Moray Council has come under attack from Elgin residents living in the shadow of the new ‘salt dome’ storage building on Ashgrove Road.
The structure caused widespread consternation as it rose to the local skyline, prompting a deal of head-scratching as baffled local residents tried to figure out what it was.
Now many living close to the building are angered that they knew little about the impact it would have on the local environment.
“It is Moray Council planning at its best – they can shut primary schools down but then they go and build something like that,” John Kelly of the Beeches on Ashgrove Road said.
Mr Kelly added that while he did receive neighbourhood notification on the plans to build the store – which will hold around 6000tonnes of salt for use on ice-bound roads in Moray – he had objected to no avail.
He added: “Maybe they could put a cherry on top and paint it green around the base to make it look like a cupcake – or make it a proper feature by lighting it up like they did with the Landshut Bridge.”
Comments over the new structure flooded in after insideMoray published images of the dome as it appeared on the skyline, many having confessed to being totally baffled over what the unusual architecture was for.
Susan Watson lives nearby at Ashgrove Cottages but knew nothing of the plans, saying: “I remember hearing someone working at three or four in the morning – then this thing started going up, and it just kept going up and up.”
The building was created at a cost of around £415,000 after councillors had originally been told the bill would be £300,000. However, the local authority insists that the building will save Moray around £35,000 each year by keeping road salt in the best possible condition.
A spokesman said: “Until now salt supplies have been largely uncovered – the barn has several advantages in that it will keep the salt dry, meaning it is less likely to clog the spreading mechanism on the gritting lorries.
“There is no leaching during rainfall and it enables the council to order salt during the summer when it is cheaper, and store it until it is needed in the winter.”
Commenting on why some residents had not been notified in advance, the spokesman added: “The council has to serve notice on all addresses within 20 meters of the application site boundary.
“Where there is land within the 20 meter buffer that does not have an address on our system we have to advertise the application. This application was advertised in the local press on May 2.”