THE SNP OPPOSITION at Moray Council were congratulating themselves on successfully helping to bring down Administration plans for the Elgin Western Link Road – and using resulting savings for other vital projects.
A raft of proposals was prepared and put forward by the SNP leader Gary Coull, who hesitated in seconding the Douglas Ross motion on the Elgin road only long enough to seek assurance that he would be permitted to put forward proposals in other areas.
These included retention of playparks and keeping toilets open, two items that had been scheduled for cuts, while road safety work was also assured. Despite opposition from the council convener, they also led a successful move to continue planning for improvements to the B9016 Keith to Buckie road.
Flood alleviation schemes for Dallas, Hopeman and Portessie were also saved from being removed as a result of the opposition intervention.
The SNP claimed that their changes to the Capital Plan proposals resulted in an overall additional saving of £150,000 this year – and over £8million in future years.
Group leader Councillor Gary Coull commented: “The SNP have been heeding the warnings over the Council’s finances, which is why in February we proposed a far more sustainable budget than the Council’s Tory/Independent Administration.
“Today we have seen that the Council’s Independent/Tory Administration are totally all over the place losing key votes.
“Our own proposals identified further capital savings which we then used to protect areas of spend that are important to our communities across Moray. We have protected play parks, public toilets and road safety.
“One of the most important areas we have been able to protect is spending on development of flood schemes for Dallas, Hopeman and Portessie. Progressing that work is hugely important for the peace of mind of people that have suffered flooding in our communities in recent times.
“SNP Councillors have repeatedly stated that the Western Link Road project is unaffordable in the current circumstances and it looks like our arguments have been heeded by at least some of the Council’s Administration.
“Strategic leadership and direction by the Council’s Independent Council Leader Stewart Cree was nowhere to be seen today. They have clearly lost support from some of their own Administration Councillors on strategic issues.”
SNP councillor Graham Leadbitter also tried to argue against plans to reduce the costs of building the new Lossiemouth High School as Councillors learned that the prohibitive cost of building a new swimming pool alongside the school could not be justified.