The much anticipated extension of the Speyside Way moved on another step today (Friday 7th March), with planning permission for several key sections of the route having been secured.
The Cairngorms National Park Authority’s planning committee – meeting in Blair Atholl today – gave the go-ahead for four sections of the Long Distance Route, which will eventually see the Speyside Way extended from Aviemore to Newtonmore.
The sections of the route approved today are:
- 1.2km of new path and stock fencing south of the Highland Main Line opposite the Dalraddy Holiday Park, Aviemore (Paper 4).
- 1.9km of new path from the Allt-na-Chriche burn to the Allt Dibheach burn on land south east of the Highland Main Line on Kinrara Estate (Paper 5).
- 15m span steel and timber footbridge, 35m boardwalk and 216m of new path south of Tor-Alvie Cottage and to the east of the railway bridge over the Allt Dibheach burn, near Aviemore (Paper 6).
- 830m section of new path east of the Loch Insh Outdoor Centre between the Kincraig Shinty Pitch and Ardgeal Road end at Kincraig (Paper 7).
A motion to defer two of the applications (Papers 5 & 6) to allow for a site visit was proposed but the majority of members voted against this.
When completed the Speyside Way Long Distance Route will provide a largely off-road link between Aviemore and Newtonmore for the first time and will be popular with walkers and cyclists.
Following two rounds of public consultation, the Speyside Way extension was approved in principle by Scottish Ministers in May 2009. Since then the CNPA and the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust have worked with landowners along the route to prepare for it. The whole route is expected to take around three to five years to complete and cost around £2 million.
Eleanor Mackintosh, the CNPA planning committee convener said: “We are delighted that progress continues to be made on the Speyside Way extension. The Park Authority has long recognised the desire from communities along the length of the extension to have the Speyside Way carry on to Newtonmore. It will be well used by residents and visitors alike and is set to bring many economic benefits to the area.”
Eric Baird, chair of the Cairngorms Local Outdoor Access Forum commented: “This proposal is the result of extensive consultation, and a great deal of work to address the concerns of land managers. Today’s decision marks the point at which these conversations can become a reality on the ground. It will take time, money and hard work but the benefit to local communities and visitors will, I believe, be worth the effort.”