PLANS to create Aberdeenshire’s first official stopover site for travellers have moved forward.
Councillors have agreed in principle to a potential site at Aikey Brae, near Old Deer,
The move was approved by Aberdeenshire Council’s policy and resources committee last week. But before any deicision is reached, local councillors and residents will have their say on the proposals.
The site at Aikey Brae has been used as an unauthorised encampment by the travelling community for more than 10 years. With large areas of hard standing, natural bounding and access to water, it is considered a suitable stopping place.
For use as a 14-pitch stopover site, a water pipe, portable toilets and refuse facilities would be installed and regularly maintained at Aikey Braes.
The council has been trying to identify areas of land for use as stopover sites for several years.
Land at Ellon was among several North-east sites considered for a travellers’ stopover.
The creation of these sites would meet the accommodation needs of travellers, as identified in the Craigforth Accommodation Study carried out in 2009.
Councillors approved the potential creation of the site, in principle, subject to wider consultation including with the Buchan Area Committee.
The plans will then be referred to the traveller sub-committee for detailed consideration, after councillors agreed at last week’s meeting to extend the remit of the sub-committee to include determining the provision of accommodation for travellers. A final decision will be made at a future meeting of the policy and resources committee.
However, local historian Billy Rennie has criticised the plans.
Mr Rennie, who campaigned for a travellers’ site more than a decade ago, said there were several reasons why Aikey Brae was not the ideal choice.