A councillor wants a shut down secondary school site to be considered as a potential location for the local authority’s new HQ.
The Press and Journal revealed last week that Aberdeenshire Council is in talks to buy Inverurie Loco Works FC’s grounds at Harlaw Park and turn it into its new base.
As part of the potential deal, the club would move to a new-look Garioch Sports and Community Centre, the planning application for which was tabled earlier this year.
The council’s centre of operations is currently Woodhill House in Aberdeen, which would be sold as part of any relocation plan.
But last night Ellon and District councillor Gillian Owen called for other Aberdeenshire towns to be considered as the new home for the HQ.
Councillor Owen pointed to the site of the former Ellon Academy in the town’s Golf Road – which is currently being demolished – as a “much better destination” for a new head office.
The Conservative member also criticised the council’s ruling SNP administration for a “lack of clarity” over the plans for the proposed move to the Garioch.
Mrs Owen said: “Why does Inverurie have to have it? It would be great to have it in Westhill or Stonehaven.
“There are all sorts of towns which need economic development as much as Inverurie.
“I think if they are considering business cases and options then all options should be on the table.
“The land belongs to the council and it is a significant size, ample for the needs of the council, plus once the demolition is complete works can start almost immediately. Ellon’s potential should not be ignored.”
When the SNP-led administration came to power last year, it identified relocating from Woodhill House as a top priority.
Council co-leader, and leader of its SNP group, Richard Thomson, also called for “clarity” from the local authority’s opposition group, the Aberdeenshire Alliance.
He added: “Will their councillors get behind this multimillion-pound investment, or will they duck the decision, leaving Aberdeenshire the poorer for it?
“Councillor Owen’s interest in the opportunities an HQ relocation can bring contrasts sharply with her Conservative group leader (Jim Gifford), who last week dismissed the whole idea as a ‘vanity project’.
“The strongest argument for a smaller HQ, apart from saving money, is that it lets more staff work in council offices closer to home, boosting the economies of our major towns.
“A robust business case will be presented to all councillors later this year which sets out the opportunities for this.”