THE SCOTTISH Transport Minister discussed issues in Forres with Moray’s MSP.
Humza Yousaf met with Richard Lochhead MSP to talk about the campaign for a safe pedestrian crossing on the A96 Forres bypass, and longstanding calls for a cycle path between to Brodie.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Lochhead said: “I reiterated fears locally around the increase in the number of pedestrians crossing the A96 with the frequency of trains due to go up, and that rail users must cross the main road to get to the train station. The Minister has committed to monitoring the situation once the new train station is open and what road safety measures might be possible.
“We also discussed the longstanding campaign to reinstate the Brodie to Forres cycle path and what potential options there are for this issue to finally be resolved. The Minister made some suggestions which I will now explore, including the possibility of the Moray Council bidding for national funding to carry out the necessary work. He also agreed to look at future plans around the dualling of the A96 and whether this could potentially offer a solution for the stretch between Brodie and Forres.”
Forres Community Council secretary Eleanor Hayward has been leading a campaign to get a safe crossing over the bypass to the new station.
She said: “The community council feel that we need to step back for a short period to give us time to assess the impact of the new crossing. A fair amount of research work seems to have been carried out, and we now need to see in practice how effective the new crossing turns out to be. It is difficult to judge this based purely on plans, but the structure will be in place within the next fortnight and we can then make a judgement call over the next few weeks.”
Forres-Brodie cyclepath campaigner Neil Jeronim commented on the news from Holyrood.
He said: “Transport Scotland shut the original path without permission from anyone. Now they want ratepayers to fund re-opening it. Moray Council has repeatedly stated they will not fund the work as its Transport Scotland’s remit.”
He added: “Years ago, we were promised if the Brodie path was reinstated it would go on to Auldearn.
“Nairn is getting a cyclepath to Inverness so we could potemtially have a path from Forres to the Highland capital.”
Moray Council leader and local councillor George Alexander maintains there already is a safe cycle route from Forres to Brodie.
He added: “Mr Yousaf should understand that a much more pressing need today is a safe crossing of the A96 for those who will use the new Forres railway station. If and when the A96 is dualled then it should incorporate a cycle path for its full length.”