Moray Council is poised to hammer another nail into the coffin of a controversial roads project that was recently scrapped.
The authority’s £11.8million Western Link Road scheme caused controversy for years before being axed in March as part of a cost-cutting drive.
The council’s ruling administration group had led calls for the relief route through the region’s biggest town.
But residents along Edgar Road and Wittet Drive protested that diverting an increased flow of traffic past their homes would damage their quality of life.
The project was only laid to rest when elected members learned that Moray Council would have to ditch several schemes to remain solvent – and voted 13-11 in favour of removing it from the authority’s capital spending plan.
Now, legal officers are appealing for permission to drop compulsory purchase orders they had made on 23 plots of land associated with the road.
The orders were agreed three years ago, relating to properties on Wittet Drive, Sheriffmill Road, Wards Road and to space above the Aberdeen to Inverness rail track, scheduled for the creation of a new bridge.
A report written by the council’s legal services manager, Aileen Scott, said: “It must be concluded that the Western Link Road is no longer a strategic priority for the council.
“Given that there is no longer a reasonable prospect of the project proceeding, it is recommended that officers advise the government the council no longer wishes to confirm the orders.”
Wittet Drive-based mother Caroline Webster led the campaign against the Western Link Road.
Last night, she said that scrapping the compulsory purchase orders was a “massive step forward” in allaying residents’ fears that the project could be resurrected.
But she insisted protestors would not be satisfied until it was removed from the council’s local development plan.
Miss Webster said: “This is fantastic news for us, because we knew those orders were still in place on some of the Wittet Drive properties.
“So, this is a massive step forward, but we will only really breathe a sigh of relief when it is removed from the local development plan.”
Although the scheme has been withdrawn, local authority leader Stewart Cree maintains that relieving congestion in that part of Elgin remains a council priority.