Coun­cil may of­fer £5k for land to widen road

Frac­tion of val­u­a­tion de­manded by gov­ern­ment

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY JON HEBDITCH

“We had hoped the gov­ern­ment would be will­ing to cede the land to the coun­cil”

Aberdeen Coun­cil is re­new­ing its bat­tle with the gov­ern­ment over a piece of land vi­tal to a road project by of­fer­ing £5,000 for it – around a 50th of what of­fi­cials in Ed­in­burgh are de­mand­ing.

The lo­cal au­thor­ity wants to buy the 40ft strip on Welling­ton Road to al­low quicker traf­fic ac­cess on the Torry street – one of the most pol­luted in Scot­land. It is look­ing at widen­ing Welling­ton Road – adding a sec­ond lane south­bound.

But the land be­longs to the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment as it used to form part of the Craig­inches prison, and is val­ued at £230,000.

Mem­bers of the pre­vi­ous Labour-led ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fered just £1 – ar­gu­ing that, given cuts to the lo­cal au­thor­ity’s grant fund­ing and the coun­cil’s con­tri­bu­tion to the AWPR project, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment should foot the bill.

A new re­port re­leased to coun­cil­lors to­day says that lo­cal au­thor­ity of­fi­cers have come up with a new val­u­a­tion of just £5,000 - based on the fact the area would not be used for hous­ing.

Mem­bers of the fi­nance com­mit­tee will be asked to de­cide next week whether to of­fer the gov­ern­ment the sum or ac­cept their val­u­a­tion. In June, the op­po­si­tion SNP group pro­posed ac­cept­ing the £230,000 fig­ure but were de­feated.

Fi­nance con­vener Dou­glas Lums­den said the coun­cil were pre­pared to pay a “rea­son­able” amount.

He said: “The ad­min­is­tra­tion is will­ing to pay a rea­son­able amount for the land. We had hoped the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment would be will­ing to cede the land to the coun­cil given the po­ten­tial ben­e­fit. How­ever, as it seems to be about money for the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment, we’ll sup­port the val­u­a­tion of £5,000, for the 40ft strip of land.”

SNP group leader Stephen Flynn said: “I will wait to see what of­fi­cers come for­ward with but we must recog­nise that the gov­ern­ment’s val­u­a­tion was based on in­de­pen­dent ad­vice.

“The ad­min­is­tra­tion need to stop play­ing games and put the peo­ple of Aberdeen first.”

A Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spokes­woman said: “We agreed with Aberdeen City Coun­cil to un­der­take a joint val­u­a­tion by an in­de­pen­dent ex­pert for the piece of land at the for­mer prison at Craig­inches.

“This ap­proach, which was to en­sure the agree­ment of a fair price, re­sulted in the val­u­a­tion of £230,000.”

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