Community facilities at Hillside discussed

community facilities, or the lack of, at Hillside were on the agenda at this month’s meeting of Portlethen Community Council, as John Low, Director of Stewart Milne Homes, addressed members.

Acting Chairman Ron Sharp told the meeting: “The lack of facilities in the Hillside area have been a real issue for some people living there.

“It’s been a rough winter and some residents - young mums in particular - have had difficulty getting to the existing facilities in Portlethen. Maybe some temporary facilities - perhaps in a portacabin - would help in the short term.”

Community learning and development officer for Portlethen, Lynn Buchan, echoed this feeling and added: “It is taking young parents who have toddlers and buggies almost an hour to get to our facilities, and in snowy weather it’s even worse. It has left some parents in Hillside feeling isolated.”

Mr Low said that he would have “no problem” with such an idea, and added that Stewart Milne Homes have already paid almost £464,000 to Aberdeenshire Council to be used in Portlethen as part of an ongoing payment. He said that money for new dog fouling bins, as well as nursery, primary and secondary education had laready been paid. He said: “If the local authority want to use that money to put temporary facilities up there, I have plenty of land and wouldn’t have a problem with it. We have paid the local authority, it’s up to them what they do with that money.”

Mr Low explained that the money must be used in Portlethen and £40,000 had already been paid specifically for community facilities in the town. He added that a site has been earmarked at Hillside for a new school to be built, but talks have stalled until the size of the school has been determined. He also said that land has been indetified for two full-sized sports pitches at Hillside.

Several Hillside residents were in attendance at the meeting, and took the opportunity to question Mr Low about a number of issues, including the mess left on the roads by construction traffic and the lack of dog bins.

Mr Low conceded that the mud left on the roads and pavements by construction traffic was “not good enough”. He explained that the contractors were expected to clean up twice a day, and agreed to look into the situation.

One resident asked when dog bins would be provided. She said that Aberdeenshire Council had told her that it was up to Stewart Milne. She said: “Almost every second house up there has a dog so you can imagine the mess we have to contend with.”

Mr Low confirmed that his company had paid £6,200 to Aberdeenshire Council specifically to provide dog bins at Hillside, however one community councillor said that a representative from the local authority had told him that the bins had not yet been provided due to “funding issues”.

The community counci agreed to look in to the matter. One member said: “There is something seriously amiss here. Where is the money? I propose that we pursue this with utmost haste to find out where this money has gone.”

Mr Low told members that he would be happy to return to the community council at a later date to prvide any updates on issues that had been discussed.