Letters to the Editor

Send your letters to news@mearnsleader.com. Printed letters are the opinion of the reader submitting them and not necessarily of the Mearns Leader and Kincardineshire Observer

Flats - support new business’

Madam - I recall reading an article in the Leader a few weeks ago regarding plans being submitted to the council for seven flats to be built on four levels on the site of the Bervie Chipper, which has been lying derelict for the past few years. It was reported in the article that the Community Council would not comment on this until they had seen the plans.

I thought at the time, this is a no brainer; who in their right mind would give support a four story building close to the town centre to be used for housing; however, on reading the Leader - dated January 22 - I was wrong.

The Community Council voted to support this development by 10 votes to 0 with 1 member abstaining, on the grounds that it will “provide much needed housing for Stonehaven town centre”!

I would suggest the community council put a bit more effort in encouraging new businesses to the town, rather than supporting more flats.

It should also be pointed out, this article was in the same edition of the Leader as the free 2016 calendar. Of the local business sponsoring this calendar, less than 30% were Stonehaven based. Surely this says something about businesses in the town - or lack of them.

I do hope our local authority planners and elected representatives disregard the backing of this development and reject the application, and work together with others, individuals and/or bodies; to encourage businesses to develop in the town.

James Paterson

Address supplied

Council Tax - agree with plans

Madam - I agree with Moray Council’s plan to raise Council Tax by 18%. It would add £300 per year to my bill but I assume my overall taxes would reduce by the same amount because the SNP wouldn’t need the top-up fund it uses to control councils.

I don’t expect Aberdeenshire Council to do this. We have an SNP administration after two labour Councillors defected to them last year. Nor will they revoke Alex Salmond’s write off of £1bn Council tax arrears in October 2014. This money could have come in useful in these difficult times but instead of that us loyal taxpayers are paying for the SNP’s support of people who break they law by not paying their taxes.

Mind you, it makes sense because as long as they stayed off the Electoral Roll so they couldn’t be traced they couldn’t vote SNP.

Allan Sutherland

Stonehaven

Sculputure

AWPR

Madam - I came across the enclosed postcards (See Picture of the Week) of Peterhead when browsing through a sale. “Landing the catch at Port Royal,” so named because of the connection to the “Old Pretender.” “The Harbour, Peterhead,” (now Port Henry) SD Pursuit PD 394 on the front, and on the reverse “John Ritchie, Stationer, Broad Street, Peterhead. The scene today, at Peterhead and other harbours, bears no semblance to the size of the herring drifter fleets of the 1900’s depicted on these postcards.

The suggested sculpture of a single sail to be erected on the AWPR, to depict the North-east’s connection with the herring drifter and the North sea, is perhaps significant in that the single sail might also represent the decline of the fishing industry; the sail, incorrect in shape, in that it does not reflect the “Lug,” the sail most common to the herring drifter.

Herring drifters conjures up images of fishermen’s wives gutting and packing herring at the “farlin,” mending nets, barking nets and spreading out to dry on fields and over fences, barrels of herring stored in wash houses for family use and the annual exodus of whole families to Great Yarmouth. “The Angel of the North” has been cited as an example, something similar might suggest the faith of those who fished the waters of the North sea, faith in their own ability, faith in their fellow seamen and faith in their Maker! Folk lore and superstition of the sea, another challenging thought!

This quote from my late father’s book “Harvest of the Years” reminds us of the dangers of working at sea and of events during WWI when German submarines would surface and order crews to take to the lifeboats before blowing up their ships -

“SD Elizabeth PD203 - Sunk by German submarine 23/6/15 10 pm. Submarine sighted 3 or 4 miles astern while “Elizabeth” was lying at her nets. Gear cut away and vessel steamed to NE to avoid capture and destruction. Had travelled 3 or 4 miles when stopped by a shot from the submarine. Crew ordered to take to small boats and “Elizabeth” sunk by gunfire. Crew picked up by “Vine” which also suffered the same fate.”

Both the crews of “Elizabeth” and “Vine”were picked up 11 hours later by SD Energy PD424 9 am 24/6/15 - my grandfather’s boat. 12 boats were sunk by the Germans in one month. One of the reasons for such interest was that herrings could be canned and used to feed the British army!

A very good fiend and artist from Peterhead suggested a sculpture depicting a wheeling shoal of herring, very similar to that of a flock of starlings, wheeling in similar manner when interrupted in flight. An excellent idea, and with a bit of imagination, the AWPR’s already “wheeling” shaped route could take on a whole new significance under its suggested new title, “The Sculpture Road,” another excellent idea!

John Ritchie

Stonehaven

Flodding - Response to Mhairi leslie

Madam - My letter is in response to Mhairi leslie’s letter to the editor last week in which I was named in.

It’s a poor day when people like Mhairi are so quick to send letters, without knowing the full facts.

In Mhairi’s letter she stated she did not need social media updates, she just had to go the bottom of the garden. Lucky for Mhairi. I feel her narrow minded view wouldn’t be shared by all those who reside in Stonehaven and work outwith and can’t just “go to the foot of their garden” so therefore seek updates from other sources.

As Mhairi is a “social media phobe”, I fail to see why she is so upset. As for the vast majority they found the social media updates useful. Many who work outwith the town finished work early to get home to erect floodgates, move cars to a safe place and help to fill sandbags, all thanks to social media updates. Thankfully these prevention methods were not called into action.

As Mhairi suggested that our time (myself and Craig Irvine) might have been “better employed filling sandbags and delivering them to local homes and businesses in dire need”. Mhairi, you are right - however misinformed. I’d like to bring your attention that while I was posting updates on social media, I was not sat in the warmth of my house. In fact Mhairi, I was helping local residents move their belongings into my storage facilities and then into my vehicles when room was running short.

I’d like to also note not once was I or Craig looking to be thanked or “praised” for our actions. It’s called being a decent human being, helping others in their time of need. Saying that we are not here to be criticized, especially by someone who blatantly does not know the full facts of the situation.

Unfortunately, with misinformed attitudes like yours Mhairi’s, quick to judge and to write letters. People like you put others off from volunteering and helping out. No wonder local groups struggle for volunteers when this is what you are subjected to.

Stephen Jackson

Stonehaven