A project to look at how people move about Huntly is asking local people to have their say
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LOCAL people are being asked for their views on how walking and cycling around Huntly could be improved and the town made a greener, healthier, more attractive place.
The Travel Hub arm of Huntly Development Trust (HDT) has launched the Mini Holland online consultation on walking and cycling options and how outdoor spaces could be better used
The project is based on already existing successful Mini-Holland schemes.
Stuart Masson, Travel Hub project manager said: "Huntly is a great place to live, work and visit and surrounded by great countryside.
"However, as identified in the 2018/19 Huntly - Room to Thrive community consultation, getting around our small, compact town and accessing the surrounding area on foot and by bike can feel surprisingly unsafe and daunting.
"This is especially true if you are new or returning to cycling, elderly or are encouraging your children to cycle to school or their activities.
"As a result, we miss out on many of the health, learning, environmental and financial benefits taken for granted in so many places across the world. The Dutch, for example, choose to design towns that are safe, easy and convenient to walk and cycle around. Vehicles are still catered for but people are prioritised.
"Many of these towns are also greener and more attractive as public space is dedicated to planting and people rather than vehicles. Mini Holland Huntly wants to hear if and how people think we should work towards this in our town."
The initial focus of the project is on how to improve journeys to school and the town centre but within days of the consultation opening last Friday, people highlighted issues with traffic on Duke Street, the benefits which a cycle path from the A97 onto the A96 would bring as well as issues with traffic and congestion in the area of the school campus.
Mr Masson has confirmed that all the information received will feed into the final plan.
The consultation is easily reached on the huntlydt.org website by going to the Travel Hub section and Mini Holland Huntly Commonplace page, where the view map and comment tab allows people to have their say by dragging a pin to the place on the map on which they want to comment.
Once the pin is placed options to comment open.
Mr Masson added: "If enough people want to see change then options can be developed and funding secured.
"How we all choose to get around impacts on all of us, we want and need everyone in Huntly and District to get involved. So we ask that people who take part also encourage their friends and neighbours to have their say too."
Paper copies of the consultation can be requested by email to HDT@huntly.net
It is intended that responses will be assessed and a report prepared by March next year.
The current project is funded by SUSTRANS who will also fund 70 per cent of for any works required.