‘Give us a sign!’ demand Craighall Court dwellers

Resident Michael Maitland, who has been involved in a wrangle over securing signs for the Craighall Stewart Milne Development (Pic: Richard Thomson)
Resident Michael Maitland, who has been involved in a wrangle over securing signs for the Craighall Stewart Milne Development (Pic: Richard Thomson)

RESIDENTS at an Ellon housing development have hit out at the lack of street name signs for their road - over three years after people first began moving in to the properties.

The luxury apartments at Craighall Court and Craighall Lodge, located at the corner of Ellon’s South Road and Riverside Road, were built by the Stewart Milne Group. Now, a local Councillor has thrown his weight behind the campaign to get the signage in place.

It comes as the latest in a series of ‘snagging’ disputes between residents and the Stewart Milne Group. The Times recently reported on a pathway built to link the estate with the River Ythan walkway so steep it was described as ‘Himalayan’.

The Times spoke with property owner Michael Maitland, who has become a spokesman on the issue for residents. “We’ve been pushing this for months now with Stewart Milne”, he said. “We don’t seem to be getting anywhere.

“It came to a head late last August, when we needed to call an ambulance for one of our neighbours. The development wasn’t on the ambulance’s Sat-Nav, and because there was no street sign, it took the Paramedics nearly 45 minutes to find the address.

“I had to stand outside and flag them down.”, he continued. “Luckily, our neighbour was OK, but the Paramedics were absolutely furious it had taken them so long to respond to an emergency. The delay could have been avoided if there’d just been a street name sign at the entrance to the development.”

Mr Maitland took up the issue in February with Stewart Milne Group, which he says claimed initially that they had paid Aberdeenshire Council to erect a road sign. However, enquiries made to Aberdeenshire Council have revealed that the road is unadopted, which means that the responsibility for the upkeep of the road and grounds remains with the developer until and unless it is transferred to a third party.

Later, Mr Maitland was told by a representative of the Group that a sign for the development did exist - which turned out to be a marketing sign directing drivers from Castle Road near the Balmacassie Industrial Estate, and which referred to the development by its earlier name of Ythan View.

“We’ve now been told by Stewart Milne Group that they do have signs for the development”, said Mr Maitland. “However, they say they’re not happy with them because they’re made out of plastic. Now, they say that they’re in discussions with a contractor about getting proper aluminium signs put up.

“This has been going on for years now”, he continued. “We seem to get different stories every time. We feel we’ve been left with no choice but to get our councillor involved.”

Ellon & District SNP Councillor Rob Merson confirmed that he had been contacted by a resident of the development regarding the issue of signage.

“I received a complaint from a resident who informed me that the developer had taken no action on erecting nameplates for the buildings since he first contacted them in February this year”, said Cllr Merson. “I am advised that subsequent calls to expedite the erection of the signs were met with response that the matter was ‘with their Technical Department’

“I have therefore written to the Technical Director of Stewart Milne Homes to request his personal intervention in producing a resolution for my constituents.

“I am extremely disappointed that there have been a number of outstanding problems with the satisfactory completion of this development, and the path which has been constructed to link South Road to the riverside walkway is still unacceptable in its existing form.”

When contacted by the Ellon Times, a spokesperson for Stewart Milne Group said that while the company was content that the development had been completed in line with the planning application, they would be looking into the signage issue this week.