Greenmyres Farm – Update on the Community Consultation

11th of May 2015

 

GREENMYRES FARM. UPDATE ON THE COMMUNITY CONSULTATION.

 

In March / April this year by way of the Huntly Express, the huntly.net website, facebook,  email and at  a community exhibition stall at both the farmers’ market and Stewart’s Hall we urged the fine citizens of AB54 and beyond to give their opinions on three separate visions produced for the future development at Greenmyres.  Now we’d like to thank everyone who took part for their time and consideration and to report back on the community’s perceived strengths and weaknesses of each of the three visions we presented for development.  Over 125 comments were received.

 

The comments were really interesting and have made our job here at HDDT both easier: as we have more community information to work with, and harder: as there was not a clear winner in the AB54 residents’ eyes!  It was overwhelmingly felt that all the visions were positive, exciting and not mutually exclusive… all three schemes look absolutely fantastic, and have the scope to be a huge success…  All 3 have positives and encourage being outdoors in both summer and winter. It was strongly felt that Greenmyres should be developed for activities which are not possible to locate in Huntly so as not to take business away from the town.

 

  VISION 1 – is for a farmload of activities promoting good mental and physical health with an emphasis on recreation and fun.Featuring an outdoor activity centre with accommodation, a healthy eating café, a shop and multipurpose space in the central hub.

 

The community felt that this could be a …fantastic multi-use facility to meet the needs of a variety of users… and that it would …  put Huntly (area) on the map and attract tourism… and that it was …definitely needed in this area… great for all ages and would create employment. 

 

Vision 1’s comments were 2/3 positive, 1/3 negative. The positives centred on creating activities for all ages to enjoy the outdoors all year, creating employment and encouraging tourism to Huntly.  The negatives mostly concentrated on off season slumps, the climate of the Glens and noise pollution from the quads.

 

  VISION 2 – is for an educational centre of excellence centring on renewable energy, NE traditions and culture. Based around a state of the art educational facility, a rural skills base, business units and a healthy eating café and bunkhouse. NE culture will be celebrated and workshops, courses and conferences hosted and organised.  

 

This approach was seen as … innovative; could become a tourist attraction; could gain a reputation for excellence. Many supported the promotion of rural skills and the development of a historical archive depicting NE farming life.  It was felt that … this is the best option to allow all of the Huntly community groups to benefit from the farm.

 

 

Vision 2 scored slightly better with 4/5th of the comments positive.The NE music festival was singled out as a popular choice and accommodation and a good café were seen as essentials. Having an outdoor education facility that local schools could utilise was a definite plus point as was the ability to demonstrate and inform on renewable energy and the culture of NE Scotland.

 

  VISION 3 – is inspired by its roots, a top quality food producing destination.Imagine being treated to home roasted coffee, artisan bakery, inventive food created by ingredients grown on site by an ethical growing venture washed down with a craft beer.  The hub contains a shop and a café.

 

Good beer, coffee and bakery were the obvious winners.  The café and shop were seen as the intrinsic elements for the scheme’s success.  Generally it was considered the …best all year round option in good location for passing trade.

 

 Vision 3 had 85% of the total comments rating positive. It was felt this option could link in well with the farmer’s market, extend growing seasons and produce quality, local food and drink which would draw in both locals and passing trade from the A96. The negative comments raised concerns over an elitist approach and  the climate and altitude of the Glens being suitable for a growing project.

 

 

Our next steps?

As there’s no clear winner we’ve set up a sub group looking in detail at all the options (and combination of options) in light of the community’s comments, and assessing some potential partnerships with local businesses, retailers, farmers and charities who have shown an interest as the project has developed.

We’ll have more to update you with shortly but a huge thank you to everyone who commented on the visions.

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