WSP shares economic and traffic assessments into Inverness street designs

WSP shares economic and traffic assessments into Inverness street designs

The Highland Council has presented findings from the Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) undertaken by consultants WSP into the proposed design for Academy Street in Inverness.

Briefing sessions were held with elected members and business membership organisations Visit Inverness Loch Ness, Inverness Chamber of Commerce, Inverness BID and the FSB, to learn about the analysis of both assessments.

The commissioning of an EIA and a TIA was a result of the City of Inverness Committee Decision on 28/08/23 and the subsequent full council decision on 14/09/23, following concerns expressed by local businesses and residents about the proposed design.

Speaking about the findings of the EIA and TIA, City Leader, Councillor Ian Brown, said: “It was an important exercise to commission independent economic and traffic impact assessments into the proposed design of Academy Street, which we do acknowledge has caused concerns amongst local businesses and residents.

“The findings present a balanced view and are very much based on the worst-case scenario and will now inform mitigation measures already being considered by The Highland Council.

“I am encouraged that wider economic impacts of between £1.5 million and £4m have been identified in the longer term as a result of the proposal for Academy Street, largely driven by an increase in footfall and associated visitor and retail expenditure.

“Equally, in terms of the anticipated impact on traffic, it is important that Academy Street is not taken in isolation. The Traffic Impact Assessment assumes a worst-case scenario where existing car users do not change their behaviour and choose an alternative mode of transport. The Highland Council is working hard to expand the choice for people wishing to visit Inverness city centre as part of the Bus Partnership Fund including bus priority routes and park-and-ride options in multiple locations on the outskirts of Inverness.

“I would urge everybody to consider that, as a gateway to the Highland capital, Academy Street plays a significant role in welcoming visitors from near and far. The proposed design, in conjunction with other flagship projects currently being undertaken such as Inverness Castle, will enhance the city centre and make Inverness a prime destination.”

The proposed design for Academy Street will now move to a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO), which is a public consultation, which is expected to last between eight to ten weeks. The results of the TRO will then be considered by the City of Inverness Area Committee meeting where a decision will be taken as to whether the proposed design will then be taken forward and an application made for construction funding.

The reports from the TIA and EIA and associated FAQs have been published here.

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