Published: 05/12/2018 13:00 - Updated: 04/12/2018 10:19

Mixed views on city centre revamp

Written byVal Sweeney

 

Falcon Square
The plans include widening pavements to make areas safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

RADICAL plans to transform a key thoroughfare in Inverness city centre have prompted mixed views from the public.

A consultation has been launched on the Accessing Inverness project which aims to make it easier and safer for pedestrians and cyclists in Academy Street and the surrounding area including Farraline Park .

Possible options include widening pavements, reducing traffic speeds, removing traffic signals and introducing streetscape features to improve the look and feel of the city centre.

The plans, which would cost between £3 million and £6 million, would complement other major projects including a £6 million upgrade at the rail station and a revamp of the Victorian Market.

Elsewhere in Academy Street, other projects are being carried out under a regeneration and development programme.

City economist Tony Mackay gave the thumbs up to the project led by HiTrans, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands.

“The proposed improvements to Academy Street and the railway station are very welcome because the city centre is clearly struggling like most other town centres because of the switch to online shopping,” he said

“However, I have doubts over the economic viability of some of the proposed Academy Street developments, particularly at the northern end. “

He also felt £6 million for the railway station improvements seemed very expensive.

Andrew MacDonald, chairman of Inverness Taxi Alliance, was concerned there had been no direct involvement of the city’s taxi trade .

Currently, there are 15 taxi rank places in Academy Street.

“We would be looking to make sure no taxi rank places were abandoned as a result of this,” Mr MacDonald said.

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