Dual A96 route could trample Moray horse centre

A popular Moray sporting event is at risk of being trampled underfoot by plans to create a new dual carriageway through the region.

The Burgie Eventing Centre stages the Burgie Horse Trials twice a year, attracting riders from all over the UK.

The equestrian centre is just south of the A96 road between Inverness and Aberdeen, near Forres.

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Fears have now been raised that a new, dual carriageway version of the trunk route could be built over the top of its fields.

Six main route options have been tabled for how the road could travel from Hardmuir to Fochabers.

Owners, Polly and Hamish Lochore, say that one “favoured” route would put an end to the centre and to the famous trials it stages.

They have now launched an online appeal calling for riders who have used the venue to bombard Transport Scotland with objections.

It states: “The proposed road would run through the cross country course, making it unusable and therefore any events at Burgie would cease to run.

“This would include the two British Eventing competitions, and a series of events throughout the year hosted by the Moray Riding Club and The Moray and Nairn branch of the Pony Club.

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“There is currently no suitable replacement location that would be able to cater for all of these events, added to which the securing and establishing of a new site would have large cost implications.”

She added: “To make sure these facilities are available to be enjoyed in the future, we need to show the value they have to the wider community both economically and socially.”

The complaints follow concerns from people living to the north of Forres about the potential impact of route options cutting through the Dyke area.

They argue that some options could weaken flood defences and send water streaming into the town.

Campaigners are now compiling a 15-page dossier identifying a slew of perceived flaws with some route options.

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “We are keen to hear the views of locals and road users on the options being considered.

“The vital feedback we receive will help inform the further design work, all aspects of each route option will be considered.”

The closing date for comments to be submitted is Friday, August 4.