Last nightin the Dunbar Hall at their regular meeting, Auldearn Community Council again made an excellent job of explaining the latest part of the bypass saga to the village community and outlined how things will proceed and how anyone affected can have some more input into the process. Roger Milton gave a description of the preferred route, accompanied by David Brownless who turned the large scale maps on display on a stand to the right of the room and pointed to features described by Roger. After this Roger said:
“Before we go into detailed discussion of this I’d just like to give people a feeling of where we actually are on the overall process to getting a road. This is another chapter on what is going to be a long book. We’ve already been discussing this for a good while and we have now at least seen, as I say, moving on to a new chapter. We have this route and I’m sure many of you will have discussed it with the people who were at the presentation. This is the route that is going to be developed. I don’t think we’re in a position now of suddenly going back to another route. It is now a question of making this the best possible result for the village and for the people that are affected by it. In the next few weeks there will be a design team appointed to develop that route into a working drawing so that the road can be built. At the moment Jacobs have been the company that have developed it as far as now but they are not certain to be allowed to continue. [...]
Transport Scotland for their part, they have the powers to acquire the land that is necessary to build this road. They do that through road orders and , if necessary, through compulsory purchase orders. The next 18 months is critical from that point of view in terms of any changes that can be made to the route. First of all there will be a detailed examination of that route. It will be on an ecological basis, an hydrological basis, it’s crossing waterways and as we’ve seen in the last few days that is critical in terms of road waste, and also an environmental basis. This will require subcontractors or people employed by the design team, to go onto those landowners land and drill holes, do surveys and basically make sure that the design that has been made is compatible with the land, there’s obviously all sorts of potential problems. At least at the moment they see no insurmountable problems but if there are certain things that affect it they will change that route to accomplish that.
In the first half of 2015, next year, they will set up a whole series of face to face meetings with those landowners that are affected by the route and discuss how that is going to affect them and explain the purchase and the process and compensation for those people. That is obviously a detailed and complex process.
For ourselves and the people in the room, what is very important is that up until the end of November, until the 28th of November, you have an opportunity, as individuals and obviously we have an opportunity as a community council to reflect the views of the community and put you own concerns back to the design team. Jacobs effectively will still be in place to hand to Transport Scotland. Ideas, clarifications, whatever. [...] You have to get those e-mails and those letters off to those bodies to have a chance of changing that.
Roger then gave a list of some things that he thought were not acceptable or that could be changed. More of that later on the Gurn when time permits.