Point tourists in our direction say community groups

Newton Stewart Initiative and the Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce are to hold a summit meeting next month to tackle the lack of signs diecting tourists off the A75 and into the Machars.

The two organisations have recently undertaken to look at reasons why Newton Stewart, and wider area in particular, suffers from both lack of investment and lower commercial generating capacity than some of its near neighbouring towns and regions.

They will now put forward ideas and solutions that can reverse the trend and encourage both investment and growth in the town and region as a whole given that Newton Stewart has traditionally been a hub for Wigtownshire for the past 160 years.

One of the common complaints that businesses in Newton Stewart and throughout the ‘Shire repeatedly quote to members was the lack of signage as for the area as drivers leave the M6 motorway onto the A74 and in particular, on the approaches to Castle Douglas from Dumfries. The ypoint out that drivers are faced with a choice of routes that lead towards Ayr, Kilmarnock and the rest of the west coast of Scotland.

A statement from NSI and the Chamber of Commerce stated: “We feel that it is time to address this issue. We want to promote the alternative routes available to road users crossing our region. This could alleviate the current impression, that there is a single ‘preferred route’ to use for travel to the West of Scotland from the Dumfries area. New signage could help raise knowledge of alternative routes in and around the area.

“Our contention is that, in the past from when the railway system was removed from Newton Stewart, drivers have had to put up with poor road conditions if they wanted to tour or use the road system for commercial needs towards England. This condition has steadily improved over the past twenty years, but what has not kept up with the changes has been the information to travellers, both tourist and commercial, that driving conditions beyond Castle Douglas are now far superior to 20 years ago.

“We would like to see a new form of (tourism) signage that focuses more closely on specific routes and areas. Ideally, a number of well signed routes could and should be established to direct not only seasonal and directed tourism, but irregular and ‘spur of the moment’ tourism. Given the increasing number of events in our region – most of which have proven their growth potential over the last few years – it is vital the area capitalises on that growth. Signage plays a key role in this, and both our organisations would like to have a complete ‘re-think’ of signage, and use of signage, along the A75 between Gatehouse of Fleet and Cairnryan.”

The meeting will take place on May 21 at 7.30pm in the McMillan Hall, Newton Stewart.