Infrastructure is missing in town

MEARNS Community Council have criticised Aberdeenshire Council for failing to ensure Laurencekirk has the correct infrastructre in place, despite approving another massive housing development for the town, on land at the bottom of Blackiemuir Avenue.

Chairman David Nelson said there had been no support for the town’s roads infrastructure, but the problem was that this particular plan had to be dealt with under the old legislation, before the emerging local plan is adopted.

Laurencekirk member Jim Stuart added: “We need a link road, that should have been a condition of permission and the land set aside for it to be built.”

Councillor George Carr said he had raised the question of a link road at committee.

“We ensured that no development would prejudice a link road as that is what we have called for in the local plan.

“I think a link road would come at high cost as it would have to cross the railway.”

Mr Stuart then asserted that a link road could be tied to existing bridges.

Alan Mowat questioned a claim made by a roads “expert” to council that the new development (210) houses would have no effect on the Blackiemuir Avenue/High Street junction.

“For him to say that another 420 cars will make no difference to Blackiemuir Avenue just screams wrong to me. The junction can’t cope at the moment, so it does not compute.”

Councillor Carr said that a traffic management plan for Laurencekirk has double yellow lines at the top of Blackiemuir.

“A lot of us were uneasy about what was said and crucially nothing was said about the A90 junction. I felt this was unacceptable. The transportation observations left a lot to be desired.”

Mr Stuart added: “More and more the views of the community council are being ignored and the council is going by what their officials say. This should not be happening as the infrastructure has to come first.”

After studying the conditions for approval imposed on the 210 house development, Mr Stuart returned to the attack saying the council had missed a massive opportunity.

“Planning gain should have been offset to purchase the land for a link road and we could have had it sitting there.”

Councillor Carr replied that councillors have no remit in planning gain negotiations.

Mr Mowat commented: “As I said at the last meeting, the planning gain guy does what he wants, despite apparently working for the council.”

Mr Stuart added: “We need to protect the quality of life of the people of Laurencekirk. We are having development forced upon us and are not getting the chance to build an economy or build a community.”

It was agreed that Mr Stuart should write a letter to Aberdeenshire Council on behalf of the community council, stressing what had been said.