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Community / Footpaths lead the way in community survey

An aerial view of Weisdale: Photo: Mike Pennington/geograph.org

COMMUNITY cash from the Viking Energy wind farm could help finance new footpaths in Weisdale and Tingwall after the local community council received a clear mandate to press ahead with the projects.

A new cycle path and generally improving road safety were regularly mentioned topics in the 140 replies the Tingwall, Whiteness and Weisdale Community Council received in a recent survey.

Chairman Andrew Archer said the thing people wanted most was to be able to walk safely within their local communities away from traffic.

The community council has already started working on the two projects top on the agenda: a path from Kalliness to the Whiteness school and one from the Tingwall school to the Veensgarth junction.

“Almost half of the responses mentioned footpaths as something that would improve the area.  The next most popular suggestion was cycle paths and the next one was road safety so there is a really clear message about what people want,” Archer said.

“These are substantial financial projects. We have already started talking to some of the landowners and the next job is to talk to the council and organisations such as Sustrans to see what additional support we can get for the project, both in terms of money and technical help.”

Currently the community council gets access to £50,000 per annum from the Shetland Community Benefit Fund [SCBF]. That amount will increase substantially once the Viking Energy wind farm is operational.

He added that the responses from local people had given the community council a clearer idea about how people would like the money to be used.

“While footpaths are the clear winner, things such as better play areas and better public transport were also mentioned a lot so we will be exploring those as well,” he said.

“The survey was focused on how the money that will come directly to our area should be used, but there were things that came out of the survey that we will feed back to the Shetland Community Benefit Fund for their work, when the bigger money comes in a few years’ time.

“Fuel poverty was a topic that came up a lot so we are keen to explore with the SCBF what can be done to help with that.”

The full survey report can be found at the community council’s Facebook page.

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