Aberdeenshire Council urban gull review

By bellmannews / January 22, 2022

Aberdeenshire Council is continuing its detailed review of the way it tackles the extremely complex issue of urban gulls across the region.

The move comes in response to continuing complaints relating to gulls from communities across Aberdeenshire including noise, aggressive behaviour, fouling and the feeding of gulls.

Gulls are doing particularly well in many towns and villages – both in urban and rural areas – because people continue to provide food for them. That’s permitting them to thrive in an artificial environment with an artificial food supply which is neither healthy for the birds nor our communities.

However, the council’s Protective Services currently have no statutory powers to take action against gulls and can only give advice to members of the public as to how they can help deal with the problem.

Gulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which means it is illegal to capture, injure or destroy any wild bird, or interfere with its nest or eggs, unless you have a licence. Usually, the issue with the gulls starts in March and continues until September while they are nesting on rooftops, although there are increasing numbers choosing to remain in towns all year round.

During a meeting of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee on Thursday (Jan 20), officers explained that through engagement with a variety of stakeholders including pest control firms, the RSPB, the University of Aberdeen and other local authorities, it has become clear that far more information and consideration is required to develop an effective strategy to manage the interaction between urban gulls and local communities.

There remains considerable doubt regarding previous strategies which have been tried in terms of their longer-term effectiveness. While egg and nest removal may provide immediate respite in a particular area, gulls are very adaptable and there are concerns that this simply moves the problem into other urban areas.

It became clear from initial discussions that the key to developing an effective strategy for responding to concerns regarding urban gulls is to have a better understanding of gull behaviour and the drivers that are causing gulls to move from traditional habitats to urban settings.

Careful consideration is now being given to all legal options for minimising gull issues which are likely to include potential controls on feeding gulls, waste storage, gull proofing buildings and nest and egg removal.

Officers will present their completed review and costed action plan to the Infrastructure Services Committee in March setting out recommendations on how the council will tackle the urban gull issue. One option currently being considered is for a research project to be led by the University of Aberdeen.

Cllr Peter Argyle, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “While there continue to be too many who point the finger at the gulls and say they are a nuisance, in many respects they are not – human behaviour leads to the problem. We have created both a false environment and false food supply on which they are now thriving which is exacerbated by the unacceptable volume of littering which continues to occur despite all our messaging and education. I look forward to the outcome of our review and hope that, together, we can make a real difference within all our communities.”

Vice-chair Cllr John Cox added: “As we have limited powers to take action against the gulls, the key to reducing attacks by gulls lies in reducing their ability to breed and limiting the supply of food. The current advice – dispose of all food waste appropriately, do not leave food out for gulls in your gardens and do not feed them in other places where it encourages them to congregate and steal food – is a step until legislation permits the council to take other action.”

Advice for residents how they can help includes:

• Do not feed gulls on streets and gardens or drop food scraps, as gulls are scavengers and discarded food encourages the gulls to stay within close proximity to the food source. Dispose of food waste in a responsible manner

• Property owners can discourage gulls from nesting by erecting deterrent devices on chimney heads and flat roof areas such as spikes and nets

• You can arrange for an appropriately licensed pest control company to oil or pierce eggs to prevent hatching or have the nest and eggs removed.

From Aberdeenshire Council.

Aberdeenshire Council waste collection strategy release

By bellmannews / January 22, 2022
Aberdeenshire Council

Aberdeenshire Council awarded £3.4m to improve household waste collections and increase recycling.

Aberdeenshire Council has been awarded more than £3.4 million to help significantly increase recycling rates across the region and cut the volume of unnecessary waste going to landfill.

The funding is from the Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund. It means the Council will move to 3-weekly household collection cycle, which will see a new bin brought in.

• Week 1: Non-recyclable waste, sometimes referred to as your landfill bin, plus food waste (using existing grey bin and food waste caddy)
• Week 2: Paper & card plus food waste (using existing blue-lidded recycling bin plus food waste caddy)
• Week 3: New containers collection plus food waste (this will be food & drinks cans, cartons, plastic bottles, pots, tubs & trays, all using a new bin, plus food waste caddy)

A date for the start of the new weekly cycle and delivery of new bins has not yet been agreed.

At the meeting today, councillors unanimously voted in supported the new cycle, making clear we need to do something different to reduce our reliance on landfill and up recycling rates dramatically.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services heard today (Thurs, Jan 20) that this new cycle is expected to divert between 1,249 and 6,434 tonnes of material into recycling, increasing the council’s recycling rate from 44% in 2019 to 45-49% by 2023.

Estimated annual revenue savings to the council are anticipated to be in the region of £700,000.

Under the new strategy, all households will be provided with a new 180l bin for recycling of food and drink cans, cartons and plastics (bottles, pots, tubs and trays) and the existing blue-lid recycling bin for recycling of paper and card.

Councillors also welcomed a review of service provision for the collection of containers, including glass, within 12 months of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) being fully implemented and the full impact of the DRS has been realised.

They also instructed the director of Environment & Infrastructure Services to explore a business case to provide an opt-in chargeable garden waste collection service, with a report to be taken back to committee by June 2022.

While more than 70% of the material thrown away by households in Aberdeenshire is recyclable using the services already provided, in 2020 just 40.8% was recycled.

Residents can already recycle most of the packaging they bring back from supermarkets – including paper, card and cardboard, metal tins, cans, aerosols and foil, cartons, and plastic pots, tubs and trays.

But despite providing kerbside services and information on how to use them it’s not always enough – with around 28% of the contents of refuse bins being made up of food.

Chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Peter Argyle, said: “I very much welcome the significant funding support being provided by Zero Waste Scotland and look forward to the introduction of this new three-weekly cycle which will provide our communities with the opportunity to recycle far more. We understand that change to collections will take time to bed in, but we have every confidence that our residents will not only understand them but be surprised with just how much more they will begin to recycle.”

Vice-chair Cllr John Cox added: “We all have a part to play regarding the reduction of waste. Councils are trying their hardest to offer services which push up recycling rates and make the most of recyclable materials. Officers have been able to come up with an alternative which keeps us moving in the right direction. If recycling services are used to their full potential most households should be able to cope and the use of the food waste bin means there should be no additional issues either.”

Waste manager Ros Baxter explains: “While our current system significantly increased recycling when it was first implemented, it is no longer fit for purpose, particularly in light of more household packaging now being recyclable and with even more expected to become recyclable in the near future.

“By providing residents with more recycling capacity and less non-recyclable capacity to better match the materials they throw away, it will encourage residents to recycle as much as they can. Keeping the service aligned with the Scottish Household Recycling Charter will also make the service fit for any future policy changes.”

From Aberdeenshire Council

Aberdeenshire Local Outdoor Access Forum seeks new members to continue excellent work

old photo showing path in good condition

From Aberdeenshire Local Outdoor Access Forum

A body which seeks to continually develop, manage and promote outdoor access across the Aberdeenshire is encouraging new members from community groups or land managers to join its ranks.

Aberdeenshire Local Outdoor Access Forum (ALOAF) covers the area of Aberdeenshire apart from the Cairngorm’s National Park area.

It was established under The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 to advise the local authority on putting the legislation into effect.

Independent of the council, the forum advises the authority on matters relating to the exercise of access rights, delineation of rights of way and core paths and is also able to offer assistance and mediation to all parties in any dispute about access rights and responsibilities.

The group is, however, supported by a number of council teams during the course of its discussions, including Aberdeenshire Ranger Service, environment planners and outdoor access officers.

ALOAF members represent a broad range of experience across an array of fields of countryside interest including recreational use, land management, community development and the public and NGO sectors.

Meeting four to five times a year – virtually during the pandemic – the Forum considers a variety of access topics including:

•            Making the countryside more accessible and enjoyable for walkers, cyclists, horse-riders and canoeists

•            Offering assistance with the resolution of access disputes within Aberdeenshire

•            Development of recreation and access strategies for the countryside, ensuring that they cater for a wide range of people

•            Improvement of the rights of way network

Current chair Chris York has been a member of the Aberdeenshire Local Outdoor Access Forum for more than 10 years and has seen for himself the impact its work has made across Aberdeenshire.

He said: “Over the years our forum has played a role in encouraging dialogue among those bodies with a keen interest in access issues – ranging from farmers and other land managers, local community groups to public sector bodies. We have been heavily involved in advising on the Aberdeenshire Core Paths Plan and promotion of responsible outdoor access.

“As with many organisations, we are seeing a number of our members retiring from these voluntary roles, but it is crucially important that we keep the Forum active at a time when people are wanting to enjoy the benefits of outdoor recreation and land managers are feeling the pressure of increased public use of the countryside. We are currently looking for new members with a background in land management and from community groups or community councils.”

If you are interested in applying to join the Aberdeenshire Local Outdoor Access Forum, you should apply by email – including a brief statement (no more than 150 words) outlining your interests relevant to the position of land manager representative or community representative – to aloaf@aberdeenshire.gov.uk 

Alternatively, you can post written applications to: Bridget Freeman, Outdoor Access Officer, Aberdeenshire Council, Gordon House, Blackhall Road, Inverurie, AB51 3QL.

The featured image is the cliff path at Cowie, which is part of the Shire’s core path network

Stonehaven’s Renowned Butcher

Charlie sitting on a bench outside the Tolbooth

STONEHAVEN lost one of its best-loved characters on Saturday January 15, with the death of Charles McHardy, known to all as Charlie.

Tributes are already flooding in for a man who was shy at heart, but who will always be remembered for the courteous greeting and cheerful service extended to every visitor in his Market Square butcher shop.

Charlie’s family lived at Keith Place when he was born in 1943. And the butcher trade was in his blood, with a family business at The Cross first opened in 1907 by Charlie’s grandfather. By 1967, the shop had moved to Barclay Street and then to its current location Market Square in 1975 and the name plate above the door proclaimed Charlie’s ownership. His brother Kenneth joined him behind the counter serving locals and visitors alike with top quality meat and products – such as their haggis that was posted across the world each year for Burns’ Supper celebrations.

Kenneth sadly died in 1999. By this time, Charles McHardy was a name of renown in the British retail meat industry with its elite Q Guild membership.  Innovative products were rewarded with Smithfield Golden Diamond Awards for best in category. In 1994 Stonehaven boasted the Top Butcher Shop in Scotland, a title Charlie retained until 1996 only to go one better in 1997 when his business was crowned Top Shop in the UK.

This latest accolade even hit the news in Holland, thanks to a delegation of butchers who came to Stonehaven to see the range of products on offer. In this way, Charlie was kind and generous with his time, welcoming school trips, and giving talks for the talking newspaper and for the rural WRI groups of the Mearns.

Charlie was more than a successful retailer.  He was a truly contented local who cherished his roots in Stonehaven. Despite the loss of his mother when he was just ten years-old, the young Charlie enjoyed a full and active life: he was a keen footballer, playing for both his school and the Montrose Vics; he was a member of the Air Training Corps; and he was a keen salmon fisherman with Gustave De Jonckheere.

Charlie married his sweetheart, Lyn, in 1964. Their daughter Dawn soon completed a very close family, who shortly after moved to a new home in Woodcot Park. While Charlie always felt himself to be a ‘doon toon loon’, the family stayed put up the hill. And for sure the McHardys would never have considered life anywhere other than in Stonehaven. Charlie once quipped he had seen everything and he had done everything, as he’d been to London – so he didn’t need to see or do anything else.

Charlie and Lyn McHardy

Dawn recalls loving parents who were devoted to each other, enjoying lively, sparky conversation. And if you are wondering what an award-winning butcher liked for his supper after a long day in his shop? Meat and two veg of course, though he would eat turkey at Christmas.

Retirement beckoned in 2005. With his liberated time and energy, Charlie helped at Jubilee House, was a member of both the Rotary and Probus Clubs and, as a member of the 50 Club, cheered on The Dons. And he went for walks every day with his friends, who would conversationally put the world to rights.

The death of Lyn in 2018 was a blow from which Charlie never recovered. His health failed and he started kidney dialysis at the Kincardine Community Hospital in 2020. Typically, he took great pleasure from both the care he received and the banter with both staff and fellow patients.

And even to the last, when he was being treated in the intensive care unit of ARI for complications following a Covid infection, he was regaling the nurses with tales of Stonehaven – the town he loved.

Charles McHardy is survived by his sister Jean, his daughter Dawn, son-in-law Robert Swanson, grandson Blair and his wife Erinne, and great-granddaughters Bronte, Blythe and Romilly. His funeral is expected to take place on Tuesday February 1. Full details will be published in the press once confirmed.

KDP Bulletin

By bellmannews / January 18, 2022
Logo of KDP


The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.
Community groups, schools, clubs, councils, and churches are all encouraged to plant native trees across the United Kingdom to improve the environment for future generations.
Not only will this initiative have a lasting impact on carbon reduction for years to come, but it will also create a long-term legacy in honour of Her Majesty.

Sea-Changers Coastal Fountain Fund 2022
The purpose of the fund is to reduce the impact of single-use plastic water bottles on coastal habitats by funding communities to purchase water drinking fountains and install them for use by the public in busy or environmentally important areas.
Grants of up to £2,000 are available, per applicant, towards the cost of a fountain.
The closing date for applications is 13th February 2022.

MCHLN – Job Opportunity
Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network is a local charity which has been providing activities, services and support to maintain and improve the health and well-being of older people for 20 years. Based in Laurencekirk, the organisation delivers a range of community-based services across Kincardine and Mearns which support older people to live well in their communities. They also deliver a range of groups and activities to combat social isolation and loneliness and to maintain and improve physical health and mental wellbeing.
MCHLN is currently seeking an experienced and motivated Project Co-Ordinator to join the small, friendly staff team who are committed to making a difference to the lives of older people, including those living with dementia.
Take a look at the Job Description for more information and how to apply.

ANYTHING GROWS IN A 21ST-CENTURY HARVEST FESTIVAL.
Dandelion is a six-month celebration of collaboration, creation and collective action. From gardens to fields, windowsills to wide, open spaces, join in to sow and grow crops of every shape and size – and then come together at harvest time to share what has been grown.
Dandelion is inspired by the simple concept of ‘Sow, Grow and Share’: not just food, but also new music, ideas, scientific knowledge and community. Rooted in Scotland but with an international outlook, Dandelion follows the arc of the growing season from April to September – when musicians, makers, scientists and performers will come together for hundreds of inspiring events and activities across Scotland and online.

Digital Engagement Team
If you are dissatisfied with your broadband speed, there is now a team at Aberdeenshire Council that could help. The Digital Engagement Team are available to assist residents of Aberdeenshire to get better broadband.
The new team is able to guide individuals, businesses and communities to get superfast broadband at every property across the North East. With access to numerous programmes of support, plus a list of local and national telecoms operators with solutions, all enquiries regarding getting better, faster broadband are welcome.
If you, or someone you know, with slow broadband needs a solution, please contact the Digital Engagement Team at digitalengagement@aberdeenshire.gov.uk.

Community Wellbeing Exchange
SENScot, SCHW and CHEX are collaborating for a second year on a project to address the mental health and wellbeing challenges faced within local communities as a result of Covid-19 and are inviting community organisations to express interest in taking part.
20 community organisations across Scotland will be helped to purchase a wide range of mental health & wellbeing focused activities and services.
The purpose of this is to support community organisations in addressing emerging mental health & wellbeing needs within their community. The funding can also be used to purchase activities which support the mental health & wellbeing of staff and volunteers.
To express an interest visit the website.

The DigitalBoost Development Grant Fund is accepting applications from Scottish businesses, including charities, social enterprises and third sector organisations.
If you’re running a business in Scotland and want to do more with digital, for example to improve cyber security; build online booking systems; develop apps or invest in software, which can help to increase productivity and safeguard jobs, then this fund may be applicable to you.
See the website for more details about the fund and how you can apply.

KDP is here to help in any way we can. Please get in touch if we can assist you or your Community group.

King’s Road – Community Orchard

Aberdeenshire council logo

Aberdeenshire Council received positive feedback from communities in the area when grass cutting could not be carried out as usual last year due to Covid-19 restrictions, in its look and notable enriched biodiversity.
These were exceptional circumstances, and we recognise the importance of continued maintenance of greenspaces for all the value they bring, however it demonstrated that our current maintenance regime could be improved significantly for greater diversity of plants and wildlife, and greater resilience to reduced operational capacity.

We have identified the following options for amended maintenance to trial at various sites across Aberdeenshire:

Wildflower Meadow Creation – This requires preparing the ground through spraying herbicide to kill existing vegetation, rotavating to turn the soil and expose bare earth, ready for seeding with wildflower mix. Maintenance will involve cutting and collection of arisings every 6-8 weeks for the first summer. From the following year, there will be either a spring cut, a summer cut and an autumn cut, scheduled to ensure wildflowers have time to set seed.

Reduced Grass Cutting – There will be paths and edges maintained at current standards, but the highlighted areas will be cut only up to three times a year. This will allow a diverse mix of species to flower and set seed, which supports insects, birds and small mammals with food and habitat. Arisings will be collected where possible, reducing the grass growth and cutting requirement over time. 

Trees, Hedges and Shrubs – This will require weeding and pruning to ensure it looks tidy and grows well. Planting will support and attract a diversity of birds, wildlife and pollinator species. Cutting around this vegetation will continue until species are established.

Bulbs – Planting a variety of bulbs to flower at different times of the year will support many pollinator species as the seasons change. Depending on the variety of bulbs planted and the location, grass cutting can be reduced to less than three times a year

The Landscape Services will plant 25 heritage Scottish apple trees but would welcome anyone to get involved with planting or fruit harvesting in the coming years.

From Aberdeenshire Council Landscape Services

Planning to Have Less Councillor Involvement?

Aberdeenshire council logo

THE intricacies of Aberdeenshire Council’s planning process come under scrutiny by our councillors when the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee meets tomorrow.

And it is their own role in planning decision making that is being examined, with a review of the process where applications are either decided by planning officers – called delegation – or determined by a councillors’ vote in committee.

As it stands, Aberdeenshire Council has the lowest level of applications delegated to officers of any planning authority in Scotland. And according to the committee report, bringing applications before the area committee both slows down the process and is costly. Each application referred to area committee takes an additional 3 to 5 days of staff time.

Councillors can ask for application to come before them

There are different pathways for major developments.

For most others, any application provoking six or more valid objections is sent automatically to committee.

And councillors are notified of any application raising either five or fewer objections – or recommended for refusal. Councillors then indicate if they’d like to see the application brought before committee or if they are happy to delegate.

One change being proposed is to raise the number of objections triggering a notification to nine or fewer, with ten valid objections bringing a direct committee referral.

Community councillor flags concern

At last week’s meeting of Stonehaven and District Community Council, David Lawman flagged the paper going before the area committee and noted his concerns.

”I’m worried it is nibbling away at the powers of the elected members, and also at the powers of individuals.” he said.

”I am just slightly worried that this is an erosion of controlled checks and balances.”

Mr Lawman found support in Dawn Black who said: ”I think it is terrible that they are trying to take anything away from our elected councillors, who are there to represent us.”

But SDCC chairman Bill Watson said: ”It is not ‘they’ who are taking anything away from Aberdeenshire councillors. It would be the councillors’ decision about what balance they want to take.”

Details of tomorrow’s area committee

The full report for this item on the agenda is available online along with the full agenda for the meeting, which starts at 10am and will be conducted via Skype – above link also takes you to live stream links.

A New era and a New priest for St James the Great, Stonehaven and St Ternan’s Muchalls

By bellmannews / January 15, 2022
St James' Church

St James Church new priestA new era and a new priest are now the prospect at St James’ Church in Stonehaven and at St Ternan’s Muchalls, North Kincardineshire. The installation of Revd Mary Jepp as Priest in Charge has been set for Saturday 22nd January at 11:00 in St James, and 3pm at St Ternan’s. The services and ceremonies of licensing and installation at both churches will be conducted by Right Revd Andrew Swift, Bishop of Brechin.

These ceremonies are part of the continuing progress of the Scottish Episcopal Church in this area under the leadership of Bishop Andrew, who is championing the appointments of Transitional Ministers. The role of Transitional Ministry, unlike appointments in the past, will provide additional leadership to effect change and to enable the shape of ministry across an area to move to a more sustainable future for the twenty-first century.

Bishop Andrew said “Stonehaven and Muchalls are vibrant, active churches with strong lay teams, but have struggled in recent years without a full-time priest. This appointment and especially Mary’s qualities will, I am sure, make a huge difference from which the whole communities of Stonehaven and North Kincardine will benefit”.

Mary was born in Canada and met her husband, Mike, when he was serving in the Royal Air Force at RAF Goose Bay in Labrador Canada. Since moving to the UK in the early 1980s, Mary worked as a Primary School Teacher and then as an Educational Consultant for Cambridgeshire Access and Inclusion Service, where she was responsible for supporting children with Special Educational needs, their families and schools that had been put in special measures by OFSTED. She was ordained into the Church of England in 2008, becoming Rector of North Leightonstone Benefice in the Diocese of Ely in 2011, responsible for a group of 7 churches. She moved to Scotland in 2017 to become Rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Kilmarnock. Until recently, Mary has been serving in the Portsmouth Diocese.

Mary writes “Mike and I are both thrilled at the prospect of moving north to be with you in the near future. I have always sought out a worshipping community. As a result, my church experience has ranged from cathedral to heatless, sans electricity churches on the edge of wildernesses. For me, regardless of where we have ended up, it is the relationships that have mattered most; our relationships with God, with each other, with the communities we live in and with the world beyond our church walls.”
The Scottish Episcopal Churches of St James the Great Stonehaven and St Ternan’s Muchalls are part of the Diocese of Brechin within the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Issued on behalf of St James and St Ternan’s Churches and the Diocese of Brechin.

 

 

Question Time Invitation Extended

By bellmannews / January 14, 2022
Stonehaven and district community council header

DID you watch Question Time last night?

If you are a fan of the BBC’s weekly topical debate show with its guests from the world of politics and media, then you may be interested to hear it might be coming to Stonehaven.

At Tuesday night’s meeting of Stonehaven and District Council, member Paddy Coffield told members he had secured permission for Mackie Academy to be used as a venue – and he is about to send off the required forms to the BBC inviting them to our town.

Fury at Future of the Invercarron Resource Centre Being Decided Behind Closed Doors

shot of the resource centre and its large bay window area

IT was built for and was well used by the most vulnerable sector of our society – and there has been a public outcry at its ongoing closure and potential loss – yet the discussions and vote on the future of Stonehaven’s Invercarron Resource Centre for Older People are to be held behind closed doors.

In 2017, as part of the commitment to reduce GP workload, the Scottish Government and Scottish General Practitioners Committee agreed vaccinations would move away from GP delivery to NHS Board delivery through dedicated teams. Here, this is to be undertaken by Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, which is jointly accountable to Aberdeenshire Council and the NHS Grampian Board.

At this week’s meeting of Stonehaven and District Council, SDCC, Cllr Wendy Agnew updated members on AHSCP’s intention to repurpose the Invercarron Resource Centre into the town’s vaccination clinic.

Councillor is ‘absolutely furious’

Mrs Agnew, who chairs the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee, said she had been asked to agree to AHSC’s plans to alter the resource centre building – but she refused.

”So now the Invercarron Resource Centre has to go to the Area Committee,” she said.

”’But it is a pink paper, so it has to be heard in private.

”I am absolutely furious.”

The ‘pink paper’ Mrs Agnew referred to is the final item on the agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee.

It states: ”(EXEMPT) 11 – Supplementary Procurement Plan for The Health and Social Care Partnership – Procurement Approval”

What is being procured? The work needed to turn the resource centre into a vaccination clinic. What does exempt mean? The public (and press) are excluded.

Impact on elderly stuck at home

Jim Stephen then spoke on behalf of Stonehaven resident Vera Coull, who wanted to know what was being done for all the old people who were stuck at home. Mrs Coull feared many were very depressed after two years’ lack of stimulation since the closure of the Invercarron due to Covid.

And Mr Stephen congratulated Mrs Agnew on her efforts to save the Resource Centre. He asked all the elected members to heed Mrs Coull’s plea.

”We need people like Vera to keep writing in,” he said.

Need for exempt item being challenged

Ian Hunter said he was very shocked to hear what Mrs Agnew was telling the Community Council.

”The idea that this decision is going to be taken in private!” he said.

”Here we are with the chair of the Area Committee saying she is very upset by this. Well so she should be.”

SDCC chairman Bill Watson said it was an obligation of a local authority to conduct as much of its business as possible in public. And, if there were sums of money pertaining to contracts that should be kept confidential, this could be accommodated.

”The meat of the report could be held in public,” he said. ”That would be very normal.”

It was agreed that SDCC would write to the Aberdeenshire Council area manager, to express their concern at the Invercarron Resource Centre item being heard in private.

Previously in The Bellman

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