Christmas promise over CHORD roadworks

Traders in Helensburgh have been given an assurance that Christmas trade will not be disrupted by roadworks as part of the over-running CHORD project.

Argyll and Bute Council says there will be no on-street works during December, and the second phase of work will now start on January 6 to keep disruption to a minimum.

The decision follows a review of the project carried out by the council, the project design team (led by Austin Smith Lord) and the contractor, MacLay’s.

A full-time council roads officer is being drafted in ‘ to support the CHORD project manager’, along with extra on-site support for the contractor., Austin Smith Lord has also augmented its contract administration team.

A council statement today (Wednesday) states that MacLay’s is working towards a completion date of November 8 for the Phase 1a works on West Clyde Street and  November 21 for Colquhoun Street South.

Orginally the West Clyde Street work was due to be finished by mid-September.

The Phase 1b Esplanade works are due for completion in July 2014 as originally programmed.

Some improvement works to Sinclair Street car park, estimated to take a couple of weeks, may be carried out after the official site shutdown on  November 22, subject to the agreement of both the council and the contractor.

Argyll and Bute Council’s Depute Leader, Ellen Morton, said:

“After hearing the views of the community so far, we felt it was important to try to do what we could to help the local traders make the most of the busy Christmas period. For this reason, the second stage of the on-street work will start after the festive season, on 6th January.

“We have also been speaking with the organisers of Helensburgh’s Winter Festival which promises to repeat last year’s success and to be a wonderful event for the town.

“This year will see the festival coming to Colquhoun Square and along West Clyde Street, so that those traders who have been most affected by the CHORD works can really benefit from the economic spin-off that the Winter Festival brings. This means that the majority of Helensburgh’s town centre traders can get involved.”

MacLay’s will soon be seeking views from those directly affected by the first phase of works – including retailers, other businesses and local residents – with a questionnaire asking for feedback on performance, what went well and to identify ways performance  could be improved.

The company will also host an open evening for the local people and companies affected by the second stage of works to provide information about the forthcoming programme. This will take place later in November and more details will be provided soon.

Councillor Morton added: “We are aware that there have been concerns about the timing of the current phase of work. However, despite the delays to the programme, the overall feedback on the design layout, the materials used and the quality of the work has been very positive.

“After the recent review, everyone involved – the contractor, design team and the council – is extremely focused and working together to achieve a real transformation for Helensburgh’s town centre. I am sure that local people will be looking forward to the results and the benefits they will bring to the town.”