A north-east politician has urged transport bosses to address “deep concern and anxiety” among residents about planned routes for the A96 dualling project around Inverurie.
Gordon MP Colin Clark said his constituents are convinced that uncertainty over the location of the new dual carriageway could impact on property sales and new construction projects in the area.
There are various options for the section of the A96 between Huntly and Inverurie.
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But routes passing close to Bennachie have already been ruled out after a campaign to protect the cherished landmark.
Some home-owners and farmers are taking legal advice to assess their position in advance of any decision.
One Oldmeldrum family has been farming at Fingask for almost 80 years.
Jack Sleigh, 94, handed over the day-to-day running of the farm to his son Patrick and said it would be “very upsetting” if the project was built on his land.
He added: “They have got this all mixed up – I’m not sure the planners or local government politicians have got the country’s best interests at heart.”
After signing up at the age of 18 to serve with the merchant navy in 1942, Mr Sleigh returned from the war to work on the farm and remembers ploughing the fields with horses.
It is a tradition which is still maintained and Patrick Sleigh hosted a ploughing competition at Fingask yesterday to mark the harvest festival.
He said: “To see a road getting built right through these fields would be heartbreaking.
“I think they should still be looking to widen the existing road past Inverurie – I really can’t see that it would cost any more than any other of the options being put forward.
“It means people won’t want to make any investments in new buildings until a decision has been made – If the road is planned for 2030 – and it’s extremely worrying.”
Mr Clark has written to Transport Scotland to ensure the “best possible communication” with those affected. He has also asked for a “detailed” timetable for the process.
He said: “I’m not disputing the fact there has to be a bypass for Inverurie, but the routes tabled last week have come as a huge surprise for many of my constituents in rural areas.
“There are fears this could affect house sales, while others have said it will force them to reconsider plans to build new homes.
“This is going to be a very, very anxious process for a lot of people.
“While it is absolutely right that every route option is given consideration, I would urge the best possible communication with people living along the possible routes.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We are progressing our plans to dual the A96 between East of Huntly and Aberdeen as part of our ambitious A96 dualling programme.
“Community engagement is at the heart of the development of our projects and last week over 2,000 people came along to view the initial options that we have developed for this scheme.
“We would encourage anyone with an interest in it who has not done so to comment on our plans which can be viewed on the scheme’s web page on the Transport Scotland website.
“The vital feedback we receive will help inform the design and assessment work as we look to identify a preferred option next year.”