Balmedie man: A90 delays stopping developments

A LOCAL landowner has spoken of his anger at delays to the A90 upgrade, saying that the slow pace of the project was making life a misery for those living along the route.

Brian Dawson, who owns land at Southfolds near Balmedie, has waited eight years for construction of the major infrastructure project to go ahead. However, he says that the repeated delays have left him ‘disgusted’ with the process.

“The entire system - from the government down - has treated the local landowners with nothing but contempt. We are given no information about the progress of the project - the only way we get to see information is through the press, or if we chase it up ourselves. The agencies involved have a responsibility to keep us informed, and that isn’t happening.”

Mr Dawson spoke angrily about the fact that the project had been bundled into the larger AWPR project by the Scottish Government. The entire AWPR project is currently subject to an expensive legal challenge from pressure group RoadSense through the courts, delaying the project in its entirety.

The Scottish Government have previously stated that bundling the projects would save taxpayers’ money.

“We received no notification that this change was going to be made - it simply appeared in the budget. There was no compensation for any of the local landowners who have been told that their land will be compulsorily purchased.

“Indeed, while properties to the south of the city have been purchased in preparation for the work to begin, the government has never yet purchased the land necessary for Balmedie-Tipperty. We’ve as good as been told just to sit around and wait for however long it takes.

“I was previously all for the road - but the entire process has left me thoroughly disgusted.”

The AWPR debacle has caused rising anger in the city and shire, with many questioning the ability of a small pressure group of to stop a critical infrastructure project through the courts. Local Liberal Democrat politicians have also blamed the present SNP Scottish Government for bundling the AWPR and Balmedie-Tipperty projects together, thus stopping both going ahead.

Mr Dawson added: “South of the Forth, there are infrastructure projects going ahead right, left and centre. It should be a fairly straightforward road to build - it could probably be built in around 18 months, which was the original timeframe given.

“I honestly don’t believe we’ll see it built any time soon. It’s totally unacceptable.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “The Scottish Government remains totally committed to the AWPR being completed as soon as possible. However, having already seen this much-needed scheme significantly held up due to the initial legal challenges, we must now await the decision of the Supreme Court with regard to this current appeal before substantial progress can be made.

“Construction of the AWPR is to be procured alongside the A90 Balmedie to Tipperty project in a combined Non-Profit Distributing (NPD) Model form of contract. Combining these projects into one contract will provide an opportunity to deliver better value for money.

“As this project has been outstanding for an extensive period of time – having been consented by Ministers in December 2009 – we want to end the uncertainty for householders, landowners and the north east public as a whole so that we can get on and build this much-needed road.”