Published: 18/01/2014 12:00 - Updated: 17/01/2014 10:48

Plenty of rhetoric but little detail on Elgin link road plan

Sir, – I note with interest the recent recommendation that the Elgin Link Road proposal be removed from the next Moray Local Plan. Encouraging as this may sound, I have a cynical disposition, and I wait with interest on how the full council will vote at the end of the month.

Councillor Wright and others remain of the opinion that this road is vital to facilitate the economic development of Elgin. There is always plenty of rhetoric, but no detail. After all these months and ample opportunity to engage the public and get some credibility back, there has been an incredible lack of response and reasoned detailed debate about the merits of this link road.

If it is for economic development, give us the details. Tell us – the people of Moray aren’t stupid – and we can reason and accept a logical argument for ourselves. If it is to alleviate traffic congestion, again give us the detail, although I can’t understand why a driver, whether HGV or car, would want to come off the A96 at the east of Elgin and travel x number of miles to meet the A96 again when they can continue on the A96 through the town.

The cost is reputed to be £8.5 million; again, where’s the detail? Is this the cost for the whole route, or just the Wittet drive element? Speculating on the costs, I’m led to believe that three houses have already been purchased by Moray Council in Wittet Drive alone, two at the top and one at the bottom, with at least another one to be purchased for what appears to be their preferred solution. How much are detached bungalows nowadays, £200k each?

A new roundabout has been built at the junction of Sandy Road and Thornhill road, and don’t forget the bridge at Reiket Lane that was modified a few years ago. What cost? Or did developers pay for this? I believe you get nothing for nothing, so what agreements are there that we don’t know of between the councillors and developers?

Of course, the bridge at the bottom of Wittet Drive has not been built yet, nor have the roads linking Wittet Drive and New Elgin, or the infrastructure for any of the developments. So, what is the actual cost?

While some councillors see the madness of funding the link road, particularly in this economic climate, others will try and continue to railroad through this unjustified initiative. In terms of the community there may be some benefit, but we simply have no detail and therefore can’t come to an informed decision.

The council are the representatives of the electorate and have direct responsibility to us not only to make decisions on our behalf, but to justify them. They also have fiscal responsiblility for using the money given to them by the people of Moray, not just Elgin residents, to use it wisely, and I’m not convinced this has been done, particularly when you think about the number of consultants they have used over the years.

Given the fact that they want to close libraries as well as wasting limited funds on a road that has not been proven to be beneficial for the people or economy of Elgin, I question whether the council are fit for purpose. They have a lot of work ahead of them to regain the respect of the people of Moray. – Yours etc,

George Simpson

21 Wittet Drive,

Elgin.

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