Survey results highlight good and bad of Carnoustie

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THE LONG awaited results of the Carnoustie Business Association shopping survey were revealed at a lively meeting this week.

The well-attended meeting took place in the Laurie Lounge of the Royal British Legion Scotland, Dundee Street, on Wednesday night.

Peter Burke, chair of the CBA, gave the presentation to a mix of business owners, town officials and interested members of the public, and there were a few surprises alongside the more obvious bugbears.

Unsurprisingly, top of most respondents’ lists was demand for a new filling station in the town, with 1,447 out of the 1,521 returns showing this.

However, Mr Burke pointed out that the owner of the previous petrol station had returned a form and although had ticked that box had pointed out that economics won over supporting the town every time.

He said: “As soon as petrol is a penny cheaper anywhere else, people will go there.”

Other demands included a major supermarket to encourage competition, a farm shop selling local produce, a children’s clothier selling uniforms, a card and stationery business and clothing and shoe shops for men and women.

Amenities were discussed, and several calls were made for the old Fairway Garage precinct to be turned into a town square with a bandstand, or as a venue for a farmers’ market.

There was also interest in procuring a circular bus service catering to the many new build estates in the town and encompassing Westhaven and its environs aimed at the elderly and young mothers with prams.

There were many complaints made about the town, relating to such things as litter, lack of youth facilities, railway crossings and the general state of buildings in the High Street.

Mr Burke said: “The surveys made pretty dismal reading until you got into the guts of it and it really started sparking.”

He pointed out that most weaknesses identified could be addressed by either the community spirited public, business owners or upcoming entrepreneurs.

There was a widespread belief that Carnoustie was a more expensive shopping destination, Mr Burke diligently compared a sample shopping list against Tesco in Monifieth and proved Carnoustie was only 78p more expensive, without taking into account the cost of petrol and the added time factor.

He conceded the point that many shop in Morrisons in Arbroath as a cheaper option, and in a section entitled ‘threats’ cited major supermarkets as a possible threat to the town’s economy.

Overall, he believed that the results reflected positively on the town, and any faults could be seen as opportunities for new businesses to step in and for the town to flourish.

Banks in Carnoustie proved a hot topic, with many commending the personal service offered to regular customers, but many also lambasted the banks for closing at the peak lunch hour and RBS in particular for not having disabled access.

Mr Burke said: “The people of Carnoustie have shown a great deal of passion with this huge return rate, massive even.

“It was a lot more than expected and shows people have a lot of pride in the town, and not just in our own areas, but in helping the young and the disabled.

“There is a lot of innovation in the town and we need to build on that by responding swiftly.”

Mr Burke invited all those interested to attend the CBA meetings in the Kinloch Arms Hotel on the first Wednesday of every month at 7.30 p.m.