Dunblane Residents Demand Action on Bishops Walk

Stirling Observer Article on the Issuec

As part of Dunblane’s Streetscape phase 2 engagement process which took place in October and November 2017, lighting and surface improvements to the Bishop’s Walk achieved over 80% support from the local community. However, difficulties around identifying the landownership and appropriate funding has meant that progress initiating improvements on this well used local path have stalled, so that over a year later no improvements have been made.

Frustrated by this, local resident Mrs Heather Bovill has started a petition requesting that the council prioritises working through these difficulties, so that the much-needed lighting and surface improvements can be made so that the path is safe for all users again. The petition has gathered support from around 70 people to date and Mrs Bovill hopes to achieve support from around 100 people before submitting the petition for discussion at the Environment & Housing Committee.

Local Councillor Alastair Majury said:

“Improving the Bishops Walk is clearly well supported by the community, and after the extremely unpopular phase 1 changes, would help to restore the community’s faith in Stirling Council. Assuming ownership remains unknown I would like to see the council start the adoption process and make improvements as soon as possible.”

Note the current Blockers to progress according to Stirling Council:

We’ve been unable to establish land ownership for the site, and don’t think that any further desk-based research will shed any light on the matter.

In terms of finding a way forward, there are two issues:

1. Who would fund/carry out any works

o As previously discussed, Sustrans would not be able to provide funding for resurfacing works, so funding would have to either come from the council’s budget, or from another external funding source. So far, the indication I’ve had from Land Services is that they wouldn’t be able to carry out any works on the road unless it were adopted, and it cannot be adopted until it’s been brought up to standard.

o A possible solution to this would be for an organisation such as DDT (or the Dunblane Partnership) to seek external funding to cover resurfacing costs. If funding were provided, there would be a decent possibility that Land Services could deliver the works, and there could then be a conversation around path maintenance/adoption.

2. Land ownership

o A possible solution to the land ownership issue would be to carry out public consultation explicitly tasked with seeking the landowner, and to put up signs for a set (and fairly prolonged) period of time along the route, stating the intention to carry out works, and that if the landowner has objections they need to voice them by a certain date. The wording of such signage would need to be discussed with Stirling Council’s legal team.

I am a Chartered Member of CISI, which is the UK’s leading securities and investment professional body. Alastair Majury resides locally in Dunblane.

I am a Chartered Member of CISI, which is the UK’s leading securities and investment professional body. Alastair Majury resides locally in Dunblane.