Does Lochloy need a bridge to Balmakeith?

One of the 3 crossing designs

Lochloy Crossing – consultation

On 16th July the two Nairn community councils and Nairn Access Panel received initial designs from Highland Council for a proposed ‘active travel’ foot/cycle bridge to link Lochloy across the railway to Balmakeith Industrial Estate. Highland Council then posted on social media on 22 July a deadline for public comments of 30 July.

Due to the volume of email from concerned local residents our Chair organised an emergency community meeting for Lochloy residents and community councillors to meet online on 28th July with relevant THC officers and Highland councillors. This was not an official NRCC meeting as there was no time to give required 7 days public notice.

As a result of this meeting, in early August, local residents, with support from community councillors, circulated a survey to 1000 homes in Lochloy, Merryton and Kingsteps about the rail crossing proposal. Survey results were compiled and sent to Highland Council before the deadline for public consultation of 27th August which was extended from 30th July in response to a request by Nairn River CC Chairman Hamish Bain.

Click on the links below to read

Nairn River CC submission to Highland Council public consultation

Summary of Lochloy residents survey results

On 9th August 2021 a Special public meeting of NRCC was convened to formally agree our position on the current proposal for Lochloy bridge in this location. It was unanimously rejected by community councillors present as unsuitable.


Survey conducted from 2nd – 23rd August 2021

No of questionnaires delivered 1000+  to homes at Lochloy, Kingsteps, Merryton

No of questionnaires returned 234 –    23.4%

64 (27.4%) supported the proposal

170 (72.6%) DID NOT support the proposal

158 (67.5%) DID NOT consider the proposal was safe for children

54 of the 64 households who supported the proposals considered them safe for children.

Number who responded as being disabled 29 (12.6%)

Number who supported another road access/exit onto the A96 –   194 (83%) and commented this was the priority for the area.

Drill down analysis – usage and purpose of a bridge to Balmakeith

Of those 64 households who supported the current proposals

17  (26.5%) would use it daily

36  (56.3%) would use it weekly

4  (6.3%) would use it monthly

7 ( 10.9%) less often

53 (82.9%) would use it to access the retail park (not for work)

7  (10.9%) would use it to access a place of work

4  (6.3%) other – walking, cycling or getting to a main bus stop.

Drill down analysis – Community Facilities

Four main suggestions emerged.

83 (36.1%)  Local shop/convenience store

49 (21.3%)  primary school

32 (13.9%) Post box

15 (6.5%) church/community hall

Other suggested community facilities included – GP surgery and clinics, Dentist, chemist, pub, restaurant, tennis courts, skateboard park, gym equipment 

Thanks to all NRCC members who helped coordinate this, and the people of Lochloy, Merryton and Kingsteps who assisted with distribution of the surveys and took the trouble to fill them in and return them to us.

2 thoughts on “Does Lochloy need a bridge to Balmakeith?

    1. There was universal opposition to the 3 designs ‘on the table’ from residents who attended the emergency community meeting arranged by Nairn River Chair on 28th July, and from many more Lochloy residents who sent us email and registered concerns directly with Highland Council already . NRCC members at our meeting on 9th August then voted unanimously to formally reject the 3 proposed designs as unsuitable in scale( 35 feet high overshadowing neighbouring houses) and location as well as creating many other safety and security concerns for residents. By that time the Highland council officer had already confirmed that after the level of negative public response already the 3 ‘preliminary’ designs were ‘off the table’ and back to a clean sheet for further public consultation . A survey has now been circulated by hand to all residents of Merryton, Kingsteps and Lochloy ( around 1000 homes) to get more detailed feedback and we await findings of that at to share with Highland Council by 27 August . Results will be reported on this website along with our NRCC submission to Highland Council which will summarise community views collected


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