End of the line as Lochaber Transport Forum calls it a day

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The executive committee of Lochaber Transport Forum this week announced the body was being wound up after a lack of funds and the rise in the use of online meetings combined to make it no longer viable.

Forum members were told that the forum, which had been in abeyance since the start of lockdown in March 2020, had now been informed by Highland Council that the local authority would no longer be providing funding beyond the current round of monies, which had actually expired in March 2020.

The executive met online a number of times during the Covid lockdown to discuss the potential future of the group in light of funding challenges and the wish of Highland Council to focus discussions with communities, groups and individuals around transport at six monthly meetings.

The Lochaber Transport Forum is an alliance of individuals and agencies interested in the co-ordination, development and improvement of public and community transport.

The committee’s statement explained: ‘Our development worker, Benny MacDonald, has kept up maintenance of the forum’s website and continued to correspond with regional and national bodies, as well as being actively involved in consultations such as the A82 redesign.

‘Our chairman, Brian Murphy, has represented the interests of public transport in Lochaber on a number of meetings about the future of health and social care in the area and has continued to make the case for improved transport links as the NHS Highland’s ‘New Belford’ project gathers pace.

‘However, given the lack of funding and indeed the relative ease with which meetings can be joined online in order to make representations, the executive has taken the decision to dissolve the forum.

‘In line with our constitution, we are calling a general meeting of the membership to formalise this decision.

‘It is our intention at this meeting to offer suggestions for other ways in which Lochaber residents can make their voices heard in the public transport conversation.’

The forum says it will welcome attendance at a meeting on the issue which is scheduled for Wednesday June 8 at 11am in the Duncansburgh Church Hall in Fort William.’