Stonehaven to benefit from health check

By bellmannews / September 22, 2021

From Aberdeenshire Council communications team –

Stonehaven is one of nine town centres across Aberdeenshire benefiting from a ‘health check’ to assess their strengths, vitality and viability, weaknesses and resilience.

Following the success of a pilot scheme in Inverurie earlier this summer, the town centres in Banchory, Banff, Ellon, Fraserburgh, Huntly, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Turriff and  Macduff will now undergo the important process.

The engagement enables residents, businesses and community partners to directly comment on a number of aspects of their town centres which builds up a clear picture of the health of a particular town.

Regular health checks are used to inform development plans and decisions on future planning applications but are also vital in monitoring a town centre’s performance.

Last undertaken across 12 Aberdeenshire towns in 2017, plans were underway to re-visit these early in 2020 but were delayed as a result of the Covid pandemic.

Now, the council’s Planning Information and Delivery Team will survey public opinions on a wide range of themes which will provide an insight into the economic, social and environmental factors which play such a critical part in the vitality of town centres.

These will include the vibrancy, range of shops and services and opening hours of the nine towns. The council will also undertake an accessibility survey with members of the community with lived experience of navigating the town centres, while footfall will also be monitored.

Businesses, residents and anyone who visits the towns to shop, work or learn can access the surveys here:  

Respondents are able to complete multiple surveys for any town that they visit.

The closing date for all surveys is Friday, October 15.

Project lead Suzanne Rhind said: “The Inverurie pilot project has provided us with a tremendous amount of useful data and that has given us the confidence to proceed with the health checks in these nine towns.

“It is really important that every community use this opportunity to tell us how they feel about their town centre which will help us to better understand its needs and requirements and where change can be planned and developed in the future.

“Collaboration was a key part of the Inverurie pilot, adding a new dimension to the data collection. Moving forward to the other towns we will require every support from business and community groups and any help that can be given in sharing the surveys will lead to richer information being collected.”

Residents encouraged to engage in review of household recycling centre systems

By bellmannews / September 22, 2021

From Aberdeenshire Council communications team –

Aberdeenshire Council is encouraging every resident in the region to participate in a review of household recycling centres.

The council is reviewing the protocols which are currently in place at its 15 sites including the booking system, the limit system for vans and trailers and the Automatic Number Plate Recognition system (ANPR).

The review – to be completed by January next year – will consider the pros and cons of the various elements and whether they are achieving their original purpose.

A survey is now live on the council’s Engage platform until October 17 for people to complete whether they have or haven’t used an HRC at:

If you have any queries regarding the survey please call 03456 081207 or email

Paper copies can be picked up at any HRC and council service points and either handed back to that source or posted to: Aberdeenshire Council, Waste Management, Unit 7, Harlaw Way, Inverurie, AB51 4SG.

A review of the means available to traders to dispose of their waste lawfully and consideration of any means to improve the options available will also be undertaken.

The booking system was originally introduced as a way of providing physical distancing at the start of the pandemic but has been shown to provide numerous additional benefits such as improved traffic management, especially at the larger, busier sites.

Booking has also evened out usage across the day and during the week so there are controlled numbers of vehicles onsite allowing greater access to skips and reducing the health and safety risk of pedestrian and vehicle interaction.

Important changes were also introduced at the centres in early August to improve the experience for householders as follows:

  • The number of visits permitted for domestic-style pick-ups became unlimited, unless they are using a trailer – a domestic-style pick-up and trailer combination will now be permitted 24 visits per year in line with the existing trailer allowances
  • We also moved from householders with cars from 8 visit in 4 weeks to unlimited access in August
  • The size of admissible trailers increased from 8 feet (2.5m) to 10 feet (3)
  • Car-derived van and trailer combinations are now permitted at all centres

During recent discussions, some councillors commented on the negative view some users had of the booking system, however others said equally there were those who enjoyed not having to queue at an HRC and it avoided any blocking of roads in the surrounding area.

Aberdeenshire Council’s waste manager, Ros Baxter, explained: “Since introducing the booking system, we have continued to monitor the data and although footfall has dropped by just over half comparing the 10 months pre- and post-April 2020, we are still seeing similar tonnages of waste and recycling coming through the sites over the same period.

“This indicates that customers are making fewer visits but with more material in each visit, which has an added environmental benefit. Currently most recycling centres are not at full capacity and bookings are generally available for the same day or the day after.

“I would encourage all residents to participate in our survey as your feedback and ideas will help us to continually improve the services we provide at our household recycling centres.”

A Chance to Try Bowls

By bellmannews / September 22, 2021
a group of bowls sitting around the jack

From Chris Ford –

Have you ever been interested in trying Bowls but don’t know how to get involved?

Well on Saturday 25th September the Recreation Grounds in Stonehaven will be hosting a TRY BOWLS event between 12pm and 5pm.

All equipment will be provided so if you want to come along and give it a throw, come on down to the Indoor Stadium at the Recreation Grounds to give it a try!

Windfarm Fund Deadline

By bellmannews / September 22, 2021
windfarm with access track

From the latest KDP bulletin –

Meikle Carewe Wind Farm Community Fund – DEADLINE
The Meikle Carewe Wind Farm Community Fund is open until next Thursday, 30th September 2021.
Applications to the fund can be made from not-for-profit groups and organisations, based in the following Community Council areas:

  • Crathes, Drumoak and Durris
  • Newtonhill, Muchalls and Cammachmore
  • North Kincardine Rural
  • Portlethen and District
  • Stonehaven and District

Click for Guidance Notes and an Application Form.
Please email if you would like more information.

Opposition Bowled Over by Catherine

By bellmannews / September 21, 2021
Two ladies on bowling green

From Sandra Mcwilliam –

The final of the ladies championship was played at Stonehaven Bowling Club today in brilliant sunshine  between Catherine McIntosh and June Rattray.

Both players were equally matched for the first few ends then Catherine began to pile in the shots winning 21-12.

This will be Catherine’s 17th championship win.

Photo shows l to r June Rattray and Catherine McIntosh.

World Championships Beckon For Dancers

By bellmannews / September 21, 2021
strong black and white image of a teenage dance group

From Allison McIntyre –

Rhythm Nation Dance and Fitness had a successful day at the first United Dance Organisation competition, in Perth  after lockdowns were lifted.

The crews, who have been training  via online classes at home through lockdowns and back in the studio, reaped the rewards and are qualified for the World Championships in Blackpool 2022.

Well done to all the crews, duos and solos dancers.

Photographs courtesy of Adele Keith Photography

Stonehaven Golf Club this week

Willie Donald was a member of Stonehaven Golf Club for many a decade before his sad passing in 2017, devoting himself to the club and barely a day passing without his appearance up at the club. Each year Willie’s name is commemorated with the playing of the Willie Donald Champions Trophy, an end of season event with the year’s competition winners competing in a strokeplay event. It was Raymond Shearer’s honour to emerge victorious this season after Saturday’s close fought encounter, his nett 61 narrowly nudging Richard Hampson into second place. The event capped another splendid week at SGC, the excellent scoring in each of the weekly competitions matching the tremendous conditions.

Given recent postponements due to bad weather, the Captain’s Cup and Innes Medal Final were played concurrently with Willie’s commemorative trophy on Saturday. The former was won by Steve Guzik with a gross 65 and the latter by Bob McAlpine, no mean feat for both gentlemen given there was a field of 103 competitors. Top darts indeed.

The midweek Stableford saw some truly remarkable scoring, on any other day the results from second position down to sixth would doubtless have secured victory. Nobody reckoned however on the exploits of RD Jenkins who’s 45 point haul blew allcomers away. To give you an indication of just how good the winning score was, had major champion winner Sergio Garcia competed with the +6 handicap he held as an amateur, he’d have required a gross round of 50 to win it!

The Ladies Stableford proved the closest fought competition of the season, no less than five players amassing 37 points and Raqnhild Ericsson winning on countback, deservedly so given her fine birdie on the final hole. The Ladies Section also enjoyed a greensomes competition, Doreen Seery & Jacqui Blackburn coming out victorious by a two stroke margin. Doreen’s relatively recent return to golf proves you never lose it, she’s won so many comps this season that she’s run out of winning speech material and Jacqui’s handicap continues to tumble.

The Junior Section is still coming to terms with the end of the school holidays which had given them carte blanche to play golf ceaselessly for seven weeks straight. The juniors pack school books in the mornings now though rather than golf caps and sun cream, but competition awaits at the weekend. This week the 9 hole Stableford was won by Lewis Moir who scored a solid 18 points while James Boggon finished runner up on 14 points. The tattie holidays aren’t far away, their withdrawal symptoms won’t have to last much longer.

So to the results….

Innes Medal Final

  1. Bob McAlpine 63 (25)

Captain’s Cup

  1. Steve Guzik 65

Willie Donald Champions Trophy

  1. Raymond Shearer 61 (16)

Innes Medal

  1. Ian Carnie 60 (21)
  2. Richard Hampson 61 (17)
  3. Raymond Shearer 61 (16)

Midweek Stableford

  1. RD Jenkins 45 pts
  2. Stuart Campbell 42 pts
  3. Ross Gordon 42 pts

Ladies Sweep

  1. Raqnhild Ericsson 37 pts
  2. Elizabeth Powell 37 pts
  3. Catherine Duncan 37 pts

Ladies Greensomes 

  1. Doreen Seery/Jacqui Blackburn 61
  2. Fiona Lamont/Janet Owen 63
  3. Wilma Lawrence/Kathleen Groundwater 64

Junior 9 Hole Stableford

  1. Lewis Moir 18 pts
  2. James Boggon 14 pts
  3. Matthew Moir 11 pts

Ross marks business’s third anniversary with customer service award

From Andrew Douglas PR –

Ross Walker is celebrating the third anniversary of his oven cleaning business Ovenu Stonehaven with a customer service award.

The 47-year-old, who previously worked in the oil and gas industry, received a diamond rating from online ratings platform Trustist having gained a clean sweep of more than 300 maximum five-star customer reviews.

Ross said: “It’s been an eventful first few years in business to say the least, given the challenges presented by a global pandemic, but this Trustist award gives me great confidence in the future.

“It’s confirmation that I’m delivering a great service, one that’s really appreciated, as there’s no higher praise than from those who matter most, your clients.

“It’s a real honour to be recognised by Trustist in its Top Performing Franchisee category, and I’m extremely proud to receive a diamond rating.”

Ross, who enjoyed an 18-year career in the oil and gas sector, latterly as a technical support engineer, launched the franchised business to fulfil a long-held ambition to become his own boss.

Having just begun to establish Ovenu Stonehaven, Ross mothballed the business for the first few months of the pandemic – instead volunteering to deliver prescription drugs in the area on behalf of the town’s two pharmacies. He also suspended operations for four months this year in line with Scotland’s lockdown rules.

“Despite all the disruption, I’ve a healthy order book and the business continues to grow, thanks to repeat custom and plenty of new customers,” he added.

Rik Hellewell, the founder and managing director of Ovenu, said: “Many congratulations to Ross on the third anniversary of his business, which despite the difficulties of the past 18 month, goes from strength to strength. This award is a testament to his hard work and dedication in delivering a top-quality service.”

Nigel Apperley, chief executive of Trustist, said: “It is important to recognise that individual franchisees like Ross play a huge part in building a good reputation for an overall brand.”

As well as Stonehaven, Ross also covers Montrose, Banchory, Bridge of Dee, Ardoe, Portlethen, Laurencekirk, Lumphanan, Crathes, Newtonhill, Gourdon and surrounding areas.

The Ovenu valeting process involves dismantling key components of an oven such as the door, interior panels, fan, and shelves and placing them into design-registered tank equipment, which uses safe, non-caustic and environmentally friendly products to clean the oven parts, returning it to near showroom condition.

For more details call Ross on 01569 552344, email or visit

The Bellman aims to support Stonehaven’s business community – if your business has any news/achievements to share, please email

Do You Travel to Laurencekirk?

By bellmannews / September 20, 2021
Tractor ploughing autumn field with seagulls following

From Nestrans –

Public asked for feedback on travelling between Aberdeen and Laurencekirk

A new survey has launched today (Monday 20 September) to study transport problems and opportunities between Aberdeen and Laurencekirk.

Nestrans is looking to identify options that will encourage more people to travel in a sustainable way along the corridor; be it walking, cycling, or using public transport.

An online survey will be open for four weeks from Monday 20th September until Monday 18th October 2021.

The study is being funded by Transport Scotland’s Local Rail Development Fund. It will investigate rail options, including the potential for new stations south of Aberdeen, as well as a wider range of possibilities across different travel methods. This includes improvements to the active travel and bus networks.

Chair of Nestrans, Councillor Sandra Macdonald said: “I’d encourage everyone who lives or travels within the area to take part in the consultation. 

“This survey provides an excellent opportunity to share your views on the existing network. We also want to hear how you plan to travel along this corridor in the future, and what we can do to improve what is available for sustainable and active travel.”

For more information and to take part in the survey, please visit

Who Kept Their Nerves in the Novice Final?

By bellmannews / September 20, 2021

From Sandra Mcwilliam of Stonehaven Bowling Club –

The final of the novice competition was held today at Stonehaven Bowling Club between Arlene Scott and Janice Irvine.

It was a keenly contested game with the players going into the last end peels  at 19-19. However Janice kept her nerve and produced the winning two shots required.

Congratulations to them both.

Photo l to r. Arlene Scott and Janice Irvine

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