‘Come and see us’ say St Cyrus travellers

Beto Costa, site warden, will welcome St Cyrus residents who wish to have a look around
Beto Costa, site warden, will welcome St Cyrus residents who wish to have a look around

Travellers at a site in St Cyrus are inviting the community and an MSP who is against their park to pop in for a visit.

The travellers have recently re-applied for retrospective planning permission and are waiting for an Aberdeenshire Council decision.

North East MSP Alex Johnstone called it “outrageous” and “a complete mockery of the planning system,” but residents have now said that they would like to meet with him so he can hear their side of things as constituents of St Cyrus.

William Docherty, who runs the site together with a syndicate of families, said: “We would like to extend a welcome to the St Cyrus community to have a look around.

‘‘All anyone needs to do is ask at the office and they will be given a tour of our site by the warden.

‘‘We want everyone, including Alex Johnstone MSP, to come and see how clean and tidy this place is. We want transparency.

‘‘While the area is officially still classed as a flood plain, there is no risk of flooding and we can prove that.

‘‘People don’t realise that we are all paying council tax as well as business rates and bin collection rates. We are not free loading. Surely this well designed site is preferable to having us perched on the shoulder of the main A92 where our children are not safe.

“We have been accused of dragging our heels in the planning appeal system but we have hired the best planning consultant, Alistair McKee, from SLR, and we want to get it 150 per cent right before putting it before Aberdeenshire Council.

‘‘ So far we have spent more than £140,000 in planning related fees.”

Mr Johnstone said: “I would be happy to speak to any travellers on their issues, but that is not going to change the fact that this is in an illegal site in terms of planning regulations.”

A Facebook page was started this week called ‘Stop the St Cyrus Traveller Site Development’.

It has gathered more than 130 likes so far.