Councillors commit to Elgin’s western link road

Moray Council has reaffirmed its commitment to Elgin’s proposed £8.5 million western link road as a major strategic project.

The decision paves the way for the submission of a revised planning application following the rejection of the original application by the council’s planning and regulatory services committee last month.

Within days another of the council’s committees – with responsibility for economic development and infrastructures services – voted in favour of retaining the link road as a strategic development both in terms of economic development and roads infrastructure.

That formed the basis of a recommendation to yesterday’s meeting of the full council where members voted 14 to nine to reaffirm the council’s commitment to the project.

Council officers will now work with consultants Jacobs to address the issues which led to the refusal of the original application and to work towards the submission of an amended proposal as soon as possible.

The successful motion came from Councillor John Cowe, who chairs the economic development and infrastructure services committee, seconded by Councillor Eric McGillivray.

The unsuccessful amendment, which would have seen a decision on the western link road delayed pending clarification from the Scottish Government about its proposals to dual the A96, was moved by Councillor Gordon McDonald and seconded by Councillor Pearl Paul.

The western link road has been designed to link Edgar Road and Wittet Drive, with the construction of a new road bridge over the Aberdeen-Inverness railway line.

Councillor Cowe said the proposed route was never going to please everyone, least of all those who were likely to be most affected by it.

“We fully understand and sympathise with that,” he said. “Nevertheless we as a council have at times to make very difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions which affect the few but ultimately benefit the many. This is just such a case.

“The western link road is the most cost-effective solution to increased traffic volumes and to the development of Elgin-south-west.”

Councillor Cowe said that, despite the original application being rejected, it had been stated on several occasions during the two-day planning hearing in November that doing nothing was not an option.

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