Published: 19/06/2017 06:00 - Updated: 19/06/2017 05:26

Hill Street blues as residents feel bad vibrations from Dingwall buses

Sean Kennedy, who runs The Mallard pub in Dingwall, outside his Hill Street house with the bus stop in the background. Picture: Brian Simpson, Dingwall.
Sean Kennedy, who runs The Mallard pub in Dingwall, outside his Hill Street house with the bus stop in the background. Picture: Brian Simpson, Dingwall.

RESIDENTS of a Dingwall street say vibrations from buses are making their lives a misery and causing damage to their homes.

Complaints from Hill Street householders have led to a meeting with local councillors Alister Mackinnon and Margaret Paterson, along with Highland Council roads operations manager Iain Moncrieff.

And a pledge has been made to look into the concerns with a view to finding a solution, which may involve re-routing the public buses.

Sean Kennedy, licensee of The Mallard pub, who lives at number 20 Hill Street, near a bus stop, got in touch with other residents over the issue and contacted Councillor Paterson.

He told the Ross-shire Journal this week: “It’s got increasingly worse over time. It’s started to damage our properties and it’s having a detrimental effect on our lives. It’s an absolute nightmare.”

Mr Kennedy said that Mr Moncrieff had told residents to monitor when buses passed and the effects they had, as well as taking pictures of any alleged damage.

He added the operations manager said he would arrange for a surveyor to examine the properties and check for defects.

Mr Kennedy said: “In my own house I’ve got a path in my garden that’s got a crack in it, and I had a problem at the beginning of the year with a broken joint in an outside tap.”

But the publican said he was not proposing that buses should stop using Hill Street.

He said: “You need buses coming down the street to get to Ross County matches on game days for instance, so I’m not saying that we’ve got to get the buses off Hill Street altogether.”

He blamed the state of the road surface as a possible cause of the problem. “I think the whole road needs to be taken up and re-laid properly,” he said.

Pamela Hutcheson, who runs the Peppermint Beauty Salon on Hill Street, said: “We can come in to the salon in the morning and find products scattered on the floor, off the shelves.”

It was bad for business too, she said, with customers paying as much as £70 for treatments and expecting a tranquil environment, having it shattered by buses “firing down the street”.

She blamed the speed of traffic and called for measures such as speed bumps to slow vehicles down.

And Ghulam Rasul, who owns three properties on the street, said there were cracks in the building he occupied at number 36.

Mr Rasul said he had been complaining for years about the problem, back as far as the time when Charles Kennedy was an MP. Mr Kennedy had intervened on his behalf, he said, but nothing had happened.

Councillor Paterson said yesterday she had seen damage inside houses.

She said: “I am aware that there are many houses that have got cracks because of the buses,” adding that another meeting would be held with residents to keep them up to date with progress.

“They need to know that we are trying to do something,” she said. “It’s a very difficult situation and it’s a problem that’s been there for many years.

“We have tried to resolve it by finding another bus stop that’s better.

“That’s proved difficult but we are still looking.”

She said buses had used the south car park in Dingwall without problems when a fire damaged the Royal Hotel in the town centre in 2013, so that was a possibility.

That view was echoed by Dingwall Community Council co-secretary George Murray, who said: “We have been working with Stagecoach to move the bus stop from Hill Street.”

Apart from potential damage to properties, he said the buses caused traffic congestion and suggested a better place for the stop would be in the south car park, which would be “safer and more central”.

Councillor Mackinnon confirmed that residents had “legitimate concerns” and the level of heavy traffic on Hill Street – in particular the speed of buses and HGVs – was causing damage to their properties due to vibrations.

The local councillors are due to discuss the matter at a ward business meeting on Monday.

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