Council officials renew bid to scrap Buckie to Keith road plans

B9016 - officials in new bid to scrap improvement plans
B9016 – officials in new bid to scrap improvement plans

COUNCILLORS WILL BE urged to think again over their plans to commit £42,000 on further improvements to the B9016 Buckie to Keith route.

During the review of Capital Spending plans earlier this year, the SNP group supported retaining the spend on phase 1 of plans to further improve the troubled route, with officials having recommended that it be dropped.

However, the issue has been returned to the Agenda for the Full Council meeting on Wednesday, with the corporate director Mark Palmer suggesting that Councillors did not have a full grasp of all the available facts in making their decision.

In a paper on the issue Mr Palmer says: “The council agreed that the current range of council service provision is financially unsustainable and as part of its commitment to work towards achieving a financially sustainable position over the next two years a restricted version of the capital requirements in the 10 year plan were agreed for 2016/17.

“The council did not agree to all of the restrictions recommended by officers and one such project was Phase 1 of the Buckie to Keith Road Improvement, “the Project.””

Mr Palmer adds: “Whilst clarification was sought in respect of other projects which councillors proposed, no such clarification was sought in respect of the Project, in question. Underpinning any council decision is an assumption that all those involved at the meeting, councillors and officers, had a full and consistent understanding of the issue being discussed.

“Since the meeting on 30 March it has become apparent that there were at least three different interpretations of what the Phase 1 of the Buckie to Keith Road Improvement would achieve.”

As a result, Mr Palmer is calling on a reconsideration of the decision saying that the view of officials now as that it was “unsound”. He says: “The Council’s monitoring officer has given the view that, because there was no clear common understanding over the implications of this decision, it could be viewed as unsound.

“Accordingly it would be prudent for Councillors to consider the decision again with clear background information. In these circumstances a suspension of standing orders is not required.”

Effectively, Councillors will be told that the implications of their decision would lead to a situation where it could lead to the purchase of land and commissioning of design works that were “abortive costs if the council cannot afford to undertake the improvement scheme as is currently the case”.