OUR main story this week relates to the news that temporary access restrictions are going to be put in place at the Ellon Park and Ride.
Un-authorised encampments at the site have been a long-standing bone of contention for the folk who use the Park and Ride, and frequently find that they can’t get parked for caravans. Congratulations to Cllr Thomson for sorting this out - the renovation of the facility as a whole seems to be bogged down in technicalities (as usual for anything important in the north-east), so accelerating the installation of these measures is to be applauded.
Of course, the matter then arises that the travelling folk who use the Park and Ride will likely set up camp somewhere else. This wouldn’t be a problem - and isn’t where sites are kept in good order and there’s permission from the landowner, or where the group in question owns the land.
The problem is the middens periodically left behind - particularly at Balmacassie Industrial Estate. This matter has poisoned relations between the settled and travelling communities to the extent where any Travellers in Ellon come under scrutiny and suspicion. This is a shame, given that many (probably most) strive to leave tidy sites behind them, and have their collective name as a community tarnished by the actions of a few.
Long-term, there’s no question that more official sites are needed. Whether the one proposed for the new Balmacassie Industrial Estate is the right place for such a local site, I remain sceptical. There’s overwhelming public hostility to the proposals (a legacy of those poisoned relations) and to impose such a solution on the people of Ellon would be thoroughly undemocratic.
I’m quite sure that it wouldn’t be beyond the wit of man to find a more appropriate local site which would attract less controversy, and be acceptable to both the settled and the travelling communities.