Category Archives: News

Actions I have been able to get done on behalf of Craigo and Hillside constituents

  1. A small road sweeper has been deployed to clean up the large number of leaves on the pavement on Main Road Hillside which were causing problems for many people
  2. The council  are to install a positive drainage scheme in various sections of Marykirk Road where there has been flooding
  3. The works on traffic calming On Main Road  are substantially complete and the council is waiting on the contractor finishing off a few bits of white line road markings.
  4. I received information from the recycling officer about my request on behalf of Craigo residents on a mini recycling centre at Craigo Village Hall and was told that the new tarmacadam surface is ideal to site recycling bins. The council  will provide a recycling bins for clear,brown, green glass banks. and plastic bottle banks.

Constituents Issues

Last week the main issues I raised with officers included the play parks consultation, a path near the beach, fencing near where there has been coastal erosion, parking, street lighting and dog fouling. Pleased to see so many positive outcomes to my contacts with the council.

Montrose Area Partnership meeting

The meeting last Monday was very useful as we started with a presentation by a senior planning officer about the Main Issues Report relating to the new local development plan with the concentration being on Montrose. All the questions from those who attended were answered by the officer and this included issues such as housing and areas identified for industrial development in the future.

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT LEADER NICK CLEGG WELCOMES HOME RULE REPORT

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie MSP has today met with Deputy Prime Minister and UK Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg MP in London to present him with a copy of the report of the Home Rule and Community Rule Commission.

Under the chairmanship of Sir Menzies Campbell MP, the report was adopted overwhelmingly at the Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg MP said:

“Sir Menzies Campbell has put forward an excellent package of recommendations which once again puts Liberal Democrats at the forefront of the debate on Scotland’s long term place within the United Kingdom.

“From the formation of the NHS to the introduction of the state pension, from the darker days of the banking crash in 2008 to the triumph of Team GB at our Olympics this year, I firmly believe that the United Kingdom is stronger when working together.

“In tough times we help each other and in good times we share in successes. This is the mark of a modern, tolerant society.

“The Liberal Democrat plan for home rule all round would enshrine this spirit in the UK’s constitutional framework.”

Commenting, Willie Rennie MSP said:

“For over a century Liberal Democrats have advocated a federal United Kingdom. This report sets out a route map to a fair and federal UK.

“We know that a majority of people wish to see a stronger Scotland which works together with our partners in the rest of the UK on foreign affairs, defence and the economy.

“That ambition can be best achieved when we have a parliament not with powers on loan but with the permanent powers and responsibilities that enable it to be sensitive and flexible to local needs while able to share risks and rewards with the rest of the UK.

“We want to trigger reform across the United Kingdom and this report should act as a rallying point for those people who want change across the United Kingdom.

“We will use these plans to lead the debate, to build a consensus and secure a mandate for reform at the next general election. We urge people who like our plans to come on side and make the case for this change.”

For more information about “Federalism: the best future for Scotland”, the report of the Home Rule and Community Rule Commission, visit
http://www.scotlibdems.org.uk

BORDERS RAIL PROJECT MUST NOT BE DELAYED ANY FURTHER – HUME

Borders MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson, Jim Hume, has this evening said that the Scottish Government must get on with the job of delivering the long awaited Borders railway line.

The MSP made the comments in advance of an official ceremony tomorrow (Tuesday 6th November) and criticised the Scottish Government for its “botched procurement process”.

Mr Hume said:

“The SNP have already wasted time and money in a botched procurement process and until now has been unable to say when the project would be handed over to Network Rail.

“It’s vitally important that there are no more question marks over the Borders railway line.

“The SNP must make up for lost time and stick to their commitment to deliver the railway by 2014, otherwise Borderers will be left feeling short changed.”

A few issues from this week.

Been very busy this week as I have been visiting local constituents and dealing with issues they have raise such as contacting the council about a leak from a concrete mixer in the town, attending an excellent meeting with a local group who do fantastic work with young people in the community,helping with a poppy collections, reading the reports for the council meeting on Thursday and then speaking at the council meeting in support of Angus Credit Union and drafting a press release about the winter season tickets for the golf course.

REDUCING EMPTY PROPERTY RATES RELIEF COULD HIT LOCAL JOBS

LOCAL Liberal Democrats have criticised the Scottish Government for ignoring the concerns of business over the level of empty property business rates relief on empty property.

The comments came after the Local Government Finance (Unoccupied Properties etc) (Scotland) Bill passed the final stage to become law due to an SNP majority.

Liberal Democrat housing spokesman Jim Hume MSP had pressed an amendment which would have removed the provisions which allow the Scottish Government to reduce the level of empty property business rates relief.

The amendment had gained support from both Labour and Conservative parties, but was passed by the SNP majority, defeating opposition amendments.

North East Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes said: “This was an extremely disappointing day for business in Scotland and a disappointing day for jobs in Scotland. The debate saw the SNP bulldozer in top gear, ignoring the concerns of opposition parties and respected business groups.”

Stonehaven councillor Peter Bellarby commented: “Liberal Democrats remain concerned that this will hit businesses hard and do nothing to regenerate struggling town centres. The SNP government wants to hammer businesses with high taxes when it should be helping them to recover and grow.”

North Kincardine councillor Ian Mollison added: “Reducing the level of rates relief on unoccupied properties will increase the burden on businesses. This is not the way to get Scotland out of a recession.”

RENNIE: SNP SHOULD BRING FORWARD PUBLICATION OF INDEPENDENCE WHITE PAPER

Willie Rennie MSP, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has called on the SNP government to bring forward the date for the publication of its white paper on independence.

The SNP government is due to publish the white paper in November 2013 but with so many questions being asked by Scots on the implications of independence, including Scotland’s EU status, Mr Rennie believes the SNP should publish its details plans as soon as possible.

Commenting, Mr Rennie said:

“Many contrasting opinions have been bandied around on an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU. It is clear that it is not straight forward.

“The devil is in the detail but so far we have seen precious little detail from the SNP. With the collapse of their legal case for EU membership their credibility on this issue has taken a severe blow.

“The SNP should consider bringing forward the publication date for its white paper so that the fine print of their plan for independence can be scrutinised.

“Alex Salmond should be seeking agreements with the twenty-seven countries that will have the final say on Scotland’s EU status should Scots vote for independence.

“To do this, EU leaders must be clear what the SNP thinks independence means for Scotland and for the wider European Union.

“It is not just in Scotland’s interests that this work is done, it is in the SNP’s interests too. As they haven’t got any agreements yet they obviously need to time to engage with the EU 27.

“If they are confident of their case they should embrace this.

“It is a complex issue and it will require detailed negotiation. Scotland cannot wait another year before we know the basis for those discussions.”

INDEPENDENCE IS NOT AN EXTENSION OF DEVOLUTION – LORD WALLACE

Lord Wallace of Tankerness speaking at the Law Society of Scotland’s debate on Thursday 1 November 2012 said:

“We must bust the myth that somehow independence is an extension of devolution, a continuation along the path which we set out on at the 1997 referendum.

“The truth is that independence means the end of devolution. Any lawyer can tell the difference between a constitutional settlement which evolves within the UK and one which means the creation of a new state outwith the UK.

“Devolution has worked and is working for Scotland. It has flexibility, it is dynamic as this year’s Scotland Act – implemented without a referendum – has shown; and it means power exercised in Scotland over a vast range of Scottish issues, whilst retaining the benefits and security of a stable, successful, political, economic, social and cultural union.”

New Primary School for Drumoak

Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee has agreed that it would like to see a two court hall/community facility at the new primary school to be built in Drumoak to replace the existing school. The matter was discussed at the meeting of the Committee held on Tuesday. Councillors agreed to recommend to the Policy and Resources Committee the scheme design for the new school. The new primary school will have capacity of 145 with core facilities for a possible future expansion to 170. There will also be nursery provision.

Sustainability has been a key consideration in the design of this school and attainment of the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method “Very Good” rating has been targeted as a minimum standard with the project aiming for an “Excellent” rating. In an effort to utilise renewable energy sources, south facing roofs will accommodate arrays of photovoltaic panels with electricity generated, but not consumed on-site, being sold to the National Grid by contractual agreement. In line with Council policy on fuel choice, the development will be heated using biomass and the emphasis will be on fuel being manufactured and delivered from local sources.

The estimated costs for the baseline costs of the school have increased to £7.4M. This is because the Education, Learning and Leisure service have requested some additional space including a catering kitchen and because of the photovoltaic panels. However, this panels will generate an income with a payback time of about nine and a half years. The additional expenditure to provide a two court hall will likely be up to £450,000.

Speaking at the meeting of the Area Committee, Peter Bellarby, Councillor for Stonehaven and Lower Deeside, said:

“The present primary school at Drumoak is dreadful. Why is it dreadful? It is not because of the staff, who do a really good job in difficult circumstances. It is because of the state of the building. There is water dripping down the inside of walls. There is temporary accommodation in portacabins at the other side of the playground with no toilets there. Children have to cross the playground whatever the weather to access the toilets. The school is grossly over capacity. There is a clear need to have a replacement school.

“We, the Council and Councillors, have listened to the community in the past. Concerns were expressed at the original choice of site which parents thought was too close to an electricity sub-station. So we moved the site away from the sub-station. There was a clearly expressed wish to have the school constructed as soon as possible. And that’s what we agreed the last time the new school was considered by this Committee. We added to the officers’ recommendations that the school should be constructed as soon as practicable.

“We need to listen to the community again and respond positively to the clearly expressed wish that there should be a two court rather than a one court hall. There are some additional reasons to support having a two court hall. One is the standards for new primary schools that were agreed to at the last meeting of the Educational, Learning and Leisure Committee. These standards include having a two court hall for a school size over 145. There is also the present dilapidated community hall, presently unused. I propose that the Committee instruct officers to commence the process of disposing of this. The community are quite happy to see this. The proceeds can go to the Council’s capital fund.”

The proposals will be finally decided at the meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee to be held on November 15.