Here are the letters sent to us this week that can be seen on page 10. If you have a letter you can e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to 12 Ann Street, AB39 2ER.
New powers - Hardly life changing
Sir - The new powers recommended by the Smith commission do not promise an exciting new future for Scotland (Alex Johnstone, The Leader 05/12/14), far from it. How can Scotland build a strong successful economy when it controls only 30% of revenue and 20% welfare spending? It is hardly going to be life-changing for most Scots, indeed, the lack of any real authority over our economy ties our hands while giving the impression that we have free reign, and that is disingenuous and dangerous.
Smiths’ new rules for the Barnett Formula will modify the block grant so that neither the UK or Scottish governments will win or lose financially. These “powers” will not bring Scotland extra benefits, but they will be a stick to beat Scotland with.
If we do raise revenue, the block grant will be reduced. If we increase welfare spending (to deal with the billions of George Osbourne’s cuts for example) we will have to borrow or raise taxes, again the block grant would be reduced accordingly.
The vow promised home rule/Devo Max. When 70% of Scots want only defence and foreign policy to be under control of Westminster, despite the spin by the unionist parties, the new powers just do not deliver on that promise.
Our history - Why was cannon moved?
Sir- Who said they could move the ‘cannon’ from its original position in Stonehaven’s High street to it’s present half hidden position, was it easier to relocate without the ‘knowledge of others’?. It has been in its original position for an extremly long time, I can understand that the contractors carrying out their works concerning the flood prevention activities would not know, but come on, this is our ‘HISTORY’. Please put it back,
8A New Street
Congratulations - Ury Players panto
Sir- I would like to thank the Ury Players for a brilliant pantomime. The cast and crew had the audience with them right from the start. Well done to all.
Here we go again - Response to Mr Samways
Sir- Dear Mr Samways, Thank you for highlighting the error of my ways, there was me thinking our planners ignored policy and procedure and just threw darts at a map on the wall. Thank goodness you are protecting us simple Stonehaven folks and our town from the devastation retail development has caused Banchory, Montrose and Inverurie, thank goodness we don’t have a town centre like those towns, diversity, choice, vibrancy – what do I know!
Was there any point to your letter, someone help me here, I slipped in to a coma midway through the second paragraph! You have demonstrated your own agenda on many occasions, namely a petty squabble with the recreation ground trustees. Nothing more than subjective opinion of a self-appointed voice of the community – who does not speak for all. Notice you did not identify the “existing sites”, must have recalled the warm welcome at the town hall meeting.
Anyone can find papers to support their view - Stonehaven & District Community Council, quote “Wake up Planning Department, it is not too late. Let’s see your visions!”
Facts: There is an accepted 70% retail leakage from Stonehaven. There is a lack of choice and competition in Stonehaven. Most people take cars to the shops. For clarity this means increased traffic at any location – Have you seen trucks trying to negotiate the David street entrance or tried to get access / egress from the beach road at peak times?
Our town centre has declined considerably despite a significant increase in population. Broken record time again - Similar towns, Banchory, Montrose, Inverurie etc. all have thriving town centres and guess what - they have many supermarkets.
I did not underestimate the compliance process planners have to go through, why would you suggest such a thing – superiority complex? Nor was I supporting housing development or large retail, for example an Aldi or Lidl would be competition for the dominant supermarket chain, not the local shops - doing nothing is a conscious choice and sustains the current monopoly. You quote decisions made by the planners, when in fact the only outcome for too many years has been delay and rejection. Apart from a supermarket on the tennis courts and rejecting all alternative sites where is the STP support / proposal?
Unfortunately Douglas it may be you who is mistaken, scare mongering and NIMBY attitudes have prohibited development of our town for far too long. Progress often requires finding the middle ground.
What do I know - Growing up in Stonehaven we had half the population and four times the retail, furniture, DIY, clothes, shoes, sports and greengrocers, several butchers and fishmongers, numerous hotels, bars and restaurants, not to mention several supermarkets, hey wait a minute, very similar to Banchory, Montrose and Inverurie town centres today. What is your explanation for our decline?
It is about choice, value (currently inadequate in Stonehaven) and of course competition. You seem to be missing the point, do you actually do any shopping. Shoppers’ shop where they can and where they choose, personally I shop with our butcher, fish monger and bakers but I use an optician in Aberdeen and Portlethen for my weekly consumables – you are suggesting restricting competition to support local shops. Last time I checked that was anti-competitive practice! Businesses need to be competitive and profitable to survive, that is business. What next a wall round Stonehaven to prevent anyone taking goods into the town!
Jackie Bruce. (Mrs)
Misleading - Stoney ground plea
Sir- I was essentially happy with your article, about my search for a new location to continue my trailer training courses, but a couple of things were not absolutely clear. Firstly, my business will not be threatened in any way, as there will be alternative (if less ideal) spaces in which to conduct this part of the training. Secondly, there are courses available to trainees in the Aberdeen area and Musselburgh is the nearest one to be recommended by the Caravan Club.