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Moray Council has installed a new crossing on St Leonard’s Road following a request from residents

By Garry McCartney

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A BUSY street leading from the centre of Forres to the countryside is benefitting from a traffic measure designed to increase pedestrian safety.

The new pedestrian crossing is reducing traffic and increasing safety.Picture: Beth Taylor
The new pedestrian crossing is reducing traffic and increasing safety.Picture: Beth Taylor

Back in 2021, St Leonard’s Road residents Jerry Kessell and Kathleen Robertson invited a Moray Council officer from the roads department to assess the hill’s narrow pavements and poor visibility, and to focus on issues including speeding and increased commercial traffic.

A Moray Council spokesperson confirmed: “Following concerns about the speed of vehicles on St Leonard’s Road, a number of required improvements were identified, including a gateway measure to help to reduce the speed of vehicles travelling towards the town centre.

“Consultation took place in the Spring of 2023 and the works were undertaken during March this year.”

The new crossing point has now been installed half way up St Leonard's Road. As well as being useful for pedestrians, it narrows to a single lane for traffic, with priority given to vehicles heading towards Rafford.

“We are already seeing a reduction in heavy goods vehicles,” added Mrs Robertson. “They are re-routing through Forres Enterprise Park and the bypass for access to the Grantown road. This is reducing the vibration to properties down the conservation area of St Leonard’s Road and reducing the heavy vehicles along Orchard Road.

“It is also allowing a safer crossing for the woodland path connection between Sanquhar and Cluny Hill woods.”

As well as installing a traffic island in the middle of the road outside Cluny Bank, Mr Kessell and Mrs Robertson suggested: constructing a short section of pavement below Alexandra Terrace on the west side of the road; pruning of overhanging trees; maintaining trees lining the lower reaches of St Leonard’s Road at the St Leonard’s Drive junction; widening the pavement wherever the road is sufficiently wide; and installing a pavement from across the road from the Cluny Bank Hotel towards Leanchoil.

The Moray Council spokesperson promised future works such as short sections of new footway may be explored in consultation with the community of St Leonards Road subject to the availability of funding.

Mr Kessell said: “Some owners have trimmed overhanging hedges; a pavement requiring widening was not agreed to by the owner of the property bounding the proposal; I’ve witnessed no trimming of the trees; the pavement has not been widened; and I am unaware of any planning regarding installation of a pavement heading towards Leanchoil.

“Although the level of HGV and large agricultural vehicles appears to have reduced, and that there seems to have been a reduction in speeding vehicles heading towards the town centre, there remains an issue with vehicles accelerating irresponsibly when heading towards Rafford. The introduction of a 20mph limit - as introduced in Nairn, Auldearn and Ardersier - is the way to improve pedestrian safety and promote active travel through Forres.”

He finished: “The limited installation to date has had effect and the council officer must be thanked for this but there is much more to be done. This will only be driven by policy decisions.”

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