Community councillors were delighted to hear, at their monthly meeting in the Village Hall last Wednesday, that there is every prospect that the Mill of Benholm will be up and running again in spring next year.
Managed by the Mill of Benholm Trust, in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council, for the last 20 years or so as a tourist attraction, it also provided training and support for adults with special needs.
However, in May last year, because of health and safety issues on the site, Aberdeenshire Council, with the agreement of the Board of Trustees, decided temporarily to suspend all operations until the various concerns were resolved and the Mill has remained closed since then.
Recently, however, three organisations intimated an interest to the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee in taking over the running of the Mill- the Mill of Benholm Trust, the Kincardineshire Scout Council and Cornerstone -and the Community Council was informed on Wednesday that the last mentioned was the preferred option. Should Cornerstone, founded in 1980, and now one Scotland’s largest charities and leading providers for people with disabilities, be granted a lease, it is understood that it would take responsibility for the training of vulnerable adults, the tearoom and the gardens. Aberdeenshire Council, the owners of the Mill, would continue to maintain the property while a “community” organisation might have to be formed to manage the mill itself and the tourist aspect of the amenity.
The closure of the Mill, popular with visitors and locals alike, has been a loss to the community over the last nine months and so it is to be hoped that, although there may be hurdles still to overcome, its doors will be open in time for the forthcoming summer season.
The Stagecoach Bluebird direct service from Aberdeen to Perth, now served by new superior coaches, has undoubtedly proved extremely popular.
However, that popularity has brought with it a problem which is concerning the community councillors. Since the coaches do not enter the village passengers have to walk up to the top of the New Road and cross the A92 to get to and leave the northbound bus shelter. This is a dangerous crossing, particularly at night at a place where there is no lighting and vehicles often approach from the north at high speeds. Councillors would, therefore, like to see lighting installed before a serious accident occurs, although councillor Alex Wallace stressed that the real solution is to have a 50 mph speed limit imposed, from the entrance to Lathallan School to just beyond the New Road, something for which the community council has been campaigning for some time now.
Councillors were glad to hear, from the representative from Police Scotland who was present, that Johnshaven is still a low crime area.
However, they were advised to make their constituents aware that, approaching Christmas, opportunist, especially car, crime was likely to be on the increase, with gangs operating from Aberdeen.
Keys should not be kept in unoccupied cars, nor anywhere near an outside door. Residents should make sure that all house doors, back and front, should be locked when appropriate.Next meeting of the community council will be held in the Village Hall (small) on Wednesday, January 14, at 7pm
Don’t forget the double bill in the Village Hall this Sunday: “Frozen Sing-Along” at 3 pm and “It’s a Wonderful Life” at 7 pm. Prices for each are £5 (full) and £3.50 (children under 16) from Johnshaven Stores or at the door. Mince pies, mulled wine and soft drinks will be available at the evening showing.
Mearns Coastal Parish Church
Services will take place this Sunday, at the usual times of 10 am in St Cyrus Church and 11.30 am in Johnshaven Church.
Christmas Songs and Lessons
This Sunday Stonehaven Baptist Church and friends , who have been holding coffee and conversations in the Church Hall since the summer, extend an invitation to join with them in an afternoon around the village of Christian songs and lessons. The event begins in the Church Hall at 4.30 pm and then moves to the Ship Hotel at 5.15, the harbour at 6 and finishing back at the Church Hall at 6.30 for refreshments.
Honours for local girls
At the recent Stonehaven Youth Football Club Girls end-of season event, at which Russell Anderson presented the trophies, in the Under 16s section, Katy Townsend was Player’s Player of the Year, while in the Under 13s section Erin Beedie was Club Woman of the Year and Laura Porter Young Players’ Player of the Year.
At the Stonehaven Ladies’ presentation of trophies, Laura Townsend was awarded Manager’s Player of the Year.