Banner ban plans blasted by business

The Carron Fish Bar, and the banner, which Aberdeenshire Council have requested be removed.

The Carron Fish Bar, and the banner, which Aberdeenshire Council have requested be removed.

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A chipper which put Stonehaven on the worldwide map when it became the “birthplace of the deep fried mars bar” has been asked to remove a banner advertising it as such.

Owner of The Carron chipper, Lorraine Watson, received a letter from Aberdeenshire Council, explaining that a “walkabout and inspection” had been conducted in the town, and they felt that the banner on the side of the building should be removed.

The letter, which was sent in partnership with several community groups including Stonehaven and District Community Council and Stonehaven Town Partnership, asks them to consider removing the banner “for the greater good of the wider community”.

A similar letter was sent to The Bay Fish and Chips, which was named the UK’s number one independent takeaway in 2013, asking them to remove stickers on the picnic tables outside “as they look untidy”.

Lorraine said: “Both the Carron and The Bay bring a huge amount of people to the town every year. I employ 16 local people, give to local charities and support local events - we stayed open for the Fireballs on Hogmanay and I actively encourage customers to visit other areas of the town.

“I think that this is a very attractive part of the town, Horizon have made the bridge outside look lovely and I have spent £80,000 doing up the shop and the shop front. I really don’t see what they have to moan about”.

Mrs Watson added that she is supportive of the attempts to smarten up the town, but added that the letter was “silly”.

She said: “I had a walk around the town myself and there are certainly some areas that could do with being tidied up. I am really supportive of the action plan to make the town more attractive, but the banner is not unsightly, dirty or ripped, and I have no intentions of taking it down.”

Proprietor of The Bay, Callum Richardson, said: “At first I actually laughed out loud as I thought it was a joke. I felt so angry as I really care about Stonehaven and I’m always thinking of ways to help the town wherever I can. In fact, I’d just agreed to donate six months of our 5p bag charge from The Bay, along with a personal donation from myself, to the Stonehaven Town Partnership for Christmas lights to be put up around the town. When I saw their logo at the top of the letter along with the Stonehaven Business Association’s logo, which I’ve been a member of for years, I was absolutely appalled that they had both put their names against the letter.

“Over the years we’ve put tens of thousands of The Bay’s profits into the community to benefit Stonehaven. We’re constantly attracting tourists to Stonehaven through publicity and by being active in the food industry with awards and events. But receiving a letter like this has really made me question why I’ve been doing this. Our turnover and footfall has increased year on year so we must be doing something right. Now I feel like we’re just being penalized for the sake of being penalized.”

A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Council said: “Together with a range of community organisations we have been looking at ways to improve the look of Stonehaven for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors.

“An action plan has been created in conjunction with the Stonehaven Town Partnership, Community Council, Stonehaven Business Association and the Horizon Group.

“As part of the action plan we have asked some owners in the area to consider making alterations to their properties. This included asking the owners of The Carron Fish Bar to consider removing their banner.

“We do not wish to prevent the owners from promoting their business and we would be happy to have discussions with them regarding the banner.”