Aberdeenshire Council approves new travellers sites

Aberdeenshire CouncilAberdeenshire Council has agreed a new strategy for the provision of sites for the travelling community.

Aberdeenshire already has a permanent site at Greenbanks in Banff, but a recent report has argued for more in north, south and central Aberdeenshire.

Four potential sites are Blackdog, Chapelton of Elsick, Ellon and Thainstone, as highlighted under the current Local Development Plan in the long-term.

Councillors heard that there is a need for more immediate site provision and the cost of developing any individual site would be around £100,000.

Director of communities Ritchie Johnson said the council wanted to identify areas to complement the existing site at Greenbanks, Banff, and the site shared with Aberdeen City Council at Clinterty.

“If we do secure well-managed sites, that will benefit the settled community and indigenous Travellers themselves,” he said.

Councillor Karen Clark said: “I hope this report demonstrates how we are committed to meeting the needs of this ethnic minority group. If sites are effectively developed and managed, it’s hoped issues surrounding unauthorised camps will be reduced.

Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Councillor Jim Gifford, said: “The council must strike the right balance between meeting the needs of the settled community and those of Gypsy/Travellers and provide the right solution in consultation with all concerned.

“I know that communities across Aberdeenshire can appreciate that providing suitable support to a mobile population ensures that people are supported to visit our area and respect it too.”

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