Site for a new Ellon Academy

Last Tuesday, Formartine Area Committee discussed 6 possible sites for the new Ellon Academy and it was clear that there was a consensus about Options 2 and 3 which would put the Academy into the planned Cromleybank development. These were the options clearly favoured by Ellon Community Council the previous day at a special meeting. Councillors were all also agreed that a second road bridge across the Ythan was needed at an early point to make the development work with the rest of the Town (and stop Bridge St seizing up!).

However, my colleagues wouldn't simply made the decision - they expressed a preference for Options 2 and 3 but left it open to be somewhere else. And it seems as if they are willing to totally revisit the agreement to development Cromleybank in the Local Plan. With Aberdeenshire Council due to approve the Local Plan on 24th June and no meeting of the Formartine Area Committee in the meantime, this risks this very important decision regarding Ellon having to be taken by Infrastructure Services which only has one representative of the area on it - or by the full council of 68 members.

I believe that local councillors working with local people and the Community Council should be calling the shots on this and that my colleagues have done the town a dis-service by dithering rather than making a decision.

City Councillors finally talk about Union Terrace Gardens

After months of spouting nonsense that they were somehow legally barred from telling people their views re City Square/Peacock/Union Terrace Gardens, a few have now decided to speak.

I don't think Cllr John Corall puts up a solid defence of voting in favour of City Square - but at least he was willing to be filmed. Do you think he knows what he is talking about?

Watch this video.

He starts by telling us that people do not know what is proposed ... and that he doesn't either ...

Sir, it's in your ward. Don't you think you should take an interest?

Masterplans and golf courses

Last Tuesday, my colleagues agreed to the discharge of a heap of conditions, the Masterplan and the golf course at Menie. Many of my colleagues seemed, at least before the meeting, to be under the misguided impression that the Masterplan did not impact the homes of the Menie families. I check at the meeting and it does.

I moved refusal of the Masterplan on the basis that it was not deliverable unless these parcels of land were in the control of the applicant. The Masterplan itself acknowledged this in that it said it would need to be redesigned.

And then we have the golf course. Contrary to Trump spin, work can not yet start - the rest of the Masterplan conditions need to be met. So an opening in 18th months is not likely.

But the developer may believe they have an excuse to close off the constrcution area. That I believe will cause problems. People walking along the beach north from Balmedie may decide they have had enough and want to get back to the A90. If the whole golf course area is closed, that will be a problem. I have no interest in increasing conflicts on the Menie estate - local people are suffering enough without this. But I think it would be sensible if the Menie estate retained route across their land - perhaps limiting themselves to closing one of the masterplanned routes at a time. Else the police will get bored with dealing with casual walkers coming into conflict witht he developer. And be less able to distinguish anyone out to cause trouble.