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City active travel hub plan for Inverness car park branded ‘pathetic’ by Highland bike activists

By Neil MacPhail

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Rose Street multi-storey car park in Inverness.
Rose Street multi-storey car park in Inverness.

ACTIVE travel supporters in Inverness have expressed disappointment at Highland Council’s proposals for a bike hub inside the Rose Street multi-story car park – describing them as “pathetic” and a missed opportunity.

Highland Council responded by saying the Scottish Government approved its plans, and is part funding the facility as part of its Euro-assisted active travel strategy.

Dr Keith Slater, a retired GP, said: “The Scottish Government are requiring councils to set up active travel hubs (ATH) to encourage more walking and cycling. In Inverness the council has proposed a totally inadequate response to this, in the form of a tokenistic low level development in Rose Street car park that is little more than off-street parking for 22 or so bikes.

“The guidance on developing ATH indicates that these will typically include bike hire/library initiatives, safe and secure facilities for personal bikes, bike repair/maintenance facilities, and improved links to public transport, local path networks, travel information and associated outreach activity.”

“This misses so many opportunities such as a social space, space for training and encouraging volunteers to learn maintenance and promote the vision of active travel, space for overlap projects with schools, mental health and other health services, space for inclusion of the socially isolated.”

Mick Heath, of Highland Cycling Campaign, wants the public to join them in expressing their disappointment.

He said: “We think they’re planning the wrong thing in the wrong place. ATH should provide focal points for cycling and walking routes, tailored to the location and based upon need.”

A year ago the council, HITRANS and NHS Highland welcomed the £1.6 million for their Rose Street Low Carbon ATH project which is being match funded by Highland Council (£265,000), NHS Highland (£40,000), and HITRANS (£15,000).

A council spokesperson said: “The ATH at Rose Street will provide walking and cycling advice, bike hire, cycling workshop and support outreach programmes.”

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