Council Condemned For “Missed Opportunity”

>> 29 September 2011


Lib Dem and Conservative councillors who form the administration of Aberdeenshire Council were condemned today by opposition SNP councillors for “missing the opportunity” of a wide-ranging review of the council estate by voting to exclude Woodhill House from the review.

Woodhill House is the Headquarters of Aberdeenshire Council and is unique in that it is the only council headquarters in the whole country which is not located within the council area it serves.

SNP and Independent councillors had successfully moved for the matter to be discussed at today’s meeting of the Full Council. However, the council’s Lib Dem-led administration voted down proposals to include Woodhill House in the review.

Cllr Bryan Stuart (SNP-Inverurie & District) successfully moved at a meeting of the council’s Policy & Resources Committee that the matter be discussed by Full Council. Commenting after the meeting he said:

“This was an opportunity missed by the council’s Lib Dem-led administration.

“At a time when it is incumbent on councillors as public servants to examine every possible avenue for maximising value for money for the taxpayer, I cannot understand why the administration will not even allow the issue of whether Woodhill House should be retained to be part of the review.

“No-one is suggesting that the council should uproot and move to some un-named location. If a review is to be carried out of council properties, then there is no good reason why it shouldn’t include all council properties.”

SNP Group Leader Cllr Joanna Strathdee (Huntly, Strathbogie & Howe of Alford) said:

“Today’s decision is baffling. A review is simply that and if it concludes that there are good reasons to retain Woodhill House then I’m sure councillors would reflect on that.

“Council premises across Aberdeenshire are being looked at with a view to rationalisation and achieving best value for the taxpayer. It seems strange to exclude from that process the council’s headquarters and start the review with fixed ideas that certain buildings are sacrosanct.”

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