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INVERNESS BID: Key question for Academy Street plan is: ‘If not this, what?’ We’d love for us ALL to help find an answer!

By Lorraine Bremner McBride

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An artist's impression of how the latest proposals for Academy Street could look.
An artist's impression of how the latest proposals for Academy Street could look.

Just a few weeks to go before the future of Academy Street – and by default the city centre – will be determined on August 28 (pending the statutory road traffic order procedure that will follow).

We were recently asked a compelling question: essentially ‘if not this, what?’ This is a great question and one that our city centre businesses (and I am sure the wider public and many other stakeholders) would very much welcome the opportunity to help provide an answer to.

It is widely accepted that change and an aesthetic improvement of the area is highly desirable and efforts to achieve this overall aim are to be commended. Unequivocally, we all want what is best for our city centre, the wider city and for its people, businesses and visitors. It would be a breakthrough, in respect of the areas where there is still not a broad consensus, if in the time we have remaining, we all work together in a collaborative and fully inclusive way in order to reach a compromise.

In a recent survey, 86 per cent of BID members who responded stated they favoured a compromise in terms of the current approach, which to recap will result in a 75 per cent reduction overnight in traffic which (minus bus movements) and post-construction will, per our understanding, equate to the equivalent of just one vehicle per minute in a 24-hour period due to the 2000-vehicle movements per day ‘cap’ to be applied. Or to put it another way an almost 90 per cent reduction from peak circa six years ago. BID supports taking an evolutionary and incentivised approach to change and also supports seeing what works and what doesn’t before any final decisions are made to ensure we get it right.

As it currently stands, 80 per cent of our members following our most recent survey confirmed that they are opposed or strongly opposed to the most recent proposal, but we believe there is still time to come together, think outside of the box and get everyone on board.

By Lorraine Bremner McBride, Inverness BID director

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