A petition is set to be raised calling on a Moray harbour company to reverse their surprise decision to block a much used private road.
As exclusively revealed by insideMoray on Monday, the Elgin and Lossiemouth Harbour Board put up ‘road closed’ signs on the road linking the west and east sections of Lossiemouth harbour.
Unhindered access has been permitted on the road for decades with locals insisting that there has never been a hint of problems over its use.
However, after warning local businesses – including several who lease property on the harbour front owned by the board – that they were considering the move, permanent barriers were put in place at the weekend.
No formal consultation was made with local representatives with Councillor John Cowe confirming this week that while he had known about the possible move he had not been made aware if and when it would happen.
Councillor Cowe will join members of the Lossiemouth Community Council in arranging a meeting with the Harbour Board as soon as possible to discuss the situation, which has mystified many residents and angered local business owners.
John Thomson, owner of the Harbour Garage on Shore Street and just yards from the road, said that the closure will have an adverse affect on business.
He said: “There is just no reason that I can see why the Harbour Board have taken this decision – I believe they are saying that it was because of safety fears, but there has never been an accident on that road as far as anyone can remember.
“Visitors to the town have always used the road safely and it is a very popular, picturesque route. Lossiemouth has very few attractions these days as it is, so taking action that could effectively damage one of the few we do have is simply crazy.
“It has already created a major issue with larger delivery vehicles calling in at businesses around the harbour, they now have nowhere to turn and are having to reverse along the road.
“That may not be a major issue right now but it most certainly will be during the summer when tourists are walking along the road – that has the potential to make it much more dangerous than it is now.”
In a statement issued last night the Harbour Board insisted that the closure was required to reduce the chances of an accident happening. It said: “This is intended to overcome the current high risk of accidents at both ends of this stretch caused by the increasing volume of high speed traffic and HGV usage.
“There have been increased occasions of very near misses at the blind corners affecting both cars and pedestrians. This route is not essential.”
Mr Thomson added that he would hope the Harbour Board would see sense and listen to the hundreds of local people who have already voiced their protests, adding that he will be raising a petition so that residents can record their feelings against the closure.
Anyone wishing to make their feelings known is being invited to sign the petition which will be open at the Harbour Garage on Shore Street.