Councillors to decide if approach road battle to resume

Councillors to decide if road battle continues

Council officials will today argue that plans to create a new western approach road into Elgin should not be abandoned – despite being thrown out by planning committee members last week.

Members of the economic development and infrastructure committee will be told that the road plans are still a crucial part of the Elgin traffic management programme.

They will be asked to decide on if the entire scheme should now be abandoned – or work on the submission of an amended planning application “as soon as possible”.

The report before the committee has been authored by Stephen Cooper, who is head of direct services at the local authority, who said: “The Western Link Road has long been a fundamental part of development of the Moray economy.

“It addresses a number of transportation needs and supports the local plan.

“Its purpose is to support existing and future development and its absence will impact on congestion and potentially restrict housing development and economic growth.”

The report outlines how compulsory purchase of land and properties standing in the way of the proposed road are progressing and the effect they are having on residents, Mr Cooper saying: “Meantime negotiations for acquiring land are at various stages with three houses already in Council ownership.

“One owner, whose land, but not their house, is required wishes to sell and has intimated that they would wish to serve a blight notice on the Council. This is the subject of a confidential report to the Council meeting on the 17 December 2014 as the period of notice in terms of the blight notice is running.

“Another house owner is understood to be close to agreeing compensation with the District Valuer and wants early conclusion of the transaction as they have been unable to lease the house due to the scheme’s impact with resultant cost.

“Whilst the compulsory purchase order continues to be promoted the Council will be at risk of affected owners submitting blight notices without requiring to show that they are unable to sell their property for a reasonable price.”

Campaigners from the Elgin Designing Streets group which has fought to oppose the plans insisted last night that they had expected a renewed bid, and that while they hope councillors will remove the proposals entirely, with a spokeswoman adding: “Our community has been blighted by this for 14 years.

“It affects the marketability of our homes and our general well-being having to worry about it all the time – enough is enough, it is time to give up.”

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