Fettercairn residents reject Arch ‘eyesore’

Fettercairn Arches
Fettercairn Arches

Aberdeenshire council has listened to Fettercairn residents over ‘dreadful and unsightly’ boxes which appeared in the village last week.

Flower planters arrived under the famous arch - much to the anger of residents who believed they created an eyesore.

However, while the council has removed the planters, it maintains that a suitable and sustainable alternative will have to be considered for the historic feature.

Mrs Mary Crowther, who contacted the Observer about the boxes, was concerned the planters would not be able to help the arch.

Talking before the planters were removed, she said: “They are dreadful and very unsightly. They look like four great big abandoned tattie boxes.

“There used to be four big concrete balls which kept getting knocked over and damaged and causing damage to cars.

“They have now replaced them with these boxes - if the concrete balls didn’t work I don’t see how these will. They don’t even look good.

“I would urge the council to reconsider what they have done - it’s supposed to be a conservation area.”

The planters were removed on Friday morning with head of roads and landscape services, Philip McKay, hoping to preserve and protect the historic monument.

He said: “Unfortunately, over a number of years the arch has suffered significant damage from large vehicles striking the structure.  

“Inconsiderate drivers have routinely ignored the clearly marked width restrictions put in place to protect it

‘‘Previously bollards have been used in an attempt to physically limit access, however they have been routinely damaged and the cost of repair is unsustainable.

“The placement of the planters was considered an appropriate means of further highlighting the restriction to motorists.  

“However, in light of recent discussion, these have been removed to improve visibility for vehicles negotiating the junction south of the arch. 

“A long-term sustainable solution will have to be found and we will be speaking to the local community about alternatives in due course.”

The structure is a Category B-listed Romanesque arch in the centre of the village.

It was built as a memorial to the Prince Consort and to commemorate the visit of Victoria and Albert in September 1861.

It was designed by John Milne (of St Andrews) between 1864-5 and consists of two buttressed octagonal towers with short gabletted spirelets and wrought-iron finials.

The arch is finished with a crenellated parapet with central curvilinear gablet feature.

Work has been undertaken on the arch in recent years which included stabilising the stonework.