Earlier this year Blackford Community Council commissioned a feasibility study, with funding from Tactran and the Climate Challenge Fund, to find the best safe cycle route from Blackford to neighbouring Auchterarder, and the station at Gleneagles. Following a community consultation and survey, a detailed study of a number of routes was completed and shared with the community. A number of options have been considered and the final report is now published.
The report shows overwhelming support for a new cycle path, clear concern and fear of cycling on or beside the A9 and significant potential for more people to choose to cycle. Blackford is a small community, but around 50 people attended the consultation event and 161 people responded to the survey. A significant majority of respondents were from Blackford with a much smaller number from Auchterader.
Crispin Hayes the consultant who undertook the study for Blackford Community Council said; “One of the key difficulties in creating a cycle path network is getting all the land owners and managers on board. At Blackford, we’ve had a really positive response from some landowners, while others have not seen the community benefits as part of their bigger picture – at least not yet. The Blackford consultation showed there was a clear and strong demand for more and better cycle routes. The feasibility study identified three new routes for development. Blackford’s community organisations are working hard to overcome the barriers to implementing these new cycle routes.”
Blackford Community Council is planning to continue discussions with landowners to try to secure agreements. Chair Janet Law said, “No one in Blackford underestimates the difficulties which the report points out: Blackford is cut off by the A9 and increasingly by changes in land use. We would like to thank Crispin Hayes for all his work for us on the feasibility study”
A Blackford Paths Group, which has recently been formed, hopes to identify charitable and other funding sources to build a path once a suitable route has been agreed.