Link road must now be dropped as financial crisis deepens

Douglas Ross – will attempt to derail link road once again

THE MOST OUTSPOKEN opponent of the long-running saga that is the Western Link Road in Elgin will seek to finally have the project scrapped today.

Councillor Douglas Ross has sparked several heated debates on the issue – and when chairman of the planning committee he led the rejection of the controversial plans, only for them to be brought back by furious administration leaders.

Councillor Ross was ultimately forced out of the Independent/Tory administration group – but continued to speak out strongly against the road plan, including voting with the SNP opposition group in their failed attempt to have it halted.

However, the financial picture at Moray Council has changed dramatically and as reported by insideMoray yesterday, Councillors are being asked at a meeting today to formally acknowledge future capital spending plans are “unsustainable”.

Now the Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor will press the case once again for scrapping the road plans, saying the position faced in Moray now “is the most compelling argument we have ever had in favour of dropping the road”.

Councillor Ross said: “Some councillors will perhaps have to swallow a bit of humble pie and finally agree that the plan is something that we cannot afford.

“For a long time people have been saying that the Western Link Road is an expensive waste of money – but now it is clearer than ever that it is something we cannot go through with – we cannot go along with some members’ obsession.”

However, one of the main supporters of the link road plans, council convener Allan Wright, remains unmoved, insisting that while the Council is living beyond its means the link road and its new crossing over the railway “remains necessary”.

Several high-profile projects look likely to be delayed, altered or scrapped as a result of the financial crisis facing all Scottish councils.

Another that may fall by the wayside are plans to create a flood alleviation scheme in Hopeman. Last year a voting error by newly elected councillor Dennis Slater saw clearance for that plan delayed when it was voted down – now it may be another victim of the funding crisis faced in Moray.