Academy Street Proposals

Artists Impression of Academy Street Plans

The latest Academy Street proposals will be discussed and hopefully approved at the Inverness Area Committee on Monday 28th August 2023.


After a long public consultation, with many feeling the original proposals were not ambitious enough – a proposal which took this feedback into account was approved by the council. However concerns were raised by BID that these plans had not been consulted on. The Highland council presented these plans at a stakeholder breakfast, which we attended on the 20th July. The next stage is for approval at the Inverness Area Committee on the 28th August.

Our Position

HCC are disappointed not to see a protected cycle lane as part of these proposals, but feel that the projected reduction in traffic along with reduced speeds will provide safer and more accessible cycling. We have written to The Highland Council with a letter of support, outlining our position.

More Information

Take Action

If you want to see these proposals go ahead you should:

  • Comment on Common Place
  • email your support to
  • Contact your local Councillor to let them know you support the improvements
  • Contact councillors on the Inverness Area Committee* to ask them to approve the plans.

What Next?

Academy Street Timeline

The next stages are approval at the Inverness Area Committee of Highland Council and funding approval from Sustrans.

The City of Inverness Area Committee

The city of Inverness Area Committee is made up of 23 members from the wards covering Inverness, Culloden, Ardesier, Loch Ness and Aird. Full papers will be available 3 working days before.

  • Colin Aitken (Ward 19 – Inverness South)
  • Chris Ballance (Ward 12 – Aird and Loch Ness) Deputy Chair
  • Bill Boyd (Ward 13 – Inverness West)
  • Ian Brown (Ward 16 – Inverness Millburn)Chair
  • Glynis Campbell Sinclair (Ward 17 – Culloden and Ardersier)
  • Michael Cameron (Ward 14 – Inverness Central)
  • Alasdair Christie (Ward 15 – Inverness Ness-side)
  • Helen Crawford (Ward 12 – Aird and Loch Ness)
  • David Fraser (Ward 12 – Aird and Loch Ness)
  • Ken Gowans (Ward 19 – Inverness South)
  • Alex Graham (Ward 13 – Inverness West)
  • David Gregg (Ward 16 – Inverness Millburn)
  • Jackie Hendry (Ward 15 – Inverness Ness-side)
  • Emma Knox (Ward 12 – Aird and Loch Ness)
  • Isabelle MacKenzie (Ward 16 – Inverness Millburn)
  • Ryan MacKintosh (Ward 13 – Inverness West)
  • Andrew MacKintosh (Ward 15 – Inverness Ness-side)
  • Kate MacLean (Ward 14 – Inverness Central)
  • Duncan Macpherson (Ward 19)
  • Bet McAllister (Ward 14 – Inverness Central)
  • Morven Reid (Ward 17 Culloden and Ardersier)
  • Trish Robertson (Ward 17 – Culloden and Ardersier)
  • Andrew Sinclair (Ward 19 – Inverness South)

In Support of Academy Street Proposals

The Highland Cycle Campaign today wrote to the Highland Council in support of the Academy Street Proposals. Here is our letter:

We wish to write in support of the current proposals to redevelop Academy Street in Inverness and
reduce traffic levels through this important part of the city centre.

While we are disappointed there has been no segregated or protected cycle lanes incorporated into the
designs, we understand that there needs to be a balance struck, particularly in terms of allowing access
for public transport, business deliveries and emergency vehicles. We note that private vehicles will still be
allowed access to Academy Street, as well as Union Street and Queensgate, to access businesses in the
area, though with a bus lane to reduce the number of “non-stop” vehicles passing through.

We feel that the current proposals are a significant improvement on the status quo, and more beneficial
to the city centre than a simple “facelift” – in terms of improving what has been identified as one of the
most polluted streets in Scotland and making it part of a wider city centre area that people can spend
time in.

Reducing traffic levels by cutting out through traffic, while slowing traffic down through increased
provision of pedestrian crossings and other measures, will make Academy Street a more accessible place
for those travelling by bicycle, as well as those walking and wheeling.
We expect in the medium to longer term to see a reduction in traffic levels even in the surrounding areas,
based on evidence from Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) and similar schemes elsewhere in the UK.
These suggest that the longer a scheme is in place, the bigger the impact it can have on people choosing
to travel by alternative (sustainable) means. Clearly this change will not happen overnight, but we believe
this type of scheme can help to reduce the need for shorter car journeys in and around the city –
something that is essential as Inverness continues to expand.

During the consultation, HCC committee member Brian MacKenzie had two proposals accepting: 1)
locating cycle parking (Sheffield stands) in various useful places, at street level rather than on the
footway; 2) leaving a permanently clear two-metre corridor along the building line (clear of advertising
boards, café furniture etc) to aid accessibility for pedestrians including mobility/sight impaired users.
We welcome these plans and look forward to seeing them progress to the next stage.

John Davidson
Convener, Highland Cycle Campaign

Academy Street Stakeholder Breakfast

Artists Impression of Academy Street Plans

Thur 20th July 2023

HCC were invited to join a stakeholder breakfast this morning to hear about the latest plans for Academy Street, Inverness.

The event started with a short video along with presentations of the plans and the councils approach:

After the presentations there was some round table discussion from the stakeholders with feedback on the designs sought.

Where can I see the Plans?

” New visuals of the proposed design for Academy Street as well as a video about the project can be accessed at Common Place/Academy Street and Highland Council/AcademyStreet where comprehensive questions and answers about the proposal can also be viewed.”

How can I feedback?

You can feed back via the Common Place Portal or by emailing

You may also copy your councillors in to your email

We’d also love to hear from you in the comments below, or email.

What’s The Timeline?

To progress to the next stage the project needs;

a) approval at the Inverness Area Committee on the 28th August,

b) and to be approved by Sustrans who are funding the project.

As yet there is no date for when the work will start.

Making Connections

If you are an organisation that would like to receive news and updates from the Highland Cycle Campaign you can now subscribe to our communications

Membership of the Highland Cycle Campaign is only open to individuals but we recognise that there are many active local groups in the Highlands that we’d love to keep in touch with, and who would like to keep in touch with us.

We invite you to subscribe to our communications.

North Kessock A9 Underpass

The underpass under the A9 at the North Kessock Junction was not built with cyclists in mind. 40 years ago when this section of the A9 was built the main concern was that livestock would be able to cross the road safely.

The North Kessock Junction on OpenStreetMap, with the underpass shown (blue dotted line).

The North Kessock underpass was originally built in two parallel parts; a footpath and a cattle creep. There haven’t been cattle needing to use it for a number of years, but a small muddy patch prevented the cattle creep being repurposed  for cycles.  It also had a large hump on the south side and a very tight turn and narrow route beside some steps on North side. 

The underpass is a key crossing point on the A9 for National Cycle Route 1. It is heavily used and the underpass was a significant pinch point with cyclists and pedestrians having to use the same narrow walkway, and regularly having near misses on a blind corner. 

10 Years in the Making

The project to improve bike access was first raised in 2013 during a joint site visit by bike with Highland Cycle Campaign, Transition Black Isle, The Highland Council, BEAR Scotland and Transport Scotland reps. We cycled alongside the A9 from the underpass to the Raigmore interchange identifying and noting 13 items of concern along the way and we highlighted them on a map. BEAR Scotland wrote a report; some other items have now also been addressed. The cycle site visit was organised after a rather grumpy lot of cyclists attended a public meeting about the works on the Kessock Bridge and were offered a meeting.

The Highland Council rep said that they were responsible for infrastructure which went over or under a trunk road but had no money to progress improvements. It was raised regularly with them particularly by Anne Thomas and eventually in late 2021 they applied to Sustrans and a grant of £20000 was awarded. This was transferred to the Community Council for project management. A site meeting with the residents association (RANK), Knockbain Community Council and Highland Council discussed how to proceed. Knockbain Community Council agreed to project manage and employed a local contractor. 

Fit for Cycling

It is now much improved;

  • with a concrete section replacing the muddy patch on the North side
  • New concrete approach on the south side
  • Wider turning areas at either end of the tunnel,
  • A wider turning area at the top of the North side entry slope
  • The ‘hump’ has also been taken out and concreted over.
  • The broken barbed wire fence between the beginning of the paths has been replaced with a nice (not spiky) new fence.
  • Art work adorns the tunnel
North side of the underpass; Before, a muddy hole (left) and After, smoothed out and widened (right)
The south side of the North Kessock underpass, with improved surface and a new, non-barbed, fence.

It was hoped that there was enough money left that the old A9 could be dug down to, leading to an additional route across a desire-line path to the ‘Walkers Car Park’ and new houses. Unfortunately this could not be found so a new shared use path was created. Unfortunately the landowner refused to have this taken round the corner to finish opposite the car park entrance, so it finished next to the road underpass on a blind corner, which was not ideal. A wooden chicane was therefore erected as the Community Council considered it dangerous otherwise, which was very frustrating to cyclists involved. The surface is also rather gravelly despite assurances that it would be suitable for cyclists but is being used by walkers, though some are still using the desire-line path diagonally across, but this land is in the process of being sold, so this may not be an option in future. 

The underpass has attracted a lot of unsightly graffiti over the years. Marc, a local artist has completed 3 panels of a mural as a volunteer and it is hoped that further funding will be found to enable him to complete it with local young people helping with the project so that they have a sense of pride in it and are less likely to spoil it. The Residents Association (RANK) did apply to MFR cash for Kids but were told their structure was not eligible as it is a Community Company Ltd. Their literature says that Community Interest Companies cannot apply, but this is not the same structure. The Community Council is therefore applying to this funding source in the latest funding round and another fund.  

Murals from a local artist

RANK is hoping to do some community planting create an edible border along the path and has started planting some fruit bushes. It has already planted two community orchards in other parts of the village and one of the members has turned the roundabout into a wildflower meadow complete with cowslips, primroses and orchids. Poppies have sprung up on another part of the disturbed ground and are putting on a good show at the moment.

More Images

Let us know what you think!

Have you used the underpass since it’s upgrade? what did you think? let us know.