Councillors have vowed to take a sympathetic approach to moving Travellers off a site in the North-east later this year.
Last September, the Scottish Government ruled the St Cyrus site, where 24 families live, could not be used as a residence and ordered them off the land by this summer – this was despite Aberdeenshire Council previously granting planning permission.
Councillors met yesterday to discuss a report which included an action plan for moving the families off the North Esk land by the end of July.
Members decided to reconsider the issue in June, by which time they will have access to more information, including details of sites the Travellers could move to.
After the meeting, one Traveller told the Evening Express: “I was disgusted with the tone of the report, but the councillors discussed it properly. We pay tax and should be able to live there.”
Mhairi Craig, from Shelter Scotland, told the council: “I’m looking at this from a human angle.
“You’re moving them from their homes. Their feelings are being disregarded.
“This will separate families and people will have to go onto roadside camps.”
Lib Dem councillor Peter Argyle said: “I absolutely recognise this is an extremely difficult matter for the residents and we have every sympathy for them.
“As a council, we have no real option other than to bring this matter to a proper resolution, but we will do that by working with the residents of the site proactively over the coming months.
“We’re all very well aware of the human side of this. There will be no question on my watch of arbitrary eviction or illegal entry into homes.
“We need to work sympathetically to resolve this extremely difficult issue.”
Independent and Green Cllr Martin Ford said: “The council has a consensus that we desperately do not want to do horrible things and we desperately want to resolve this.”
Cllr Argyle pledged that councillors would make the final decision rather than officers.