Tomorrow’s Area Committee Meeting

By Jane Cruickshank / February 28, 2022

PERFORMANCE indicators and school rolls are on the agenda at tomorrown’s meeting of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committees.

At their meeting tomorrow, members will consider a report detailing the Business Services directorate’s performance indicators – all 16 of them, ranging from how long it takes to answer the telephone (6.53 mins), to how many buildings are fit for purpose (77.4%).

One interesting little fact – 30.5% of callers hang up before their call is answered.

A traffic light system is used to flag performance levels. It appears the directorate is doing well on most counts with green to go being much in evidence. The time taken to process new Housing Benefit claims is a sorry red – but the small print gives reassurance the situation has been improved.

Empty homes

Next on the agenda is a report detailing how Aberdeenshire Council is encouraging and supporting homeowners to bring their empty homes back into use. It appears in Aberdeenshire 2.6% of all residential dwellings are empty compared to the Scottish average of 1.8%.

There are 321 empty houses in Kincardine and Mearns, including 98 which have been empty for more than 2 years and are subject to an additional 100% council tax charge.

School roll forecasts

The pressure – or lack of it – on our school buildings is highlighted in this report. Mackie Academy is working close to its capacity with pupil figures at 93% now and 95% forecast for 2026.

Kemnay Academy’s plight gives some perspective. This Garioch secondary is already coping with pupil numbers at 131% capacity and projected to push further to 137% by 2026.

Meanwhile, Arduthie Primary’s roll is forecast to rise from 85% to 97% capacity by 2026, Dunnottar to fall from 87% to 80% and Mill O’Forest to fall from 60% to 56%.

Refusal of permission upheld

Next on the agenda is a report from the council’s Local Review Body, LRB, who were asked to scrutinise planning officers’ refusal of planning permission for the erection of a dwellinghouse and integral garage and installation of air source heat pump at 5 Castle Street.

Mr Richard Hampson’s proposals for the early 19th century former fishermans cottage met with eight objections. The application was flagged to councillors but only Cllr Dickinson asked for the application to come to committee, so it was determined by planners.

The LRB upheld the planning officers’ refusal – citing the scale of the proposals and the detrimental impact upon the visual and historical of the design.

Nothing more of interest to The Bellman

The Bellman is what is called a hyperlocal news website – we cover only what is going on and relevant to Stonehaven. A quick glance at the projects bidding for the area committee’s budget showed them to be from elsewhere. There is still money to be had though – around £13,000, so Stonehaven clubs, groups etc should be having a think about how a cach boost could help.

And the one planning matter to be determined is in Auchenblae, so again outside our scope.

All the reports pertaining to tomorrow’s agenda area available online along with a link to join the meeting which is being hosted by Skype and which starts at 10am.