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.

Supermarket - Re:Lidl or Aldi

Sir- Stonehaven is an affluent town in Aberdeenshire with many business men and women working in the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen.

Property prices are high and many of the residents are fairly well off.

So why oh why would the general populace of ‘Stoney’ require a fairly downmarket supermarket like the Coop to be supplemented or replaced by one of these two limited range discounters?

Much has been made of their recent gain in market share at the expense of ‘The Big Four’ but I would hazard a guess that this was not in areas such as this in the NE of Scotland but in the less well off areas around the UK.

So my answer to the question, ‘which would you prefer in Stonehaven, Lidl or Aldi,’ is neither.

Stonehaven continues to need a decent sized, full range supermarket - preferably one of the major players.

Yours etc.,

Jack Ross

via email

Cemetery - Not good enough

Sir - I am amazed to see the GS Brown development at Kirkton of Fetteresso is being pushed forward again. What I would like to know is when is there going to be an extension to the cemetery?

Instead of more houses it would be better to use the land next to the cemetery as an extension to it, so that folk who live in Stonehaven could actually be buried there.

I know of three people lately who were not able to be buried in Stonehaven as, apparently, there are no lairs left in the existing cemetery. Two of these people ended up buried in Glenbervie. This is not good enough.

If the town is continually growing there should be the facility to also be buried here!

Yours etc.,

Mrs G Martin

Stonehaven

Missing moggies - Check your sheds please

Sir - Recently a lot of cats have gone missing in St Cyrus, including my son’s cat, (microchipped), missing since November 11.

Posters are up everywhere in the village. One cat in Davidson Place went missing a month or so ago and has never been found.

My dog walker’s cat had been kept by someone feeding it for days on end. Luckily she got it back.

Can I also appeal to people not to feed other folk’s cats. I know it’s considered a kind thing to do but it only stops the cats going home to their owners.

Also, if people can check their garden sheds and outhouses to see if there are any cats who have become trapped or shut in, I’d appreciate it.

If we can educate people not to feed or take in someone else’s cats it might help locate the missing moggies.

This is a very serious situation we have here. Who knows which cat will go missing next?

Thank you for your help.

Yours etc.,

Mrs E Hill

via e-mail

Response - Making a compromise

Sir - In reply to Councillor Bellarby’s letter, no, I did not ‘read the 142 letters against or the one letter in support’, or hear the ’impassioned plea of one resident’ to that particular development (Toucks). I would agree that I am not in favour of a large development in Stonehaven, I never said I was.

However, my letter pointed out that I find it strange a supermarket is not in the local plan and that, for the 14 years I have been in Stonehaven, there has been no progress, only a lot of talk and no action.

The Rosetta Project has landed on a comet millions of miles away in less time than it has taken to plan a supermarket in Stonehaven. This supermarket project is like the Holy Grail – it will be spoken of in hushed tones by our grandchildren but it will never come to fruition and certainly not in my lifetime. The Ury plan was the ‘least worst’ option, having only 10 objections, some of which were from other developers, and at least would have given Stonehaven a hotel (a much needed addition to a tourist area).

It would be wonderful if a supermarket could be built without some sort of additional development, but there is no such thing as a free lunch and somewhere a compromise must be found.

It is also fanciful to imply that our town centre as it now stands satisfies the shopping needs of the population.

Most people I know already leave Stonehaven to do their main shopping, either on the way home from work or a special trip (of 15 miles in each direction) to one of the major supermarkets. Online grocery shopping is also very popular judging from the number of delivery vans I see round the town. Stonehaven is following the national trend of ‘top-up’ shopping for the rest of the time, using the town centre shops. A local supermarket would at least have the benefit of cutting down petrol consumption and traffic jams on the A90. A possibly ‘green’ benefit.

I have been approached by many people in the last week who have agreed with my point of view, we don’t want a large development but we do want another option to the Co-op locally and, if it comes with some extra development, then that is a compromise we may have to make.

Yours etc.,

Diane J Fleming

5 David Street

Jottings - Thank you all

Sir - A minor frustration of writing a weekly newspaper column is that you can never be sure how many, if any, people actually look at it. So it was gratifying to read the appreciative comments of the “Community of Johnshaven” and to know that the many years, firstly with pencil and rubber, and latterly at a keyboard had all been worthwhile.

It was also pleasing to know that it met with the approval of the professionals!

A weekly column is, of course, a commitment but once you work out a system and get into a routine, then it becomes just that, routine, and I hope that someone will come forward to keep the “Jottings” going. In the meantime, as the editor has said, he is happy to receive individual contributions and recent editions have been encouraging.

Writing the “Johnshaven Jottings” was always a joy and never a chore and I am sure that anyone who is prepared“ to pick up the cudgels” will have the same experience.

Yours etc.,

Clark Simpson

Johnshaven’s local

correspondent (retired)

Editor’s note: You’ll be a hard act to follow, Clark, but I’d be happy to hear from anyone who fancies having a go. My contact details are on page two.

Mains of Cowie - Do we need it?

Sir - Does Stonehaven need yet another 400 over-priced houses, a third filling station, another SMALL supermarket , traffic congestion at the north end of town and an impossible strain on services such as schools, dentists and doctors ( try getting a medical appointment these days ).

If the answer is Yes then you should warmly welcome Stewart Milne’s repeated attempts to deliver just this by developing Mains of Cowie. This development would be ideal, sitting alongside the thousands of houses waiting to be built just a few miles to the north in the new town of Chapelton. With the new AWPR southern starting point hundreds of yards from Mains of Cowie we will have the perfect scenario for traffic and housing congestion on a grand scale.

There is a crying shortage of doctors around these parts, many are close to retirement age, and so this promise of another 400 houses overlooking the town will be a great asset to those in need of medical attention with plenty of time on their hands who don’t mind waiting a few days or more for their appointment.

Imagine the flow of traffic along the A96 during morning and evening rush hour as motorists commute between Stonehaven, Chapelton and Aberdeen. One accident, one breakdown, heavy rain, snow, ice, fog or a wide slow load and motorists can look forward to their half hour journey at best stretching far beyond that. Carry a good book in the car, you might need it.

On a serious note, the word overkill springs to mind as regards another 400 houses in this area already drowning under a sea of housing applications and development. The infrastructure, roads and services simply cannot cope, its impossible. Our quality of life will be seriously compromised and in a changing world with North Sea oil steadily running out ( some estimates state it will be a trickle at 250000 bbls per day in 15 years time compared to 1.5 million now. ) the last thing any sensible council should be allowing is the building of more and more and more houses. It is eating up valuable agricultural land and ripping the heart out of towns such as Stonehaven. The legacy of North Sea oil will eventually be ghost communities all across Grampian, Buchan and Aberdeenshire. The only winners will be present day land owners and developers.

Stonehaven is a town under severe pressure from developers with absolutely no infrastructure or essential services to cope with this. Enough is enough. The concept of the new town Chapelton a few miles along the road was, as much as anything, to stop developments such as Mains of Cowie. This and similar developments in and around Stonehaven are completely unnecessary and serve only to feed the aspirations of land owners and developers. If Stonehaven, despite a chronic lack of infrastructure and services, has to get extra housing then it should be for Associations and council only. This is where a real housing shortage exists and desperately needs to be addressed.

Yours etc.,

Alexander Grant

7 Woodcot Park

Mains of cowie - Here we go again

Sir - Here we go again. End of October, Stewart Milne Homes have submitted a planning application to build a mixed-use development including up to 400 residential dwellings, community facilities, primary school, retail, petrol filling station, access infrastructure and landscaping (ref. APP/2014/3844) - at Mains of Cowie.

wo weeks ago Aberdeenshire Council issued neighbourhood notifications.

I find it astonishing that Stewart Milne Homes have submitted their bid at all. The land at Mains of Cowie is not allocated for development in the current Local Development Plan (LDP) 2012. In the Main Issues Report 2013 for the new Local Development Plan 2016 Mains of Cowie isn’t considered for development either, neither for housing nor for retail. Moreover, the Infrastructure Services Committee rejected the idea to recommend Mains of Cowie as a site for a supermarket. The Main Issues Report 2013 specifies other possible sites for this purpose as well as for new houses. The situation couldn’t be any clearer.

To add to the confusion, Aberdeenshire Council has accepted and is processing a planning application which seems irrelevant at this time and is likely to become redundant with the new LDP. In times of tight public purses it makes one wonder why the council should spend time and resources on this.

Comments and representations concerning the above planning application can be sent to Aberdeenshire Council until November 24.

Yours etc.,

Regina Erich

1 Willow Row