Council boost for their ‘Connecting Elgin’ design plans

Council plan reaches second stage of national competition.

MORAY COUNCIL HAS advanced to the second stage of the multi-million pound ‘active travel’ competition with their ‘Connecting Elgin’ design entry.

Run by Sustrans and funded by the Scottish Government, Community Links Plus (CLPlus) delivers pioneering and game-changing projects which inspire communities and councils in Scotland to design better places and spaces and to create active travel exemplars.

Having made it into the second stage Moray Council will now receive up to £10,000 of funding to further work up their proposals.

Moray’s ‘Connecting Elgin’ design proposes to provide a much needed link for active travel between the residential and retail areas to the south of Elgin and the town centre. As part of the scheme a new cycle and walking bridge over the railway line would be created to the east of the existing one to give another direct route into the town centre.

CLPlus is demonstrating that designing places around the needs of people delivers a wide range of benefits, including boosting local economies, healthier communities and safer, more attractive, streets.

Councillor John Cowe, chair of Moray Council’s economic development and infrastructure committee, said: “I am delighted that Moray Council has progressed to stage two of the CLPlus competition, as funding for this project is crucial to help reduce the impact of motorised traffic in the centre of Elgin.

“With thanks to the stage two funding, we can now firm up the proposal with the aim to improve the infrastructure for alternative travel and reduce the presence of vehicles.”

The Moray entry is one of 10 who have made it through to the second round, Transport Minister Humza Yousaf saying: “Local authorities have really upped their game this year and the bids received are of a high quality. I know Sustrans Scotland and all partners will work together to ensure another exemplar active travel project is delivered over the coming years.”

Daisy Narayanan, Sustrans Scotland National Acting Director, added: “Community Links PLUS is in its second year and following from last year’s success, we’ve noticed continued growth in the level of ambition and innovation in the project proposals. There continues to be interest from right across Scotland with a good mix of urban, suburban and rural proposals.

“We are both impressed and inspired by the delivery of design in this year’s applications, with every stage two entry capable of winning. Community Links PLUS is designed with communities in mind and we will continue to design places around people, now and into the future.”

Stage two competitors will now have until February 3, 2017 to work on their proposals before they are again reviewed by an independent panel, and up to five are announced as stage three finalists.

The finalists will receive additional funding of up to £40,000 to complete detailed proposals and present to a cross-sector expert panel, chaired by Transport Scotland Chief Executive Roy Brannen – a winning design will then be announced in late summer next year.

Moray Council (Connecting Elgin Town Centre) aims “to link the residential areas to the south of the town to the centre and adjacent retail areas, providing a continuous link for active travel by completing missing links across the railway line and by reallocating road space to give a safe network of routes for pedestrians and cyclists.”