Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News



SNP Councillors have expressed serious concerns over the price tag for the Western Link Road Plans in Elgin ahead of a meeting of The Moray Council next week where the issue will be further considered.

Latest figures suggest the cost of Loan Charges for the Link Road latest estimated cost of £11.8 million pounds will amount to 770 thousand pounds per year if the project is completed.

SNP Group Leader Councillor Gary Coull said:

“The SNP has long expressed our concerns about the cost of this project and the need for it, especially when we see the progress being made on design of a dualled A96. The construction of a dual carriageway bypass of Elgin will radically alter traffic flow and I question whether this is the right thing to be committing three quarters of a million pounds in recurring spend when we know those changes are coming. Particularly at a time when we know budgets are being squeezed and the Council Leader has said recently that there will be ‘substantial reduction in services’.

“I think that Independent Councillors need to seriously consider whether they want to increase borrowing costs by such a substantial amount given the detrimental impact this will have on other Council services and projects.”

Commenting SNP Councillor for Buckie Gordon McDonald said:

“When this project started so many years ago now the benefit-cost analysis was pretty marginal. With far faster than predicted progress on A96 dualling that surely changes the goalposts. That will undoubtedly significantly reduce the through traffic pressure in Elgin. Loans charges for the £11.8 million pounds now estimated would amount to a staggering £770k every year for 30 years. That being the case is this level of year-on-year spend to cover the borrowing really acceptable.

“I would say it is not and I urge the Administration to think again on their support for this extremely contentious project. While Elgin, like many towns, need traffic management improvements I do not believe this is the solution.

“No significant modelling has been done on how a north or south bypass would change traffic movement in Elgin and we could find ourselves having built a project that is not the improvement that was expected because the pressure has shifted elsewhere. It is beyond time to stop this project.”