Stonehaven community's successful protest
A Stonehaven community has shown what can be achieved with an old fashioned petition and good communication.
What started as a bad news story for both tenants living at Burns Terrace in Stonehaven and their Social landlord Aberdeenshire Council, has turned into an example of a successful coming together of tenants and Council officials.
The petition collected by local tenants Phil Mills-Bishop and Jola Slo, a retired Polish Nurse, was to protest about the establishment of an Aberdeenshire Council contractor depot in the middle of their community green area.
It created an eyesore for residents, and local children lost much of the green to enjoy and play on.
Phil said: “The contractor Everwarm turned-up unannounced one day in February earlier in the year and at the time no-one in Aberdeenshire Council seemed to know why or who gave the contractor permission.
“Moreover, there was no communication or engagement from either the Contractor and/or Aberdeenshire Council warning the community nor when the significant depot that evolved would be removed.
"As the months rolled on it seemed to be a semi-permanent fixture.”
Jola added that her grandson had autism and the noise of the comings and goings involved with the Depot affected him very much.
The final trigger that resulted in the petition – entitled ‘Stop!! The hijacking of our community green – was the extension of the depot beyond its original established perimeter by another contractor.
Once a number of signatures had been collected, Phil contacted Councillor Anne Stirling, chairperson of Aberdeenshire Council's Communities Committee.
Cllr Stirling listened to the tenants’ concerns and set in motion the removal of the depot by contacting Aberdeenshire Asset Manager, Dave Thompson.
Dave then acted immediately and the depot was completely cleared in a week, although the damage to the grass areas is evident and will need to be restated to bring it back to use once more.
Rob Simpson, Head of Aberdeenshire Housing, assured bith Phil and Jola that processes would be put in place to ensure that communication and consultation with local tenants would be improved going forward.