Elgin road protest group name the date for public meeting

Opposition to Moray Council’s controversial plans for a western link road into Elgin will be raised next week when a meeting of protesters will be held in the town.

The Designing Streets Action Group was formed three years ago to fight the £8.5million plans that include compulsory purchasing of homes and gardens to make way for a new road linking the Edgar Road retail park with the A96 Inverness to Aberdeen road.

Opposition to the plans has been fierce and has split opinion amongst local Councillors and the public. A formal planning application was launched earlier this month with documents 400 pages long explaining the case for the new road – now the action group say they have set a date for a meeting that will formulate their response.

Campaigner Jim Wiseman said that by calling the meeting they would not be trying to put words into people’s mouths, but would be seeking to explain what the road would mean “in layman’s terms”.

Mr Wiseman added: “I believe this road, which runs along residential streets, is going to be used as a ‘rat run’ by drivers trying to avoid congestion.

“Why should Elgin people be breathing in the fumes from the A96 just so big business can turn a profit?

“In addition the Council says it needs £70million to update and modernise the school buildings in the region – well, it could save itself £8.5million just by choosing not to build this road, which hardly anybody outside the council chambers seems to want.”

Moray Council has insisted that the public have been kept informed on plans from the outset, with a number of points of concern raised by the public incorporated into the plans for the new route.

A spokesman said: “We believe that the design, as it now stands, embraces the philosophy of Designing Streets while creating a link road that will be a key part of Elgin’s roads infrastructure.”

The meeting called by the Designing Streets Action Group will be held at the Mansfield Hotel on April 27 from 7pm to 9pm.

The planning application and associated documents can be seen online via Moray Council – the closing date for comments is May 8.

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