Council may offer £5k for land to widen road
Fraction of valuation demanded by government
“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.”