NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen councillor's father owns probe land

Rebecca Curran and Willie Young
Image caption Willie Young told BBC Scotland reporter Rebecca Curran his father owned the land

An Aberdeen councillor at the centre of a probe into a repair order has said his father owns the land involved.

The council has admitted a "serious failing" after repairs worth £200,000 were ordered without proper approval.

Work at the cycle path, involving a boundary wall on Wellington Brae in the Ferryhill area, has been suspended while an investigation takes place.

Labour councillor Willie Young, the council's finance convener, denies any wrongdoing.

He told BBC Scotland the wall also involved was either owned by the council or jointly with his father, but this was still to be clarified.

The project was to be fully funded by cycling charity Sustrans, which awarded just over £21,000 for preliminary work, with the full funding to be paid when the work was completed.

'Nothing to hide'

He said: "The land behind the wall is owned by my father, the wall itself may actually be owned by the council or jointly by my father and the council, there is still dubiety.

"I never asked for Sustrans finance for repairs.

"Sometimes errors happen in life, this is a huge error from the council, it isn't of my making."

He added: "We have to wait for the chief executive's report into this. I have got nothing to hide."

There had been uncertainty as to who owned the land where the repairs were being carried out.

The council accepted Mr Young was not the registered title holder, but he had refused to comment on whether any of his family owned the land.

Audit Scotland is considering issues raised around the situation.

SNP councillor Stephen Flynn said: "This is something Audit Scotland needs to clarify.

"The public will be dismayed it has taken him (Mr Young) this amount of time."

'Appropriate channels'

Liberal Democrat Ian Yuill said: "I am glad that he (Mr Young) has finally clarified things. There are a lot of questions to be answered.

"The citizens of Aberdeen deserve answers and how we ensure this never happens again."

And a Conservative party spokesman said: "This is a matter for Councillor Young and Aberdeen City Council officers to address.

"There appears to have been a failing in process, and I think there needs to be an internal investigation to get to the bottom of what has happened."

An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson said: "As intimated in our initial statement on the Wellington Brae cycleway project on 25 April, a full review into the circumstances remains ongoing.

"At this stage it would not be appropriate to comment on individual aspects under consideration as part of that review.

"The findings will be reported through appropriate channels in due course."

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