the community was out in force on Tuesday night seeking answers on whether or not the Bervie Braes Road will be re-opened for vehicles.
Project manager from Aberdeenshire Council. Willie Murdoch and a representative from Jacobs Engineering, the firm carrying ut the work on the slopes, attended the meeting of Stonehaven and District Community Council to give an update on the situation with the Braes and the road.
The public gallery was full, highlighting local feeling on the issue and residents who wanted answers questioned the local authority representative. One resident told Aberdeenshire Council to “Do what you are paid to do” and get the road re-opened.
Willie Murdoch explained that the risk to the road comes from the upper slope of the Braes which, under current works, has had no work done to stabilise them. He explained that the work at the moment was focusing on securing the slopes for the houses below.
Questions were then asked about the safety situation in relation to vehicles, it was explained that a 2 tonne vehicle on the road would not increase the risk of a slip, rather there were concerns that is a slip did take place those in the car would be put in danger.
This caused a reaction with people then asking about the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, as surely they are at equal risk of getting hurt.
Willie Murdoch explained that the risk was less as pedestrians and cyclists would be further away from the slope and that they would be more capable of taking “evasive action” should a slip occur.
This was met with disbelief by the public attending the meeting. One member of the publis said: “In that case, can we not make it obligatory that everyone on it (The Braes road) is in a car so that if a rock does fall the damage will be done to the car and not the person.
“If the road is unsafe- fix it. We pay our rates and this is important to tourism and it is important to us. You are now saying it is a risk to pedestrians and cyclists as well so either fix it or close it. This is appalling that we are still in this position after £3million has been spent.”
A Community Councillor then said: “Solutions have to be found, there are a multitude of solutions available. It is essential that the Council find the money for this.”
Willie Murdoch then explained that for further work to be carried out more money would have to be granted to the project and further planning would have to be place. The riginal £3million has been spent and therefore money would have to be found.
One recurring suggestion for funding was the under-spend budget. MSP Nigel Don attended the meeting in the public gallery to hear what was said. He has campaigned long and hard for the road to be reinstated. Speaking at the meeting he said: “The Scottish Government has no more money for this.” He then explained that with Aberdeenshire Council’s under-spend, each area in Aberdeenshire could receive £3million and that this money would be put to good use stabilising the Braes. Cllr Wendy Agnew said this was a good idea in principle but pointed out that they are not the only Councillors wanting to spend the money.