Goodwill between landowners and contractors on AWPR has 'disappeared' says MSP

Peter Chapman says unresolved and long-running disputes have damaged the relationship between agents acting for local farmers and officials managing the bypass scheme.
Peter Chapman says unresolved and long-running disputes have damaged the relationship between agents acting for local farmers and officials managing the bypass scheme.

Good will between landowners affected by the AWPR works and contractors for the project has "disappeared”, the Scottish Conservative rural affairs spokesman has said today.

North East Region MSP Peter Chapman said unresolved and long-running disputes have damaged the relationship between agents acting for local farmers and officials managing the bypass scheme.

Mr Chapman said during an evidence session at the Rural Economy and Connectivity committee that one family have been left without a water supply for seven months, while another landowner reported piles of construction waste being covered up by a thin layer of top soil.

Land agents are reporting that complaints are taking “forever” to be dealt with by Aberdeen Roads Ltd, the consortium working with Transport Scotland to deliver the bypass.

Mr Chapman warned Economy Secretary Keith Brown that the resulting ill-feeling could spill over into similar disputes during the construction phases of planed dualling work on the A96 and the A9.

Mr Brown acknowledged that the reported incidents were not acceptable and offered to “step in” if necessary to resolve any outstanding disputes.

Mr Chapman said: “At the beginning of this project, there was good will between landowners and the contractors, as people across the north-east recognise the huge benefits the AWPR will bring.

“However, that initial good will has now disappeared. The relationship between landowners and the contractors is now very bad.

“Complaints are made and repeated over and over again, but it seems to take forever to get anything done. I welcome the offer today from the Cabinet Secretary to get involved, but he should not have to personally intervene in every case.

“I think we have a huge problem going forward, because we have similar projects taking place for the A96 and the A9. There is simply no confidence among agents and farmers that the contractors and indeed Transport Scotland will listen and work with them to resolve issues that arise.”