Gateway wins long battle for M-way tourist signs
A 12 year battle to get tourist signs on the motorway at Gretna has ended in victory.
Managers at the Gretna Gateway Outlet Village have been trying to get their centre signposted off the M74 for over a decade.
Signs highlighting the attraction were put up on the English side of the M6 northbound in 1999.
But the Scottish Government refused signage for the mall on the southbound side of the M74 because they classed them as a shopping centre rather than a tourist attraction.
The outlet village was selected as a case study when a motorway signage review was carried out in Scotland five years ago.
General Manager Peter Gardner said: “Although the review took over two years to carry out, it was well worth the wait as policy changes finally recognised our tourist criteria and the role we play in attracting visitors, creating jobs, putting money into the local and regional economy.
“So we finally met all of the criteria required for us to get southbound signage.
The policy has now been implemented and the new signs have gone up.
But in a twist, when the Cumberland Gap was upgraded to motorway status two years ago, the Gateway was told they did not meet the English signage requirements.
Mr Gardner said: “Our signage, which had been in place since 1999, was unceremoniously removed when the M6 extension opened in 2009 – just when we were beginning to make real progress on the Scottish side.”
A campaign followed backed by politicians and tourist organisations and the Highways Department finally agreed to new signs.
Celebrating the move, Mr Gardner added: “After all that, and almost 12 years since we first opened for business in 1999, we now have signposts on both the M6 and M74.
“To clarify why this is so important to us, independent research has consistently shown that at least 50 per cent of our visitors come in to us from the motorway. This is a big deal for us, as it can only help to pull more people off the motorway to visit us, and the Blacksmith’s, and once they’re here there is at least a chance of them doing something else in the area as well.”
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