I recently met with the agent (M J Mapp) for the privately-owned shopping centre in Westhill, along with representatives of the Westhill and Elrick Community Council; Audrey Findlay, acting Chair and Becky Ferguson, Secretary. For many months now, there have been issues raised at local meetings and this was an opportunity to bottom out some of these issues.
I have summarised some of the issues we spoke about and action points taken from our meeting:
- concerns have been raised about the safety of the car park. We discussed the request from some residents to make the car park a one-way system. It was confirmed that the layout of the car park will not be changed but the agent agreed to get the car park arrows re-painted. We discussed how there used to be a zebra crossing in the old layout but this had been removed when the shopping centre expanded the car park. M J Mapp are to look at the options for providing a pedestrian crossing.
- M J Mapp have allocated funds for new landscaping planting and will be speaking to the contractor as the work was felt to be falling below the standards expected.
- We discussed community notice boards and WECC will update in due course.
- We discussed the RBS closure and although the marketing and eventual new tenancy agreements would be a commercial decision between the parties involved, we did make it clear that we would like to see something that would enhance the shopping centre and retain the vibrancy of it.
- colleagues had previously discussed concerns raised about the safety of the area at the back of the shops when exiting the archway on to the crossing on Westhill Drive across from the Holiday Inn. It was felt (and confirmed by Roads service) that the pavement on the shopping centre side of the road was of sufficient depth and coupled with tactile paving, there would be sufficient space to see the road ahead. It was felt there was more a problem with drivers rather than pedestrians. I have contacted Aberdeenshire Council Roads service again who have agreed to repaint the white lines on the crossing and look at the possibility of improving the visibility of the crossing by using illuminated columns, brighter lighting and improved signage.
- I enquired about the possibility of community groups utilising the old vets building on a short term basis and although M J Mapp was positive towards this idea, we need more clarity from them about the terms and conditions of any proposal and I will keep you updated as we explore options.