An increase in the number of large, XL-type Bully dogs in Stonehaven and incidents of dogs being out of control in Dunnottar Woods and Forest Drive Park have led Stonehaven residents to voice concerns about control and public safety.
This comes against a national backdrop of XL Bully dogs frequently appearing in media stories, having attacked owners and members of the public alike.
Community council member Denise Bannerman together with Julie Gray of the North of Scotland Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club agreed to look into this issue – and reported their findings at Tuesday’s meeting of Stonehaven and District Community Council.
New law in England and Wales
Whilst, currently, issues around unsociable and uncontrolled dogs are covered by the Control of Dogs (Scotland Act), in England and Wales legislation is due to be enacted which will ban this breed. Owners will be able to apply to have their dogs exempted from the ban if they agree to neuter, microchip and muzzle their dogs or to receive compensation if their dog is put to sleep.
DEFRA has produced a breed description to help identify these dogs, but it is so generalized (and mainly based on the height of the animal) that there is considerable risk of dogs being mistakenly identified as XL Bullies.
Situation in Scotland
Denise Bannerman said the Scottish government has not as yet taken the decision to ban the breed but has stated that a review of the situation will take place in the future (the date is not yet specified).
She said she was keen to emphasize that the vast majority of dogs are well behaved and their owners are responsible. However, should Scotland follow the path that England and Wales have taken then it would be wise to address the situation.
The Kennel Club offers a free Good Citizen Dog training scheme which covers responsible dog ownership and obedience training for pets. This could help people to protect their dogs and prevent unsociable behaviour.
If the government decides not to ban the breed, a ‘Positive Ownership’ event involving charities, animal welfare officers and other experts could be held at a local venue to offer advice and information to dog owners.
A LOCAL Place Plan consultation session in the Town Hall tomorrow from 10am to 2pm gives locals an opportunity to ask questions about the various aspects of the online questionnaire – and get help completing it if preferred.
Local Place Plans are a key element of the Scottish Government’s new planning system, giving communities the right to map their preferred development and growth. They also give locals a say in community projects they want undertaken, or the use or preservation or buildings and land they value.
They are, for the first time, a chance for communities like Stonehaven to be proactive in the planning process – to say what they want to see happening. Once complete, the Local Place Plan must be considered by the Council when assessing developer bids and producing the next Local Development Plan.
Hundreds of residents have completed the questionnaire
The consultation led by Stonehaven and District Community Council has already attracted a lot of interest from residents – the number of completed questionnaires is heading towards 800.
The team behind the consultation will be in the Town Hall tomorrow, Saturday November 18 from 10am to 2pm. This is an opportunity to look at maps and information and ask any questions. A cup of tea will be on offer, along with a bank of laptops so you can complete the questionnaire with help on hand.
There will be a second session at Mackie Academy of Saturday December 9 from 10am to 2pm.
A TEMPORARY path is to be laid to replace the boardwalk- while the Council considers options for a long-term solution to the storm damage.
Members heard an update on the popular seafront walking route at this week’s meeting of Stonehaven and District Community Council.
Jim Stephen, who is also one of the Fireballs organisers, said he met with Landscape Services, who said the temporary path would be in place in good time to be used as an evacuation route for the Hogmanay celebration – and again for the Nippy Dip on New Year’s day.
He said: ”They have a lot on their hands just now, so I think that is the most we can ask for.”
Ripped out by storm after only two years
The boardwalk was constructed in 2021 to replace the original walkway, which after 20 years of use had reached a general state of disrepair.
A joint initiative led by the Stonehaven Town Centre Improvement Group orchestrated the project and was awarded £265,000 from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund, £30,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund, along with a £45,000 grant from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund awarded by NESFLAG for the works along with new seating areas, finger-pointer signage and information and interpretation boards.
Now it appears the local authority is going back to the drawing board. Councillor Alan Turner said officers were getting quotes for various options to fix the boardwalk.
Councillor Sarah Dickinson added: ”They are looking for a long term solution, so we don’t have this problem again.”
To which a member of the public quipped: ”It will have to be concrete!”
HIS FEAR of his home being flooded again was so powerful, a Stonehaven resident risked his life to clear a blocked drain – so said Jim Stephen at last night’s meeting of Stonehaven and District Community Council, SDCC, when the impact of Storm Babet was under discussion.
Chairman David Lawman was keen to put on the record SDCC’s thanks to Aberdeenshire Council for the tremendous amount of work done to repeatedly clear up after the storms. But, he said, There were comments to be made as the storm was a learning experience.
Choked drain not up to task
Very quickly, the performance of the Arbuthnott drain was identified as a problem. The drain is supposed to discharge near the mouth of the River Carron, but the outlet is frequently blocked with sand and shingle. Such was the situation on the first night of severe storms.
Jim Stephen said: ”A resident who had been flooded before was in distress and determined it should not happen again, and he set out to clear the drain himself.
”He was endangering his life.
”For a man to jump in the river – people were telling hime to stop – this is desperation we are looking at here,” he said.
Robin Barclay was one of a number of locals keen to share their experience of living in the area – and raise their concerns.
He said the Arbuthnott drain was not fit for purpose as its capacity was inadequate when compared to the surface area of street it served. And he showed photographs of the choked non-return outlet valve.
”There is no way this will ever open in that condition,” he said.
Mr Barclay said the drain outlet was not in a good position as the River Carron did not scour that part of the channel. He added just one tide could cover the outlet again after it had been cleared. And he called for the water in the drain to be pumped into the sewage infrastructure at the Backies.
Repeatedly, Mr Lawman pressed for councillors to hear the community’s concerns and look at how they could be addressed.
Councillor Alan Turner said he was unhappy members of the public were having to clean out the drain. He said he had asked for this task to be part of regular storm maintenance – it was cleared before the next storm event – and had also requested a review of the whole Arbuthnott drain system.
Mr Turner was a member of Stonehaven Flood Action Group prior to becoming a councillor. He reminded everyone that he lived at the seafront.
”I am a bit of a realist as the sea will come over,” he said.
”But I understand the mental health aspect of this. I saw the impact of flooding on my family. That is why I got involved – but even with the best will in the world I wish I could give you a 100% guarantee, but I can’t.”
Hoping for funding from SEPA
Discussions lasting over an hour moved on to the problem of waves overtopping. Should shingle be moved to maintain a beach defence? What was done historically? Would the Council at least acknowledge Stonehaven had problems?
Mr Turner said two of the four areas proposed by Aberdeenshire Council for consideration as national priority areas for flood risk management by SEPA were in Stonehaven- coastal flooding and the Farrochie Burn.
SEPA, he said, had one year to prepare their national priority list, and Aberdeenshire Council were waiting to hear the outcome.
He added: ”Aberdeenshire does recognise the problem. Flood schemes are a challenge, it will take time. I wish we could give a better answer but it will take time.”
Rounding up the agenda item, David Lawman said: ”You can hear the passion in everyone’s voices. People really care. Could I just ask that councillors take it away and give us some feedback about what the Council thinks.
”If you don’t admit we have a problem then you won’t start to fix it.”
Meanwhile Jim Stephen hammered his point home.
He said: ”You should not be relying on a resident, very frightened, with a spade in the middle of the night going down to dig a drain. A man visibly shaking, willing to risk his life.”
Kincardine and Mearns Citizens Advice Bureau (KAMCAB) are here to offer our local community with free, impartial and confidential advice. We deliver support and guidance on a range of topics, giving people the information they need to deal with any situation and improve their lives.
Our remit area covers roughly as far north as Portlethen and Nigg, as far south as St Cyrus and Edzell Woods and as far west as Fettercairn. Our office is based within Stonehaven and we run outreach services in Portlethen, Inverbervie and Laurencekirk.
There are many reasons to become a volunteer. Here are a few of our top reasons:
You can help in a way that suits the time you can spare and the skills you can offer
You can learn new skills and improve your confidence
You can make a difference in your local community
Whether you are looking to re-enter the job market or change careers, volunteering can improve your prospects
All our volunteers are given free and comprehensive training and ongoing support
We have a range of different volunteering opportunities and roles, such as:
Admin or Reception
Board or Bureau Members
And many more
Everyone’s different skillsets and life experiences are welcome and greatly appreciated.
For more information about volunteering you can:
Give us a call on 01569 766 578
Send us an email to email@example.com
Visit our website – www.kamcab.org.uk/volunteer
Pop in past our office, Kincardine and Mearns Citizens Advice Bureau, Sheriff Court Building, Dunnottar Avenue, Stonehaven, AB39 2JD between 9:30am and 4pm, Monday to Thursday
Stonehaven and District Men’s Shed, SDMS, have just been awarded The King’s Award for Voluntary Service – this is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE for individuals.
The Lord-Lieutenant of Kincardineshire, Mr Alastair Macphie visited the beachfront meeting place this morning to share the news with the members. The official announcement was made at midnight in The Gazette. Only 262 groups throughout the United Kingdom received the award today, the King’s birthday.
The objective of the Men’s Shed is to enhance the mental and physical health of men in the community who have time to spare and wish to pass that time together constructively and enjoyably, learning new skills, or passing on their own skills and, in the process, contributing to the general wellbeing of the community.
Mr Macphie said the award nomination, prepared by Jennifer Macdonald in her role as Deputy Lieutenant, included the Shed’s Legs4Africa work and their community projects for and with other organisations, which were, ‘too many to mention’. And he noted the benefits to well-being The Men’s Shed offered to all men.
He added: ”This award is a real compliment for you, for all the work you are doing. Congratulations and well done.”
The King’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and, following his accession, His Majesty The King emphasised his desire to continue the Award.
Representatives of SDMS will receive the award crystal and certificate from Mr Macphie later this year. In addition, two volunteers from the shed will be invited to attend a Royal Garden Party at Holyrood House in July 2024 with other recipients of this year’s Award.
SDMS Chairman, Bill Allan said: “I am delighted that our members’ achievements have been recognised. It is a tremendous honour for our volunteers after all the hard work they have put in to acquire the property, renovate it by raising over £85,000 in funding, whilst also contributing over four thousand hours of their own hard work to make it fit for purpose.
”In addition, since opening three years ago, the volunteers have worked on a wide range of projects for the benefit of the community and the wider world.
”This shed is unique in Scotland, as it dismantles used prosthetic limbs for Legs4Africa charity. These valuable parts, costing a minimum of £5000 per limb, are shipped to Africa where they are reassembled to fit amputees in several countries.”
The shed, like others in Scotland, also puts great emphasis on recycling bicycles, garden equipment, furniture and discarded wood and metal for their projects.
Mr Allan said this has given the volunteers great satisfaction and pleasure whilst providing comradeship in meeting new colleagues in an environment where they and their families know they are safe, all contributing to the benefit of mental and physical health of elderly people in the community.
He added: ”We would like to express our appreciation to the Lord Lieutenancy for nominating us for this award, and also all local Council and our fellow volunteer groups in Stonehaven who have supported us over the past few years.”
THE impacts of Storm Babet feature high on the agenda of tomorrow’s (Tuesday) meeting of Stonehaven and District Community Council.
The powerful storm winds were followed days later by raging spring tides that added to seafront chaos by dumping tons of debris left to be removed not once but twice.
While gratitude to the council’s clean up squad is clear, no doubt questions will be asked and comments made about the storm’s impact on various elements of the town’s infrastructure.
What next for Dunnottar and Carronhill
Also on the agenda is an update following the recent news of Aberdeenshire Council’s failure to receive Scottish Government funding towards the cost of replacing the two schools.
Stonehaven & District Community Council meet in the former court room of the County Building, Dunnottar Avenue tomorrow, Tuesday November 14 at 7pm. The meeting is open to the public, and can be joined online. This link along with supporting documents can also be found on the SDCC website
Storm Babet: a) Thanks to all the Aberdeenshire Council Clean up Squads! b) Arbuthnott Drain c) Boardwalk d) Over Topping e) Harbour f) Fence g) Flood Warden – Status
Dunnottar Primary School and Carronhill Special School – Replacement Update
Community Storage – JS
Achères & Stonehaven Twinning Partnership
Matters Arising from Previous Minutes a) CCTV – Update b) Stonehaven Medical Centre – Link with Patient Participation Group – RC – Next Meeting 30/10/2023 c) Himalayan Balsam – Wooded Area Adjacent to Glebe – IH d) Nippy Dip – 1st January 2024 e) Swim the Bay – JS / NM / SMcQ f) Dangerous Dogs – DB g) Hannah Dyson & Community Awards – AL
Approval of Previous Minutes (10th October 2023)
SDCC Committees / Sub-Groups (Only Report if Applicable) a) Local Development Plan / Local Place Plan – DL – Next meeting 16/11/2023 b) Invercarron Resource Centre / Older People’s Services – RC / AMcA / IH c) Community Resilience Plan – Update – MO – Next meeting 20/11/2023 d) SDCC Communications – SMcQ – Next meeting TBC
Outside Bodies / Committees (Brief Reports) a) Transport Action Kincardine-shire (TRAK) – IH – Next meeting 25/01/2024 b) KDP – Wind Farm Grant Application Reviews – DL / SMcQ – Next Meeting 22/11/2023 c) Town Centre Improvement Group – AL/DL – Next meeting 07/11/2023 d) Kincardine and Mearns Community Council Forum – DL / RC / IH – Next meeting 06/12/2023 e) Kincardine and Mearns Community Planning Group – IH
Treasurer’s Report: – (See Supporting Documents) – MO
AOCB (NB special circumstance items only)
Date of Next Meetings: a) Agenda Discussion Meeting: 5th December 2023 @ 7pm b) Business Meeting: 12th December 2023 @ 7pm
ANYONE who has already completed the Local Place Plan questionnaire, will have seen a section asking which community-led projects they would support.
This is an important aspect of the consultation. If enough people take part and give their backing to the proposals, it is a big step towards enabling community action.
Underpinning any project would be a funding application – which would be all the more robust as community support could be demonstrated. And there are many funding sources to approach.
Finding sources of funding
Kincarding Development Partnership was one of the first organisations to ‘buy into’ the concept of The Bellman – sharing Stonehaven’s news – and have regularly emailed us their bulletins for us to publish. I thank them for their support.
It is greatly due to these excellent updates, that I have become aware of just how much money is available to community groups and initiatives – money that could be improving Stonehaven’s amenities.
Each bulletin brings a fresh list of funding opportunities. So this latest KDP update gives just a flavour of what sort of project could benefit – and what kind of award could be achieved. Please have a look below.
More Input is needed
Meanwhile, the first public consultation session for Stonehaven’s Local Place Plan takes place in the Town Hall on Saturday from 10am to 2pm. Members of Stonehaven and District Community Council who are leading the consultation will be present along with other volunteers, myself included.
Laptops and I-pads will be available For those who would like help to complete the online questionnaire
Feature image: the north pends community garden, a community-led project
Welcome to the KDP Bulletin
Stronger Starts is a £5m grant programme to boost school funds focusing on providing nutritious food and activities/resources to boost physical health and mental wellbeing in children and young people. All groups and projects that support young children with a stronger start in life are encouraged to apply for grants of up to £1500. Projects could include improving school playgrounds, growing and food projects, outdoor play and purchasing kits for healthy activities. This is an ongoing fund, and you can learn more here
As part of The Press and Journal’s 275th anniversary celebrations, The P&J 275 Community Fund was launched earlier this year, aiming to support the charities transforming communities across the north and north-east of Scotland. The Press and Journal asked readers to nominate charities they believed should benefit from the fund – which includes a minimum donation of £10,000 each – in 2024. From now until November 15th, readers can learn about each of the charities online and in a special pull-out newspaper supplement, and vote for who they think should be announced as official Charity Partners of the fund. Click here to see a list of the ‘Large’ nominees and here for the ‘Small & Medium’ nominees, and cast your vote.
The Wolfson Foundation main grants programme provides support for places. These grants are for capital initiatives, i.e. buildings (new build or refurbishment) and equipment. They fund a broad range of organisations working across the fields of education, science & medicine, health & disability, heritage, humanities & the arts. The fund opens on 20th November and closes on 5th January 2024. To find out more visit the website.
The Scottish Civic Trust My Place Awards celebrate projects and people that work to improve places and communities in Scotland. They are funded by the Scottish Government. The My Place Awards have two categories: Community-led Projects: recognises recent community-led built environment projects, including new buildings, historic buildings or monuments that have been reused or refurbished, designed public realm schemes such as street-works or parks, and designed landscapes such as gardens or public green spaces. Community Champions: celebrates individuals in communities across Scotland who have made a significant contribution to their local area through achieving positive change in the built environment, whether through built heritage, public spaces or access to these by communities. Winners of the Awards are celebrated at a ceremony attended by major stakeholders in the built environment and heritage sectors, as well as representatives from local and national government. Entries to the My Place Awards 2024 can be made via the My Place Scotland website. The deadline for entries is 14 January 2024.
Music for All are delighted to be able to offer financial awards as well as donations of instruments in the categories below: Working with children (0-4 years old) Groups working with those in financial hardship Choral groups Electric guitars Ukulele group bundle offer Behringer multipurpose headphones Please read the eligibility criteria and instructions carefully before applying. Applications for these awards categories should be made by 8am Monday 18 December 2023. To learn more click here.
Young Scot want to find out more about what it’s like being a young person (aged 11-25 years) in Scotland. The Big Survey asks young people for their thoughts on what is important to them now and for the future. From politics to health and climate change, the questions also ask what concerns young people, how they manage their money and what they think about technology, phone usage and AI. Young Scot will use the results to better understand what life is like for young people and to help develop services that meet their needs. Fill in the survey here.
Aberdeenshire Council is carrying out a Budget Engagement Survey between now and the 17th of November 2023 and want to know what is important to you. They are seeking views from a wide range of groups and individuals across Aberdeenshire, on four main questions: Which services are most important to you right now? Which services do you think will be most important to you in future? Where do you think we should make changes? Which services would you like to have a greater say on? Click here to complete the survey. It should only take about 5 minutes.
The Ian Findlay Path Fund will support path management projects that improve the accessibility and resilience of existing paths between homes, community services, active travel routes and public transport facilities or connections. The fund will support path management projects that: Demonstrate that they will make it easier for people to choose active travel and public transport to reduce dependency on car usage Improve accessibility and resilience of existing paths between homes, community facilities, active travel routes and public transport facilities Remove barriers to make existing paths more accessible to more people Link paths to community destinations such as homes and public transport connections Improve and create routes to aid the development of 20-minute neighbourhoods Contact IFPF@pathsforall.org.uk to start initial discussions.
Do you want to learn more about Shared Ownership? If so, join Local Energy Scotland on Thursday 16 November at 12pm to hear how shared ownership works and the support available from the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) that could help you explore opportunities in your area. They will have their Shared Ownership Manager and Specialist on hand to answer any questions you have. Find out more and register here.
The BBC Children in Need Emergency Essentials Programme has reopened for applications. The fund supports children and young people who are facing exceptionally difficult circumstances and provides items that meet a child’s most basic needs such as a bed to sleep in, a cooker to provide a hot meal, and other items or services critical to a child’s wellbeing.
All funding applications must be made by a registered referrer and you can do so here.
KDP is here to help in any way we can. Please get in touch if we can assist you or your Community group. Mairi & Margo Kincardineshire Development Partnership
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