Council drives on with Aikey Brae traveller site

Updated proposals for a stopover site for gypsies and travellers near Old Deer are to be discussed at a public meeting next month.

Aberdeenshire Council has developed proposals for a seasonal stopover site at Aikey Brae, which will be presented at a meeting at Mintlaw Academy on Wednesday, February 5, at 7pm.

The event will be hosted by Aberdeenshire Council’s Director of Housing and Social Work, Ritchie Johnson, and will involve a presentation followed by table discussions.

A public meeting on the project was previously held in May last year, when discussions covered potential crime, the clear-up of sites, and management of the site.

During the summer, members of the gypsy/traveller community indicated that they would use the facility if developed.

Since then, the proposals have been developed to take account of the comments received.

The updated proposal would involve the creation of 14 caravan pitches, a boundary fence and secure entrance. Changes to the proposals include reducing the permitted length of stay from a maximum of six weeks to a maximum of four, and charging for use of the pitches to offset costs.

A manager’s office would be established to allow for full time monitoring of the site through the week, and at weekends as required, and a CCTV system would feature at the site to support security measures.

It is estimated that establishing the site could cost in the region of £316,000, as compared with around £1.06million for the creation of a transit or permanent site.

Aberdeenshire Council’s head of housing, Douglas Edwardson, said: “The purpose of the meeting is to show we have listened and responded to concerns raised through the public consultation processes. The presentation of the updated proposals will give the public the opportunity to comment in detail on these and for feedback to be given to the Policy and Resources Committee.”

Childcare places are available during the public meeting in February. To reserve a place, please contact Evelyn Marshall or Suzanne Keir on (01224) 664085 by Wednesday, January 29.