Letters to the Editor

Here are the letters sent to us this week that can be seen on page 10. If you have a letter you can e-mail it to news@mearnsleader.com or mail it to 12 Ann Street, AB39 2ER.

Land Train

Well done STP

Sir- May I compliment the Stonehaven Town Partnership on its very successful Land Train.

First of all they completed a very complex grant application to the European Fisheries Fund, successfully won this grant which allowed purchase of the Train, and then despite many hurdles, they managed to get it on the road before the end of the local School Holidays.

Since its introduction it has been an unqualified hit with residents and visitors, young and old. It is a delight to hear it ‘Toot tooting’ and whistling its way along its route.

It is a superb asset for Stonehaven’s Tourism, and is a lovely tool in helping to market the town. I know its use is not without problems, but I do hope it will continue to put a smile on everyone’s face for many years to come.

We can only hope that some compromise can be reached with the Aberdeenshire Roads Department to allow it to travel down the Bervie Braes, which would be a great experience for local and tourist alike.

Yours etc.,

Frank Budd

Chairman Stonehaven Tourism Group

Response to STP

How much clarification is needed

Sir- Can I respond to David Fleming’s letter September 25 by firstly stating that it matters not one jot which gender of writer I am nor is it a crime to with-hold name and address on a letter.

There are many reasons a contributor to the paper might do this but I am sure Mr Fleming can work them out. According to the STP’s own minutes from February of this year Mr John Agnew - chair of the Recreation Ground Trustees was asked to address the meeting and stated clearly why the recreation grounds were not available for the ‘ideas’ and ‘proposals’ the STP were outlining in Plan B.

At the community council meeting held soon after the public meeting of Plan B, Doug Samways was again told that legally, and under the terms of the 999 year lease the ground could only be used for recreational purposes for the benefit to the residents of Stonehaven. How much clarification on this matter does the STP need and do they really wish to bring down the wrath of Khan should they find a legal loophole to change the use of this ground?

I have spoken to a great many of the owners on the caravan site and not one person has said they knew in advance a meeting was to be held on proposed change. When I spoke in my last letter of consultation - I meant consultation. Consultation needs to be inclusive at all stages, not just in a one off public meeting. Mr Agnew had been informed but how many of the other groups of clubs had also been asked months in advance to proffer their input to the plan?

Mr Fleming states this was not or is not about a supermarket. Why then did Piers Blaxter take up the best part of an hour outlining proposed then rejected sites for a supermarket - why then did a further two speakers give the arguments for a supermarket and read out an email against; why was there talk or ‘opportunity’ or ‘threat’ by Doug Samways when talking about areas that were or were not benefitting from having a supermarket? If the purpose of the meeting was to outline Plan B then why was it not that and that alone? If it wasn’t about a supermarket then the STP hid it well!

I might be wrong but I am sure Doug Samways said ‘supermarket’ on several occasions. If the STP feel there is a change in legislation allowing perhaps change of use of the recreation grounds why can they not also turn this energy to breaking the monopoly of one Co-op supermarket and three convenience stores. Is it run with the fox and hunt with the hounds time?

In the same vein if the STP - as they claim - can access funding then why not do it and use the funding to improve the existing leisure facilities giving perhaps more to the young people of the town, and Mr Fleming you did not answer the questions - why get rid of the indoor bowling area - much used - and where were the STP going to relocate the caravan owners? Two important questions unanswered. I see the STP are now turning their attention to the empty Court building. I do hope the STP made representation opposing the closing of this building earlier this year! I also note there are ‘proposals’ and ‘ideas’ for the harbour. I would be interested to see those plans - in a format, Mr Fleming, that can be seen on screen.

The Plan B map is so small that not even a magifying glass helps to make out what the ‘ideas’ and ‘proposals’ are. Recreation grounds, harbour, Court building, what next - the world.

I would urge the residents of Stonehaven to take just a minute to look up the STP site online. This is a handful of unelected people in the town who have taken it upon themselves - for our greater good - to ‘improve’ Stonehaven. I will state at this point that some good has been done but again would ask for a little tempering of the enthusiasm. It was my perception that an elected and paid group of people in the form of local authority was responsible for the task of reshaping a town. And finally- Stonehaven residents have a constant battle with developers from outwith the town who wish to build property for profit with little regard to the often detrimental effect it has. Do residents now have to fight a rear-guard action from within?

By all means improve the recreation area, by all means lend weight or voice to areas of the town which can be improved and if you can access funding, place it where it is needed for the greater good of Stonehaven. Retail outlets at the recreation grounds doesn’t fit the bill. Far better to take the letters of objection as a positive rather than in the negative response you gave to the two letters last week Mr Fleming.

Yours etc.,

F. Burns

Development

CONCERNED RESIDENT

Sir - A select few residents of Stonehaven will have recently received a letter from Aberdeenshire Council advising them of a meeting taking place at 6.30pm on Thursday 2nd October at Mackie Academy. This meeting relates to a large development application made by Barratts East Scotland/ Drum Development Co some 4 years ago (APP/2010/3646) for a mixed development in the Nether Toucks and Feathers area just south of Stonehaven. If you have previously written to the Council expressing any views on the application then you will have been notified by them of this latest meeting.

The application has been referred to by several names over the years including – Mill of Forest development and Land to south of Mansfield Cottage, Kirktown – but whatever it is called - it is a large development which if approved will border the historically significant Kirktown of Fetteresso and could ultimately mean up to 1500 extra homes for Stonehaven – in other words, effectively a new town on the edge of Stonehaven.

I would also point out that the application is not included in the current Local Development Plan for this area and was turned down by the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee of the Council in 2010.

So, despite being turned down by our local councillors, it would seem that it will now go to the full Aberdeenshire Council to determine the outcome of the proposed development at a further meeting on 20th November.

Thursday’s meeting is a formal pre-determination hearing and the agenda is already set. Only those people who have pre-registered with the Council will be allowed to speak at the meeting. The contact details for registration are to call Alison Cumming on 01467 628207 or email her at alison.cumming@aberdeenshire.gov.uk .

So if proposed plans to increase the number of homes in the town by approx 1/3 is of any concern or interest to you, then can I suggest that you leave work early on Thursday and attend the 6.30 meeting.

Name and address Supplied