Axe over link road properties could be removed next week

Land - including private gardens - were to be subject to compulsory purchase
Land – including private gardens – were to be subject to compulsory purchase

COUNCILLORS ARE EXPECTED to call a halt on plans to invoke compulsory purchase orders on land and properties connected with the aborted Elgin Western Link Road.

The controversial proposals were finally kicked out after years of debate and protest – and after costing the local authority millions of pounds in preparatory work for the £11.8million scheme.

It was only after Moray Councillors were told of the perilous state of their finances that the plans for the road were finally thrown out, two of the ruling administration group breaking ranks to ensure a 13-11 vote to remove the road from the Capital Plan was successful.

Now a busy meeting of the Full Council on Wednesday will be asked to agree the removal of one of the most controversial aspects of the road plans, the imposition of compulsory purchase orders agreed three years ago.

In total 23 plots were subject to the CPO procedure, which after being agreed in May 2013 went to the Scottish Government for approval while it was accepted that a local Public Enquiry on the issue would be required.

However, the formal consideration of the CPO was never concluded as uncertainty over the future of the project continued with various moves to force the issue in a split council chamber. As a result, Wednesday’s meeting will be asked by legal services manager Aileen Scott if they now wish to withdraw the CPO plans.

Ms Scott says in her report: “Given that there is no longer a reasonable prospect of the project proceeding it is recommended that officers advise the Scottish Government that this is the Council’s position and that the Council no longer wishes the Scottish Government to confirm the Elgin Western Link Road Compulsory Purchase Order (No 1) 2013.”

The report adds that since the Council’s decision in March this year, several of those who would be affected by CPO’s have approached the local authority seeking clarity on the position.

Purchase Orders had been put in place on homes, gardens and agricultural land Wittet Drive, Mayne Road, Sheriffmill Road and Wards Road. Five of the original 23 plots planned to be purchased were not to be taken up in the final order, but 18 remained under threat.