Money set aside to secure site at Open Air Pool

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Money has been set aside by councillors in a bid to stop travellers setting up camp outside Stonehaven Open Air Pool.

The land adjacent to the pool has been used as an unauthorised camp by travellers for the past two years.

Members of the Kincardine and Mearns area committee voted on Tuesday to set aside £4000 from the top-up budget in order to install either bollards or fencing at the site, but failed to take a final decision on what should be used.

The four local Stonehaven councillors will decide when more information has been brought forward.

A further £2000 will also come from the landscape services budget to pay for the work.

At Tuesday’s meeting, councillors were presented with four different options and costings for the project - recycled bollards, which would cost £6000 to install at the outset and are the recommended option of officers, a low one metre high rail fence which would cost £5000, or the removal of turf and topsoil to form a boundary strip of two metres which would be replaced with either gravel and large boulders, or large boulders and planting, at a cost of around £10,000.

Members ruled out the last options as being too expensive but committed to putting up to £4000 from the top-up budget towards the work, despite councillors Carl Nelson and Tom Fleming’s opposition.

Councillor Graeme Clark said: “I have some sympathy with councillor Nelson - this is probably not the best use of the top-up budget but there is no alternative, there is no other funding and unfortunately if we do not finance it then we will have travellers on the site again.”

A final measure was not decided on at the meeting as local Stonehaven councillor Wendy Agnew was unhappy with the description of the fence option, which she wanted to be in-keeping with the fencing already present in the area. She also felt unable to give her support to the bollards due to a lack of information about what they would look like.

It was decided by members that more information should be provided in both respects, but that the local Stonehaven councillors would make the final decision about what measure was then preferred.

The idea was first suggested at a meeting of a local working group created after a series of unauthorised encampments were set up within Stonehaven over the summer.

Councillor Nelson objected to the use of the top-up budget for the proposal, stating that it was not a proper use of the funds and that the committee were setting a precedent for other areas to expect similar help.