Community council calls the A96 dualling consultation "an outrageous act of heartless insensitivity"
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Bennachie Community Council has called the timing of the announcement of the preferred option for the A96 dualling "an outrageous act of heartless insensitivity" and has requested that Transport Scotland extends the consultation period to at least March 31.
Sarah Robinson, chairwoman of Bennachie Community Council said: "It is difficult to imagine that given the year we have had and in light of the recent announcements regarding holiday plans and further Covid restrictions, that anyone could have considered it acceptable to announce the preferred option for the dualling of the A96 just days before Christmas.
"That on top of all the stress and anguish being felt by many, Transport Scotland did not consider that hearing that you may lose your home, your land or your business might, for some, be the final straw.
"To be honest it is nothing short of an outrageous act of heartless insensitivity.
"This communication should have waited until at least the first week of January 2021.
She continued: "The consultation period is far too short for a consultation of this magnitude.
"In addition, consideration should be given to the fact that, due to current restrictions and the challenges of rural broadband, important community groups such as Community Councils are unable to meet and effectively consult with their communities.
"Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly this consultation does not give equal access for all and, in essence, hugely disadvantages those who do not communicate electronically.
"This is a significant proportion of our population.
"Bennachie Community Council does not accept the current eight-week consultation period and requests that the consultation is extended to at least the end of March 2021 in order for a comprehensive and meaningful consultation to take place.
"We are very disappointed in the actions of Transport Scotland and the potential impact on those within our community at this already very challenging time.