Portlethen cash saga draws to an end

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Aberdeenshire councillors have finally instructed officers to fully commit developer obligation money at Portlethen by the end of June.

Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee recently discussed in private the long-running saga of a park-and-ride facility in the town.

The council was facing a critical deadline to allocate more than £660,000 of developer contributions which had been ring-fenced in a legal agreement between itself and Stewart Milne Group.

The funds were received from the firm to fund local sustainable transport options arising from its housing development at Hillside.

Under that agreement the cash initially had to be spent by 2019 or returned to the developer.

The delays in the allocation of the money have become a bone of contention in Portlethen, with local members demanding discussions be held in public to ensure there was complete transparency.

But additional commercially-sensitive material contained in the council report meant it could not be considered in open session.

During open debate, Councillor Alastair Bews said: “There is great unrest in Portlethen about what’s been going and what’s not been going on with regards to various developer obligations. There is a lot of suspicion, a lot of mistrust among the general public in the area.”

Councillor Colin Pike said: “We’re being asked to accept the recommendations, but it has nothing to do with developer obligations money – there are about three issues being wrapped up in this paper.

“This issue has been going on for a great number of years. This paper is being used to get this committee to agree the developer obligations money but also to instruct the purchase of land and they are two completely separate issues.”

Following the private discussion, committee chair Councillor Wendy Agnew said: “Councillors spent considerable time discussing reports from officers on plans for sustainable transport options in Portlethen, which included a park and ride facility north of the town.

“Members discussed the potential for an alternative approach, and expressed concern about the lack of progress with the proposed park and ride development.

“The views of the committee will be fed back to the regional and national transport bodies following consideration by the relevant policy committee regarding the park and ride.”