Newtonmore clean-up in undergrowth rouses BEAR
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.
An eyesore in the heart of a Badenoch village has been sorted by the villagers themselves, months after the authorities said they were going to do it.
The "triangle" tangle on a strategic crossing had become hopelessly overgrown and both Highland Council and – since it was on a trunk road – BEAR Scotland were asked to sort it all out.
It was in July that the clean-up was thought to be under way at the site, which had been sadly disowned for far too long.
The ‘flower bed’ triangle opposite the Clan Macpherson Museum in Newtonmore was even obscuring essential road signs, and had done for years.
Villager Ian Gibson said: “Last year Highland Council let the triangle become overgrown and their solution was to cut everything down to ground level. It became a right mess.
“Why is the signpost to Spean Bridge bizarrely low? I think it was the reason why stuff was cut down last year, with the sign completely obscured.”
When Monarch of the Glen was being filmed the sign was lowered so it did not obscure nearby shots but filming ended in 2005.
Mr Gibson posed: “Couldn’t the signpost be returned to a height that motorists can see? And given that this is one of the only ‘flower beds’ the council is supposed to maintain here could they do something about their eyesore?”
A council spokesman said: “Our amenities team is aware of the issues and are considering the best options to enable the site to remain clear. One is to completely remove all plant materials and leave an area where planters could be placed.
“They do not currently have the resources to hand weed the site, but it has been cut back to allow visibility of the signage."
A BEAR Scotland spokesperson said: “We’re grateful that the directional traffic sign at Spean Bridge has been brought to our attention and will look into our options to assist road users.”
But nothing was done and now the villagers have rolled up their sleeves and cleaned up the area themselves.
As local community council secretary Graham Fraser said today: "A ‘spontaneous’ group of 10 residents decided to sort it out as it was clear the council don’t have the manpower to do so. It’s planted with daffodils and will have new perennials added in the spring.
"It was not difficult to make an improvement after Highland Council ignored the plants for a while and then just hacked at them a year or two ago, neither pruning nor maintaining it.
"The big disappointment is that since the shrubbery was cut back, the green telecoms cabinet which was previously obscured is now quite visible!
"As for the low road sign, it would be great if the Strathy could ask BEAR about getting it put higher."
So we did.
And they came back to us promptly.
A spokesperson said this afternoon: "“Now that the area is clear our design team will prepare a scheme to replace the signs.
"We will look to have the new signs in place early in the new year.”