‘Appalling’ Balmacassie roads to be improved

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BALMACASSIE Industrial Estate is set for much-needed road improvements, after an Ellon councillor raised concerns over the state of the estate’s roads with the developer.

Ellon councillor Gillian Owen has been seeking improvements to the infrastructure at Balmacassie for months, as it gears up for the opening of the council’s new household waste recycling centre on May 27. Over the course of winter the roads have fallen into a state of disrepair, making the whole area a significant hazard to vehicles on the site, which already hosts a number of local businesses.

The Times recently investigated the roads at Balmacassie, and found potholes up to 3 inches deep, which could cause major damage to any vehicle drive through them. There is also a noticeable ‘ramp’ at the entry to the site from the Tesco roundabout, which presents a significant hazard to passing traffic entering or exiting the site at this point.

Cllr Owen told the Times that she had written to senior council officers and Balmacassie developer Bill Bruce, to seek clarification on when action would be taken to improve the estate’s roads.

She received confirmation on Monday from area manager Keith Newton indicating that the council and developer would work together to bring the roads up to a reasonable standard.

Cllr Owen told the Times: “The roads at Balmacassie are appalling: some of the craters could easily wreck a Mini, or any other small car, and with a number of businesses already on site, action needs to be taken to fix the winter damage.

She added that the site was already significantly developed, and that traffic on the site would increase hugely once further businesses open their doors.

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Aberdeenshire Council maintains an interest in the estate, which is part council owned. However, the council is not legally obliged to adopt the roads at Balmacassie until the final site is sold or developed. It is understood from communications between Mr Bruce’s representatives and senior council officers, however, that the developer is in discussions regarding the sale of the last plot on the estate.

In an internal e-mail to Infrastructure services, commercial development officer Lewis Anderson confirmed that discussions between the council and Mr Bruce’s representatives had yielded an agreement that temporary road repairs would be required to bring the roads up to a ‘more acceptable standard.’ He added that he had received a commitment from Bruce representative Alex Fleming to the effect that inspections would take place to ascertain the scale of work necessary, with a timetable for the improvements supplied later this week.

Cllr Owen said: “My fear is that if the council is directing people to a new recycling facility along a dangerous road, we could be opening ourselves to a potential flood of claims. It would be better to fix the road now, and prevent this happening.”