Members of The Highland Council’s City of Inverness Area Committee have today (Monday 28 August 2023) agreed to ‘Making Academy Street a Place for Everyone’.
The decision means that project officers from The Highland Council will now finalise the proposed design, making any necessary minor amendments as required, and move forward with a Traffic Regulation Order, which will be subject to statutory consultation.
The Council will also continue to discuss the project with stakeholders and prepare appropriate equalities and economic impact assessments as requested by businesses during the engagement process on this design.
Speaking about the decision, Leader of Inverness and Area, Cllr Ian Brown said:
“I welcome today’s decision which follows months of debate and discussions with all relevant stakeholders, especially businesses, who were understandably concerned about any potential negative impact to them.
“I do believe that the proposed design strikes a careful balance based on all the opinions that have been expressed and that it will deliver sustainable transport, city centre regeneration, and will support the city centre economy.
It will significantly improve opportunities for walking, wheeling and on-carriageway cycling, whilst ensuring that businesses can continue to operate as they do presently.
“An economic impact assessment will now be undertaken as the project progresses, building on the work developed to date.”
Depute Leader of Inverness and Area, Cllr Chris Ballance said:
“Everyone agrees Academy Street needs revitalising. Plans have been considered, discussed and consulted on for years, and it’s time to act.
“This will turn Academy Street from a road to drive through into a place to go to.
“I’m delighted there has been so much support for the project from the public – less than a quarter of comments on the website were negative.
“We can now move forward to reinvigorate Inverness’ centre by making it a place for people.”
The approved design for Academy Street will see footpaths widened to the maximum possible; pedestrian crossing facilities increased along the length of street; and motorised vehicle access restricted to deliveries, public transport and blue-badge holders to minimise the through traffic allowed to pass through the city centre.
Comprehensive re-signage of alternative traffic routes and available parking opportunities to access the city centre will be introduced as will enhanced restrictions on surrounding residential areas whilst encouraging motorists to make better route choices on arterial and circulatory routes.