Public opinion sought on £10million outdoor centre

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Aberdeenshire-based charity Netco has launched a public survey to gather local opinion on plans for a multimillion pound outdoor recreation centre at Durris Forest, Aberdeenshire.

The group is calling for input from members of the public, community groups, the education sector and local businesses to help ‘shape the future of the project’ ahead of submitting a formal planning application later this year.

The online survey aims to find out what outdoor pursuits and nature-based activities people would like on offer at the proposed world-class development and gauge support for the project.

Chairman of Netco 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 said: “I am very supportive of this initiative and 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 that its bid to build a sustainable community asset will strengthen Aberdeen city and shire’s reputation as an outdoor recreation area of international significance and support the region’s continued economic growth through diversification.

“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,” Mr Byers said, adding: “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.”

Last year, Netco announced ambitious plans to build a chairlift-serviced mountain bike park with more than 45km (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 brief survey is open until 15 March 2018.

To take part, please click the following link: https://goo.gl/forms/QgQZpoRGu9vKcEDO2

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