Wish list for major Durris project

Netco chairman Martin Byers
Netco chairman Martin Byers

An online survey has been launched to establish public opnion on ambitious plans for a world-class outdoor recreation centre in Aberdeenshire.

Proposals were announced last November for a £10 million mountain bike park and adventure centre with snow sports on a site at Durris Forest, off the A957 Slug Road.

Aberdeenshire-based charity Netco (North East Trail Centre Organisation) is seeking views from the public, community groups, education sector and local businesses.

This would be assessed ahead of a formal planning application for the year-round development being tabled later this year.

Netco chairman Martin Byers said: “Public feedback is going to play a huge part in determining what outdoor activities and facilities the centre will provide. The design of the questionnaire gives people the opportunity to express their thoughts, comments and views on various aspects of our proposals.

“We encourage participants to spend a few minutes completing it and welcome any ideas and suggestions.

“This survey is the first stage in our wider community engagement process, and the responses we receive will shape the future of the project as we move another step closer to achieving our vision of bringing world-class mountain biking facilities to Aberdeenshire.”

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie is supporting the initiative.

He said: “I would encourage as many people as possible to take part in the consultation. This is a great opportunity to feed directly into the plans at a very early stage, before a planning application has been submitted.

“I am sure that local residents and businesses will be excited about this project. It has the potential to be a huge asset to the community, but also attract more visitors to this beautiful part of the country. 

“I have said before that strengthening our tourism offering will be vital as we look to diversify our local economy and prepare for life after North Sea oil.”

Netco hopes the project will enhance Aberdeen City and Shire’s reputation as an outdoor recreation area of international significance.

Mr Byers added: “Feedback through the survey will give us a better picture of how we can create an inclusive centre for the whole community to enjoy, whatever the season or weather.

“It will also help us to bring something different to the region, which we hope will become a world-renowned adventure experience that attracts national and international visitors to the North-east.”

Netco announced plans to build a chairlift-serviced mountain bike park with more 28 miles of purpose-build trails, alongside an outdoor snowsports facility and multi-activity adventure centre. It is thought to be the first centre of its kind in Scotland.

The survey is open until March 15. To take part, visit https://goo.gl/forms/QgQZpoRGu9vKcEDO2