Street works in Kirkwall town centre will move to the opposite side of Broad Street from today (week beginning 18 March).
Orkney Islands Council is also advising local folk that with key elements of the project still to get underway, there will be significant street closures in the area in coming weeks.
Works are currently taking place outside The Reel and at the Broad Street car park but will soon shift to outside the Clydesdale Bank up as far as Lows, and down Castle Street towards the Radio Orkney studios.
Pedestrian access to the bank will be maintained throughout but pedestrians won’t be able to cross directly between the TSB and Clydesdale banks along the top of Castle St, but will be diverted along the pavement at the Reel side instead.
The current one way system means drivers can turn into Castle Street from Junction Road and on into Broad Street but vehicles do not have access from Palace Road into Broad Street. A signed diversion via Clay Loan is in place. In addition, vehicles cannot turn into Castle Street from Albert Street – but can drive on into Broad Street.
The final stage of the project, before its halted for the summer, will begin in April. This will see works move to the top of Castle Street and in the middle of Broad Street, including finishing touches installed at key crossing points which will include raised textured stone features.
This will inevitably leading to significant road closures in the area with Broad Street, Castle Street and Albert Street all closed to traffic for up to five weeks. Further details on this and any diversions will be released shortly and the contractor will be liaising with local businesses.
The works are part of the Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative’s (KTHI) Places and Spaces project.
The key aspects of the Place and Spaces project are to:
This initial phase of the project 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, with work being suspended again in December for Christmas shopping season.
The Places and Spaces initiative was developed alongside community groups such as the Kirkwall and St Ola Community Council and the Kirkwall BID who identified key areas of the town where it was felt improvements could be made. Proposed improvements were the positively received by the Orkney community during a two day consultation period, where 68% of those who attended said they supported the proposals, 18% were against and the rest were undecided.
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.