Councillor in Ellon park and ride barriers call

Councillor Thomson is asking for barriers to deter travellers from setting up camp at Ellon's Park and Ride.
Councillor Thomson is asking for barriers to deter travellers from setting up camp at Ellon's Park and Ride.

An Ellon councillor is leading calls for barriers to be built at the town’s Park and Ride site, in a bid to help prevent travellers from setting up further camps.

SNP Councillor Richard Thomson made his appealafter several groups of travellers had to be evicted from the locationover the the summer.

Although plans to install barriers as part of a scheme to expand the capacity of the Park and Ride site were approved last February by Aberdeenshire Council’s Formartine Area Committee, work to install them has yet to begin.

The Area Committee on Tuesday approved the award of a contract for the first phase of the expansion work, which will see the creation of fifty extra car parking spaces and the installation of width gates designed to restrict access by unauthorised vehicles.

However, in a direct appeal to Aberdeenshire Council’s Director of Infrastructure Services Stephen Archer, Councillor Thomson has asked that work to install the gates should be started as soon as possible, in a bid to ensure that there can be no repeat of last year’s misuse of the Park and Ride as a halting site.

Councillor Thomson said: “Ellon’s Park and Ride site is extremely popular and its planned expansion reflects this. Unfortunately, it’s also become popular with groups of travellers, which brings its own set of problems.

“While it’s good to know that contracts are set to come before Councillors next week, local people will want an assurance that at the very least, work to install these gates will get underway early in the new year, and certainly well before the summer starts.

“Several groups of travellers made use of the Park and Ride site last year, usually as a halting place in between pitching up at other sites in the Ellon area. By making this particular site inaccessible, it will hopefully help to make other unauthorised encampments in the area much less frequent.

“That’s why I’ve written to the Director of Infrastructure Services, asking that consideration be given to hurrying these particular works along before we get a new round of problems to deal with next summer.”