Garioch Area Committee hear findings on Kintore-Kemnay-Inverurie active travel consultation
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Councillors were impressed with the level of feedback received from the public on options to improve active travel opportunities between Kemnay, Kintore and Inverurie.
Members of the Garioch Area Committee this week heard that a total of 877 people from a variety of demographics took part in consultations, with 17.4 percent of respondents being under 16.
These consultations focussed on finding out how the travel routes would most commonly be used, i.e. for commuting or leisure, and which of the six possible routes were preferred by the public.
For clarity the proposed active travel route was broken into Kemnay - Kintore and Kemnay - Inverurie to make sure the most accurate feedback possible could be collected.
Around 60 percent of respondents were cyclists with a further 17 percent saying that they would like to cycle.
Almost 580 respondents said the thing that stopped them from cycling more was a lack of safe routes, showing the importance of the proposed active travel routes.
Almost 93 percent of respondents had their say on the Kemnay - Kintore route, while over 61 percent commented on the Kemnay - Inverurie route.
For the Kemnay-Kintore route, more than half of respondents favoured the second option, which would run through woodland along the B994 claiming that it would be safe and also offer a scenic journey.
Following the findings of the consultations the officers' recommendation is for a hybrid of two of the options which it is felt would maximise safety for all - including independent young people and families - on the route.
For the Kemnay-Inverurie stretch, over 60 percent of respondents favoured the third route option, which would run along an unnamed track between Aquithie Road and the Port Elphinstone underpass, as it was felt to be both the quietest and safest option.
Councillor Marion Ewenson said: "This has got to be one of the best public engagement exercises I have ever seen with such a wide demographic, which gives us confidence in the data."
Also commenting, councillor Judy Whyte said: "I would also like to thank the officers for excellent engagement - the people have spoken.
"There is clearly considerable interest and demand for these routes."
Councillor Glen Reid said: "A thank you goes to everyone for the huge participation in the consultation.
"It is clear that this has been one of the best council public consultations with huge engagement right across the age groups and a total of 877 people taking part."
It was agreed, in relation to Kintore to Kemnay and in response to the feedback, to further develop route option 2 by accepting that a hybrid of route of 1 and 2 is likely to be required to address safety issues raised during the engagement.
He continued: "I expressed my belief that it was highly unlikely that both routes would be built at the same time and that the results of the consultation proved that the highest demand/need was for the Kintore to Kemnay route.
"Officers agreed that it was likely that one would be built first, that the highest potential usage appeared to be for the Kintore to Kemnay route and, when pressed, they refused to name which route would be built first, but said that it would be cost benefit led which usually is the greatest number of users, namely the most demand.
"Typical construction time for each route will be approximately 12 to 15 months and the designs will be finalised in the 2022-23 financial year.
"Kemnay residents also need access to Kintore Station as their public transport options are quite poor.
"I will continue to press for this to be delivered as soon as is possible, but it will also be key that our communities continue to show that there is this demand."
The committee unanimously agreed to support the findings of the consultations.