Drumlithie site concern

an unauthorised travellers’ camp in Drumlithie is beginning to cause concern locally and Aberdeenshire Council remain unable to find out who owns the land.

At the recent meeting of Mearns Community Council, Glenbervie representative John Stevenson said the encampment now consists of ten vans and the local authority have been unsuccessful in finding the owner of the site, which was once owned by the railway company.

“At the moment nothing can be done and that concerns me. The council are getting nowhere, but it is their responsibility to find out who the owner of the land is.”

Councillor George Carr confirmed that it would be necessary to establish ownership of the land and that the council could not take action unilaterally.

Councillor Jean Dick said she had not heard of any complaints about the travellers and understood they were giving custom to the village shop.

Mr Stevenson said that if the issue was left, the area could turn into a full-time site.

Councillor Carr said he had thought it would be easy to trace ownership of former railway land, but they had come to a dead end.

“There is legislation surrounding gypsy groups so it is like treading on eggshells. This is not going to be an easy one to resolve.”

Mr Stevenson said that if Natural Power get their extension to the Mid Hill Wind Farm, Glenbervie Community Association could be administering £27,000 a year in community benefit and this could rise to £35,000 a year with other windfarm developments.

Mr Stevenson said that locally, a list of possible projects had been put to Aberdeenshire Council, bidding for a share of available planning gain money. Some had been approved and some rejected.

“We know which projects are getting money now, but they have been told to spend the money first then claim it back and these are groups with no money.

“I have suggested to Karen McWilliam (area officer) that if we are to be managing large sums of windfarm community benefit money in future years, they could trust us to manage £16,000 now.

“She has agreed to come along to the next meeting (of the Community Association) and assist us with the process.”