Ellon transport links under spotlight

The busy A90 from Ellon to Peterhead.
The busy A90 from Ellon to Peterhead.

Councillors have again been debating transport links in Ellon.

The issue was discussed at a recent meeting of Formartine Area Committee when local members put forward their views on a second bridge or bypass for the town.

Scotia Homes have proposed 980 homes for Cromleybank and earlier this month held a second consultation on their plans for the area.

Following the public display of proposals, the company maintained that the vast majority people who had answered questions were in favour of a southern bypass, rather than a new Ythan river crossing.

Scotia are now working on bringing forward a masterplan for Cromleybank.

Councillors have previously claimed that the developers were not following the conditions of the land allocation in the local development plan, which states a second road bridge across the Ythan is required as part of the masterplan.

Scotia maintain a bypass would be a more effective means of easing traffic congestion in the town and is the only solution that is within their control.

The recent committee meeting considered settlement statements and councillors raised concerns about the wording covering the Cromleybank site referred to a “possible” bridge provision.

Committee chair and Ellon and District Councillor Rob Merson said: “The proposal for Cromleybank which is now being put before the committee for deliberation is at some remove from the aspirational vision which was originally outlined, and I remain open to persuasion on the matter.

“There are a great many factors which have to be taken into consideration before arriving at such a decision, and a convincing case needs to be made for the better option for the more immediate future.

“I therefore look forward to discussing the forthcoming masterplan with considerable interest.”

Councillor Richard Thomson said: “Frankly, I think we should be very careful about seeing the proposals for a bridge and a southern bypass as being a choice between one or the other.

“If we’re to ease future congestion in the town centre and connect Cromleybank properly to the rest of Ellon rather than just to the road heading out to Aberdeen, we may need to consider having both.

“I’m yet to be persuaded one way or the other on this, but I think it’s important to keep the option of a bridge at the forefront of our minds when we come to consider the detailed plans which emerge for Cromleybank.”

Councillor Gillian Owen said: “I was disappointed to see in the vision statement for the Ellon and District ward in the settlement statement that the word “possibly” had been inserted when referring to a bridge in the Cromleybank development site.

“During the development plan process last time discussions on a bridge had been fairly clear and that is why a bridge was included and early on in the development, not least for the purposes of connectivity and it was something all the Ellon and District Councillors were keen to see as well as other members of the committee.”

Councillor Isobel Davidson said: “I am concerned that the development proposals have moved a considerable distance from the original vision for the development and it is now described in the local plan as little more than a housing estate with little supporting infrastructure.

“While I have always been in support of a second road bridge, with the significant changes proposed to the layout of the site at Cromleybank, I am now not clear what the purpose of a bridge would be, particularly if the proposed location is next to the new footbridge.”