BY MICHAEL RUSSELL
Plockton residents are being asked to pay for all future repairs to a Highland Council-owned road that the local authority refuse to accept as their responsibility.
For 10 years the council have been at loggerheads with Network Rail over the ownership of Station Road, where eight council houses were built in the early 1970s, with neither organisation able to prove which was responsible for repairs. Now, with five of the eight properties owner-occupied, council transport director Neil Gillies has admitted that the road is owned by the housing and property service.
Another council official, senior engineer Gordon Macdonald, has stated that the cost of repairing the road is between £9,500 and £17,000, depending on which of two options is chosen.
He added: “Unfortunately, due to the physical constraints of the existing road and surrounding land, neither of the above options would improve the road to a point where it could be adopted on to the list of public roads.”
Another offical, assistant housing manager Jim Holden, has written to householders saying they are responsible for the maintenance “according to your use of the road”.
One householder, Mrs Linda Inglis, who has lived in number five for 23 years, asked what exactly this condition meant. “Does this mean people will pay less if they don’t have a car or more if they have two?”
Mrs Inglis said the council were due to send further letters to householders this week to clarify how much each one should pay. It is also understood that the council have asked Plockton High School and Network Rail for a contribution to the cost of repairs.
Charlie MacRae, chairman of Plockton Community Council, said the householders had their full support.
“This is dangerous precedent because if the householders pay once they will have to pay forever,” he said. “The road is in a shocking state and it’s high time the council accepted it is their responsibility and got on with repairing it.”