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City Council backs Haudagain scheme subject to ‘binding agreement' with Scottish Government
Aberdeen City Council has agreed to proceed with the Haudagain roundabout upgrade and the Middlefield regeneration project subject to receiving a written financial guarantee from the Scottish Government.
Finance, Policy and Resources Committee members voted to call on Scottish Ministers to go beyond their "statements of verbal and written intent" to provide a compensation package for demolishing up to 120 homes in Middlefield to make way for the new road layout and to sign up to "legally binding documentation" to cover those costs and to pay for the junction upgrade.
A majority on the committee agreed that a legally binding contract signed at an early stage would remove the risk of the current or a future Scottish Government failing to fund the Haudagain roundabout improvements and the compensation package for the affected housing.
The committee agreed that a legally binding agreement would also commit any future Aberdeen City Council administration to take the scheme forward.
Committee members agreed that a deadline should be set for 30 April 2014 for the negotiation of mutually acceptable financial guarantees and that if the negotiations are not successful, officers should report to the 06 May 2014 committee meeting outlining proposals for an alternative funding package for Middlefield regeneration without the proposed Haudagain improvements.
Convener Councillor Willie Young said: "We all want the Haudagain and regeneration projects to move forward as soon as possible, for the benefit of the Middlefield residents, the long-suffering road users and the overall economy.
"The City Council has already reluctantly agreed to the longer timetable laid out by the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland to complete the projects. But we would also urge the Scottish Government to play its part to the full and sign up to a legally binding agreement so that we can end all of the uncertainty.
"Aberdeen City Council and the then-Scottish Executive signed up to just such an agreement at an early stage for the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, so we feel that a similar arrangement is perfectly possible for the Haudagain and Middlefield.
"The City Council is already committing some £125 million to vital infrastructure improvements on the Berryden corridor, the Third Don Crossing and the new Dyce link road. We want the Scottish Government to make a similar commitment to improve the Haudagain, which will benefit not just Aberdeen but Scotland as a whole."