New hope for Leask residents in bridge fight

The gap where the Old Mill of Leask bridge once was
The gap where the Old Mill of Leask bridge once was

Residents of a small community near Ellon look set to win their fight for a vital bridge link to be replaced.

The Mill of Leask bridge was damaged beyond repair in storms last December and demolished in January.

But the move concerned the Leask community who claimed they were left with additional fuel costs, longer journey times, problems with access for emergency services and more traffic on the Collieston road.

In August the council issued residents with questionnaires, proposing not to replace the bridge.

Residents responded with a letter, petition and their own economic assessment, expressing their concern at losing their main link into Ellon.

Now council officials are recommending to next week’s meeting of Formartine Area Committeee that the bridge should be replaced.

A report going before councillors proposes the construction of a five metre span road bridge at an estimated total cost of £150,000.

Design and construction is estimated to take nine months and, subject to the necessary approvals, the project would be completed by the end of July next year.

Leask resident, Dave Forbes, a former economist, who compiled the community’s economic assessment, said they welcomed recent developments.

He told the Times: “We are very happy about the report and the progress that has been made, but we are not there yet.

“The council seemed to have listened to what we have had to say.

“The bridge is a really important economic lifeline. But we will still have to go another winter without it.

“We are aware that something could go wrong but we are very positive and will not give up.

“Other neighbours have been in touch signalling that they are really pleased and overjoyed at the news.”

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Roads and Landscape Services, Philip McKay, said: “The review of options for Mill of Leask bridge has been completed and a report will be presented to Formartine Area Committee on Tuesday, October 29.”