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Traffic restrictions to change in central Elgin

By Sarah Rollo

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RESTRICTIONS brought in to enable social distancing in central Elgin are to change later this month.

The Spaces for People project saw a series of road closures introduced across Moray, aimed at giving shoppers more room to move.

Measures were due for review this month and now Moray Council has announced changes which will come into force on October 26.

Leader of Moray Council, Councillor Graham Leadbitter, said it comes after continuous monitoring, and feedback from business owners.

He said: "Spaces for People has been in place primarily to protect public health and enable distancing for people queuing and passing each other.

"The changes were always planned for review in October and the road closures will now be lifted with the wider pavement areas retained, which we believe offers the best balance going forward.

"While we do need to be ready to take further action, should it become necessary, we will continue to balance up all the risks and work to keep our town centre as accessible and as safe as possible.”

Spaces for People restrictions in place in central Elgin. Picture: Eric Cormack
Spaces for People restrictions in place in central Elgin. Picture: Eric Cormack

The move means the temporary pedestrianisation of east High Street and south Lossie Wynd will end, as will the temporary restrictions on west High Street and Batchen Street.

The authority said business owners using land outside their premises for tables and chairs will be communicated with directly.

The all-vehicle restriction on Commerce Street will end, and it will revert back to being pedestrianised except for permit holders and those accessing disabled parking bays.

Pavement widening on east High Street, between the Muckle Cross and Commerce Street, will continue. That requires the continued relocation of the taxi rank, and suspension of the disabled parking bays outside Farmfoods.

Additional disabled parking bays in car parks will remain.

In the weeks ahead, more cycle storage will be installed in the centre of Elgin in a move to encourage active travel. And feature gates are being installed at either end of the High Street, to allow easy pedestrianisation if needed in the future.

Spaces for People was funded by the Scottish Government and backed by public health experts.

NHS Grampian’s deputy director of public health, Chris Littlejohn said: "The fact is this is not over, far from it.

"One of the big lessons we have taken from all of this is the surprising number of people who test positive for the infection even though they do not have symptoms.

"When we saw the councils looking to take advantage of the funding we were hugely supportive of it because we could see that helping people to have space and the further apart we can stay from one another, the less time we spend close to one another, the lower the risk of transmission."​

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