Our High Street has a lot to offer

BETTER infrastructure along with a sensible road plan is what is needed for the High Street, says the man who has mapped out a vision for the future of the town.

Last month Heinz Voigt, from the Voigt Partnership, shared the businesses’ ideas and plans on how Arbroath could improve and be regenerated.

And after the Herald reported last week that several shops were set to close, Mr Voigt says providing a better access and infrastructure will bring shoppers to the High Street yet again.

He told the Herald: “I support everything all of the businesses are doing in the town and I think it would be good to bring in more specialist shops.

“A good example of that is Broughty Ferry.

“But we need the infrastructure in place to get people here and we should use the Abbey and the Harbour as our drawing powers to do that too.

“I think Arbroath is at a turning point at the minute and now we need the right decisions to be made by the council and our elected members.

“I really believe that what is missing is a heart to the town that will deliver people to the middle of Arbroath.

“The town plaza idea that we have suggested along with a sensible road plan would do this.

“But we shouldn’t be talking the town down, we should be more positive and talk things up.”

This view is shared by High Street retailer Louise McGivney, who owns the shop Sara Lou and she believes the town centre has a lot to offer.

She explained: “We need to stop the negative talk and encourage people back to the shops in the High Street.

“There are a lot of beautiful wee hidden gems here that you just don’t get in the bigger cities.

“Instead of doom and gloom let’s focus on the positives. When the big companies come, other smaller shops will follow.”

As reported in February the town centre will also get brand new hanging baskets worth £5,000 as well as £7,000 spent on five interpretation boards.

There are also plans to replace benches on the High Street with the seating outside of the Sheriff Court being removed.

And local MSP Graeme Dey says he is always concerned about vacant shops on the High Street but said some help is available.

He added: “Around 65 per cent of small businesses in Angus are benefiting from the small business rates relief scheme, higher than the national average, and I know how welcome that assistance is.

“But if we are to have thriving High Streets then we, the public, have wherever possible, to support them.

“Because if we don’t use our local shops then clearly they will struggle to survive.”

Twitter: @JenniferNewton1