Sunday, March 14, 2010

An access ramp at Househill - but then where would you go?

It was stated by Provost Liz MacDonald at the last Ward Forum meeting that the Nairn Access Panel’s priority for the riverside was for ramps to be put in place at the Househill path steps on the riverside walk..
The initiative to install ramps here comes from the Highland Council. The Gurn was told recently by a Highland Council official that the ramps had been costed at approximately £6,000 on a ‘bag of a fag packet’ calculation. That’s fair enough but this correspondent is left wondering why this actual site is a priority.
If permission were granted from the landowner to build the ramp then just where exactly would this improved access lead to? On the other side of the steps from the river there are three gates almost flush with the small path which widens out to a track that would surely need upgrading. Presumably the price includes moving at least two of these gates and the surrounding fencing? The track then leads to the Crook Road. This track is an access route for farm machinery. If the object of this ramp would be to create a round trip of some kind then the next nearest footpath is some hundreds of meters away on the Grantown Road along a single track road that can become quite busy during peak periods as drivers look for ways home avoiding the A96. If people were encouraged to use this ramp would it not be safer and make better sense to create a car park here?
Is this really the best way to spend £6,000 when with a little bit of imagination a solution to providing better access to the Firhall Bridge could be found?
We enclose pictures with this article that show the Househill steps from the river, the gates on the other side of the bank, a picture of the tack surface and views up and down the Crook Road as a vehicle passes.
For more pictures and larger versions of the images below please click here.


Anonymous said...

All extra access is welcome, although I agree with you that as yet this particular scheme is not very joined up as it were

Maybe that's the idea, chisel away piece by piece so the costs don't look too high and then one day we'll have walks all around the river for everyone

Mini Trojan Horses!

Anonymous said...

It does seem a bit of a strange place to prioritise, it's certainly not a place where there is a lot of passing foot traffic (there is no footpath in this area). If it's to give access for disabled car users then there is more than adequate parking by the Jubilee Bridge. A ramp at Househill would only improve access to one side of the river, users with mobility problems, people with prams and bikes (there are a lot of families with young kids who cycle this area) would still have to deal with the Firhall Bridge or go back the same way. Surely in these days of financial constraints the best return on investment would be to prioritise the Firhall bridge. More people would benefit if this bridge was improved, for example, it would provide a circular route for all users whereas there would be limited benefits to fewer users at Househill.