A petition has been set up and formal letters have been sent to Aberdeenshire Council in attempt to get the Bervie Braes re-opened to light traffic.
Stabilisation work began on the popular coastal route earlier this year to protect nearby homes from landslips after dozens of households had to be evacuated following heavy rainfall in 2009.
Work to secure the slope is currently ongoing and stabilisation is expected to be complete by September, at a cost of £2.4m. It was revealed in April that the Bervie Braes would not reopen for vehicles but would support cycle and pedestrian traffic.
Local groups and businesses in the town were surprised and saddened by this news. They feel that if amenities in the town centre were accessible by car from Dunnottar Castle, visitors would be more likely to to travel down the Bervie Braes whilst taking in the spectacular view, encouraging them into the town. One of their main concerns is that the tens of thousands of visitors who come to the castle will bypass Stonehaven and head straight towards Aberdeen on the accessible A90.
Representatives from Stonehaven Town Partnership, the Tourism Group, Stonehaven Business Association and Stonehaven and District Community Council have voiced their concerns to the council.
Chairman of the Tourism Group, Frank Budd said: “Since the closure of the road two years ago, the supply of tourists into the town from the castle has dropped sharply.
“We are aware that this decision was made to avoid any risk of slippage from the upper slope above the road which is not being dealt with due to budgetary constraint. However, the risk to houses below is being dealt with. Surely the road could be re-opened to very limited traffic.
“We will shortly lose the Den of Logie road, another beautiful access to the town, with superb views of the Castle and War Memorial. We cannot afford to lose another.
“It strikes me as very puzzling and perverse, that in Aberdeenshire, acknowledged to be one of the wealthiest counties in the UK, with some of the highest disposable income and nestled in the the comfort of the UK Oil Industry, cannot in the 21st Century afford to maintain the roads built centuries ago by our forefathers.
“Tourism is important to the town and we would ask the Council to re-consider the decision to keep this road closed to limited vehicular traffic.”
Many of the groups feel that they shouldn’t wait until the current project is complete before determining the way forward and it would be easier to carry out work whilst the current work is taking place.
Aberdeenshire Manager, William Murdoch and a Jacobs representative will be attending Stonehaven and District Community Council meeting on Tuesday 14 August at 7.30pm in the Resource Centre.