The Baird Family, Rickarton Estate and Stonehaven

Richard Holman Baird

I have become aware that there is a bit of chat on social media and around Stonehaven about myself and Rickarton Estate and I hope you will allow me time to put my side of the story.

By way of background, the Bairds bought the Auchmedden Estate, near Fraserburgh, in 1534 and Alexander Baird bought Ury Estate from the Barclays in the 1850s and shortly after Rickarton Estate from the Rickart-Hepburns. Sadly,my Grandfather had to sell most of Ury in 1946, to pay the punitive death duties of the time.

All through history my family is steeped in public service, my Great Grandfather was Governor General of Australia in the 1930s and my Grandfather, Viscount Stonehaven, served in the House of Lords and as a local County Councilor.

Most of the ‘new’ Town of Stonehaven is built on Ury land and Baird Park and much of the main square area was given to the council or community by my Grandfather over the years.

I have taken on our family’s mantle and provided fishing for the Stonehaven Angling Club and facilities for the Mackie Rugby Club for many years. Sadly the neighbouring ground to the Rugby Club, managed by a local resident, was sold recently and the Rugby Club were given notice to quit on their practice pitch. This has snowballed, due to the Rugby Club being so successful that they have outgrown the area I have let to them. Sadly I don’t have the funds to rent the Rugby Club a bigger area, until a developer wishes to buy the existing pitch between Redcloak steading and the Council Recycling centre. I will be extending the lease on an annual basis so that the Club continues to have a pitch to play on until they can find a permanent home.

I allowed the Recycling centre to be put on my land, Aberdeenshire Council having been unable to find anyone else near Stonehaven who was prepared to entertain them.

More recently, many dog walkers get enjoyment by walking on the Cheyne Hill, on the Slug Road, without the need to keep their dogs on leads. I took the decision to take all the livestock off the hill several years ago, on the understanding that people would refrain from walking on the rest of the Estate, so that I am allowed to carry out my
farming business, principally sheep, without undue disturbance.

The Meikle Carewe windfarm gives our Community a large cheque each year for local projects, rather more I might say,than I receive as rent. Our Viewmont Planning Committee originally decided to refuse planning permission in 2011, even though it was supported by the Council civil service, by one vote. It went to Appeal and the Reporter thought the grounds for refusal were so spurious that not only was the decision overturned, but all costs were awarded against Aberdeenshire Council.

The current application for the Craigneil windfarm is, surprise surprise, in the same position due to a motion by the Chairperson to refuse. Let’s hope the Reporter’s decision doesn’t cost us, as taxpayers, another huge bill to be paid from Aberdeenshire Council’s budget.

I support a number of local businesses, who rent land or buildings on the Estate at very preferential rents and also provide local rural housing.

In another role, the Lord Lyon of Scotland commissioned me to be Commander of Clan Baird in 2019. I have become involved in the Stonehaven Twinning Initiative, which I see as a huge ‘hand of friendship’ to towns in other Countries, with the platform to provide all sorts of local initiatives with other communities in the World. Clan Baird has just given a Challenge trophy for the Houff Hill Race, usually run in conjunction with the Stonehaven Highland Games each year.

I also give the Christmas tree in the Town Square each year, free of charge.

I also provide the reception party at Dunnottar for Vetrun 180, a charity supporting challenged Royal Marine veterans, before they start their adventure across country through Rickarton Estate and ending up at the Ardnamurchan lighthouse on the West Coast.


The Houff on Ury is the burial ground and Mausoleum for the Barclay (Quakers) and Baird families and I will soon, in conjunction with other groups in Stonehaven, be bringing forward plans to restore it to it’s former glory, so that it is treated with the respect it deserves. My Grandfather, Ian Baird, later Keith, is the most recent person to be buried there, so it is a very special place to me and my family and also an important part of Stonehaven’s heritage.


Hopefully I have painted a different picture of the awful, remote Landowner, with no sense of Community, but that is for you to judge ?

Yours etc

Richard Baird of Rickarton, Ury and Lochwood

Stonehaven Ladies Complete Double Double in Bowls Finals

By bellmannews / October 19, 2021

From Chris Ford –

Stonehaven’s super squad of Bowlers have completed a double double after retaining their Triples and Rinks Crowns won in 2019.

Stonehaven were represented by:
Triples: Sheila Bremner, Kim Watt and Catherine McIntosh
Rinks: Lauren Roddie, Sheila Bremner, Kim Watt and Catherine McIntosh.

Continuing their tradition of success in Scottish events, Stonehaven ladies again walked off with the prizes at the delayed 2020 Scottish Finals held at West of Scotland Bowling Club in Glasgow.

Having re-qualified for the semi-finals of each competition in late 2019, no one could have predicted then that it would take near two years before the completion of the Scottish Bowls calendar for season 2019/20, but after a strange couple of years we can finally celebrate their success again.

Triples: Sheila Bremner, Kim Watt and Catherine McIntosh

In the Triples Semi-final against Abbeyview, Stonehaven found themselves 10-13 behind after 12 of the 18 ends, but rallied to secure a 21-15 victory. What followed in the afternoon was even more heart stopping.  

 Stonehaven got off to a stuttering start to say the least. A disappointing first four ends saw the team 0-12 behind after losing a near maximum count in the fourth end. It didn’t look good. It still didn’t look good with 12 of the 21 ends complete, as Auchinleck had kept Stonehaven at bay to now lead 18-9 with time running out for a fightback.    Stonehaven won 26-21.   The final 9 ends saw Stonehaven outscore the opposition by 17-3 to claim a place in the final. The Double Double was on.  

The day of the finals dawned and the triples were first up against Headwell, and again they found themselves 7-10 behind after half distance. There was to be no denying them though, as again they went to work and picked up a crucial 5 in the 12th end and a well timed 3 in the 16th helping them to an eventual 18-14 victory. Part one was complete, now for the rinks.   

 At this point Sheila, Kim and Catherine had played twelve hours of Bowls in twenty-four hours. Another four hour game against  Balbardie was ahead of them to complete their little piece of history. In 2019 it had been the rinks up first and after a narrow success, the Triples used the momentum to build a big 18-0 lead after five ends… would history repeat itself? Would the double double really be coming back to Stonehaven?    Stonehaven led the rinks final 11-0 after four ends. Could Balbardie repeat Stonehaven’s comeback of the previous day? In the end they got within four, but the double double was secured with a 21-17 victory after a measured performance, keeping Balbardie at arms length at all times. History was complete for a little club from the North East.   

“We are delighted to do a first double double success, especially considering we are a small club from the North East. We would like to thank everyone that supported us over the course of this journey,” commented Kim Watt after the game.   

The Stonehaven ladies will now represent Scotland at the British Isle’s Championship in Belfast during March 2022, so look out for more Bowls action to come.   If you wish to try Bowls in Stonehaven, the Indoor Bowling Stadium is located within the Recreation Grounds complex on Beach Road. You can come and try yourself, or look out for one of our upcoming Try Bowls events, with the next one due to be a competition for newcomers to the Sport.    All that remains to be said is… Mon the Stoney! 

Feature image – Rinks: Lauren Roddie, Sheila Bremner, Kim Watt and Catherine McIntosh

Stonehaven Golf Club mini hibernation

Stonehaven Golf Club finds itself with an ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ vibe right now; the Summer season formally over while the Winter season is yet to begin. Whilst the debris is swept away by the caretaker, the bunting hanging apologetically from the ceiling, we’re forced to wait a little longer for the Winter League to commence. No matter, a couple of Stableford comps are sustaining interest while we tread water and dry clean our long johns in anticipation. 

Mike Griffin and Gary Robertson found themselves in high handicap heaven during this week’s respective Stableford competitions. Exactly one hundred competitors took part in Saturday’s event, Mike triumphing by a solitary point over Jacek Nowak and Duncan McRae. And on Wednesday, Gary Robertson belied his 25 handicap by birdieing the first hole and eagling the fourth on his way to a 43 point tally which overhauled the field of 76 competitors. Runner up was Jason Barbour who discovered a gross score of two under par simply wasn’t good enough. Golf’s a harsh gig sometimes.


Before revealing the Ladies 12 hole Stableford results, it’s my solemn duty to bring into question the merits of two very recent major winners; Stuart Dempster and Harry Roulston. The former besmirched his hard earned DF Leslie title by failing to reach the humps off the first tee last week, in full view of the clubhouse, and the latter followed his JM Low triumph with a  lowly 92nd place in the weekend Stableford. The mantle of SGC major winner brings with it significant weight, it would appear these two have dropped said mantle upon their toes. 


Mantle carrying isn’t something that Fiona Lamont labours under, she’s won the Ladies Championship multiple times and continues to lead the pack. This week she secured the 12 hole Stableford on countback (over Lynne Carnie), again proving herself to be the most consistent and reliable of performers.


Saturday Stableford 

1. Mike Griffin 40 pts 2. Jacek Nowak 39 pts 3. Duncan McRae 39 pts


Midweek Stableford

1. Gary Robertson 43 pts 2. Jason Barbour 41 pts 3. Colin Polson 41 pts


Ladies 12 Hole Stableford

1. Fiona Lamont 26 pts 2. Lynne Carnie 26 pts 3. Janet Owen 24 pts

Aberdeenshire Council launches new round of grant funding for coastal communities

By bellmannews / October 16, 2021
Interesting mix of chains and nets

From Aberdeenshire Council communications team –

The second year of Aberdeenshire Council’s Coastal Communities Challenge Fund (CCCF) programme has been launched today (Oct 15).  

Grants are being targeted at community groups, third sector organisations and small businesses on Aberdeenshire’s coastline and can fund a range of activities with positive economic, social or environmental impacts.  

The fund distributes revenues generated by Crown Estate Scotland, with applications being assessed and approved by NESFLAG – the North East Scotland Fisheries Local Action Group – a cross-sector partnership comprising representatives from Aberdeenshire’s coastal and fishing sectors.

This year’s programme builds on a very successful first year which offered grants to an array of projects including equipment for sailing clubs in Peterhead and Stonehaven, infrastructure improvements to small harbours, investments in a fish processing business in Portsoy, a new restaurant at the Lighthouse Museum in Fraserburgh and interpretation displays at Macduff Aquarium.      

This year’s grants will be targeted towards activities or infrastructure which meet the following priorities:

  • Supporting the development of active travel routes along, to and from the coastline
  • Developing the coastal economy and sustainable tourism
  • Creating or enhancing community, leisure and recreational facilities
  • Safeguarding, restoring or enhancing the coastal environment

Grants between £2,500 and £25,000 will be available, and applicants must make a minimum 10% match funding contribution to projects.  Small business applicants must contribute 50% match funding.  

Due to budget conditions, all projects must be completed by 31st March 2022.

Chair of the council’s Environment and Infrastructure Services Committee, Councillor Peter Argyle said: “I was hugely impressed with the projects which received funding last year and this second round of financial support will provide another great opportunity to support and develop Aberdeenshire’s coastal communities and businesses who continue to face challenging circumstances.”

Vice-chair Councillor John Cox added: “Investing in our coastal towns and key sectors such as seafood – especially adding value to our seafood right here in the north east – continues to help lay the foundations for a robust economic recovery. I would encourage any groups or businesses wishing to bid for funding to contact council officers as soon as possible as we have limited time to spend this money.” 

The deadline for submission of applications is Monday 15th November, and potential applicants can access the application form and guidance at nesflag.org.uk/CCCF

Applicants are also encouraged to contact use for more information and support at coastalcommunities@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

A Range of Bespoke Stonehaven Gifts

mugs with dunnottar Castle art work

from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s boutique shop in Stonehaven is well known for its designer bargains and vintage gems – and now the team are delighted to be offering both locals and visitors to the town the chance to buy some bespoke gifts.

The Stonehaven boutique at 22 Market Square has an exclusive new range of Stonehaven-themed gifts showing unique images of the famous Dunnottar Castle.

There is whole range of bespoke Dunnottar Castle items including mugs, coasters, tea towels, keyrings, magnets, notebooks, jute bags and cotton shopping bags, with prices ranging from £3.49 – £9.99.

Shop manager Wendy Hogg explains how well the new items are being received in the town,

“The new range is going down a treat with the locals.  People have been either treating themselves or buying them for family and friends.  A lot of customers are saying that they’ll make an excellent Christmas gift with others sending them to loved ones who now live further afield to remind them of home, which is lovely.

“We’re so delighted to have such an exclusive, high-quality range to offer people and our customers seem to love the fact that they can buy something that feels so local to the area.    Every purchase in our store will help someone living with a chest, heart or stroke condition to live their life to the full.”

The boutique shop also offers big-name labels at bargain prices, with ladieswear, menswear, accessories and collectables to suit all. You will find high street fashion brands and vintage finds – as well as a selection of stunning Scottish Christmas cards and greetings cards.

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland stores are vital in raising funds to help people living with chest, heart and stroke conditions, including covid 19, to get back home from hospital by supporting people when they need it most.

So pop into the Stonehaven shop at 22 Market Square to find the new range of gifts and who know what else you’ll find when you are in!

Scrievers Beir The Gree

Mearns Writers Group success at Doric Call My Bluff during Across the Grain

From The Mearns Writers Group –

The Rowie Dunkers won the title two years ago. The competition was in abeyance last year because of lockdown and this year took place virtually on Sunday 3rd October.  Obscure and aal farrant words from the darkest corners of the Scots dictionary were brought to light by compere Peter Reid of RGU and the team from Steenhive went into a head to head with a team from Banchory which they won convincingly.

“We’re fair delightit wi oorsels,” said team captain Alistair Lawrie. “If naethin else it jist gings tae show fit gweed leears we aa are.”

The teams had to define such unfamiliar terms as pilpert, hull-run, fishhakes, bruckles and strushlach.

“The main thing was to spin a believable yarn round each word. And to keep a straight face while doing it,” commented Sandy Inglis.

“Which was difficult because the whole thing was great fun,” added Morag Hill.

The victory means the trophy will stay in Stonehaven Library for another year once it’s been suitably inscribed with the winning team’s name. A presentation ceremony will be held in the library at some time in the New Year.

The folk pictured in the screen shot from the event, above, are from left to right Morag Hill, Alistair Lawrie, Sandy Inglis, Peter Reid of RGU and Jackie Coroon of Live Life Aberdeenshire Library Service.

Community collaboration results in Mackie safe space

By bellmannews / October 13, 2021
room painted in soft grey with grey sofa and informal chair

From Aberdeenshire Council communications team –

A special safe space set up at Mackie Academy for pupils and teachers is already proving useful.

Thanks to £1,000 worth of funding from Raeburn, Christie, Clark and Wallace, Solicitors, the school converted a secluded space to become a room specifically dedicated for use as a quiet area where pupils can take time to reflect or where challenging conversations can take place in a calm environment.

Mackie Academy Head Teacher Louise Moir explained: “When we came back from the second period of lockdown, we knew that perhaps there were going to be greater demand around both our staff and our pupils’ health and wellbeing.

“We were also very much aware that many of the rooms are formal and make pupils and staff think they are in a classroom or meeting room. It is not going to be the best setting if you are having a conversation that may be quite difficult, challenging or emotional. The spaces are also quite public, so people don’t feel comfortable about the setting they are in.”

To resolve this dilemma, Mackie Academy with the financial support of local solicitors Raeburn, Christie, Clark and Wallace created a bespoke room called the Raeburn Room which is specifically designed for moments during the school day when a private space is required. The Stonehaven school also used funding obtained from the Scottish Government to meet additional costs.

The room was redecorated, painted with a calming colour, and furniture was added, including a comfy sofa, so the room could be used for a variety of activities and to make it look less like a classroom or a teaching space. It is used for internal one to one meetings with pupils and staff, small group work and on occasions when upsetting or difficult news needs to be shared with a pupil, whilst external meetings such as supporters catching up with their young carers also use this safe space.

Louise Moir added: “I am hugely grateful to Raeburn, Christie, Clark and Wallace for the support provided. We are a community-minded school, so it is great to be able to work in partnership with local business to improve the school.”

Callum McDonald, the Managing Partner of Raeburn, Christie, Clark and Wallace, said: “We have now been established in Stonehaven for over 30 years and our recent acquisition of Connons of Stonehaven has consolidated our place at the heart of the business community of the town.

”We were delighted to take the opportunity to support the school in creating the safe space at a time when it is needed more than ever. We hope that both staff and pupils of the school benefit from the facility for many years to come.”

September Photo Competition winner

Congratulations to Maggie McArdle of Stonehaven who wins a year’s membership to the Mearns Camera Club in their 50th Anniversary Digital Photo Competition with their entry “Sun setting over the hill along South Deeside” chosen for its simplicity and drama.

The October competition with the subject of “DOORS” is now open! You need to be in it to win it!

All are welcome to enter. There are two age groups: under 18 and 18+. Please be sure to check the rules below before entering.

Enter by emailing your image to photocompetition@thebellman.co.uk

So you can be preparing for future months, the competition subjects will be:

  • November – subject Open (any subject)
  • December – subject “Movement”
  • January – subject Open (any subject)
  • February – subject “The Woods”
  • March – subject Open (any subject)

Mearns Camera Club 50th Anniversary Photo Competition rules

  1. The competition is open to anyone living within the area defined by the rivers Dee (to the north) and North Esk (to the south) and the B974 road (to the west). Any professional photographer, members of the Mearns Camera Club and any one associated with The Bellman are not eligible. There will be a junior section for for those aged under 18 and a senior section for those 18+
  2. The competition runs for 7 months, starting 1st September 2021 and ending 31st March 2022. There will be 4 Open competitions where any image can be submitted and 3 Named competitions where specific images should be submitted.
  3. Each month a person can enter up to 3 digital images of their own creation. No prints will be accepted. Each image must have the individuals name and contact details attached. The images must be jpeg and no larger than 2MB. The images submitted will be judged by the Mearns Camera Club and the results published in the Bellman the following month. A selection of the submitted images will also be in The Bellman. It will be assumed that the photographer will have sought and received any permissions required to allow their photo to be used in the competition.
  4. The images submitted will have been taken in the current year(s) (2021/22) and taken within the area defined in rule 1 – ‘the area defined by the rivers Dee (to the north) and North Esk (to the south) and the B974 road (to the west)’.
  5. The Mearns Camera Club and The Bellman reserve the right to use any image for their promotional purposes. Credit will be given to the author. Copyright remains with the photographer.
  6. Each month a prize of a years subscription to the Mearns Camera Club will be awarded to the persons selected as the winner in each group. No other prize option will be available.
  7. Entries for each month can be submitted that month but not earlier. Entries should be sent to photocompetition@thebellman.co.uk

Are You Concerned About Flooding in Stonehaven?

By bellmannews / October 13, 2021
Over the bay from the Bervie Braes

STONEHAVEN Flood Action Group has prepared a detailed response to the on-going consultation on proposed flood risk management including that for Stonehaven – see earlier reports below.

The group are asking residents who support their submission to provide their details so they can add those names.

From Christopher Anstock of Stonehaven Flood Action Group –

FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT IN STONEHAVEN

SEPA are consulting across Scotland on flood risk management for the 2022-2028 time period. Full details of this consultation are available online at the following link.

https://consultation.sepa.org.uk/evidence-and-flooding/frmplans/

This information while comprehensive at over 170 pages, isn’t very detailed to specific options, potential actions, and reference materials.  

To aid you in responding, the Stonehaven Flood Action Group has prepared the following document.   It details our answers to each of the eleven questions that an individual resident or local business in the Stonehaven PVA (Potentially Vulnerable Area) would have to answer.  

Most of the questions are set out with choices of yes, no, or not sure.  However, there are a few specific text boxes which do need a typed input.  For clarity, the SFAG responses have been shown bold, underlined full capital text with a yellow highlight.

How to add your voice to the Stonehaven Flood Action Group

If you provide the information indicated in the following form, the Stonehaven Flood Action Group will, on your behalf, upload it to the consultation. Note the consultation closes on 31st Oct 2021.

  Name: –       
    Postal Address: – (Inc. post code)     
  Contact email: –       
  Date: –   

Please write with this information to:

Alan Turner, Cowieside House, 9 Ironfield Lane, Stonehaven, AB39 2AG

(Note to enable upload this needs to be done by 12pm on 30th Oct 2021.)

The consultation document – with SFAG’s responses

Question 1.  What is your Name? (Optional)

Answer will be taken from the table above

Question 2. What is your email Address? (Optional)

Answer will either be a SFAG email address with an acknowledgement sent to the email address on page 1 or sent to the email address on page 1

Question 3. What is your interest in this consultation? Are you responding on behalf of:

  • Local authority
  • Scottish Government
  • Community body
  • LOCAL BUSINESS
  • Community group
  • MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC
  • Other organisation

Depending on the postal address given in the table on page 1, this will be entered as either a local business or a member of the public

Question 4. This is a joint consultation with local authorities. Are you happy for your responses to be shared with the local authority?

  • YES, I AM HAPPY FOR MY RESPONSES TO BE SHARED IN FULL
  • Yes, I am happy for my responses to be shared anonymously
  • No, I don’t want my responses to be passed to the local authority

If you are a local authority making a representation on behalf of an individual, please confirm consent for publication of response.

               Yes, I have permission to share all this response with SEPA.

               No, I do not have permission to share this response with SEPA. (If you do not have permission, SEPA will not consider this response in its decision making.)

Question 5. Do you agree that we have identified the main communities and infrastructure that required flood risk management objectives and actions within the North East Local Plan District?

  • YES
  • Not sure
  • No

Share your views with us

Question 6. Are you responding on behalf of a Scottish local authority, or other public sector flooding partner?

(Required)

  • Yes – this response will take you to question 7
  • NO – THIS RESPONSE WILL TAKE YOU TO QUESTION 12

Question 12. What target area objectives are you interested in providing a response to?

Please choose one area from the list below.

  • Portgordon (target area 398)
  • Buckie and Portessie (target area 455)
  • Portsoy (target area 399)
  • Banff (target area 400)
  • Whitehills (target area 401)
  • Macduff (target area 402)
  • Gardenstown (target area 458)
  • Crovie (target area 459)
  • Fraserburgh (target area 408)
  • Pennan (target area 460)
  • Sandhaven (target area 461)
  • Rosehearty (target area 462)
  • Keith (target area 404)
  • Newmill (Keith) (target area 444)
  • Turriff (target area 449)
  • Boddam (target area 406)
  • Peterhead (target area 407)
  • Methlick (target area 450)
  • Huntly (target area 403)
  • Insch (target area 411)
  • Ellon (target area 405)
  • Inverurie (target area 409)
  • Kintore (target area 410)
  • Newburgh (Aberdeenshire) (target area 423)
  • Bridge of Don (target area 412)
  • Dyce (target area 430)
  • Kingswells (north) (target area 445)
  • Kemnay (target area 422)
  • Westhill (target area 416)
  • Aberdeen Central (target area 413)
  • Peterculter (target area 415)
  • Aboyne (target area 417)
  • Tarland (target area 418)
  • Banchory (target area 433)
  • Ballater (target area 414)
  • STONEHAVEN (TARGET AREA 419)
  • Portlethen (target area 425)
  • Cove Bay (target area 424)
  • Nigg Bay (target area 426)
  • Cruden Bay (target area 447)

This response pertains to Stonehaven ONLY.

Question 13:  Do you agree with the proposed package of objectives for this target area?

  • Yes
  • Not sure
  • NO

Share your views

Stonehaven Flood Action Group feel that Objectives 4191 to 4196 are only partially appropriate

Stonehaven Flood Action Group can see no Actions arising from Objective 4191: “Avoid inappropriate development that increases flood risk in Stonehaven”.

The least that we would expect to see would be an obligation on the Planning Department to write, consult on and implement a protocol for this objective within the life of this phase of the FRM Plan.

Given that the Carron River Flood Protection Scheme was planned on the basis of known developments in the area, we would argue that any development that increases run-off on to the Stonehaven side of the by-pass should be described as “inappropriate” in this context.

Question 14. Do you agree that the proposed actions for this target area will work towards achieving the long term objectives?

  • Yes
  • Not sure
  • NO

Share your views with us

41902: Flood Defence Maintenance

Stonehaven Flood Action Group continues to argue for transparency in publicising both the Maintenance Plan timings and the outcomes of all inspections and activities of the Maintenance Plan, preferably in the open-access part of the Council website and in the reports to the Kincardine & Mearns Area Committee. This needs to be included in Action 41902.

41903: Sewer Flood Risk Assessment

This needs to be flagged as urgent to allow the actions on pluvial flooding to proceed quickly. See also comments on the run-off from the A957 into Dunnottar Avenue under Action 41904.

41904: Surface Water Management Plan

The general statements in Action 41904 are welcome, but Aberdeenshire Council is already aware of the need for urgent action to resolve surface water flooding issues where water ponding occurs in heavy rainfall, and will have records drawn from the flooding events in 2009, 2012, 2016 and 2020. This is already on record, so Stonehaven Flood Action Group would find it disappointing if the authority and Scottish Water had not already started working together on “managing water ponding or overwhelmed drainage systems”.

North of the Carron River Scheme: Cameron Street, Barclay Street

Action 41904 should include the immediate commissioning of the new, pumped drainage to remove surface water from Cameron Street. Postponing this till the completion of work on the river between White Bridge and Bridgefield would unnecessarily extend the risk of flooding and the consequent stress suffered by residents and businesses in Cameron Street and Barclay Street.

South of the Carron River Scheme: Dunnottar Avenue, Bridgefield Terrace, Arbuthnot Place, High Street

Aberdeenshire Council is already aware of where water ponding and consequent run-off into domestic and business properties occurs in each of these streets and erects flood defences in the street outside the Villa Café in Arbuthnot Place (for which the Council installed permanent anchor points some years ago!).

  • Action 41904 should include a review of the relative ineffectiveness of the “Arbuthnot Drain” with a view to implementing immediate clearing of the outfall whenever significant rainfall is forecast and installing a pump to improve the rate of flow.
  • It is clear that the principal cause of pluvial flooding in this area is run-off from the A957 into Dunnottar Avenue, through the grounds of the petrol station into Bridgefield Terrace, on down the High Street and Arbuthnot Place and flooding buildings on the way before ponding in the areas already identified.
  • Because the run-off from the A957 originates in fields on the plateau to the east of the road, it carries with it silt and stones which block the road drains, restricting the amount which can be removed by the drainage system and seriously exacerbating the damage to residential and business properties in these streets.

To alleviate this, Action 41904 should include:

  • Planning to channel the run-off from the A957 into the Glaslaw valley as soon as the Flood Protection Scheme has been completed.
  • Use of Natural Flood Management techniques such as swales to remove silt from run-off from fields and of bunds to prevent the run-off from occurring in the first place. Each time silt-laden water floods out of cultivated land, this constitutes a loss of fertile soil and expensive fertilisers, which should be an additional incentive for urgent action.

We are concerned that these known issues are not specifically identified in the proposed Actions while the Farrochie Burn Study is named in three different proposed Actions.

41907: Community Engagement

Stonehaven Flood Action Group continues to make itself available for consultation and engagement on the action required to alleviate or prevent flooding in all parts of the the town, including Natural Flood Management (NFM) techniques. Previous experience shows that initiatives require to be driven by Council officials, albeit with our support. Responsibility for any installations and subsequent maintenance must also lie with the Council.

40905: Flood Scheme or Works Design

Stonehaven Flood Action Group is unable to support the option preferred by the Council officials because we consider that the harms to seafront residents from the raised wall and especially from the raised walkway outweigh the benefits which may accrue in terms of reduced incidence of overtopping.

We continue to argue that disrupting wave transmission by raising the proximate offshore defences will be effective in reducing overtopping while retaining amenity for residents and visitors.

It should be especially recognised that in November 2019, Aberdeenshire’s Councillors, in two separate committees (Infrastructure Services and Kincardine and Mearns Area) only agreed to the preferred option being put forward with the addition of the following amendment:

the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee support taking action to address the flood risk in Stonehaven to achieve a 1/200 year flood protection level. This action recognises the potential need for increase in sea wall height as a result of projected sea level increases. However, the Committee asks that all defences at sea are maximised in order to ensure that the sea wall height is optimised at the lowest achievable level such that promenade need not be raised” In addition, “there should be provision of an offshore reef to attenuate wave energy, i.e., extensions of the Brachans rock platform and effective use of fishtail groynes to both retain sediment and reduce wave action in the most exposed locations.

Further, it should be recognised that when consulted, as part of the study, in June 2019, a potential 1.0-metre raise to the sea wall, promenade path c/w retaining wall, as identified by Aberdeenshire Council as the “preferred option”, was met with widespread resistance and opposition from businesses and residents who live along the sea front.  Ultimately, as part of the study over 100 objections were lodged to this.

40906: Flood Scheme or Works Implementation

Stonehaven Flood Action Group is unable to support the option preferred by the Council officials because we consider that the harms to seafront residents from the raised wall and especially from the raised walkway outweigh the benefits which may accrue in terms of reduced incidence of overtopping.

We continue to argue that disrupting wave transmission by raising the proximate offshore defences will be effective in reducing overtopping while retaining amenity for residents and visitors.

It should be especially recognised that in November 2019, Aberdeenshire’s Councillors, in two separate committees (Infrastructure Services and Kincardine and Mearns Area) only agreed to the preferred option being put forward with the addition of the following amendment:

“the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee support taking action to address the flood risk in Stonehaven to achieve a 1/200 year flood protection level. This action recognises the potential need for increase in sea wall height as a result of projected sea level increases. However, the Committee asks that all defences at sea are maximised in order to ensure that the sea wall height is optimised at the lowest achievable level such that promenade need not be raised” In addition, “there should be provision of an offshore reef to attenuate wave energy, i.e., extensions of the Brachans rock platform and effective use of fishtail groynes to both retain sediment and reduce wave action in the most exposed locations.

Further, it should be recognised that when consulted, as part of the study, in June 2019, a potential 1.0-metre raise to the sea wall, promenade path c/w retaining wall, as identified by Aberdeenshire Council as the “preferred option”, was met with widespread resistance and opposition from businesses and residents who live along the sea front.  Ultimately, as part of the study over 100 objections were lodged to this.

Question 15: Do you agree with the proposed timescales?

  • Yes
  • Not sure
  • NO

Share your views with us

Stonehaven Flood Action Group has the comment that no EXACT specific timescales have been proposed, so we are not prepared to give carte blanche to SEPA, Scottish Water or Aberdeenshire Council without seeing the specifics.

Question 16. Do you see any ways that you, your community or your organisation can help with managing flood risk in this target area?

  • Yes
  • NOT SURE
  • No

Please include any projects you are planning, or working on, which could be linked with other actions or organisations in the area

Stonehaven Flood Action Group continues to make itself available for consultation and engagement on the action required to alleviate or prevent flooding in all parts of the the town, including Natural Flood Management (NFM) techniques. Previous experience shows that initiatives require to be driven by  Council officials, albeit with our support. Responsibility for any installations and subsequent maintenance must also lie with the Council.

Previously in The Bellman

Additional £3 million investment in roads maintenance and repairs programme

By bellmannews / October 13, 2021
road junction

From Aberdeenshire Council communications team –

Councillors have agreed an additional £3 million spend on roads maintenance across Aberdeenshire.

It follows an earlier £2.5 million cash injection agreed during the Budget discussions in March of this year to address delays in repairs as a direct result of the Covid pandemic.

During discussion of the General Services Capital Performance at a recent Full Council meeting, Depute Leader and chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Peter Argyle, said Covid and Scottish Government guidance during 2020 meant very little work was undertaken on the 3,500-mile road network except for safety-critical issues which were addressed.

Commending the work of the Roads Service during these very challenging circumstances, Cllr Argyle said: “It has been a particularly difficult time for roads and the service has worked exceptionally hard throughout the pandemic. There has been a huge amount of catch-up as a result of the pandemic on top of an unusually hard winter and actually indicates that going through a six-month delay on road repairs is not the course of action any of us would wish to see.

“In terms of investment, an additional £2.5 million was agreed in the Budget in March of this year together with a further £3 million from the Infrastructure Fund 2 now unanimously agreed by Full Council. Of course, like many other council services, we’ve experienced real challenges with the supply chain, recruitment – typically for lorry drivers – and there is very significant inflation in the construction sector and huge demand on public sector contracts as well – all of which makes life as difficult for us as a council as it is for the private sector.

“Some tenders have come back way over expectation, but equally many others have come back perfectly acceptable and have been taken ahead.

“We now have an agreed programme of works in place which will be carefully assessed and planned to make the most effective use of this additional investment. Using results from the national Road Maintenance Condition Survey repairs will be designed to best suit the overall condition of the road.  In some cases this will be a localised repair to the defect, such as a pothole, while in other instances where the overall road is in a poor condition the repair may take the form of a more widespread surface dressing, or indeed resurfacing operation.  Using this tailored approach ensures that the repairs undertaken achieve the best balance between cost and benefit.”

Head of Roads, Philip McKay, echoed his thanks to his dedicated workforce which is battling through a backlog of maintenance and repairs to ensure the road network is safe for motorists.

He said: “Our widescale annual surface dressing programme has now been completed and preparatory works for next season’s surface dressing programme are now well underway. We are also continuing our planned programme of resurfacing works and several contracts have recently been awarded to external contractors. Included within this is a programme of works to strengthen roads widely used by the forestry industry for timber transport which is jointly funded by the council and the Scottish Government’s Strategic Timber Transport Fund.

“Reactive patching of highly-defected routes is also well underway following our priority matrix and traffic-light system. Throughout October and November we will also be undertaking a programme of road retexturing works following the recent award of contract to a specialist contractor. These works will greatly improve texture and skid resistance at some key locations on the network. During the winter months, we will also be undertaking a programme of drainage repairs and improvement works across the network.

“We know this is having a very positive impact and motorists will have seen a massive increase in our roads operations across Aberdeenshire in recent months. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience during our works and road users are asked to be patient and follow site signing including temporary speed limits.

“Thanks to the additional financial resources agreed at Full Council last week, we are now in position to tender for a further £3 million worth of contracts which will help us to make significant inroads into the backlog of repairs.”

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