Ellon town centre site blocked off

The entrance to the former Haldanes supermarket car park has been blocked off following a visit by travellers.
The entrance to the former Haldanes supermarket car park has been blocked off following a visit by travellers.

The entrance to a former supermarket site in Ellon has been blocked off following a visit by travellers.

A group of three vehicles pitched up on the one-time Haldanes store car park in Ythan Terrace at the end of last week.

However, they left over the weekend and workers moved in on Monday morning to seal off the entrance with five concrete posts, and a sign advising that the car park is closed.

Aberdeenshire Council had been made aware of the encampment and contacted the land owners.

Ellon and District councillor Gillian Owen has been calling for an official site at Balmacassie to best meet the town’s ongoing problem with unauthorised traveller campsites.

She has said that while not popular locally, it was a necessary element of the council’s housing strategy.

She told the Times following the latest illicit encampment: “This just shows how urgently we need a Travellers Transit site, however unpopular.

“This summer Ellon seems to have been plagued by travellers. The latest incursion has now resulted in the blocking off of the Haldane’s car park again inconveniencing the hard-pressed residents of Ellon. It feels like we have been under siege. I will try and see if the owners will reconsider.”

The Haldanes site has been in the news recently after plans for a new housing and retail development were rejected by a Scottish Government reporter.

The plans, which include 62 flats overlooking the River Ythan, along with space for retail units, had attracted local criticism for the density of the development, the impact on the town’s river frontage and the size of the proposed retail units.

Residents had also raised concerns that the new buildings would block the river view from Ythan Terrace.

Formartine area councillors turned down the plans by Warsash Properties in March on the grounds that the project could not be comfortably located on the site.

The decision was challenged and the reporter has upheld the committee’s decision.

The site is also subject to a second application from Aberdeen-based Carden Studios, with proposals for a development incorporating health, retail and residential uses. These proposals remain at the planning stage.