Council could cash in with cycling and walking routes

Aim: It’s hoped the scheme will help improve attainment levels at Northfield Academy by encouraging pupils to walk or cycle to school
Aim: It’s hoped the scheme will help improve attainment levels at Northfield Academy by encouraging pupils to walk or cycle to school

A grant of almost half-a-million pounds is expected to be awarded to improve cycle and pedestrian routes in a North-east community.

Transport charity Sustrans has offered Aberdeen City Council a grant of £469,094 to develop the active travel network in and around Heathryfold, Middlefield and Northfield.

And the funding has been offered, in part, as a way to improve pupil attainment at Northfield Academy.

A report into the scheme said a number of regeneration projects have recently been completed in Middlefield and Northfield.

These include the Aberdeen Treasure Hub, a community hub on Manor Avenue, the redevelopment of the Haudagain junction and new housing developments at Byron Terrace and Marchburn Drive.

The proposed active travel project would link these new schemes with each other and other public facilities within these neighbourhoods.

It is also expected the project will cut the need for residents to use cars because a “relatively high” proportion of adults within the areas rely on public transport.

The report, by the council’s principal architect, Bill Watson, added that the project could help address attendance rates at Northfield Academy.

He said: “Attendance levels at Northfield Academy are significantly lower than the city’s average: this is linked to high rates of sickness.

“This low rate of attendance is linked to poorer academic attainment and poorer employment prospects.

“An environment conducive to healthy living, in the form of improved leisure facilities and increased opportunities for active travel, is expected to reduce incidences of ill health and hence improve school attendance.”

Mr Watson adds that studies have shown children who walk and cycle to school are more alert and better able to absorb information, so it is expected the project will contribute to improve attainment.

Members of the city council’s finance committee will be asked to approve accepting the grant at their next meeting on Wednesday.

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