A RESIDENT’S VIEW
Sometimes I curse the daily commute to the granite city five days a week – the over-long line of traffic with steamy windows and sleepy faces, not to mention the scramble for a parking space before I even get to my desk. But actually, it makes me appreciate the drive home each night along the A944. When I reach Westhill’s “welcome” stone, this isn’t “Any New Town” as it is sometimes referred to by passers-by. It is much, much more.
Look beyond the glaring Tesco illuminations and the developments of modern houses and you’ll find a wealth of activity behind the scenes.
Since the construction of the first houses in 1968, what was then described as a satellite town, or a garden suburb, Westhill has matured over the years into a town in its own right with its own unique identity and community spirit. And of course Elrick has now joined up with Westhill with an ever-growing number of houses being built to the west of the town.
Now into its 3rd generation of families who came to live here in the late 60s and in the 70s, when the town was developing rapidly after oil was found in the North Sea, it is not hard to find a reason why people want to settle here.
It is a good place to work, shop, socialise, bring up families and to enjoy the proximity to the city and the countryside. The development of the industrial parks has made a significant contribution to the prosperity of the town with some large Oil & Gas company headquarters located here. Large retailers have brought an increased number of shoppers and provided local employment. In the town centre there is a wide variety of smaller shops and businesses. Westhill hosts Producers’ Markets and mobile produce vans visit on a weekly basis. We have a large selection of takeaways and restaurants to cater for most tastes as well as the thriving, much-welcomed coffee shops.
The local schools have an excellent reputation. Westhill Academy has capacity for over 1000 pupils and there are four feeder primary schools.We are fortunate to have a modern Medical Centre incorporating a wide range of health services. Sporting facilities include a swimming pool, the renowned golf club, squash and fitness centre, not to mention various playing pitches and open spaces.
There are many very active community groups in Westhill & Elrick – groups for people with sporting, history and heritage interests, fitness classes and three church congregations. The Rotary Club and the Round Table organise the popular annual Westhill Gala and both raise large sums of money for local and international causes.
There are many community-minded people in Westhill and Elrick of all age groups, with a vast range of talents and skills. We have an extremely active Community Council. The group is encouraging new people to come forward to fill vacancies and help make the community even better! The town boasts a very well-used Public Hall and a Community Centre. These buildings may be banal-looking bricks and mortar, but look within and you will find a multitude of pastimes which have ranged from kilt-making and computing to badminton and belly dancing!
Uniform organisations are established in the town including Guides, Brownies, Scouts and Boys Brigade. Westhill and Elrick are served by Police Scotland, with a local station being located in the town centre. We have a Citizens Advice Bureau, developed and run by local volunteers. This is an invaluable asset to the people of Westhill and Elrick and indeed for people in the wider area to be able to have a quality advice service to deal with the everyday challenges we all face.
Public transport is very good with frequent services running throughout the day and a late night service from Aberdeen. We also have friendly local taxi services.
Westhill is an ideal place to live as it has the advantages of being next door to a city whilst enjoying the country feel, having one of only two Local Nature Reserves in Aberdeenshire. One is Arnhall Moss which is located beside the Denman Park – a beautiful entrance to the town as you leave the A944. Another jewel, much-used and appreciated for its wildlife, is Carnie Woods to the west flanking one of the newer residential areas. Without doubt another oasis of calm in this busy town is the golf course which transforms into the enviable sledge runs in the winter!
It is a maturing community, yet there is always something new waiting to be discovered here. Drop in by and stay a while, you might like it too!