Residents of Stonehaven have taken offence at press comments made by a Stonehaven and District community councillor this week. Current Vice Chair Phil Mills-Bishop made comments in the press regarding the recent robbery at the Best One Convience Store on Kings Road Stonehaven.
A Facebook post on the Stonehaven and District Community Council page by Stonehaven runner Kelsey Stewart showed dismay at Mr Mills-Bishop’s comments and was quickly shared and commented on by other residents.
Kelsey’s post said: “I would really like to bring to your attention, your vice chairman’s comments in Friday’s Press and Journal. Especially - ‘In the past, let’s say 10 years ago, this would maybe not be an unusual occurrence in this area, but it’s surprising as in recent years this sort of thing just doesn’t happen here.’
“My grandmother has been living in Stonehaven for 50 years and stayed in that area for many of those years and this has never happened so where he got his information from I have no idea. He has certainly created a very bad impression of those living in and have lived in the area. After speaking to residents in that area I can confirm he has caused a lot of upset and offence.”
Residents who commented on the post agreed with Kelsey and have called for Mr Mills-Bishop to apologise for his comments. A reply to Kelsey’s post by the Stonehaven and District Community Council said: “Apologies for any bad impressions from comments that have been made by a community council member. We as a council will now take action to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”
Mr Mills-Bishop told the Mearns Leader: “I have been made aware of this and it’s unfortunate. My comment to the P&J was meant to be that some time ago like 10yrs plus or more incidents, not robbery, like the one recently involving knives had happened in the area before. Not every week etc. but it happened and in truth when I first came to Brickfield 18-20 yrs ago it was known as the ‘least desirable area in Stonehaven’.
“At that time personally, in the block of flats where I live there has been a past knife attack; and anti-social behaviour in the estate was common along with Saturday night domestics. There has been recent re-echoes... even last week I unfortunately left the door of my flat unlocked and a complete stranger walked into my flat at 3am in the morning, drunk and came into my bedroom flashing a torch. I said ‘What the F*** is going on? and he said “Sorry, mate wrong flat” and left.”
“There has also been an increase in anti-social behaviour among very young teenagers and the ages of two of the suspects of the recent robbery and knife attack would seem to bear that trend out... The real question and issue for those who are shocked by my comments and for your wider readership is ‘Why are young kids as young as 13 doing or getting involved in this type of knife and robbery crime? This is something I will raise at Community Council, Police and Aberdeenshire Council.
“I do however, apologise if anyone was offended and I want to make that very clear that as a community councillor and representative on Aberdeenshire Council’s Tennents Committee I have, as you are aware, put issues and solutions onto the Community Council’s Agenda and will continue to do so to improve the Brickfield area and in particular its housing. I do believe that links between antisocial behaviour amongst our very young are linked to housing, education, economic factors and a lack of facilities to engage them.
“The use of the Brickfield Green as an Industrial Yard for the past eight months has not helped restricting the local kids’ ability to even have a decent game of football.”