Ellon Community Council hits out at parking charges

Ellon Community Counci has condemned Aberdeenshire Council’s decision to raise parking charges in the town.

At the group’s monthly meeting on Thursday, Liz Troup, standing in for regular chairwoman Moira Muir, described the price rises as “disappointing”.

And she revealed that the community council had already submitted proposals for a fairer system as part of the Aberdeenshire’s consultation process, but claimed the latest move was effectively a fait accompli with little else that could be done.

Members were agreed that an increase to longer-term parking, and a decrease in short term parking charges would be much fairer.

Also discussed were the changes Stagecoach have made to the town’s bus services. The group was unanimously agreed that the service needed significant improvement, and that reduction in services to Knockothie and Meiklemill were not to be welcomed.

It was suggested that the current round-town service - operated by Kineil - might be brought forward in the day to the benefit of commuters, or that the 50/51 services be run at more appropriate times. There were also complaints - and praise - for the current 50 and 51 buses, with some members noting draughty, waterlogged vehicles, and others describing them as clean and modern.

Councillors also spoke about traffic calming measures at Ness Circle which, as the Times reported earlier this year, have been a long-standing cause of frustration for local motorists.

It was also revealed that traffic calming measures were to be proposed for Station Road as it joins the Square, with members describing the junction between the car park and Station Road as “really bad”.

The matter of Gordon Park Pavilion was raised, with Liz Troup revealing that the structure had been vandalised, and that the council’s new graffiti removal service would be required to fix the damage. Proposals were also put forward to investigate the possibility of having the Old Pavilion repainted, with the shower facilities currently available described as “dire.”

Questions were raised about the ongoing push for a new Health Centre for the town. Secretary Sandy McDougall presented correspondence from NHS Grampian, and suggested that discussions would be fruitless.

“Their position is pretty entrenched,” he said. “A face to face meeting would be a waste of our time, and theirs. They say that there is a lack of empirical evidence that new facilities are needed, and won’t commit to anything before 2014.” It was recognised that part of the problem was the large number of missed appointments at the facility, with council

The group agreed that it would be sensible to organise another hustings for the Scottish Parliamentary elections, noting that the event was well attended last year.

Secretary McDougall revealed that he had received correspondence from the region’s Chief Fire Officer, asking the council to add its opinion to plans proposed by the Scottish Government for a centralised fire service. The council agreed that this was a matter of importance, and that representations would be made on the body’s behalf on plans for both the fire and police services. It was agreed to contact representatives from both groups in order to gather professional opinions on the matter.