Alyn Smith MP
Petition Launched to Back King’s Highway
Stirling MP Alyn Smith Throws Weight Behind Active Travel Project
January 2022 Update: Overwhelmingly positive response from communities for key project.
The King’s Highway is a proposed active travel route that would run from Drymen at the western-most point to Stirling in the east. It would join up existing national cycle routes 7 and 765 and promote more active travel in the area.
This project has backing locally most notably from the Gargunnock Community Trust and from Sustrans (a national walking and cycling charity).
In order to make this proposal a reality Alyn Smith MP is asking Stirling residents to show their support by signing this online petition.
I recently sent a letter to various communities highlighting a new active travel route which has been proposed in Stirling called, “the King’s Highway”. This project is still in its infancy and aims to connect national cycle routes 7 and 765 by creating a new cycle path. At this stage it is proposed to be separate from existing paths. A number of constituents responded to this letter and raised some very good points that I would like to address.
Firstly, this project is in its infancy and as such the detail is still in the planning process. Hard work done by local groups such as the Gargunnock Community Trust has got the proposals this far and my aim was to raise the profile of it in order to get some traction and attention to it. Showing your support at this stage means that those that control budgets available for active travel projects see local support.
The Kings Highway is an old Military Road which forms part of a route from Stirling to Dumbarton via Cambusbarron, Gargunnock, Kippen, Arnprior, Buchlyvie Balfron, Killearn and Drymen dating from the 17th century. The project is an ambitious proposal to develop a new active travel route between Stirling and Dumbarton Castles, which as far as practicable recreates the historic highway between these two centres. The route, which partly uses old drove/military roads and partly requires new links, will connect all the village centres, places of historic and landscape interest and link in to National Cycle Route 7 at Drymen. Consequently, it is a major new strategic component of the Central Scotland walking/cycling network. It will provide greatly enhanced walking and cycling opportunities, not only for local residents but for many visitors as well, giving a major boost to the tourist industry. In addition, the existing A811 is not very safe for cyclists and is obviously totally unsuitable for walkers and wheelchair users so there will be clear health and safety benefits.
Many asked what is active travel and why is it important? This term simply means making a journey in a physically active way. Whether that be walking, cycling or scooting. It is important because it can improve health (both mental and physical), reduce inequalities, and promote sustainable economic growth. For further information about active travel in Scotland you can look at, “A Long-term Vision for Active Travel in Scotland”.
Following a recent meeting of the communities, Stirling Council and Sustrans a Development Group has been formed, and work to identify route options further along the carse is underway. Another important element of the ongoing work will be an assessment of economic impact, which it is hoped might be externally commissioned.
Gargunnock Community Trust has commissioned feasibility studies and more detailed design work on the first leg of the route from Stirling to Gargunnock. There have been preliminary discussions with the landowners and farmers along this route and a number of changes have been made to initial proposals to take on board comments and concerns from an agricultural perspective with a view to securing agreement early in 2022. It is hoped that construction work on this leg could then begin in 2023.
I welcome letters, emails and comments about this project as through public engagement elected officials such as myself can see what is important to local communities from across the constituency.