Three projects put forward as fund priorities

A community facility at Hillside, restoration to Stonehaven’s clock tower and work at Inverbervie beach have been put forward by the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee as high priorities for a share of the Aberdeenshire budget underspend.

At a meeting on 28 June, Aberdeenshire Council agreed to allocate £3m towards projects over six key areas based on need in order to invest in towns and villages and creating better places to work.

On Tuesday, the community facility at Hillside, Stonehaven’s clock tower and Inverbervie beach came out as the top priorities, with further discussion on an all-weather pitch at Stonehaven and also incorporating Bervie Play Parks in to the beach improvements.

Councillors were not required to choose one project from each area but the top three priorities happened to be in the three council wards.

Councillor Evison, who has been working closely with the people of Hillside, stated that a community facility in the area should be changed from a high priority to a very high priority to which Councillor Bellarby also said he was surprised its prioritisation was not higher. It was explained that the needs for each individual applicant was scored on a point system and Hillside had got 26 points, putting it in the high priority category. She expressed that there is a desperate need for something in the area and said: “The A90 is dividing Hillside from the rest of the Portlethen community and vandalism is beginning in the area because there is nothing for children and teenagers to do.

“There are cases of social isolation developing and a community facility would benefit the people of Hillside as well as people from outwith the area. Lots of people are keen to get involved in getting something up and running and Portlethen and District Community Council are keen to offer their help and support.”

Councillor Bews also asked the committee to prioritise Hillside and described it as a “fast growing, young community” and said: “I think these people have suffered enough.”

Councillor Agnew fought for money to be allocated for the clock tower and said: “Work on the clock tower at Stonehaven harbour is a must. This project can’t get any sort of grant from any other body and it is in need of great repair. It’s an asset of old Stonehaven. If we don’t do anything with it, it could fall down and people could be injured. It’s unsafe and its state is a bit of an embarrassment, especially as it is noticeable and plays an important part in the fireball ceremony.”

Councillor Agnew recommended that they put forward the clock tower as a priority and try to cut the estimated cost of reparations by using local and voluntary workmen, and any leftover funding could go towards one of the other options - an all weather pitch in Stonehaven.

Area Manager Willie Munro said as far as he is aware, Stonehaven is the largest town in Aberdeenshire without an all weather pitch.

Councillor Carr then suggested that funding for Bervie Play Parks could be integrated within the Inverbervie Beach work and suggested that they plan to use this money to leave some sort of legacy.

Councillor Clark took a differing view and suggested the money should be used on services because there are vulnerable people struggling to which Willie Munro said: “To reinvest into services might not be sustainable in the long term.”

The Councillors agreed to put forward the Hillside facility, the clock tower and Inverbervie beach work as the top priorities, with potential leftover money for an all weather pitch in Stonehaven.