerous’ after an inspection by architects in consultation with Argyll and Bute Council building control. It was swiftly cordoned off and traffic was restricted to one lane under traffic light control on May 10. Scaffolding to keep the structure intact was put up later.

The owner of the majority of the building, Marie Hendry, contacted the Argyllshire Advertiser, as reported in the May 17 edition, to explain that the building had been needing remedial work since January 2016, but she needed the signature of the elusive owner of the flower shop, Chris Gabriel, before any plans could be made.

The Argyllshire Advertiser has since attempted to contact Mr Gabriel for comment, so far without success.

Since the lights and scaffolding were installed, businesses on Chalmers Street where the Slainte is located are feeling the effect. Many are reporting a loss in footfall due to the lack of space to park.

The loss of the building is hitting Morna Shaw of Flowers by Morna especially hard, with her having to move into an extension of The Clock Tower’s shop premises.

‘I’m in here by the offering of Bill and Vicky Dunkley,’ Morna said. ‘I feel for the [businesses] down the street. I hope they’re okay.’

But Ardrishaig community spirit is helping people cope.

‘I can carry on because I’ve had lots of help,’ Morna added.

Vicky Dunkley of The Clock Tower also expressed gratitude to the community.

‘The high street is very fragile, but the best thing about Ardrishaig is that everyone is very loyal,’ she said. ‘Everyone’s been so kind. I’ve had customers come in just to make sure that I’m okay.’

The businesses were initially worried, with no idea how long the light would be installed, but have since been reassured by Argyll and Bute Council.

A council spokesperson told the Argyllshire Advertiser: ‘While contractors appointed by the building’s owners carry out work to ensure the structural integrity of the building, the traffic management system will remain in place until our building standards team is satisfied that it is safe to fully re-open the road.

‘We will provide updates as and when we can, however it is anticipated the traffic management system will be in place for at least the next three weeks.’

Councillor Dougie Philand is one of those helping Ardrishaig business owners, and he explained: ‘I was contacted by a local business today asking if I could get more information regarding the traffic lights and how long they would be up for as it is affecting local businesses.

‘I got an email back from building control today to say the lights were to be in place for a minimum of three weeks till the whole building is made safe. I let the affected businesses know and gave them my contact details so I could be contacted should they require any further support.’