Here are the letters sent to us this week that can be seen on page 10 along with some comment highlights from our Facebook page. If you have a letter you can e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to 12 Ann Street, AB39 2ER.
STP report - ‘I don’t think so’
Sir - “The Planning for Real reports have been the completetion of a long exercise which shows public consultation works” I don’t think so Mr Fleming!
What appears to have been ‘completed’ is a random collection of ‘comments’ from some individuals - few group responses are mentioned.
My interpretation of ‘public consultation’ is just that - consult the public openly, directly through clear lines of communication usually by well advertised public meetings. I note in the STP minutes they recognise themselves they do not communicate adequately with the public.
STP are still pursing the caravan owners on the recreation grounds. These caravan owners have never been included in any direct dialogue. It is a well used site contributing much to town but the proposal is to replace with a hotel!
Ignore feasibility studies - costly and usually prepared using a model which cannot measure ambiance and character of a place or site. How about spending less money but using more shoe leather by surveying a) the caravan owners as to how they feel about unceremoniously being ‘chucked’ off their site, b) local businesses on impact the removal of this revenue would be, c) the residents of the town.
STP claim to have ‘attempted’ to contact the trustees of the recreation grounds. Surely considering the STP’s ability to move mountains, it is a poor reflection on them that they cannot do more than ‘attempt’ contact with the trustees?
The picturesque harbour is also in the firing line. Yet another area which attracts thousands of visitors who fortunately, due to the good common sense of the licensing committee, can still enjoy a pint sitting on the harbour wall. Surely STP were not serious in their ‘comment’ to prohibit this?
The Harbour Development has also incurred the expense of yet another feasibility study. I also note with interest no mention has been made of the proposals to possible dredge the outer harbour at the north end and to place pontoons in the harbour all in order to encourage cruise ships and other craft to visit the town!
Again where is the accountability to the many residents who live round the harbour. Photos of Stonehaven harbour must surely be among the most iconic of the town. Add a cruise ship, pontoons and other craft - surely loss of what is beautiful and attractive about the harbour. Sometimes the golden egg the goose laid can get stood on!
And, Mr Edwards and Mr Fleming, your vehement rebuttal at the February community council meeting that the harbour was not in line for a marina is not in tune with press reports. Support lies in trust.
I wondered when the Open Air Pool would hove into the STPs view. So a retractable roof on an Art Deco building - hmm. The uniqueness of a swim in heated seawater in the open air. I thought the clue was in the name - open air!
There is a need for the building to be given some aid - perhaps any future feasibility study money could be donated to the Friends of the Pool and progress made in upgrade a repair. Again to make such drastic change to an historic building which attracts simply because of its uniqueness is counter productive?
Whether it is a ploy or not is difficult to say but to ask for responses on so many and so diverse projects in the report is virtually impossible. Also are the responses to replace a public meeting on this report or is there going to be a chance for the public at a meeting to give their responses?
Not everyone buys the Mearns Leader nor does everyone have access to a computer. Many of the proposals have a basis of merit but surely a wider debate - especially on the pool, harbour and recreation grounds - is essential. I would hope if there is to be such a meeting that it would be held once the caravan owners have access to their site for 2015 and that in light of the volume of topics that the 2014 public meeting on Plan B would not be viewed as having dealt with the recreation ground issue. Another benefit to a public meeting is that all views aired can be heard by all and not just a few.
David Officer: “This looks great.”
Lindsay Verstralen: “Brilliant.”
Nick Hyatt: “Hard to tell from the sketch but that looks an interesting combination of the old with the new.”
Hayley Cameron: “Looks great, I love the old and new mix look.”
Lana Armstrong: “Looks great, about time approvals were given for new and contemporary.. Hope to see more as it’s not only Pensioners that live in Stonehaven!”
Linda Michie: “Well done to the charity for their forward thinking but I just hope that the council sees the vision in the same light.
I can see some stumbling blocks a head getting by the planning with such an old building.”
Carol Marshall: “Looks great and I know that it would be an asset to the museum too. Well done to all involved for helping put Stonehaven and its tourist attractions to the nations.”
Dave Taylor: “Looks fantastic but again the problem is parking.”
Jane Leiper: “Looks good, I think the glass area should be a tea room run as part of the museum to bring in more money for the museum, together it would be a hit.”
Neil Horne: “Love it! Aberdeen City planners take note. See, it IS possible to blend old and new sympathetically. Give this talented architect the Marischal Square and Art Gallery jobs.”
Maureen Cooper: “Is this not a Listed Building, if so could be a very long drawn out application.”
Lindsay Ross: “Well as the council demonstrated by moving the Canon at the end of the auld toon, planning laws are fairly loosely applied. Innovation and creativity. ...oh I don’t know if Stonehaven is ready for that.”
STP wants views on report
Graham Macaulay: “A safe cycle track to connect us with Aberdeen would be good as the traffic’s only going to get worse, and the bypass will make little difference. Outdoor pool is one of our greatest assets and should be funded and treated as such. Harbour should be easier to get a berth in. There seem to be a lot of old boats never used other than to maintain the berth.”
Lucy Gourlay: “The recreation grounds are a huge part of the community of Stonehaven and to replace them with a supermarket is ludicrous.”
Stephanie Lloyd: “Thinking that before you develop a town any further you should look at sorting out the problems the town already has, Stonehaven medical centre for a start, trying to get an appointment is a joke and the doctors are to run off there feet to actually care, the service is failing many and really needs looking at!!
“Also schooling, dunnotter school really needs bigger premises, get the plans forwarded on for taking over the court house, my son is at the nursery and it’s shocking that his nursery is the other end of the town! You try walking a three year old all that way!! I could go on and on but I’m sure you all know Stonehavens faults, maybe try resolving some of them before adding on to it.”