Plastic Free Status for Stonehaven

the word Stonehaven made from plastic litter and set out on grass at Mineralwell park

From Marion Montgomery

Stonehaven has joined a network of communities across the UK who are leading the way to tackle throw away plastic at source. The town has been awarded Plastic Free Community status by marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), in recognition of the work it has done to start reducing the impact of single-use plastic on the environment. 

Plastic Free Stonehaven, started by local Councillor, Sarah Dickinson in November 2022 and led by local resident Marion Montgomery – who also founded Paws on Plastic, a charity which promotes the idea of dog walkers picking up a few bits of litter on their daily walks – has been hugely successful in gaining support from residents and businesses in the Stonehaven community for its campaign. 

Registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, Plastic Free Stonehaven pulled together key organisations and businesses in the town to put in place a five-point plan. The objectives include; setting up a community led steering group, instigating the SAS Plastic Free Schools education programme, getting local community council commitment and working with local businesses, organisations and community groups to spread the word and minimise the amount of disposable plastics they use. 

Marion Montgomery of Plastic Free Stonehaven “It’s been fantastic to see the support in Stonehaven, both among businesses, community groups and individual residents alike looking for ways to reduce their use of single use plastics and also in terms of coming out and participating in our monthly beach cleans with Paws on Plastic SCO51306 on the first Saturday of every month. We regularly get 40-50 volunteers turning out, including families with children who love getting a stamp on their beach clean reward cards. Finds include everything from welly boots to fishing nets and everyone gets a real buzz from doing their own wee bit to protect our town’s beautiful environment. We’ve also enjoyed litter picks with a number of local groups so it’s awesome to see a real community effort around the campaign to keep our town clean and safe for all. To date in 2024 15 cleans, 628kgs waste removed with 625 volunteer hours. (The total removed at monthly cleans during the whole of 2023 was 261kg!)’

There are now 7 small, independent Stonehaven businesses which have been accredited as ‘Plastic Free Champions’ by Surfers against Sewage – Godsman Graphics, Lou Sells Preloved Labels, Bayview Apartments, Replenish, My Beautiful Caravan, How Bizarre How Bizarre and Carma.  We also have another 8 businesses which have registered and are currently working on achieving the award. 

Businesses are required to list 3 ways  in which they have removed single use plastic items from their business.  Examples of things our plastic free champions have done are – choosing reusable coffee cups instead of disposables, offering refillable shampoo/conditioner bottles instead of single use, reusing packaging materials, offering paper bags instead of plastic, only using reusable water bottles, offering plastic free gift cards and sourcing products from suppliers with less packaging.

Plastic Free Stonehaven has successfully recruited a wide range of local groups and organisations as ‘community allies’ who have acted as ambassadors of the campaign, encouraging the support of the wider community.  Organisations include Stonehaven Horizon Group, Stonehaven & District Men’s Shed, Stonehaven Youth Club, Stonehaven Community Collective, Mearns FM, Stonehaven Community Fire Station, Paws on Plastic SCO51306, 1st Stonehaven Scout Group, Stonehaven Explorer Scouts, Stonehaven Parkrun, Stonehaven Library, Kincardineshire Development Partnership, Stonehaven Carronside Church, Fair Trade Stonehaven, Friends of Forest Drive Park and Stonehaven Fetteresso Church.  This has also included Mackie Academy which has registered with the Plastic Free Schools Programme and is itself working towards gaining Plastic Free Schools status.

In addition to the regular community beach cleans with Paws on Plastic, both Plastic Free Stonehaven and Paws on Plastic have also run individual litterpicks for 1st Stonehaven Explorer Scouts, Stonehaven District Guides, including Guides, Brownies and Rainbows), Mackie Academy, Mill o’Forest Primary School and Arduthie Primary School and Lloyd’s Register.  Other events have included a ‘Soft Plastics Unwrap Event’ at Stonehaven David Street Coop store and a ‘Recycled Christmas Craft’ event at the Scout Hut in January which was well attended.

Said Marion, ‘It’s amazing to finally gain Plastic Free Status.  We are a small team of 3 volunteers  -myself, Councillor Sarah Dickinson and Fiona Basford – with regular support for the beach cleans also from my husband Alistair.  It is however, very much an achievement for the whole Stonehaven community given the huge widespread support from across the town.  A huge thank you to all who have given their support in all the different ways, from sharing social media posts, to inviting us along to speak at events or to turning out to our beach cleans.  This award is for Stonehaven as a town and really puts us on the map as a town that cares for the environment and is willing to take action to protect it.’

‘This is only the start of our ‘Plastic Free’ journey – of course our town now isn’t completely plastic free.  This is the first step towards that.  It’s the start of conversations, of gradually replacing single use items with reusables.  The fantastic thing is that these are often simple swaps that actually often save money and are far better than single use options.’

Our next beach cleans are on Monday, 29th July 1-2pm (an extra one for summer) and Saturday, 3rd August 10-11am to which all are invited.  We are also currently planning a celebration event at the Stonehaven Scout Hut on Sunday, 1st September which we will be announcing details of shortly.

The Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Community network aims to free the places where we live from single-use. Using the five point plan the aim is to empower communities to kick start local grassroots action, which can then be built upon.  

The marine conservation charity, based in St Agnes in Cornwall, says it wants to unite communities to tackle avoidable plastic from the beach all the way back to the brands and businesses who create it. It says it is not about removing all plastic from our lives, but kicking our addiction to throwaway plastic and changing the system that produces it. 

Rachel Yates, SAS Plastic Free Communities Project Manager, said: “It’s great to see the work that Stonehaven has done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse. 

 “We have over seven hundred communities across the UK working to reduce single use plastic and the impact it has on our environment. Every step those communities and the individuals in them take is a step towards tackling the problem at source, challenging our throwaway culture and encouraging the habit and system changes we need to see.”

More information:

Marion Montgomery, Community Lead, Plastic Free Stonehaven: Tel 07813384879, 

Plastic Free Communities: 

Surfers Against Sewage: 

Plastic Free Communities is an ambitious community initiative designed to unite and empower individuals, small businesses, local government and community groups to reduce their collective plastic footprint and protect the environment together. Driven by inspirational local volunteers, we are building a new and exciting community movement tackling single-use plastics and plastic litter in our villages, towns, cities and rural locations.   This highly inclusive initiative, created for all ages and backgrounds, is designed to get the whole community active and do something positive to reduce the amount of plastic in the local environment. We believe that united communities lead to cleaner beaches, streets, parks and riverbanks. 

Stonehaven law firm raises £6,170 for charity campaign

By Gemma Kent

A Stonehaven law firm raised £6,170 by participating in an annual charity will-writing campaign – making it one of the highest donating firms across the UK this year. 

Smith Solicitors Stonehaven has taken part in the Will Aid campaign since 2000, raising a grand total of £28,906, by volunteering their time and expertise to write wills and, instead of charging their usual fees for writing basic Wills, inviting clients to make a donation to Will Aid.  

The money raised is shared between the campaign’s partner charities, which work across many different causes in the UK and across the world.  

Ronald Forbes, from the firm, said: “The entire team is very proud to take part in Will Aid and we’re delighted to have given so many people the reassurance of knowing they have a professionally written will. 

“We love taking part in the campaign and to raise so much for charity was a real team effort. 

“It’s a brilliant feeling to know that such well-deserving charities will benefit, helping people both here in the UK and abroad who are facing challenging times.” 

Where there’s a will, there’s a way to raise money

The generosity of solicitors who have taken part in Will Aid since it launched in 1988 has helped raise more than £24 million for charity in donations alone, with many millions more in pledged charitable legacies.  

Jonathan Chase, chair of Will Aid, said: “Huge congratulations to the team at Smith Solicitors Stonehaven for raising such a staggering amount this year. It’s amazing that so many solicitors give their time to volunteer so generously, using their expertise to help people gain peace of mind by getting a professionally written will while fundraising for our incredible charities who do such crucial and life-changing work in the UK and around the world. 

“On behalf of all the partner charities, a massive thank you and well done to Smith Solicitors Stonehaven and all the firms who have taken part this year!” 

Peter de Vena Franks, Will Aid’s campaign director, added: “What a great team effort from everyone who has taken part in this year’s Will Aid campaign. Thank you to everyone who has harnessed their expertise and generosity to give their time, helping to protect people’s wishes and also supporting such worthwhile partner charities who are changing lives for the better.” 

Will Aid takes place every November and involves solicitors waiving the fee for writing a basic will and instead inviting clients to make an upfront donation to Will Aid.  

The suggested donation for a basic single Will is £100, and £180 for a pair of mirror Wills.   

Donations are shared between Will Aid’s partner charities, which include Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, SCIAF and Trócaire.  

To meet the continued demand each year, Will Aid needs more solicitors to take part. For more information, please visit: 

Spot the Difference

A SMALL gang of volunteers spent one hour tackling weeds around the town centre – hopefully you will see the difference as you enjoy the various Folk Festival activities this weekend.

Cllr Sarah Dickinson put on her Plastic Free Stonehaven hat to join members of the Horizon Project for their outing on Thursday evening.

Meanwhile this trio of local ladies turned up in response to the call for help – and found their hour’s work both satisfying and fun – the tidy stretch at the Carron road bridge and Stevie’s Walk is thanks to them

Weeds on Stonehaven Beachfront walk

a landscaped area with benches and a dolphin sculpture - full of weeds

Dear Bellman

Just been reading the Bellman about all the money that our council is to be spending. Or not, however you look at it, I find nothing wrong at all with the projects. 

But how about keeping what we have in a  tidy state and not in the mess that they seem to be pleased with?

 The Beach walk is a a horrible mess and what are the council doing? Nothing as there is no money, even although they have a squad of  people who maintain the landscapes or have they been made redundant?

The council have no shame  to ask for volunteers to tidy the town centre of weeds, what a damn cheeky, would they also want the public to fill all the potholes too.

Can I just say if we had a town inspection for any reason and our local dignitaries coming out to accept the plaudits , then I’m sure money could then be found. For goodness sake take some PRIDE in the town you represent.

May I compliment Councillor Turner on his lovely garden, how embarrassing to live adjoining such a mess.

One of Stonehaven’s older and still prouder natives. 

Bill Malcolm 

Latest Funding Sources and Information from KDP

Welcome to the KDP Bulletin.

The Scotland Loves Local Awards are a celebration of all that is great about our nation’s towns and neighbourhoods.  They are about highlighting the people, places and projects which are leading the way in making a difference, delivering benefits which will help make our communities cleaner, greener, stronger and fairer whether through design, delivery or sheer determination.

For 2024, the Scotland Loves Local Awards categories are:

  • Town of the Year
  • Most Enterprising Community
  • Place Leader Award
  • High Street Hero (8 regional winners)

To find out more about the awards and how to nominate your chosen winners visit the Scotland Loves Local website.

The Aberdeenshire Local Action Group’s Rural Communities Challenge Fund 2024-25 has been launched and is now live and open for applications.

Grants are being invited from community groups, public sector organisations, charities and cooperatives throughout Aberdeenshire and can fund specific activities aimed at benefitting rural communities in the region.

Applications will be assessed and approved by the Aberdeenshire Local Action Group (LAG), a cross-sector partnership which represents rural communities throughout Aberdeenshire.

Grants will be targeted towards capital expenditure which can be delivered before 28th February 2025 and supports one or more of the following priorities:

1) Low Carbon Community Buildings

2) Active and Connected Communities

Grants between £10,000 and £49,999 will be available, and a minimum 10% match funding contribution to projects by applicants is desirable but not essential.

The deadline for submission of applications is Sunday 11th August 2024 and potential applicants can access the application form and guidance here.

Applicants are also encouraged to contact Aberdeenshire Council for more information and support at

This call for evidence is being hosted on behalf of Edel Harris OBE in her role as Chair of the Independent Review of Adult Disability Payment.

It is primarily intended for organisations. A separate consultation that is intended for people with lived and living experience of accessing – or trying to access – Adult Disability Payment is also available. If you are an individual with lived experience of disability or Adult Disability Payment, you may wish to respond to the consultation instead.

You may find it useful to read or refer to the call for evidence paper while responding, as this contains full background information.

You can save and return to your responses while the consultation is still open. Please ensure that consultation responses are submitted before the closing date of 23 August 2024.

Live Life Aberdeenshire have launched Sport for Change funding, to support Hubs, Clubs, Community groups and 3rd sector organisations across Aberdeenshire to introduce new activities that tackles local need.

They are inviting applications that will support projects targeting Mental Health and/or Disability & Inclusion.

They have provided several supporting documents which provide some context on these themes.

Please make sure you have read the following attachments prior to applying:

The application form can be found here, and the fund closes on 19th July.

Engage Aberdeenshire, offers everyone the opportunity to provide input into a broad range of projects, activities and decisions. It is a dedicated space where you can gather information, share your ideas and have your say on a variety of matters.

Aberdeenshire Council’s engagement hub doesn’t replace face-to-face engagement, but recognises that public engagement events are not always possible or are not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s why this website has been made – to make it easier for you to contribute and get involved in a way and at a time that suits you.

You can access the website here.

The Plugged-In Communities Grant Fund will continue supporting Scottish community transport organisations in 2024/25.

Funding can cover 100% of costs, up to £75,000, to replace a community transport vehicle with a zero-emission alternative, to support community trips and services.

Funding excludes VAT (unless deemed non-reclaimable), and no match funding is required. Grants are available to cover the following zero-emission vehicles:

  • Cars
  • Light goods vehicles
  • Minibuses
  • Mopeds/ motorcycles

If you think your organisation is eligible for the fund and would like to apply, please complete the pre-application check.

For more information on the Fund visit the Energy Saving Trust  website.

Storms Frank, Arwen, Corry and Malik, to name a few, have impacted on our area in recent years.  This questionnaire is part of a research study aimed at understanding the public’s perception of the ‘Name our Storms’ initiative implemented by the UK Met Office, Met Éireann, and KNMI.

Since its inception in 2015, the initiative has aimed to increase public awareness and preparedness for extratropical storms affecting the British Isles, primarily through winter, although extratropical storms can be named at any point of the year.

With climate change expected to exacerbate the intensity and frequency of these storms, understanding public perception is crucial for improving communication strategies and reducing socioeconomic impacts.

Click the link  for the questionnaire.

Sport Scotland’s Sport Facilities Fund (SFF) supports capital projects that help to create or improve places where people take part in sport and physical activity.

They want to support projects that provide more opportunities for people to get involved in and participate in sport & physical activity.

Projects that can clearly demonstrate an inclusive approach that targets participants in/from SIMD areas or areas of rural disadvantage, or those with additional needs, or those from ethnically diverse communities, or other protected characteristics, as identified in The Equalities Act 2010, will be prioritised.

Please read the SFF Guidelines for further details of the type of projects they want to support and those that will not be eligible.

Please contact Sport Scotland to discuss your project and eligibility before starting or submitting an application

Deadlines for submission of Sport Facilities Fund applications are 5pm on the 1st September.

More information can be found here.

In 2019 the Scottish Government ran a consultation about proposals the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) had made on improvements to the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. In response to that consultation some people said they wanted a wider review of charity regulation.

This consultation asks 10 short questions about a review. It is split into three sections:

  • The need for a review and the purpose of a review
  • The parameters for a review – What should it cover and not cover?
  • Technical areas for review

The review closes on 22nd July.

More here.

Another Funding Source for Community Projects

Two seagulls on fence - sky is pink with sunset behind

There has been clear delight at this week’s announcement of awards from the Coastal Communities Challenge Fund. Hopefully some local projects will be able to benefit from this latest fund to be announced:

From Aberdeenshire Council communications team

Rural Communities Challenge Fund 

The Aberdeenshire Local Action Group’s Rural Communities Challenge Fund 2024-25 is now live and open for applications.   

The scheme delivers funding from the Scottish Government’s Rural Community Led Local Development programme.    

Applications are being invited from community groups, public sector organisations, charities and co-operatives throughout Aberdeenshire (excluding the Cairngorms area) and can fund specific activities aimed at benefiting rural communities in the region.   

Submissions will be assessed and approved by the Aberdeenshire Local Action Group (LAG), a cross-sector partnership including Aberdeenshire Council which represents rural communities throughout the region. 

Funding will be targeted towards capital expenditure which can be delivered before February 28, 2025, and supports one or more of the following priorities:

  • Low Carbon Community Buildings
  • Active and Connected Communities

Grants of between £10,000 and £49,999 will be available, and a minimum 10% match funding contribution to projects by applicants is desirable but not essential.

LAG Chair Gina Ford said: “Following the success of last year’s Rural Community Challenge Fund projects and programme, we are delighted to announce the launch of this new round of funding for our rural communities. With the high cost of energy continuing to be a worry for everyone we hope to support even more projects that will have a positive impact across Aberdeenshire.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Alan Turner, said: “Once again we are delighted to welcome applications to the Rural Communities Challenge Fund which provides a tremendous opportunity for local groups, charities and initiatives to take forward projects in our communities. I would again encourage any organisations looking to secure grants to find out more on our website and to discuss their plans with our Economic Development service.”

The deadline for submission of applications is Sunday, August 11 and the application form and guidance can be found at Rural Communities Challenge Fund – Aberdeenshire Council.

Further information and support is available by contacting

The Community Collective invites you to join us for a Shindig!

By Claire Jessiman

What’s a shindig, ye ask?
It’s a knees up, a party, a soirée, a gaitherin, a dance, and a good old nicht oot celebrating Aberdeenshire’s First Public Living Room!

Are ye duncin’? Cos we’re askin’!

We’re thrilled to announce an exciting FREE evening of food, music, and community at The Blue Room in Stonehaven Community Centre, organised by The Community Collective. The talented Bryan Ginge Duncan will be joining us for a live set and we welcome any session musicians to join us –  Come alang and hae a tune! This the perfect way to kick off one of Stonehaven’s biggest weekends with the Stonehaven Folk Festival starting on the same evening.

When: Thursday, 11th of JulyTime: 7-9 PM
Where: The Blue Room, Stonehaven Community Centre

Live Music: from Bryan Ginge Duncan and guests
Food: We love our food at The Living Room, so there will of course be a buffet
Alcohol-Free: Feel free to bring along your own beverages, but remember, we are an alcohol and drug-free space.
Community: Volunteers will be available to tell you all about our Living Room initiative and keep company with anyone who pops along on their own.

This is a FREE event funded by the Association of Camerados, and we welcome everyone to join us whether you’re a local or just passing through. Bring your enthusiasm, your friends, and your dancing shoes! Let’s make it a night to remember. Come for the music and food, stay for the company and leave with memories. 
We can’t wait to see you there!  ALL WELCOME

NB Due to our Shindig on the 11th of July, there will be NO blether session from 2:00-4:00 PM

Land Train Back on Track after Funding Award

Stonehaven land train at harbour

From Aberdeenshire Council communications team –

Host of projects benefit from Aberdeenshire Council Coastal Communities Challenge funding

A scheme to reintroduce the popular land train to Stonehaven is just one of 15 projects to receive grants from Aberdeenshire Council’s Coastal Communities Challenge Fund.

Around £332,000 is being invested in a wide range of initiatives and activities which will deliver a range of benefits along the region’s coastline.  

The council 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 grants were awarded to projects which included investments in sports and business facilities, improvements to community halls and car-parks, energy efficiency schemes and recreational area enhancements.

Cllr Alan Turner, chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “I am delighted to see more exciting projects along our coastline receiving Coastal Communities funding including the return of the much-loved wee train to Stonehaven after an absence of some years. Our communities are realising just how valuable this particular source of funding can be to them and I would again encourage any organisations looking to secure grants to find out more on our website and to discuss their plans with our Economic Development service.”

Vice-chair Cllr Isobel Davidson added: “It’s tremendous that we have this fund to support projects along the coast which is always under pressure from tourism and other recreational activities. We really are now seeing the benefit of having the Coastal Communities Fund to support a growing number of projects and I look forward to seeing the outcome in the future.”

The supported projects in this latest round of funding were as follows:

Stonehaven Town Partnership – Bringing the Wee Train Home to Stonehaven

CCCF award: £ £10,372

Re-introduction of the ‘land train’ tourist attraction to Stonehaven as a means of transporting visitors around the town. The costs relate to start-up recommissioning costs including mechanical works, transport, driver training and equipment.

Stonehaven Recreation Grounds – Stonehaven Fireboules petanque

CCCF award: £ £10,498

The project is to create a pétanque facility at Stonehaven recreation grounds for use by members, the local community and visitors.

Stonehaven Recreation Grounds – multi-use games area

CCCF award: £ £28,698

Contouring and introduction of planted spaces at the putting green, installation of a multi-use games area and provision of a boules pitch which can also be used for other activities.

St Cyrus Church of Scotland – community/visitors car park

CCCF award: £ £50,000

The application is to create a landscaped car park in the centre of St Cyrus village within a small field owned by the local parish church. The new car park will serve the church as well as the primary school, the community and visitors to St Cyrus nature reserve and beach.

Banff Castle Community Association – external fabric repairs

CCCF award: £ £50,000

Repair works to the exterior of Banff Castle, a community facility and arts venue in the town centre of Banff.

Stonehaven Tolbooth Association – paving of Tolbooth inner courtyard

CCCF award: £ £28,128

Improvements to the inner courtyard at the Tollbooth Museum in Stonehaven. Work includes clearing vegetation, new paving, pointing of boundary walls, wheelchair ramp and outdoor

water and electrical supplies.

Portsoy District Community Association – Portsoy Sports Centre ‘Going


CCCF award: £ £11,817

Installation of solar panels and a battery storage unit at Portsoy Sports Centre.

Rosehearty Community Boat Club – RCBC – ‘Topper’ Sail Training Project

CCCF award: £ £11,208

Purchase of two ‘topper’ sailing dinghies and associated equipment to be used for sailing courses for young people.

Mill of Benholm Enterprise – Mill of Benholm car park 

CCCF award: £ £14,038

Improvements to the car park area at Mill of Benholm. This application focuses on active

travel including a bike shed, e-bikes for hire and interpretation/signage.

Banff, Macduff & District Men’s Shed – Men’s Shed Energy Saving

CCCF award: £ £14,853

Energy efficiency measures at the Men’s Shed community facility in Macduff involving installation of insulation and led light fittings.

Inverallochy Golf Club – solar PV system

CCCF award: £ £15,000

Installation of a solar PV and battery system to reduce energy costs andprovide a small income to support the club’s activities.

Pennan Hall Committee – hall improvement project

CCCF award: £ £12,466

Improvements to Pennan Village Hall including upgrades to the heating system, installation of AV equipment, blinds for windows and seating covers.

Summerhouse Drinks Ltd – fruit juicing and packaging machinery

CCCF award: £ £35,000

Purchasing of second-hand equipment to add value and efficiency to a small business

fruit drinks production line which will allow full production of the product to be undertaken on site near Fraserburgh.

Friends of Macduff Marine Aquarium – ‘Better Learning for a Brighter Future’

CCCF award: £ £24,500

To equip and enhance the learning room with specific instruments to enrich the learning experiences offered to visitors to the aquarium.

Port Erroll Harbour Cruden Bay Trust Ltd – enhancing the leisure and recreational area

CCCF award: £ £15,305

Enhancements to the public space around Port Erroll Harbour including re-grading the grass area, installation of picnic tables and benches, erection of new signage and interpretation

lecterns, and the installation of a webcam.

Grants from the Coastal Communities Challenge Fund programme are targeted at community groups, third sector organisations and small businesses along Aberdeenshire’s coastline, and can fund a range of activities with positive economic, social or environmental impacts.  

This year’s grants were 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

You can find out more by visiting

Help Hit the Street Weeds

YOU are invited to join volunteers from Stonehaven Horizon Project and Plastic Free Stonehaven to try and remove weeds around the town centre on Thursday evening.

During the summer months, Horizon volunteers have an evening outing, the Thursday Night Hit Squad, where they tackle small jobs that can be accomplished in an hour – and tackling the weeds lining our pavements is right up their street.

Meanwhile, Plastic Free Stonehaven are well-known for their monthly beach litter picks which are part of their campaign to achieve plastic-free status for the town.

There are many weeds. Our local landscape services team have sprayed around the town centre, but do not have the resources to do any more. So smartening the pavements and gutters is down to a bit of community spirit and civic pride.

If you would like to join in and enjoy the satisfaction of improving Stonehaven for all, then please come along to the Market Square Plainstones on Thursday evening at 6.30pm. If you have a hoe and gardening gloves you can bring along that would be helpful, though tools will be available for use. Bags for weeds etc will be provided.

dead weeds lining a pavement

Gateway to Damage

Dear Bellman

The deadline is 24 July for commenting on the “Stonehaven Gateway” planning application for a big Tesco, electric vehicle (EV) hub, café etc. yet not one member of the public has logged a comment.

This major project outside Stonehaven poses substantial and completely unbalanced competition to our town’s shops and businesses, many family-owned – which one of them has the equivalent shopfloor size, plus the buying and advertising power of multinational Tesco, whose 2023/24 UK and ROI revenue is more than £62.8 billion? Hardly a level playing field.

Some 20 years ago, Tesco tried to establish itself within Stonehaven. The retail landscape for residents and for the UK as a whole has changed out of all recognition since then – online shopping and store-to-door deliveries, for example – and so to allow this new development to be approved now is to close your eyes to this and the consequences, short and long-term of the plan.

Stonehaven is an attractive place for residents and visitors, in great part because of individual shops and the number of them, unlike so many towns of the same size and larger. It has character. It also has a steep hill up to the site for this proposed development where there is no bus stop and those on foot endure traffic at 40mph right beside them. So, an out of town development designed for car drivers, same as last century.

There is nothing “forward-facing”, as the developer claimed about this plan in January’s Bellman. It may have been if it was simply an EV hub, but at the consultation stage, the developers stated baldly that if the superstore was rejected, there would be no EV hub, no discussion.

Who benefits? The Stonehaven Gateway is a gateway to a few people making profits. It has the hallmarks of a blight on the prosperity and character of Stonehaven.

M Rifat

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