Land ownership debate at Clerkhill

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PETERHEAD Community Council is aiming to find out who owns the area of land in front of the town’s Clerkhill shopping centre in a bid to get the area made safer for pedestrians.

The cobbled area and path in front of the shops has been a thorn in the side of shoppers for many years, but Aberdeenshire Council claims it does not own the land and therefore cannot take charge of any improvement works.

Community council secretary, Gordon Farman, has been writing back and forth to the local authority for several months in a bid to try and find out who is responsible for the area, but has so far hit a wall.

“The cobbled area and paths has been raised at community council level on several occasions,” said Mr Farman. “I spoke with the owner of the hair salon in Clerkhill back in December and she told me that the cobbled area was a mess and several people had fallen or slipped there, particularly in bad weather.She said that no-one was taking responsibility for the area but that the locally-owned stores had been willing to contribute to getting the area fixed. However, the national stores there had said they would not pay towards upgrading the cobbles and paths so things were left in limbo.”

Mr Farman suggested that she put a letter to the community council to see if it could do anything to push the matter forward.

“When the issue was raised, several community councillors said that they agreed it was a problem area and some said that they had known people who had tripped or fallen there, but luckily, to their knowledge, no-one had been seriously hurt to-date,” he said.

“I sent an email to the Buchan area manager, Chris White, who initially said it was not a council matter as the local authority did not own the land. I also emailed our local councillors and after about three attempts I finally got a reply and again, no-one seemed to be taking responsibility for the area.

“Ever since then I have been trying to find out who owns the land, and the community council would appreciate any information that local folk might have to help out with this matter.”

Mr Farman said that as far as they were aware, the company that developed the Clerkhill shopping area, Baylands Building, had gone bust.

“We have got a query away to the land registrar to see if they can shed any light on the matter, but in the meantime we will be seeking further meetings with the council on behalf of the shopkeepers and Clerkhill community in an effort to have the area upgraded.”

“Clerkhill is a very important part of the town, particularly as most of the businesses there are locally owned and I feel we should do everything we can to help them.

“We would like the community of Clerkhill to know that we will continue to press council officials and local councillors in a bid to resolve this matter,” he added.