Cllr Agnew Resigns

Cllr Wendy Agnew has resigned her position as chair of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee.

Her decision follows comments made at the committee’s last meeting, deemed inappropriate and edited from the published recording – and provoking a motion of no confidence by Cllr Dawn Black.

Mrs Agnew does of course remain a councillor and will carry on undertaking her ward duties.

It appears there will now be a weekend of political manoeuvring before the next chair is elected at Tuesday morning’s Area Committee meeting.

Pavement parking enforcement

From:- Aberdeenshire Council

Aberdeenshire Council urges motorists to take heed as pavement parking ban is introduced on Monday

Motorists are being advised to take heed of new Scottish Government legislation banning parking on pavements from Monday (Dec 11). 

The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 bans pavement parking, double parking and parking at dropped kerbs, with certain exemptions designated by local authorities – for example to ensure safe access for emergency vehicles. 

Local authorities will begin enforcing the law which means drivers could be fined £100 for such parking offences, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days. 

Aberdeenshire Council has completed an assessment of all its footways and has made a small number of exemption orders which will be in place for the prohibition coming into force. 

While the council will be enforcing the prohibition, initially its focus will be around the education of motorists across the region. 

Philip McKay, Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services, explained: “Many people face daily difficulties with pavement parking which can be dangerous and frustrating. Unfettered access along a footway is important for us all, but especially so for those with additional mobility needs, should that be due to physical difficulties or the need to navigate with a pram or wheelchair. Even if you think you have left enough space, only parked two wheels on the pavement or you won’t be parked for long, pavement parking can have harmful consequences to people who use the pavement.” 

Pavement parking can force people to take unnecessary risks, such as:  

  • People using wheelchairs without access to dropped kerbs can fall over or be forced onto the road, risking their safety 
  • Families with children and buggies can be forced onto the road, increasing their risk of getting hurt 

Mike Harrison has been a wheelchair user following a cycling accident 17 years ago. He said: “Vehicles on the pavement can be just a nuisance and they can be a severe obstacle. It increases my journey time, I’m often in danger of scratching my hands on a wall, or vegetation sticking out makes it difficult to get past. Once you’re on the road, of course, you’re more vulnerable, especially if the traffic is coming up behind me. The new enforcement will make it clear to people what is required and will make journeys safer and more convenient.” 

Michael Tornow is blind and has a guide dog, Pebbles. He also has a hearing impairment and uses hearing aids. He said: “Pavement parking makes me frustrated. It’s just very tiring trying to navigate around parked cars. And not just for me, but for others – people in wheelchairs, people pushing buggies. It’s just not very considerate. As somebody who is completely blind, that’s meant stepping out into the road. That’s obviously quite dangerous, sometimes not being able to hear because of traffic noise. I hope the new enforcement will make people understand that pavement parking is both unsafe and unfair. Without cars on the pavement it will be easier and safer for me to get around.” 

Talking ahead of the campaign launch, Minister for Transport Fiona Hyslop said: “The message here is clear: pavement parking is unsafe, unfair and illegal, and you could be fined up to £100 for it. Local authorities can begin to issue fines from 11 December, so this campaign is really important to make sure everyone in Scotland is aware that enforcement is coming. We’re highlighting the danger that illegal pavement parking poses to pavement users, and in particular those with mobility issues or visual impairments, or parents pushing prams and buggies.” 

For further information visit  

Additional details around the pavement parking ban and other national campaigns are available at

Your Opinion Counts

rainbow over the bay

SO far 900 Stonehaven residents have added their voice to an ongoing consultation to help develop a local place plan for the town – meanwhile the questionnaire is still live online, and a session at Mackie Academy on Saturday gives you a chance to find out more.

This new step in the process towards Aberdeenshire Council’s next Local Development Plan for 2028- 2038 gives communities the ability to state their preferred way forward – and this must be taken into consideration.

Clearly, as in any consultation, the more participation, the more meaningful the results. The project is being led by Stonehaven and District Community Council.

Chairman David Lawman said: ”It is great that 900 people have had their say, but the more people that take part, the more it will ensure the content of our Local Place Plan is fully representative of the views of the townspeople.”

So – do you want more housing in Stonehaven? If so what kind and where? Or do you think home-building should stop for now?

What land or buildings would you like to see protected? Are there enough sports/leisure facilities. What about shops?

Are there community-led projects you would want to see actually happen – better storage for community groups or improvements to the lanes connecting the promenade to the town centre for example. If you have suggestions of your own – there is scope to have them recorded.

Open session at Mackie Academy on Saturday

Members of Stonehaven and District Community Council who are leading the consultation along with other volunteers will be present in the school foyer from 10am to 2pm. This is your chance to ask questions about the process and add your thoughts about the town using sticky notes.

Laptops and I-pads will be available for those who would like help to complete the online questionnaire

New Year Changes at Redcloak

By bellmannews / December 6, 2023

by Aberdeenshire Council communications team

Cars to be allowed access to majority of household recycling centres without booking

Aberdeenshire Council will allow cars to visit all household recycling centres except for Inverurie and Westhill without booking from Monday 8 January 2024.

A permit system for vans and trailers will be reintroduced across all household recycling centres in January to stop trade waste entering the sites.

The booking system at Aberdeenshire’s household recycling centres was first introduced as a traffic management tool and as a protective measure for customers and staff when centres opened after the covid lockdown in March 2020.

Between November 2022 and July of 2023, the council trialled various methods of access to its household recycling centres and evaluated the usage of the sites as well as the feedback provided by members of the public. The new arrangements, which come into effect on 8 January 2024, directly reflect the conclusions of the trial and the feedback provided.

The results of the trial were considered at Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee on Thursday 30 November 2023, where the decision was made to drop the booking system for cars at all sites from Monday 8 January 2024 with the exceptions of Inverurie and Westhill recycling centres where the booking system will remain.

Councillor Alan Turner, chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC), said: “Considering the feedback throughout the trial, this will be a popular result for the avid recyclers among us. Over the last year, I received several comments from Kincardine & Mearns residents, and I would like to say that I am particularly delighted about the new arrangements being introduced in the K&M area.

“Regardless of whether residents of Aberdeenshire need to book or not, I’d encourage everyone who wishes to visit a household recycling centre to continue to check the website for opening times. There are occasions where we must close a site at short notice and a quick visit to our web pages will save people a wasted trip in the few instances where we must make an unexpected closure.”

Councillor Isobel Davidson, ISC vice-chair, said: “It is a great result considering the popularity of the option in the feedback. We hope that Inverurie and Westhill residents will appreciate the reasoning behind the booking system remaining at their local household recycling centres.

“It was fascinating to see that, throughout the trial, people made fewer trips but with more deposited on each occasion. It would be good, in terms of climate change and reducing car journeys, if this habit were to continue.”

Visit to check household recycling centre opening days and times.

A benchmarking exercise carried out in September 2023 showed that within the 32 Scottish local authorities, 24 have a booking system in place at household recycling centres, either for all vehicles or for trade type vehicles only.

Since the introduction of the booking system, the council has seen a reduction in waste typically associated with trade going through household recycling centres and a 10% increase in trade waste contracts.

The booking system will now be used to implement the permit system that was approved by committee before covid. This permit system for the booking of vans and trailers, along with the limit of 24 visits per year, will be a control measure to keep trade waste out of household recycling centres while still allowing households with these vehicles to access the sites.

There was concern that the booking system led to increased fly tipping. However, it was reported at the Infrastructure Committee on Thursday 30 November, that the data shows there is no correlation between the way that customers access household recycling centres and fly tipping.

Household recycling centres are for household waste only. Businesses can sign up to a trade waste collection service or use the council’s business waste drop-off service.

Mackie RAAC Update

By bellmannews / December 6, 2023

From Aberdeenshire Council communications team

Positive news around Reinforced Autoclave Aerated Concrete within Aberdeenshire Council estate

Investigations by both Aberdeenshire Council building surveyors and structural engineers continue to progress apace across both the schools estate and wider property portfolio through assessments, visual inspections and intrusive surveys.

What is RAAC?

RAAC is a lightweight prefabricated form of concrete used primarily in roof construction, commonly referred to as RAAC panels, which was used widely between the 1960s and 1980s typically on low rise buildings including schools and housing.

It typically had a lifespan of around 30 years and it was found to be particularly susceptible to structural failure when exposed to moisture when its aerated or ‘bubbly’ construction can allow water to enter the material.

Investigations undertaken

As a safeguard, the Council completed onsite investigations across the school estate where intrusive or high level surveys were required to establish construction and ascertain the presence of RAAC.

This was very much a precautionary measure where previous visual inspections were inconclusive and we are happy to report that there are no further instances of RAAC within the schools portfolio.

We can also confirm that there is no RAAC present in any of our care or respite homes, day centres, training centres, family resource centres or children’s homes. The wider condition survey programme is now turning to sheltered housing units, however an early desktop exercise has been undertaken on complexes with areas of flat roof and a review of recorded information, and on-site investigations, does not indicate the presence of RAAC.

A number of community centres were also captured within school condition survey activities with no issues identified, however an extension to one hall is also to be reviewed on site.

Similarly there are no issues with sports centres or pavilions, swimming pools, libraries or museums.

Remedial works at Mackie

Further intrusive surveys and remediation works have been undertaken to the previous identification of areas of RAAC installations at Mackie and Westhill academies.

Notwithstanding previous inspections, intrusive surveys were undertaken at Mackie Academy in the Learning Plaza and adjoining gyms back in September. As a result it was determined that there was a need for some remedial works to be undertaken to provide further support to cut RAAC panels within the Learning Plaza only. These have now been completed and Learning Plaza is back in operational use by the school.

The roof of the £1 million learning plaza before the remedial works

And after

Initial inspections of the Common Room, Music Room and Radio Station noted installation as being sound with no evidence of cracking or spalling, water ingress or defection between planks. However, further intrusive investigations were again undertaken during the October holidays with minor mitigation measures undertaken and all areas are now back in operation.

While our remediation and mitigation works at both Mackie and Westhill academies are now complete and classified as ‘low risk’, these installations and roof coverings will still be subject to routine inspections by our Property teams on a regular basis, particularly following any adverse or severe weather event. 

Key to maintaining the integrity of the RAAC installations is ensuring that the panels are not affected by water ingress which severely impacts the structural integrity of the RAAC panels.

Aberdeenshire Council Leader Cllr Gillian Owen said: “I would like to thank all our teams from Property and Housing and our external structural engineers for their tremendous efforts in establishing the location and condition of any RAAC within our estate. It continues to be a major undertaking both in terms of desk-top surveys and on-site investigations which is being undertaken quickly and efficiently and I am sure it gives everyone great peace of mind.”

Deputy Leader Cllr Anne Stirling added: “The safety and wellbeing of our residents and customers is our over-riding priority and as a council we will continue to ensure we maintain due diligence to ensure our housing stock, care facilities, school buildings and leisure facilities are kept safe and well maintained.”

Previously in The Bellman

Councillor’s Comments Not Fit for Public

By bellmannews / December 5, 2023

THE status of the chair of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee is in question following comments she made at their previous meeting – which Aberdeenshire Council lawyers deemed unsuitable and to be edited from the published recording.

Conservative Cllr Wendy Agnew reduced the November 21 meeting of the Area Committee to a state of consternation and disarray after persisting in a line of comment about a planning application in the face of repeated indications it was inappropriate.

In an unprecedented move, the recording of the meeting published online was edited and sent for review by the local authority’s legal service manager.

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesperson said: “Following a review of comments made following the conclusion of a planning item at November’s meeting of Kincardine & Mearns Area Committee, it has been decided not to reinstate the short section of video concerned to avoid potential offence to viewers.’’

The agenda for next week’s meeting has just been published. Item three on the agenda is: ”Notice of motion by Councillor Black – TO FOLLOW admissibility being considered.”

The Bellman understands the motion proposed is one of no confidence in the Kincardine and Mearns Committee chair and calling for a new chair to be appointed.

Councillor’s move follows unprecedented scenes

At the last meeting, councillors were considering a planning application for the change of use from recreational ground to form a five-stance private permanent caravan park site for Gypsy/Travellers, along with the erection of five sheds, kennels and associated works (Retrospective) at Findon Park, Hillside, Portlethen.

As the application has regional significance it will be determined by Full Council – following consultation with the Area Committee who were asked provide comments / confirm their support.

There was a full discussion of the planning matters relevant or to the application – and clarification of concerns which were not relevant. During councillors’ debate, Cllr Agnew noted the retrospective element of the application saying this gave her ‘alarm bells’. And she voiced concerns about the possibility of additional vans being put on the site.

”It is a very big area for five. They’ll maybe be taking in travelling people,” she said.

To crystallise the will of the committee, a vote was taken, with the majority of councillors supporting the recommendation. The public recording ends at this point.

Chair refuses to accept advice

For those present at the public meeting, the matter did not conclude. Mrs Agnew, who had voted to oppose the proposals, asked for confirmation that her comments about the retrospective aspect of the application were noted – and suggested it was time for a break.

But Committe vice-chair Cllr Sarah Dickinson interceded.

She said: ”I wanted to ask if that is actually appropriate bearing in mind that we see retrospective planning applications quite frequently and that we are advised that they have to be treated as if they are new applications.”

Mrs Dickinson added the application should be treated equally.

Mrs Agnew refused to back down, restating her concerns.

She said: ”I don’t want it refuted. If they’re ignoring this they may ignore other things and let travellers in.”

This was received with clear dismay around the table. Area manager Tim Stephen called for legal and planning officer advice – both confirmed the retrospective nature of the application was irrelevant.

Despite this Mrs Agnew remained unwilling to change her stance.

Councillors rebuke chair

Mrs Dickinson distanced herself from the chair. She said: ”I have expressed my reservations.”

And she found echoing support from Cllr Dawn Black who also reminded Mrs Agnew the committee had agreed an equality statement – and, making clear reference to the Under the Equality Act 2010 (the Equality Act), she reminded Mrs Agnew that Gypsy/Travellers had protected characteristics.

”It is not acceptable to suddenly make comments about retrospective applications and refer to the people as ‘they’,” she said.

”You are clearly speaking about Gypsy/Travellers who have protected characteristics. It is not acceptable to be putting forward these views in this forum.”

What followed was very uncomfortable for all present. Mrs Agnew continued with determined efforts to have her comments on the record despite intervetions, including one by Mr Stephen. Councillors were seen shaking their heads or even holding them in their hands in apparent despair. Others just looked down as if unable to witness the unedifying spectacle.

The committee’s only independent representative, Cllr Alison Evison, finally steered the matter to a conclusion.

She said: ”We have reached a majority view and the reasons being put forward in that decision. That is what we’ve come to conclude as a committee and that is the view we need to put forward to full council.

”Anything else is an idividual, a minority view and therefore does not apply to all of us – and that is why a vote was important.”

Mearns councillor Kevin Stelfox voiced his support for Ms Evison’s conclusion.

At this point, finally, Mrs Agnew allowed the matter to conclude – and broke the meeting for a much-needed break.

Applications invited for Storm Babet support funding

From Aberdeenshire Council

Applications are now being invited from residents and businesses whose properties were impacted and damaged by flooding during Storm Babet.

The Scottish Government launched the fund to provide financial support to help people recover from the impacts of the unprecedented flooding.

Those impacted in Aberdeenshire can now claim grants of £1,500 for damage to their homes and property, while affected businesses can claim £3,000.

Aberdeenshire Council is now ready to accept applications up until January 19, 2024.

Application forms and criteria available at:

The grant scheme has been made as simple and fair as possible for people to apply to, and to give councils discretion so they can help as many people and businesses as possible.

Flat rate grants of £1,500 are available to people whose primary residence was flooded. Businesses, charities and community groups which cannot operate – or which sustained significant damage and can only carry out limited work due to flooding – will be able to claim £3,000.

Grants provide financial support to all who meet the criteria, irrespective of whether they are council tenants, housing association, private renting or homeowners. Grants are available for both insured or uninsured properties. Residential properties which only suffered flooding of the garden – or second homes – will not be eligible to apply.

Aberdeenshire Council Leader Cllr Gillian Owen said: “Communities across the region were impacted to varying degrees by flooding during Storm Babet and it’s important that residents get their applications in as soon as possible so we can assess them against the Scottish Government’s criteria and make payments where appropriate.”

Depute Leader Cllr Anne Stirling added: “We saw only too well how households and some businesses suffered during the flooding – particularly in and around Marykirk – and this support grant funding will go some way towards helping them during this challenging time.”

Announcing the scheme, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero Màiri McAllan said: “There is no doubt that people, businesses and communities in the worst affected areas are still suffering hugely. Many are worried about what the immediate future holds, and we acknowledge that for many the festive season is going to be challenging.

“This grants scheme recognises this. I want to re-assure those affected that the Scottish Government will play our part in helping people and businesses through this horrible experience which has destroyed property and belongings.”

Meikle Carewe Community Fund

Group of turbines on hillside

By Kincardineshire Development Partnership

Twenty-One Local Groups Benefit from Wind Farm Community Fund
Last month, funding worth a total of £36,599.30 was awarded to a range of
local groups and projects in the area of benefit of the Meikle Carewe Wind
Farm Community Fund.
RES, a leading independent renewable energy company, operates the Meikle
Carewe Windfarm Community Benefit Fund to support local groups and
projects. Funding is available for the benefit of not-for-profit groups and
organisations in the Community Council areas of Crathes, Drumoak & Durris,
Newtonhill, Muchalls & Cammachmore, North Kincardine Rural, Portlethen &
District and Stonehaven & District. Administered by Kincardineshire
Development Partnership (KDP), applications to the fund are assessed by a
Decision-Making Panel made up of representatives from all five Community
Council areas. The fund is available annually for the lifetime of the wind farm.
Successful applicants this round were:
Crathes Public Hall Trust – £3000; Drumoak Durris Warm Space – £1500;
Drumoak & Durris Playgroup – £781.98; Drumoak School Council – £2500;
Drumotters Swimming Club – £1100; Muchalls Village Association – £3000;
Newtonhill Out of School Club – £1500; Lairhillock Parent Council – £294;
Lethen Archers – £1590; 1st Portlethen Scouts – £2500; Stonehaven & District
Horticultural Society – £956; Cowie Junior Netball Club – £1600; Stonehaven
Fireballs Association – £839.84; Exercise After Stroke – £1113.48;
Stonehaven Horizon Project – £1870; Maryculter Driving for the Disabled –
£2000; K&M Youth Clubs – £574; Portlethen & District Voluntary Community
Ambulance – £5000; The Larder & Covid Support Group – £2000; Stonehaven
Amateur Swimming Club – £1500 and Kilwhang Ringers – £1380.
For more information please visit, or contact the KDP office on
07903 156864 and

We need your help!

By bellmannews / December 4, 2023

A CHARITY picking up much of the ‘slack’ after the closure of Stonehaven’s Invercarron Resource Centre by providing social activities and support to our older residents is looking for a big vote of support to help it win much needed funding

We – Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network – are delighted to be chosen as one of the final charities in round three of the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund.

It means we have a chance of getting up to £48,779 of funding!

BUT we need YOUR help. The “Participatory Budgeting” public vote to decides which charities get the money is online – meaning that many of our clients, who are digitally excluded, will be unable to vote for the very services that support them.

Will you help ‘level the playing field’ by sharing this post, voting for us, and encouraging colleagues, friends, and family to do the same – helping to give a voice to older people who are excluded?

The process is quick and easy, all you need is an Aberdeenshire postcode and a few minutes to read about all the great charities– just click the link below and choose your five charities – we’d LOVE if one of your votes is for us!

Vote now for Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network

Roundtable Roundup

By bellmannews / December 4, 2023
Santa waving from his bright red sleigh

Firstly, thank you people of Stonehaven! We had a fantastic turn out on the 5th November for this year’s Bonfire and Fireworks Display at Minerallwell Park.

We raised over £10,000 and want you to know that this money will go back into the community and help towards future events. So please reach out to us if your community group has a cause we can contribute towards.

We are now into December, which is the month we spend supporting Santa as he travels around Stonehaven on his sleigh, blasting out festive bangers along the way! Check out our Facebook page for where you might see him this year. This month, we’ve also been busy supporting all the school fairs providing our signature popcorn and candyfloss!

As we approach the end of the year, we want to share our appreciation for the volunteers and the generous companies who give up their time and resources to help make these events happen. Thank you!

If you’d like to join the Roundtable, we’d be delighted to have you along. The group is open to males aged 18-45 years old. We aim to balance volunteering in our community with member social activities. In the last few months, we’ve been Quoiting, visited Fettercairn Distillery, enjoyed Chinese, Indian and Thai food, explored Montrose at night and we’ve stayed plenty hydrated too!

On behalf of the Stonehaven and District Roundtable, we hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year when it comes!

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