Letters to the Editor

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Chipper controversy - More pressing concerns

Madam - As you no doubt will be reporting on the fried mars bar notice, I would like to point out that there are more obvious things to be seen to.

First should be the gutters on buildings in the square and Evan Street unless you want to advertise them as hanging gardens. Secondly the Kwik-Fir building could be an attraction as an art deco edifice ‘not looked after for 20 years’. The TSB, Boots, Kwik Fit and other proprietors must be aware of the mess.

Yours etc.,

W. Hermanns

29 Westfield Road

Stonehaven

Letters to businesses - Community of Stonehaven

Madam - Over the last few days an issue, which has been causing plenty of debate and discussion through the media is the letter from Aberdeenshire Council addressed to a number of local Stonehaven shops specifically asking to remove advertising banners, such as the very famous ‘Deep Fried Mars Bar’ banner at the Carron Fish Bar. The removal of this banner and others was meant to be a way of enhancing the image of Stonehaven, as a town for its residents and tourists.

It was also suggested that organisations, such as Stonehaven and District Community Council knew about this and were consulted about this letter, plus supported its content fully and this is a misrepresentation of the Community Council view, as far as I am concerned.

As a community councilor on Stonehaven and District Community Council, I obviously support any measure or initiative, which will help improve the image of the town and want every business in the town to showcase what a fantastic community/place Stonehaven is to live in, but I completely reject all the wording/suggestions used in the Aberdeenshire Council letter, suggestion that removing some banners would help this in any way.

I want to make it clear that at no point did I know this letter would come out, I do not support the request for some shops to remove advertising banners and I can completely understand why so many local people and shop owners in Stonehaven have been upset by the letter from Aberdeenshire Council.

Please can I encourage people to come along to our next Community Council meeting on the 11th August at 7.15 pm at Invercarron Resource Centre, where I will express these views in more detail in public and there will be a discussion on the Stonehaven and District Community Council, response to Aberdeenshire Council on this. Yours etc,.

Daniel Veltman

Community Councillor on Stonehaven and District Community Council

Residents and visitors of stonehaven

East Newtonleys

Madam - I think I can safely say that we all love our beautiful town for its incredible coastline and scenery. When you come into the town from either the North or the South you see the hills, trees and stunning skyline. It has an appeal that brings tourists from all over the world so they can get just a small taste of what we are lucky enough to have right here on our doorstep. However, if the Council has its way, this dramatic landscape could soon be ruined. I want to share with you my concerns, expressed by many members of our community over some development plans that Aberdeenshire Council has for extending Council facilities in the town. Allow me to elaborate…..

Last week, myself and several other members of the community were invited to a consultation over the repositioning of Council services to one site. This, on the surface, would appear to be a good idea as less admin staff would be required and would, hopefully, lead to improved communication between different Council departments. OK, I hear you say, so what is the problem? It’s simply that when I am invited to a consultation I expect there to be something to actually to consult about and to not just be presented with something the Council thinks is a foregone conclusion. A consultation to me is where you are presented with several options and asked to select the best option or at least put forward comments on the alternative proposals. Not to be presented with one plan which is obviously at an advanced stage – many hours of public funds had obviously been invested in the plans to date. It was also apparent that the plans being discussed had been prepared following extensive consultation with the proposed developer of the site, a private company.

The land in question covers an area of approximately SIX football fields and would contain concrete structures the length of 1.5 football pitches and 12m high. Where is this piece of land? Perhaps at Redcloak where we already have a recycling centre and where there are already industrial units? Where there is a nice easy access in a safe spot to the A90? No, actually not! It is in fact very close to Dunnottar Castle, an area of outstanding beauty and logical to keep that way if we want to attract tourists to our town. This site is called East Newtonleys,from where the black and white horse is for 2 football field lengths, and lies at one of the most dangerous junctions in the area. A development such as this would ruin the skyline of Stonehaven to the South, there is really no doubt about that!

Why should this be the preferred site? Well, it would appear to be something to do with enabling Bancon, who own the land, to develop the rest of the site. Aberdeenshire Council would have to install all the infrastructure on developing this area. In fact it appeared that this was in fact a joint planning proposal. This seems totally out of order to me, what do you think?

I think you, the people of Stonehaven, have made it quite clear that no further development should happen on this site due to the increased risk of flooding in the old town. Yet this arrogant council yet again think they know more than the residents do. Residents who have numerous years of local knowledge on their side. This Council is determined to foist this development upon us whether we want it or not because they deem to know what is best. Is that true? How about when the Council built on the flood plains or removed the mill pond which took overflow water or when they built the concrete structure which prevents the water disbursing onto the beach... Do I really need to go on? It seems that just about everything the Council do to improve Stonehaven seems to have detrimental effects on our town!

Last week we had a national debate because the Council were complaining about a banner on the side of the Carron chip shop and making a big issue of tidying up the town to make it more attractive to visitors. And then this week it seems it is OK to ruin the iconic scenery of Stonehaven with a lot more than a poster!

The time has come to remind the Council, and I do not mean just the Councillors but the permanent employees, the civil servants entrusted to do the best for our town in accordance to the requirements of the local population who employ them. We are not supposed to do just do what we are told to do, it is supposed to be the other way round. This Council has got off scot free for far too long but this folly is a step too far and must be stopped. I hope we, the people of Stonehaven, can unite and make our voices heard before our landscape is forever destroyed. Anyone interested in preventing this please get in touch as we need to get together an action force.

Dr C Stirk

Stonehaven

Politics - Police review must not sweep problems under carpet

Madam- As an Angus Councillor I agree with Alison McInnes about the need to ensure that the serving police officers and civilian staff get the chance to take part in the review, and also I believe that the problems stem from the disastrous SNP policy of centralising the police services and there has been mistake after mistake since then, and all we see in Angus are cutbacks and our excellent local police and staff, being told to stop doing things they have been doing for years due to central dictat. It is not surprising therefore, that there are calls for the Chief Constable to resign as he is overall responsible for Police Scotland.

However in my view The SNP and Nicola Sturgeon should spend less time playing silly stunts at Westminster and more time sorting out the mess they have created with the police.

Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes MSP today said it would be fundamentally wrong to sweep problems in police call handling under the carpet as Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Scotland (HMICS) announced the terms of reference for their review of call centre operations.

The HMICS review, which was announced by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson following the recent tragic events following a car crash in Stirling, is set to report in October.

Commenting, Alison McInnes MSP said:

“The reason for this review might be the tragic events around the M9 crash, but concerns over the impact of control room closures have been raised for months. It is vital that the HMICS takes a proper look at the implications of the restructuring and what it has meant for staff and people reporting crimes. It would be fundamentally wrong to sweep these issues under the carpet.

“It is essential that serving police officers and civilian staff have every chance to have their say during this review without fear of adverse consequences for their careers. The commitment from HMICS to listen to police staff and public alike is welcome and they will be held to that.

“We should also not forget that the problems within Police Scotland do not stop with call handling. Whether we are talking about armed police on the streets, the massive use of stop and search and reports of low morale, the case for a wider review of the way that our police force does business is overwhelming.”

Yours etc.,

Councillor David May

via email