A view from the Bridge

WE can confirm today that the costs for the AWPR have risen by hundreds of millions of pounds in the wake of RoadSense’s legal challenges.

The cost to the taxpayer will now total £750 million, including the costs of the Tipperty to Balmedie dualling.

One thing which has consistently surprised me during the whole affair has been how measured both the Scottish Government and the north-east as a whole have been in relation to RoadSense’s repeated objections to what is, by most people’s reckoning, a critical infrastructure project for the north-east of Scotland. The costs of the legal challenges (which have served only to enrich already well paid lawyers) as well as the costs to the local economy in terms of delays, make me believe that the real cost must be much higher still.

The whole episode has been disappointing for everyone concerned: we can only hope, now, that the government gets its skates on and builds the road as quickly as possible.

IN other news, the announcement that Aldi are to open a new store in Ellon is a welcome development in the ongoing debate over what is to be done with the former Haldanes site.

At the consultation on Monday night, I was shown graphics which show, what is admittedly, a pretty dull, standard supermarket building. On the other hand, the new design will open up Ythan Terrace to the river again, as well as providing around twenty jobs locally. All in all, it seems to be a positive development.

LASTLY, my new haircut has raised eyebrows, including at Formartine Area Committee when Cllr Merson questioned whether I had appropriate planning permission for it.

In actuality, I had my head shaved for Halloween so I could be Batman baddie ‘Bane’, which garnered me much kudos. That said, I’m thinking of keeping it this way. People really are a bit nicer to you - and get out of your way a bit quicker in the street - when they think you’re a hooligan...