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Community councils want their say at top level A82 summit

Humza Yousaf
Humza Yousaf

Community councils in Lochaber are demanding seats round the table when a top level summit – to discuss a notorious road in the Highlands – is held next month.

The condition of the busy A82 will be discussed at the event led by Scottish Government Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf.

The Minister announced the summit meeting in April and said: “The A82 is a lifeline route for many and I know that some stakeholders and communities have concerns about the way it operates. This forum will allow all involved to get together and to have their say.

“I am looking forward to a constructive discussion about potential actions which can be taken forward.”

But a meeting of Caol Community Council heard this week that members should be consulted about their views.

Community councillor, John Gillespie, said: “We have been campaigning to have the Caol link road built, which will take pressure off the A82 in Fort William, and we have written to local MSP Kate Forbes saying that the road is not fit for purpose.

“They should involve us at this summit meeting. As a community, we should be consulted.”

Mr Gillespie added that a letter has been sent to Mr Yousaf signed by local community councils including Caol, Ballachulish, Inverlochy, Kilmallie and Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Achnacarry

Caol and Mallaig councillor, Allan Henderson, said at the meeting: “I have found that Humza Yousaf is a man of his word and I am sure he will want to involve as many as possible at the summit.

“But it’s worth keeping the pressure on.”

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “We are in the process of finalising the details of the summit which will supplement the on-going engagement that Transport Scotland and the trunk road operating companies have with community councils along the length of the A82.

“It is encouraging that several organisations want to attend and we are establishing how we can get the most of out of the discussions for all involved.”

And support for the campaign to have the road widened on the Tarbet to Inverarnan stretch has grown.

Letters have been send to Mr Yousaf by the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership, Hitrans, and Highland Council, calling for the carriageway width to be increased to almost 24 feet.

James Stockan, Hitrans chairman, said: ‘The A82 must be upgraded with a consistent design along its full extent, a 23 foot nine inch carriageway plus hard strips, adequate overtaking opportunities and a 60mph speed limit outwith settlements.”

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