Published: 08/01/2015 17:17
Updated: 09/01/2015 13:02
Kevin McKidd: 'Link Road a disservice to local folk'
Written by Joe Millican
A HOLLYWOOD actor who hails from Elgin has branded the town’s proposed Western Link Road "a disservice to local folk" that would harm the area.
Kevin McKidd spoke exclusively to ‘The Northern Scot’ after joining protesters on Wittet Drive who are opposing the construction of the controversial route.
Mr McKidd, who grew up in Bishopmill, was speaking during a two-week trip from his home in America to visit family and friends in Moray.
He said he knows the area well, with his grandparents having lived on the nearby Pluscarden Road.
"I don’t usually get involved in local issues, but I know how much of a residential area this is, and I am lending my support to it in the hope we can get a different outcome."
"There’s lots of traffic and children playing, and just in recent times there seems to be a lot stronger feeling among residents towards it, and I don’t blame them.
"They are going to be knocking down houses and it just doesn’t seem the right thing to be doing.
"I spent a lot of time running round here as a kid, and I think it would be a disservice to local folk, and it’s such a quiet and nice area that it would really change the area."
Despite the council’s planning committee voting down a planning application for the Western Link Road in November, councillors later voted to keep the road as one of the local authority’s priorities, potentially leading the way for the submission of a fresh application.
The initial planning application for the route – which originally had a £12.7 million price tag, reduced to £8.5 million following detailed design – attracted 797 objections and 10 letters of support.
The 1.7km stretch of road would take traffic from the A96 at the west of Elgin, along Wittet Drive, and over a new bridge to an extended Edgar Road.
The council has frequently identified the road as a key infrastructure project, essential to address issues of traffic volume in Elgin, and to access the south-west of the town.
Mr McKidd was speaking in Elgin one day before returning home to Los Angeles, where he is filming season 11 of hit US drama Grey’s Anatomy. He has played one of the lead roles in the hit show, that of Dr Owen Hunt, since 2008.
His movie career includes prominent roles in films like ‘Trainspotting’, ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and ‘Hannibal Rising’. He also voiced the part of Lord MacGuffin in animated film ‘Brave’ using his native Doric dialect.
Before Grey’s Anatomy, he played the role of Lucius Vorenus in TV series ‘Rome’, which was broadcast from 2005 to 2007.
Another of Mr McKidd’s passions is music, and in 2011-2012, he instigated a Scottish folk music album that was recorded at Hogmanay in Elgin.
The album, released under the name ‘Speyside Sessions’, raised £20,000 for the Save The Children charity.
During his return to Moray over Christmas and new year, he performed guitar and sang during a ‘Speyside Sessions’ reunion gig at the Drouthy Cobbler pub in Elgin.
Mr McKidd attended Seafield Primary School and Elgin Academy, and was a member of amateur dramatic group Moray Youth Theatre.
There is more of Kevin McKidd's interview in this week's 'Northern Scot' print edition