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Plans for two Aberdeenshire traveller sites progress… At cost of more than £1million

The Council Depot in  Fourdon Road, Laurencekirk. The site is being proposed for a traveller's camp made up of 10 caravans.
Picture by COLIN RENNIE
The Council Depot in Fourdon Road, Laurencekirk. The site is being proposed for a traveller's camp made up of 10 caravans. Picture by COLIN RENNIE

Aberdeenshire Council has revealed the two travellers site it plans to move forward with at a cost of more than £1million.

Aikey Brae at Old Deer, and Fourdon Road, Laurencekirk have been identified as the first two favoured options for the council’s much-needed travellers site.

Members of the council’s gypsy-travellers sub-committee have been asked to give the go-ahead to the two sites, and recommend them both for full planning permission.

The stopover site at Aikey Brae would cost the council an estimated £350,000 and the Laurencekirk one a sum of £560,000.

Other sites are in the works on Ellon’s Golf Road and on land near the old papermill at Thainstone, near Inverurie.

There are also plans being touted under the local development plan to set up encampments at Blackdog and the Chapelton of Elsick development near Newtonhill.

The sites at Old Deer and Laurencekirk are being pushed through due to a need for “immediate site provision” and have been identified as “favoured options” by council chiefs.

The Fourdon Road site could feature 10 pitching spots with wash blocks, while the disused quarry at Aikey Brae – which is a historical travellers’ meeting place – could have 14 spots for caravans split between two sections.

Moyra Stephen, a minority ethnic communities officer for the council, said consultations with the travelling community had identified a “lack of stopover sites in the local authority area”.

She added: “Being mindful of the varying size of travelling groups residing in and travelling through Aberdeenshire, the areas of land identified for gypsy-traveller sites differ in size to help meet demand flexibly.

“The proposed level of provision and amenities on sites also vary. However, until such time as up-to-date Scottish Government guidance on site provision is published, minimum site provision should meet that detailed within Aberdeenshire Council’s stopover site development guidance.”

Last night Mike Robson, the chairman of the Laurencekirk Development Trust, said he had no difficulty with the proposal, and added: “These people have to go somewhere and I am now realising they move in family groups. I know a number of people who are of the travelling community and I have no problems with them at all.”

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