Selkirk Market Place is to close for seven months from the end of next week.
The closure of the car park and bus stop area signals the start of ambitious town centre improvement plans in the form of a £450,000 streetscape scheme.
The works will mean road and car park closures and bus diversions in and around Market Place from Monday, August 21, through to Saturday, March 31, 2018.
However, Scottish Borders Council has assured Souters that work will be phased to minimise disruption to visitors and traders during the months of construction works that now lie ahead.
Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar told the Wee Paper: “We’ve known that this was going to happen.
“We have to accept that there will be inconvenience but the benefits to Selkirk will far outweigh that inconvenience.
“The main street will be open and down the green.
“The centre of the town is going to be a construction site, and it will be fenced off for safety, but we want to stress that access will be maintained to all of the shops along the top of Market Place.
“It’s going to really enhance the centre of the town, and I hope people will get behind it.
“It’s been a long time coming, and I think that Selkirk really deserves this. This is an investment for the future of the town.”
Details of the different closures will be out up in shop windows throughout the town during the works, giving up-to-date information on the different phases as they come around.
The plans include safer and improved areas for bus passengers, better seating and pavement surfaces, improved pedestrian crossings and enhancements to allow Market Place to be used for events and markets.
During the works temporary bus stops will be used on the main A7 road instead of the Market Place stop, while there will be times when parking in the Market Place is affected.
Signs will also be put in place to stress that businesses in the town centre remain open as usual.
In a joint statement, Selkirkshire councillors Michelle Ballantyne, Gordon Edgar and Elaine Thornton-Nicol add: “The Selkirk streetscape scheme has involved considerable consultation with the stakeholder group which includes 15 different organisations from the town.
“We believe the scheme will greatly enhance the town centre for local people and visitors, while retaining the important historical character of Selkirk.
“While the works take place, we would encourage local people and visitors to continue to come to Selkirk and support our local shops.
“We are sure Souters will be pleased with the final outcome and look forward to Market Place becoming a real asset for the royal burgh for years to come.”
The streetscape scheme has been finalised after consultation with the Selkirk stakeholder group, made up of representatives from organisations across the town, as well as members of the public during a drop-in session in last September.
Council officers will visit Selkirk traders in the coming weeks to give further details of the streetscape works.
The council, together with the Selkirk conservation area regeneration initiative, is paying for the works.
The stakeholder group is made up of representatives from the chamber of trade, community council, regeneration company, Police Scotland, Selkirk Ex-Standard Bearers’ Association, the town’s incorporations, Selkirk Common Riding Trust, Live Borders, the conservation area team, Scott’s Selkirk, Amey, bus operators, churches and councillors.