A suggestion

It may be that conditions will change over the next generation, sufficient to warrant ambitious bypass plans but very costly plans are unrealistic in the present financial climate. Even so, long term ideas should inform decision-making here and now.

The relief road suggested in the attached overlay is a rough outline of how an interim plan might work. It does not relate to any specific land ownerships or boundaries and should only be viewed as a rough sketch of how things could be but it does attempt to address a need for three things:

  • A diversion of traffic away from the High Street corridor, onto roads which will flow more freely and thus reduce pollution generally.

  • Release land which can be used to provide a planned growth strategy which includes a considered allocation of ground for light industrial, green space, amenity ground and houses. This may allow the existing south entrance to the town to divest itself of industrial clutter and make it a more attractive gateway to the town. It may also allow for some parking on the periphery which will help release more parking in the centre for people who are visiting the town.

  • Change the nature of the town centre, away from being dominated by cars and lorries (moving and static) and into a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly area which will enhance the quality of the space, making Crieff more attractive for locals and visitors alike.

Crieff has retained much of its townscape qualities without being permanently compromised by intrusive and inappropriate development but it is in need of care and repair. If the community do not acknowledge and support its attractive heritage and if we do not work on Crieff being a destination for tourists, the town will struggle and the struggle will be enacted primarily in the high street, where the commercial decline is most evident. Crieff’s built assets are an opportunity and should be enhanced and protected. Redundant buildings should be repurposed, some for community use and they should exploit the benefits of the improvements the rerouting of traffic will create. Most especially the reinforcing of James Square as town centre.

People are important to Crieff’s wealth and prosperity and it will be argued that more houses should be built. At least enough to meet the designed potential for the town’s infrastructure, schools and and medical provision. It does not need to be large swathes of cheek-by-jowl, cheap and cynical “anywhere in Europe” boxes; we have a choice and this is another example of how it is important for Crieff that the community presses the PAUSE button and that people think about the quality of the environment, natural and built.

The future success of Crieff is written into the harmonious balance of the constituent parts of an attractive town. A town which is worth visiting and worth living in and perhaps in pioneering how other towns in similar decline might be reborn, before too much irreparable damage is done in the pursuit of short term gains.