Stonehaven and District Community Council (SDCC) is looking for support from the wider community for their plan to twin Stonehaven with the French town of Archeres.
Archeres Mayoress Veronique Forensi and other officials from the French town visited Stonehaven recently to discuss the plans, and Community Council Chairperson Phil Mills-Bishop said that the group were impressed with Stonehaven and were keen to go ahead with the twinning.
He said: “A Civic party from the French town of Archeres led by Mayoress Veronique Forensi recently visited Stonehaven with the aim of restoring the “auld allaince” and establishing a formal twinning arrangement. Some have said impossible - the towns are chalk and cheese! Well differences attract and they could form a solid sustainable foundation. Stonehaven has some fabulous assets. Dunnottar Castle is one of the world’s top tourist destinations and Stuart Young of Dunecht Estates is keen to see in the future a purpose built visitor centre. Ury House, now under the ICMI Hotel Group, is to be developed as a centre for hospitality, history and adventure. The ability and legal power for the community council to progress a Twinning arrangment has been confirmed by Aberdeenshire Council and encouragement made with advice on sustainability and ensuring necessary funding is in place. The community council will look to lead a group to visit Archeres next Spring to formally sign a concordant and Twinning agreement.”
Kincardine and Mearns Area Manager Willie Munro said of the plans: “I think that key issues to consider are what does each party want to get out of twinning and how will the link be sustained in the longer term e.g. funding of travel, visits, exchanges. It would be a great pity if a twinning is set up and then it isn’t sustained. If SDCC is keen to progress this then we can give advice and support.
“As far as I am aware Stonehaven is not twinned with any other town although the schools do have some affiliations for the purposes of exchange visits. Aberdeenshire Council does not have a policy on twinning as it sees it as a matter for the individual towns and individual Community Councils. There is therefore no budget to support this, although it is the sort of thing that the Area Committee budget might be able to assist with.”
Twin towns are usually formed to promote cultural and commercial ties. The modern concept of town twinning, conceived after the Second World War, was intended to foster friendship and understanding between different cultures and between former foes as an act of peace and reconciliation, and to encourage trade and tourism.