Friday, 5 April 2013

Inverness's Leisure Area

Many people in Inverness frequently enjoy a visit to the 'Islands', the 'Bught' or Whin Park.
These are only some of the amenities in the Leisure Area on the West side of the City.
A more comprehensive list includes:
  • Queens Park (Athletics Ground)
  • The Floral Hall
  • Inverness Leisure (Aquadome etc)
  • Inverness Ice Centre
  • Bught Park (Football Pitches, Skateboarding, Cycling)
  • Whin Island (Children's Play Park, Boating Pool, Miniature Railway)
  • Ness Islands
  • The Canal Field (Rugby Pitches)
  • The Caledonian Canal (Rowing, Pleasure Craft)
  • The Canal Tow Path (Walking, jogging, Cycling, Dog Walking)
  • Torvean Golf Course
Two points are worth bearing in mind:
- The is a natural heritage for everybody who visits or lives in the City.
- Inverness owns it. It does not have to be bought - it only needs to be looked after.

This area is about to be affected by the planned development of a new road.

Option 6 was chosen from the 8 options that were presented to the Highland Council.
Although the decision has already been made it is still worth understanding these options.
They are presented here in the order of greatest threat to the Leisure Area.

Options 3, 4 and 5

The worst three options (3, 4, 5) take a fairly direct route from Millerton to the City side of Holm Mills. The most serious concern is that they all pass through the centre of Whin Island.

All three routes cut across the West end of the Miniature Railway.
(It is not clear if a level crossing was intended as part of the plan.)

The craziest of this lot is option 5 which places a roundabout right next to the main entrance to the children's play area in Whin Park.
This isn't for the children to play on.

Were they seriously intending to drive a main road through the middle of the Leisure Area! Each of these options also encroaches to some degree on Torvean Golf Course and Canal Park.

Options 3, 4 and 5 cannot have been proposed as real options.
They must only have been include with a view to be rejected.

Options 1, 2 and 8

The next three options (1, 2, 8) take a route from Millerton to the West side of Holm Mills.

All these routes require some amount of crossing of Canal Park leading to a river crossing at the end of the Park at the downstream end of the long weir. They also cut across the Golf Course.

The worst (option 8) places a most peculiar three-way roundabout near the main entrance to Whin Island.

Again it's hard to believe these were ever considered to be genuine options.

Options 1 and 6

Option 6 follows the same route as option 1 from Millerton to the bridge over the river. Then it takes a roughly semi-circular detour along the side of the river to Dores Road Roundabout.

Most people express disbelief when they see this route for the first time.
The compass bearings from Dores Road to the A82 Fort William Road are: NW, N, NE, E, N, NE, W, NW. These bearings ae somewhat confusing since Fort William is SW of Inverness.

It provides a crossing and links the distributor road with the A82.
But it is extremely tortuous with a significant part going the wrong way.
Currently this is the selected option. But doesn't deserve to be.

Options 6 and 7

All seven options considered so far involve creating a second crossing within sight of Millerton Bridge. The remaining option (7) takes a fairly direct route from the A82 to Dores Road Roundabout.

People may have different opinions about the crossing solution (high bridge, low bridge, tunnel, ...). But, regardless of the type of crossing, most are agreed that this is the obvious choice for the route.

It has the benefit of minimal disruption to the Leisure Area.

Surprisingly, option 7 also includes a second bridge at Millerton.
This only serves to artificially and unfairly increase the cost of this option.

By taking the option 7 route there is no longer any need for a second crossing at Millerton.
The option 7 route is the only one which will keep the Leisure Area undamaged and deserves proper consideration.


Donald MacKenzie said...


This is a good summary of the position. It seems incredible that anyone can see Option 6 as solving a real problem as it would not attract through traffic to use the ring road so would not reduce traffic through the city.
The proposed "enhancement" of sporting facilities is intended to make Option 6 attractive but none of the facilities are dependant on Option 6 being built. It looks like the council are offering to spend our money to make the Option 6 look acceptable,

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