Residents apply for underspend cash to improve area

Residents from the Hillside area in Portlethen have applied for some of the money from the underspend budget at Aberdeenshire Council to build some much needed facilities in the area.

The Hillside community has been trying for some time to get some amenities in the area, recently stressing the need for a local school. They hope that with help from the overspend budget they will be able to get some sort of community run facility in the area, possibly a community centre.

Councillor Alison Evison has lodged the application for funds, as part of her long standing campaign to improve the Hillside area for residents.

Resident Stephen Harvey, who has been heavily involved in the campaign to improve the area, explained that following discussions with the community, Councillor Alison Evison made the submission to the local authority.

He said: “It sounds like it would need to be community run, via a committee etc.

“Hence the plea for potential volunteers. We’ve no guarantee it will happen, but its the councils opportunity to get some credibility back with the residents of Hillside. At this stage the best we can probably hope for is some sort of community facility, which would secure the land etc, but we’d continue the push for a school to be built there is the medium term.”

Whilst nothing is yet set in stone, Mr Harvey has explained that they are looking for volunteers to come forward who would be willing to help run a community facility if funding is allocated.

Cllr Alison Evison said: “The community at Hillside does not have any facility at all on its side of the A9O which can leave young families feeling isolated and young children unable to participate in after school educational activities.

“Many members of the community have asked me to help them achieve some kind of amenities and this is a chance to do that. They are looking for a hall which could be used for early education, children’s activities and social events.

“There are no guarantees that anything will come of this bid but it is great to see so many volunteers coming together with a common purpose on behalf of the community.”

Councillor Ian Mollison said: “The facilities they have at the moment is one garage and that’s not healthy for any community. The masterplan was for a school and shops and so on. So far these have not been built. I can understand the frustrations of people who have bought houses there. Hopefully in due time there will be the facilities that the area merits.

“When Paul Melling was chair he had made progress in making the recreational ground available for the community with a community facility on it, he had made this a motion. He then, however, did not get re-elected.

“Now, the Council have got this money to spend and this is one of the projects that I hope can be included.

“There will be other Councillors across Aberdeenshire who will be competing for the same pot of money. It is up to the local Councillors to fight for their own areas. This is something I support and I have been pressing the cause in hopefully the right areas.”