The Board of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) were provided with an update on progress of extending the Speyside Way between Aviemore and Newtonmore when they met in Grantown-on-Spey today (14 May 2010).
Following the Scottish Government’s ‘in principle’ approval during 2009 for an extension of the Speyside Way through the Cairngorms National Park, much preparatory work on developing the new route has been carried out. This has included negotiations with land owners and gathering supporting material for a planning application.
Senior outdoor access officer at the CNPA Bob Grant, updated the board on the work carried out to date, which when complete (due 2014) will realise a long held community aspiration for extending the long distance route that currently stretches from Spey Bay to Aviemore.
Bob Grant said: “The CNPA has worked alongside key partners to develop the best route that was initially drawn up by Scottish Natural Heritage. The route will have wide ranging community and economic benefits from opening up a range of new possibilities for how local people and visitors get around the Park, to shops, hotels and pubs that are likely to experience the business benefits of being located close to it.”
The work to date has focused on securing agreements to construct new or upgrade existing paths as well as collating the extensive supporting material for a planning application. The Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust has also developed a detailed path specification to aid planning and an ecological survey, road safety audit, ground surveys and other research has also been carried out or is nearing completion.
The CNPA Board heard how negotiations to secure agreements with land managers have progressed well with the exception of those at Kinrara Estate just south of Aviemore, who remain opposed to the proposed line of the route. The CNPA Board therefore approved the making of a ‘Path Order’ at today’s meeting under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 which if given Ministerial approval will allow the path to be built without the land owner’s consent.
At the meeting, the CNPA Board also approved an ‘in principle’ contribution of up to £250,000 towards the estimated £1million capital costs of developing the extension subject to a detailed funding package involving other partners.
David Green, the CNPA’s Convener said: “It is great to see progress being made on a facility that will allow several communities to get around the Park in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way. While it won’t be an all abilities path, it will cater for a range of users including walkers, cyclists and runners.
“Although 2014 may seem a long way off, I would ask local communities to be patient and keep up to date with progress either through their Community Council or the Speyside Way section of the CNPA website.”