Repaving and street improvement works are due to get underway in the centre of Kirkwall in the new year.
The first stage of the works, part of the Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative’s (KTHI) Places and Spaces project, will begin at top of Castle Street and the bottom of the Strynd and also take in works at the War Memorial on the Kirk Green.
The key aspects of the Place and Spaces project are to:
Improve the area at the bottom of the Strynd and top of Castle Street
Provide a new path to the War Memorial to enhance it as a place to stop and reflect on the significance of the monument.
Improve the head of Victoria Street to encourage people into this part of the town.
The works at the top of Castle Street will see new paving and road surfacing laid, and the road surface raised to pavement level. Due to the works there may be some street closures and diversions in place. This phase of the works is due for completion early May after which works will be suspended for the main summer season.
Work will move to the entrance to Victoria Street in the autumn.
Leslie Manson is a Councillor for Kirkwall West and Orphir. He said: "These ideas have been developed from the bottom up, with community groups involved who identified three key areas of the town where it was felt improvements could be made. A fundamental part of the Kirkwall THI approach to the Places and Spaces project has been to work closely with the Kirkwall and St Ola Community Council and Kirkwall BID from the very start of the project's development. Both organisations helped to identify areas of the town centre that should be included in the project and what issues and problems the project could address."
Dr Tom Rendall, Chair of Kirkwall and St Ola Community Council said: “We look forward to seeing the work get underway at the top of Castle Street and welcome the long awaited developments in the area around the War Memorial. The Community Council hopes that the projects still to be completed will enhance the centre of Kirkwall for local folk and visitors to Orkney.”
Davie Campbell is Chair of the Kirkwall Business Improvement District (BID). He said: "Kirkwall BID are delighted to have been involved throughout the consultation process along with other key stakeholders, a process which has seen Kirkwall BID being heavily involved, giving our members a voice in shaping the future of our town centre."
The Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative is a five year heritage-based grant scheme which seeks to deliver sustainable improvements to the built heritage of the Kirkwall Conservation Area, in an effort to regenerate the centre of Kirkwall for the benefit of local communities and businesses, as well as to attract visitors. The scheme has been running since July 2014 and will conclude in June. It's primarily funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Orkney Islands Council. The streetscape improvements have also received additional funding from Transport Scotland, through Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links Fund.