New link path unlikely

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Fresh hopes that a path could link Newtonhill with Portlethen have been dashed.

The project was raised at Newtonhill, Muchalls and Cammachmore Community Council by vice-chairman Michael Morgan who hoped that obstacles in the way of constructing the path could be overcome.

Attempts by Aberdeenshire Council officials last year foundered as they attempted to negotiate with landowners. The aim was to construct the path for walkers and cyclists parallel to the railway line between East Cammachmore and the southern end of Portlethen.

Mr Morgan was hopeful that there might be a new willingness amongst those involved, with the possibility of grant funding.

Councillor Paul Melling recalled that the idea had been mooted by pupils at Portlethen Academy who wanted a quick and safe route between Newtonhill and the school. At present anyone wishing to walk or cycle between the two communities has to use a footpath beside the A90 Aberdeen-Stonehaven dual carriageway.

Councillor Melling said: “It would be a real boon for youngsters and everyone else.”

However fellow Liberal Democrat councillor Ian Mollison has had it confirmed since the community council meeting that gaining the agreement of all the landowners remains a stumbling block.

He said: “One landowner agreed in principle, with conditions. However, it has not been possible to gain agreement with the second landowner. And I am told that a third landowner cannot be traced.

“It is very likely that compulsory purchase proceedings would be needed to acquire the land. This would be difficult to pursue successfully as there is viable alternative beside the A90, even though it is not ideal.

“It appears that the new path, although desirable, could not be considered essential and is therefore unlikely to meet the legal criteria for compulsory purchase. This means that the outcome of any such proceedings is, at best, uncertain.

“I am bitterly disappointed that this missing link cannot be established.”