The news that a decision on the long-awaited Maybole bypass is set to be determined by a public local inquiry is sure to be met with groans by residents this week.
The bypass scheme is one that has been mooted for an incredible 40 years but when a public exhibition was held at The Carrick Centre in 2013 showing off the designs for the bypass, it seemed as though at long last significant progress was being made on the project with draft road orders and an environmental impact document also published around the scheme.
However, as Transport Scotland has confirmed this week, there have been objections to the plans and it has been decided that a public local inquiry is the best way forward for the future of the scheme.
As we live in a democracy, it is healthy that people have exercised their right to object to the plans and a public local inquiry gives them a significant opportunity to voice their reasons and concerns.
However, public local inquiries can be expensive and time consuming and this is already one of, if not the, longest running saga in the Carrick area.
Whilst objectors arguments clearly have a right to be heard, the Gazette would question whether a public local inquiry is the correct decision, given the lack of progress made in recent years.
Surely the planning laws and guidelines in place already would be able to deal with most of the objections made - and compromise could be reached with others without the need for another long planning exercise.
The benefits of opening up Maybole to a bypass are widespread and have the potential to bring significant benefits to the local economy with routes to the Cairnryan Port and Prestwick International Airport made much easier and less prone to long delays.
It’s time for a quick decision for once.