“Undemocratic” supermarket decision

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A Stonehaven Community Councillor has blasted as “undemocratic” the fact that no provision for a large supermarket for Stonehaven has been detailed in the Aberdeenshire Draft Local Plan.

The attack was made by Peter Greig at the March meeting of the council, when members were told that the Scottish Ministers’ report on the Local Plan was now on the Aberdeenshire Council website.

Councillor Wendy Agnew told the meeting that the report says that Stonehaven should have a “respite” from housing but crucially there is no mention of a large supermarket.

“The roads depot has been earmarked for some small retail development, but the people of Stonehaven want a big supermarket. I think what has been done is wrong.”

Member George Strang predicted the supermarket would be a big issue at the forthcoming council elections and Mr Greig said: “Where is the democracy? The people have been very vocal about the need for a supermarket and this totally flies in the face of the wishes of the public of Stonehaven and area.”

Councillor Agnew said it would be very interesting when the report goes before the area committee next week.

Andrew Newton asked: “Is the final decision in the hands of elected councillors?”

Councillor Graeme Clark replied that any group can put in a planning application. That application might be approved even if it goes against the Local Plan, but Councillor Agnew questioned whether that could be done.

Meanwhile the future of the toilets at Stonehaven beach remains in doubt, after the community council previously indicated that they wanted to relinquish the duty of running it.

Andrew Newton told the meeting that the community council ran the toilets on behalf of Aberdeenshire Council last summer, but he was not convinced that this was a proper role for the community council and that other parties might be interested.

The local authority paid the community council £500 to open the toilets for six months, but treasurer Bob Michie said that £1,060 had been spent on the toilets in the past year.

Councillor Agnew said there was a proven need for the facility and the council will need to give more money.

Douglas Samways told the meeting that Stonehaven Town Partnership were looking at the beach toilet issue with a view to possibly becoming involved.