Considerable progress reported by Upper Achintore community group

Ross Place. NO F12 ross place
Ross Place. NO F12 ross place

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At the recent well-attended on-line recent meeting of the Upper Achintore Regeneration Group (UARG) committee in Fort William, a wide range of business was discussed and considerable progress reported.

Chairman Mark Linfield steered the committee through a busy agenda and Councillor Sarah Fanet also attended.

Issues discussed included:

Proposed Community Hub: With funding from the Highland Council the feasibility study is progressing well with 141 questionnaires being returned and a significant majority (92 per cent) agreeing that the community needs a hub.

Of the two sites put forward, 56 per cent favour the Lundavra Road site (above the school) but there is also healthy support for the Heathercroft site (behind Angus Crescent).

Both sites are going forward for a ground condition survey and this, together with other aspects such as land availability, proximity to services, land acquisition costs will have a bearing on the final choice of site.  The UARG Sub Group was due to meet last night (Wednesday) to take the project forward.

Upper Achintore Action Plan: This continues well, again funded by Highland Council,
and the committee can now report clearance of the derelict lock-up garages at Moray Place and upgrading and re-rendering of the three-metre high retaining wall at Nairn Crescent. However, there is still much to do and the committee gets a monthly report from the council on progress.

Ross Place / Cow Hill Circular Footpath: At a cost of £30,000, plus £2,000 of
material donated by Breedon’s Banavie Quarry, the 750m-long footpath from Ross Place (highest density housing in Lochaber) through to the Cow Hill Circular Path/Glen Nevis is now complete, apart from a small 30m stretch on land owned by Link Housing.

The funding came mainly from HiTrans with welcome contributions from Lochaber Rotary, Broadland Energy, Highland Council Housing as well as the Council Access Officer’s Core Path Network budget and UARG’s own funds.

Ross Place Kickabout Pitch Upgrade: This has stalled and the committee says there is concern that Highland Council has not yet fulfilled its agreement on this.

Since the loss of the astroturf pitch at Angus MacIver Way there is no playing field/pitch available to the children of the 800 households in Upper Achintore.

Link Housing: Work has now started on this 325-house project and Link Housing is
being pressed to set up the Community Liaison Group that is a condition of its planning
permission.

On being asked to recommend names for the new streets in this extensive development, UARG suggested that, for the two main roads, consideration should be given to ‘Neil Clark Way’ and ‘Colin Neilson Way’ in memory and in recognition of these two late councillors, both of whom lived in Upper Achintore. The final decision on this is delegated to the local community council.

Green Spaces: With the support of local youngsters, work is ongoing clearing and
planting alongside the path down from Sutherland Avenue.

Car Parking and eBike Hub at 45-51 Lochaber Road: Highland Council has kindly
agreed to make this gap site available for car parking, a local eBike hub and an electric
vehicle charging point.

There are major parking problems around this area and important green spaces are at risk. Funding for the eBike scheme will end in September and UARG is keen that Upper Achintore does not miss out.

Other community projects: Several litter picks are planned and the group is continuing to refill and maintain the dog poo bags. Several old whisky barrels have been donated from the distillery and it is hoped to install and plant them up at an early date.

Meeting with Ariane Burgess MSP: Representatives of UARG met with Ms Burgess and
briefed her on a range of issues relevant to Upper Achintore. It was a useful meeting
and Ms Burgess undertook to follow up on these matters and report back.