A Mearns councillor has thrown his support behind proposals to install a safe crossing to school in a north-east village beset by traffic problems, following the approval of an application for 27 houses.
Kincardine & Mearns Area Committee last week determined the application from Fotheringham Property Developments for a construction in Marykirk, agreeing with officer recommendations that the development should be met with approval.
A proposed amendment, which won the support of SNP councillor Leigh Wilson, sought to attach a condition to the grant which would have obliged the developer to provide a safe crossing point as part of the construction process. The amendment was defeated by eight votes to two.
Councillor Wilson offered his views following the debate. “The application had to be approved because it complied with the Local Development Plan and to reject it would have seen the decision simply overturned on appeal, but I still have an ambition to explore a form of speed control system in the area – something that has long been a wish of the local residents.
“I supported the amendment which, yes, would have granted the application but it would have also added a condition approving the design of an appropriate crossing before any building work started.”
Last year, local residents stepped up their campaign to have traffic calming measures installed in the village following a number of near misses and invited the local MP, Andrew Bowie, to a public meeting to listen to concerns.
Traffic monitoring has subsequently been carried out by both Aberdeenshire Council and Police Scotland, but a new development risks exacerbating the problems.
Marykirk resident and Mearns community council chair, Chris Rushbridge, also pressed the need for a crossing: “A traffic survey by Aberdeenshire Council, following police monitoring, showed that the V85 speed northwards here was 37 mph.
“Traffic through the village is routinely in excess of the 30 mph limit, making it difficult to cross the road safely at certain times of the day.
“The approved new development will inevitably add an appreciable number to those already crossing the road here ( particularly schoolchildren ), so it is important that this need should be addressed without further delay.”
Councillor Wilson continued, “Residents have had a number of traffic issues in the area. The Marykirk junction is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous in the area, and although the new flyover will be incredibly welcome, that is still a few years away.
“The issue of appropriate road crossings is not just an isolated issue here, it is something increasingly coming to my attention in a number of rural settlements – including St Cyrus.
“I think there has to be a wider debate about how we manage traffic in rural areas, and certainly in Marykirk, to increasingly build houses without considering an appropriate road crossing would seem to lack foresight.”