Landowners claims they are not being given fair deal for AWPR, which split their farm in two

Angus and Caroline McNicoll at their farm. (Picture: Colin Rennie)

A landowning couple whose farm is being split in two by the Aberdeen bypass claim they are not being given a fair deal by the Scottish Government.

Angus and Caroline McNicoll own Blakiewell Farm in Blairs, which is being separated by the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).

Due to changes to access roads on the land, they now face a two mile detour to get from one side of the farm to the other.

And the couple have hit out at the district valuer assigned to evaluate and negotiate fair compensation for landowners affected by the route.

The McNicolls said they were offered between £2,500 and £4,000 per acre for their land which was compulsory purchased to make way for the road.

This is in contrast to land affected which belongs to a neighbour, which Mr McNicoll claimed had been valued at nearer £7,500 per acre – despite being only a few feet away from his own land.

The couple also said Scottish transport minister, Humza Yousaf, has refused to meet with them face-to-face to discuss the issues, despite telling them he would do so at a meeting in January.

Mr McNicoll said it will be “totally impossible” to get into three fields to the east of the farm, with no crossing being built to connect two of them split by a ditch as part of a new access road being built.

He also raised concerns about the standard of the new access road due to be put in place in one of his fields, as it passes through boggy land.

He said the changes to the farm as a result of the AWPR would make an “enormous difference” to its operation as a “single unit”, and that the district valuer has “consistently failed to appreciate” this.

Retired pharmacist Mr McNicoll, of Fourdon, said he and his wife are only seeking “fair and reasonable compensation for the land purchased, comparable with land immediately adjacent”.

The couple lease the land out.

He added: “They are not listening at all. We have never filed an objection to this road and don’t see a reason to file an objection to the AWPR.

“We supported them. It is not a nice feeling.

“It is not fair. We are happy to work with them. The compulsory scheme is not about making people richer. Compensation should be fair.”

AWPR chiefs met with the McNicolls on Tuesday.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said Mr Yousaf is “aware of Mr McNicoll’s concerns” and “will respond to his latest letter in due course”.

He added: “The district valuer will consider and value each element of any claim and makes a recommendation to Transport Scotland for consideration.

“If no agreement can be reached the matter may be referred to the Lands Tribunal for a determination.”

North-east MSP Peter Chapman, who has spoken to farmers affected all along the length of the proposed 28-mile road, said many were being left “out of pocket”.

The Conservative said: “It is unfair, I have been on site and seen it for myself. The vast bulk of the farmers have cooperated at the start.

“No farmer in my opinion wants to gain out of this road, they need a fair compensation, there is no way that they should be out of pocket.”

He added that the “good will” between farmers and the AWPR team was “evaporating” due to the issues arising,

Mr Chapman said: “(The McNicolls) farm is going to be far more difficult to manage now it is split. It is a dual carriageway road, it seems to be the farm that is going to have to bear that cost.

“It is completely unacceptable. This is part of the frustration, it is small things that should be easily fixed.”

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