COMMUNITY COUNCIL RESPONSE TO A9 DUALLING CONSULTATION

Robin Smith

A9 Dualling Project Team Stakeholder Manager

Mouchel

Lanark Court

Ellismuir Way

Tannochside Park

Uddingston

Glasgow G71 5PW

 

Dear Mr Smith,

 

A9 DUALLING – DALRADDY TO SLOCHD

 

 

I refer to the A9 Dualling Dalraddy to Slochd project and must inform you that Aviemore and Vicinity Community Council objects to the preferred option of widening southbound opposite Aviemore and to the junction designs to the north and south of Aviemore, for the following reasons;

 

  1. The maps used in the consultation are out of date and inaccurate.

 

  1. They show a path that is not there. The path from High Burnside to the Craigellachie National Nature Reserve does not exist, has never existed and is not shown on any other maps and being included in the map is totally misleading. A proposal for the a core path at that location was recently the subject of an inquiry by the Reporter as it had been objected to by the Community Council. The reporter upheld the objection.

 

  1. A core path which forms part of the Aviemore Orbital route is missing from the maps. This is a core path that was proposed by the community.

 

  1. A proposed housing development west of Allt Mor, presently going through planning is not shown. The southbound widening will impact seriously on it.

 

  1. At High Burnside/Milton there is an area in blue which is apparently a flood risk area. This area bears no resemblance whatsoever to the flood risk map on the Scottish Environmental Protection Authority (SEPA) website.  It is interesting to note that the flood area shown in the consultation documents is on an uphill piece of ground. Also 23 houses have been built in the middle of the flood area.  The houses were not objected to by SEPA or the Highland Council Flood team.

 

  1. The flooding risk on the northbound has never existed. The minor amount of water that pools there now is due to a defective culvert caused, most likely, when Scottish Water put in their pipeline. It was not there before the pipeline was installed.

 

  1. The maps show a preferred option for the road and the junctions. The maps also included insets with possible other designs.  The Community Council objects to the preferred junctions and would rather see any of the other junction designs shown in the insets being used.

 

  1. The Community Council is disappointed that no effort has been made to alleviate the problems posed at the A95/B9152 junction.

 

  1. Widening the road southbound will mean that for the entire length of Aviemore the road will be built in the settlement.

 

  1. The settlement boundary for Aviemore, in the Cairngorms National Park Local Development Plan is the present A9. This settlement boundary was agreed upon, after much discussion, as the community were keen to protect the Milton Wood and Horsefield area for community use. Widening to the southbound will result in a large part of that woodland and community amenity being lost. The path and woodland is very heavily used by walkers, horse riders, cyclists and dog owners. Although Aviemore sits in the middle of some of the most beautiful countryside in Scotland it is built up and does not have a lot in the way of such amenity.

 

  1. Further south, at the MacDonald Aviemore Highland Resort, the preferred route will come within metres of Scandinavian Village, a timeshare resort, the Aviemore Highlands Resort staff accommodation block and the Aviemore Highlands Hotel and swimming pool/fitness complex. The widening southbound will also affect a wildlife photography business at a pond in the Resort. The pond is now an important fishing area for osprey and was included in a condition attached to the resort masterplan to maintain it for wildlife.  The road then goes on to affect the High Range Caravan Park.

 

  1. The main water supply for Badenoch and Strathspey runs along the east verge of the present A9. Nobody at the consultation was able to say where the pipe would go. This is very important as, if the southbound widening goes ahead, the pipe will have to be moved. A serious concern is that more of Milton Wood will be destroyed. To not be able to say where the pipe is going is intolerable. What make it even worse is that we now know that Scottish Water has not even been consulted.

 

  1. There is no indication of where the non-motorised transport path will be. It surely forms part of the road and should be shown.

 

  1. A reason given for widening the road southbound was the proximity of the houses on the northbound side. Those houses are over 60 metres form the present road, as are the houses on the southbound side. The big difference is that on the southbound side there is also a well-used Core Path, a large diameter water pipe and a Scottish Water installation.

 

  1. At the south end of the northbound side is Craigellachie National Nature Reserve. There is no doubt that northbound widening would affect the reserve but not to a great extent. At an absolute maximum, and bearing in mind that the reserve boundary does not run along the edge of the road, the loss to the reserve would be minimal, compared with the wholesale loss of woodland on the Aviemore side.

 

  1. The widening of the road southbound will remove in the region of 6 hectares (14.8 acres) of naturally regenerated Scots Pine from the Horse Filed and mature Silver Birch from Milton Wood. It should be noted that prior to the present A9 being built Milton wood was part of the same wood that forms the Craigellachie National Nature Reserve and carries pretty much the same assemblage of plants, birds, animals and insects.

 

  1. Compared with the amount of habitat that will be lost in Milton Wood and Horse Field the loss of habitat in the Craigellachie National Nature Reserve is minimal and can be easily mitigated. The loss in Milton Wood/Horse Field cannot be easily mitigated and will be completely lost to the people and wildlife that use it.

 

  1. Widening to the southbound is contrary to the all the Aims of the Cairngorms National Park.

 

  1. Widening the road in either direction is going to affect the First Aim of conserving and enhancing the natural and cultural heritage of the area. It is a question of scale. There is no doubt whatsoever that there will be more damage caused to that heritage by widening southbound.

 

  1. Widening the road southbound compared with northbound means more infill, more embankments, more loss of habitat, extra expense of moving a water pipe and diminished amenity for the public. And will do nothing to promote sustainable use of the natural resources of the area

 

  1. Widening the road southbound will also have an economic effect on businesses bordering the road and have a knock-on effect on others and will not promote sustainable economic and social development of the community. More the opposite.

 

  1. The community have a much loved easily accessible area that is very well used and brings the countryside into the town.  That will be seriously compromised with widening of the road southbound and cannot in any way be seen to promote understanding and enjoyment (including enjoyment in the form of recreation) of the special qualities of the area by the public.

 

In conclusion;

 

The consultation was marred by the complete inadequacy of information available to the public attending.  The map relating to Aviemore was inaccurate. When pressed, the staff could not give justifications for the preferred route or any information about related infrastructure such as the Scottish Water pipe or non-motorised transport path.  The little they did say was based on inaccurate information and maps.  Saying that it was fine detail that would be worked out later is intolerable and not the way the public should be treated.  How is it possible to come to a decision on a preferred route without that information?  In short, there was no indication of the collateral damage that will be caused by the southbound widening of the road.

 

Aviemore and Vicinity Community Council objects to the preferred option for southbound widening of the road opposite Aviemore and to the preferred junction design.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

John Grierson

Chairman

 

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