MARKET Street in St Andrews has re-opened to traffic after a three-week closure following the completion of improvements to the foul water drainage system and the construction of three huge manholes, the latest phase of the £1.5 million upgrading programme being carried out by Fife Council.
And, in what is hoped will be a second boost for the local business community, all barriers are to be removed and more parking spaces made available in the street over the next three weekends.
Although part of the busy shopping street will be closed from August 5 for the start of the centuries-old Lammas Market street fair, members of St Andrews Merchants’ Association have welcomed the prospect of a “breathing space” in the long-running project.
Since September of last year, the programme to transform the shopping centre has been carried out in close consultation with local businesses.
Now, following another meeting between representatives of the local authority, contractors and the business community, association chair Lindsey Adam, told the Citizen:”Over the past months we’ve tried to work with the contractors as much as possible and we had some good news, albeit temporary, at what was quite a constructive meeting.
“For three weekends from tomorrow until August 14, Market Street will be completely open again. For part of that time, the Lammas Market will be here but we are looking forward to enjoying a breathing space when shoppers will be able to browse and buy unimpeded by the roadworks. Having the barriers and hurdles removed during that period will mean more parking spaces are available.”
Ms Adam conceded that June and July have been difficult, with less people than normal walking around and coming into the shops.
She added:”We do appreciate the efforts of the council and the contractors to see things from our point of view.
“The quality of the materials being used in the upgrading work are excellent and the standard of workmanship is really high. We can see how everything is taking shape and that in the long-term the St Andrews shopping experience will be enhanced by what is being done here.
“There have been delays, but those have been outwith what was expected and while the break in work during August will mean the final completion date being put back to the end of November, we voted at our latest meeting to have this two-week ‘window’ during the peak holiday season as we think it’s important that shoppers see that St Andrews is very much still open for business.
”The association is optimistic about our very special town and proud of the fantastic range of independent shops which do so much to ensure shoppers keep coming back here.”
The organisation is also embarking on some new developments, including a new membership drive which highlights the very definite benefits of belonging to the association.
Ms Adam said: ”We have introduced a unique service to help them market their business professionally on our newly-updated website visit-standrews.com.”