No Holiday Tomorrow for Councillors

By Jane Cruickshank / September 4, 2023
Stonehaven Council offices

OUR councillors have hopefully enjoyed a long summer’s break from meetings, but will pay the price tomorrow when they tackle a hefty agenda.

And they will surely be flagging when they reach the item that will perhaps resonate most with many Stonehaven residents – a report on a review of the Stonehaven Vaccination Centre – undertaken after one year at the request of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee.

The review does not address the comments of concern and objection raised by residents and by Stonehaven and District Community Council at the time of the closure of the Invercarron Resource Centre with the resulting loss of amenity for our older residents.

The review instead looks at the functionality of the building for its new purpose – with our councillors asked to acknowledge the outcome that there is a continuing need for the vaccination centre, and that the existing vaccination centre has the ability to meet the long-term needs of the community.

Moves are being made however to improve the use of space in the building. According to the report, work is underway to look at utilising vaccination spaces for Health Checks for adults with learning disabilities, with a pilot site in Peterhead. If the pilot is successful the plan would be to roll it out in all the centres, including Stonehaven.

Inflatable tennis arena

There are many planning matters on the agenda. Before they even get to the first item of interest to Stonehaven residents, councillors will have considered planning applications for127 houses in Portlethen, two more in Blairs and a battery storage facility at Fordoun.

Then it will be on to Stonehaven Tennis Club’s bid for an air-supported structure at the Recreation Grounds to provide cover for two tennis courts.

The development of an indoor tennis facility was one of the successful options in last year’s participatory budgeting exercise, achieving an allocation of £250,000. The proposal detailed by Live Life Aberdeenshire was, however, quickly deemed unacceptable by planners due to flood concerns.

An inflatale arena at the upper courts was proposed instead and the planning application for the structure was submitted in March.

Those supporting the project cite the benefits to health brought by access to all-weather sports. But at both a public meeting and in letters of representation, concerns were raised for the impact the 9m dome would have on its immediate setting and on wider views – sentiments echoed by Environment and Infrastructure Services (Built Heritage).

To address these concerns, the arena colour has been changed to opal green – and a condition on the planning permission proposed, limiting ithe arena’s use to the winter months only. On this basis, councillors are recommended to grant permission.

Council office to homes

Planning matters continue and include the proposals for the former Aberdeenshire Council office at the traffic lights at Allardice Street, which has lain vacant since February 2020.

Caroline Milne and Louise McCabe are seeking full planning permission for the part change of use to housing, including alterations and extension to form 2 dwellinghouses. Two retail units will remain towards the front of the property, accessed from Allardice Street. Planners recommend permission for the scheme is granted.

The Kincardine and Mearns Area Committe meets in Viemount Chamber tomorrow (Tuesday) at 9.30am. The full agenda and all associated reports are available online. Unfortunately I am unable to attend, so like all other interested parties will look to our councillors’ Facebook pages and the recording of the meeting when it is posted on YouTube to learn of the various outcomes.

Jane Cruickshank - September 6, 2023

The council offices were sold to a developer some time ago – indeed their planning application was also on this week’s agenda for the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee.

P J Houghton - September 5, 2023

Why can’t the traffic light council offices become the towns Vacination centre (with a car park across the road ) , the Invercarron Resource Centre return to its original function to be used by 50 to 60 groups ???

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