Massive investment call for a Forres western link road

George Alexander – calls for a Forres version of the Western Link Road.

WEEKS AWAY FROM announcing a budget that is likely to herald savage and unpopular cuts in essential services, some Moray councillors are calling for multi-million pound investment in another new road scheme.

Yesterday members of the planning and regulatory services committee agreed a six-week public consultation on draft plans for five new residential developments in Moray.

These set out design standards for future development, forming a design-led approach to planning that it is hoped will help ensure high quality development of sites at Clarkly Hill in Burghead, Manse Road in Hopeman, Braes of Allachie at Aberlour, West Pilmuir in Forres and Hamilton Drive in Elgin.

Also approved was the draft masterplan for land owned by the Altyre Estate at Dallas Dhu on the edge of Forres.

It is the Forres development that prompted calls for further roads investment, with local independent councillor George Alexander insisting it will be required to meet the local transport challenges posed by building around 200 new homes around the town.

“I welcome housebuilding,” Mr Alexander said, adding: “But this is going to further exacerbate the problems on the road out by Mundole as an escape route. There is no other way to the A96 from that side of the town unless you come back into Grantown Road, which is getting more busy.”

Calling for a study similar to the highly controversial saga of the Western Link Road in Elgin, Mr Alexander concluded: “Dare I say that it should be time that Forres is looking at its own western link road – clearly, we should be looking at more routes to the A96.”

SNP councillor for Forres, Aaron McLean, agreed that the situation should be looked at – but it should be linked to the future work being done on the A96. He said: “When a new dualled A96 comes in there will be a great deal of traffic from the west.

“There could be a chance to look at an access point to a western link road and how that fits with the west of town and wherever the A96 will be, or perhaps the existing road.”

The Dallas Dhu masterplan will be subjected to a further eight weeks of public consultation before being finalised as a template for future planning applications.