Community Council meets to discuss planning issues

COMMUNITY Councillors meeting on Thursday have hit out at a planning system which they say regards community councils as “an annoyance.”

The comments, made by member Mark Grant, were broadly supported by community councillors who complained to local member Isobel Davidson that the body’s views had been routinely ignored, and that communications with Aberdeenshire planning officers had regularly gone unanswered.

Mr Grant said: “The planning guys within the shire simply don’t take community councils seriously - they regard us as an annoyance.”

Cllr Davidson agreed that it was unacceptable that the community council’s e-mails had gone unanswered.

Under discussion was the prospect of a new plan for Ellon town centre, with Chairwoman Moira Muir noting that discussions over the past decade had yielded little concrete progress over planning direction for the centre of Ellon. The group resolved to undertake their own consultation in the near future, with plans to use the Pedal Car Race next month as an opportunity to canvas public opinion, given the difficulty of organising a consultation and getting people to attend.

The group also noted their dissatisfaction with the re-jigged Bluebird bus services running between Ellon and Aberdeen, which seemed to attract universal condemnation from members. Despite a meeting being organised for members of the public to air their views to senior members of the Stagecoach team, only around a dozen people eventually turned up. Despite this, changes made by Stagecoach designed to rectify the worst of the complaints seem only to have worsened the situation for commuters, who continue to complain of long detours, late busses, and a narrow range of availability on return journeys from Aberdeen.

Cllr Merson urged caution, however, saying that the new timetables were a ‘double edged sword’, and that what was likely to please some people would almost certainly annoy others..

“Everybody would like a bus service passing their door,” he said. “What we need is a service which pleases as many people as possible, and then undergoes as few changes as possible - nothing generates complaints like a rapidly changing service.”

The group resolved to write to Stagecoach Bluebird expressing their disappointment at the changes which had been made to Ellon’s bus services

In other news, a new consultation on the Energetica Corriodor was announced - the event will take place on September 24 at the Victoria Hall, and include displays and question-answer sessions for members of the public.

Lastly, Chairwoman Muir commended the council roads service on it’s activities in the town, noting that despite an uphill struggle against the elements, most of Ellon had reasonably good roads. A note of caution was sounded, however, by one member who observed that cul de sacs at Eileen Rise still needed restorative work.