Business park call

MEARNS Community Council have called on Aberdeenshire Council to create a new business park in Laurencekirk.

The issue was raised by vocal campaigner for all things Laurencekirk, Mr Jim Stuart, who said that the existing business park, off Aberdeen Road, had been a success, but that a new park was needed.

“Opportunites are slipping by. Businesses are going to Brechin or Forfar because Laurencekirk does not have the facilities.

“We have had under-investment. Surely the more business comes in the more healthy a town is.”

Council chairman David Nelson said the Local Plan allows for business use at the north end of the town. Councillor Tom Fleming commented that there was land for business use and no one developed it and the opportunity was lost.

Mr Stuart said: “We need a business park with serviced sites or we are destined just to be a commuter village. Young people need work and at the moment they are going to Aberdeen by car.

“The field which has been earmarked for the new school would have been the best for industrial development, with easy links to the railway line and the dual carriageway.

Alan Mowat said the community council was partly to blame for there being no industrial land as they had “semi-encouraged” a builder to change industrial land to housing.

Councillor George Carr said that some developers were already consulting the community about what they wanted and he maintained that a relief road (to the west of the village) had to be part of what they were seeking.

Mr Stuart said: “At the moment Aberdeenshire Council is depending on a developer giving land for business use. No one has ever asked an industrial or commercial agent to come up with a plan for Laurencekirk.

“If land is provided it will be a token gesture to keep you (the council) quiet. Their business is building houses.

“Laurencekirk could be one of the best business areas in Scotland, but we are not in a position to capitalise.

“I know of two businesses who took a look about and left, one of them going to Forfar. We are missing opportunites here and now.”

Mr Nelson agreed that they wanted the provision of business land to be led by Aberdeenshire Council.

It was mentioned that the following day, members of Aberdeenshire Council were due to carry out a site visit to the area at the bottom of Blackiemuir Avenue, where a developer has proposed 241 houses.

Mr Stuart said the provision of a link road was essential and called on the councillors to force the developer to make land for a link road available.

Mr Nelson added: “The message from us is very clear. We do not want to see any more housebuilding without the necessary infrastructure being put in place.”

Earlier in the meeting, Mr Stuart called on Aberdeenshire Council to something about the narrowness of Market Road in Laurencekirk.

A nice wide pavement was created the length of Market Road, with the result that the carriageway is too narrow for a road which is widely used by lorries and large agricultural vehicles.

He said: “Market Road is now far too narrow for the use it is put to. How can it be logical for this to be allowed to happen.

“We must go back to the council and tell them they must resolve it. At the moment it is an accident waiting to happen.”

Mr Stuart also attacked the standard of grass cutting within the village.

“The grass isn’t cut often, but when it is it has to be cut right.

“I know we are in a recession, but we pay our council tax and we need some value for money.”