There was a point this week when it looked like plans for the Cross Tay Link Road might have to be ripped up.
After years of planning, the £113 million project appeared to be teetering on a knife edge following an impassioned challenge by Scone residents.
They argued that driving the road through a new housing estate would lead to a huge health risk for residents, and called for the scheme to be re-routed further north.
The community’s view was backed by councillors of many political persuasions, including Conservative Colin Stewart who described his administration’s current plan as “stupidity on stilts.”
But the alternative scheme was rejected by 26 votes to 11.
Many elected members would have been persuaded by the arguments by council officers, that up-ending the project at this late stage would cause 17 months of delays and cost taxpayers at least £7 million.
But the results of Wednesday’s vote does raise some new questions. If the two options had been presented to councillors in 2016 – when the original plan was passed – would the so-called northern route, away from the housing estate, not have been the firm favourite?
Building a new road through the heart of a housing estate in an effort to end pollution does seem – at least on paper – completely outrageous. Planners now face a serious challenge making sure the new properties are safe and as free from pollution as possible.
The main argument from the northern routers was that the council should act now to avoid having to spend money fixing costly mistakes a few years down the line.
Does that argument sound familiar? Maybe that’s because – just days before the council meeting – disability rights groups called for the council to spend money fixing mistakes that were made just round the corner, on Mill Street.
The new-look cultural quarter has been described as a danger zone for those with sight loss issues. The council is now likely to be forced to pay for new safety improvements, on top of the £1.5million it has already spend on the street – or face legal action.
Lessons need to be learned from the Mill Street project. Chief among them: it pays to listen to the right people.