Storms batter North East

Several roads have been flooded locally due to the overnight thunderstorms.

I have seen reports of flooding on the underpass beneath the A92 at the Findon junction, the road surface blown on Berrymuir Road in Portlethen outside the care home, flooding at the Asda roundabout, and a landslip beside Murray Road in Newtonhill (pictured). The local roads inspector is now on site, and they are looking to temporarily close the road until they can ensure it is safe for vehicles to pass.

The Netherley Road was treacherous as was the road between the Cookney and Lairhillock roads – past the wheel arches of a 4×4 in places.

Portlethen Academy is closed today to all pupils and staff due to water damage. An official message has been sent to all. Lairhillock School is also closed today.

Newtonhill School is open to P6 and P7 children as planned. The Newtonhill Out-Of-School Club however has closed due to flooding in the Bettridge Centre. Tesco Newtonhill was closed due to flooding, and has now reopened.

Portlethen Primary School and Nursery was closed to pupils today due to internal water supply failure. Banchory Devenick School and Hillside School were also closed. Fishermoss School’s opening was delayed due to flooding on roads with a 10am start, and 10:10am for P1.

Household recycling centres are closed at Stonehaven and Laurencekirk. Redcloak is closed due to flooding. Bookings have been cancelled and customers should rebook for another day. (The Badentoy centre in Portlethen is closed on Wednesdays every week so has not been affected).

Waste collections are unaffected at time of writing. This may change as the day progresses. Waste colleagues have been redeployed to the Roads Service to assist with flood prevention.

Plan to remove phone boxes

BT is now carrying out a further consultation on removing more phone boxes, including the last one in Portlethen.

Notices were placed in all the affected boxes by BT towards the end of July stating that BT proposed to remove the box due as “our research shows this payphone just isn’t used enough for us to carry on running it” and that the public had 42 days to contact their local authority if they had any comments.

There are quite a number of the selected payphone boxes that have already been consulted on in the past year and an objection lodged to their removal. 

The response from BT is that they review data constantly, and “these specific payphones just aren’t being used enough. This low usage will always flag, and they will always meet the criteria for removal”. 

Three boxes in the Kincardine and Mearns area are under threat: in Fettercairn, Drumoak, and the one in Portlethen at Cookston Road opposite the Rowanbank Road shops. The average number of calls from the Portlethen box is one a month.

The last time BT wanted to remove the box Portlethen and District Community Council objected saying the town should retain the one box as a public service and for those in the immediate area. The community council will be invited to comment this time too.

Information on how a local community can go about adopting a telephone box for £1 can be found here: http://bt.com/adopt.  Boxes can only be adopted if they are the traditional red type.

Comments on the proposals are being collated by Aberdeenshire Council on behalf of BT. The closing date is 2 September.

Out-of-school clubs opening sooner

Aberdeenshire Council Out-of-School Clubs aim to reopen from week beginning Monday 24 August.

Originally it had been thought that such council clubs would be likely to remain closed until the October half-term break.

A letter has been sent to parents and carers with detailed information and requesting applications for sessions.

There may be some local variation on the specific opening date due to issues about gaining access to buildings and the preparation required to keep everyone safe.

Covid-19: Painting a picture

A survey has been launched to help capture the impact of Covid-19 across Aberdeenshire. The aim is to find out what the pandemic felt like in its early stages and what has happened to individuals, communities, and businesses, plus what helped and what made life more difficult.

This information will help inform council decision-making.

The survey is open until Sunday, 30 August. There will also be meetings involving local groups including community councils, business/traders associations, charitable organisations and resilience groups.

There is more information here: https://online.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/apps/news/release.aspx?newsid=6872

Covid-19: Outbreak in Portlethen

Suspected coronavirus cases are being reported in the Portlethen area, thought to stem from a gathering of young people.

NHS Grampian has confirmed that the public health team is investigating some potentially-linked cases, and this is being reported in the media, including in the teatime STV news bulletin.

Here is the statement issued by NHS Grampian: “We are investigating a number of potentially linked cases of Covid-19 in the Portlethen/Stonehaven area. At present we believe these cases may be connected to a social gathering. Investigations are ongoing; close contacts will be identified and advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

“Our advice remains that anyone who develops the recognised symptoms of Covid-19, however mild, should isolate at home and arrange a test.”

Aberdeenshire Council has confirmed that Portlethen Academy will open as planned from tomorrow, although some pupils are self-isolating.

The following statement has been issued by the council: “We are aware of concerns in the community about potential cases of coronavirus (Covid-19), and some Portlethen Academy pupils are self-isolating on the advice of NHS Grampian’s Public Health team.

“In the meantime, preparations for the reopening of the school continue with the appropriate additional measures in place to ensure the safety of staff and pupils, and we would encourage anybody displaying symptoms of coronavirus to follow Test and Protect guidance.”

There is more information about testing at https://www.nhsinform.scot/test-and-protect

Parking ban

Council officers tell me that owing to Scottish Water carrying out works it will be necessary in the interests of public safety to prohibit waiting on Devenick Drive in Portlethen (see map) on Monday 24 August between 9:30am and 3:30pm.

Latest applications

The applications below were registered last week within the North Kincardine ward of Aberdeenshire Council and can be viewed on the council’s online Planning Register (https://upa.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/online-applications/).

APP/2020/1457
Site address: Quoiters, Skateraw Road, Newtonhill, AB39 3PU.
Applicant: Quoiters c/o John G Aitken Architectural Services, 2 Cameron Court, Stonehaven, AB39 2FH.
Full planning permission for the erection of a beer garden shelter (retrospective).
Public comment expiry date: 24 August 2020.

APP/2020/1469
Site address: 148 St Michael’s Road, Newtonhill, AB39 3XW.
Applicant: Mr Darryn Irvine c/o Tinto Architecture Ltd, No 3 Mill House, Grandholm Crescent, Bridge Of Don, Aberdeen, AB22 8BB.
Full planning permission for alterations and an extension to dwellinghouse.
Public comment expiry date: 24 August 2020.

NHS suspends hospital visiting

To protect patients and staff NHS Grampian have suspended visiting at hospitals in Aberdeen City with immediate effect.

The move effects all NHS facilities in the Aberdeen City Council area – including Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Woodend Hospital, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, Aberdeen Maternity Hospital and Roxburghe House.

Since 13 July, NHS Grampian had been piloting the phased resumption of visits to patients in its facilities, with patients in certain wards allowed one designated visitor.

The restrictions do not apply to those identified as essential visitors.

The following visits are deemed essential:

A birth partner during childbirth

For a person receiving end-of-life care

To support someone with a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed

To accompany a child in hospital.

However visitors in this category should also consider whether a visit is essential even in these circumstances.

Schools get ready to return

Updated guidance is being sent to all parents and carers ahead of schools returning next week and will be available on the Aberdeenshire Council’s website too.

Laurence Findlay, the director of education and children’s services, said that head teachers will continue to keep parents/carers updated on specific arrangements for their school.

“We are keen to reassure parents that every effort is being made to ensure children and young people can safely return to school next week.

“Providing there are no shielding requirements, parents are encouraged to enable their children to return to school and we will work with families to address any specific concerns they may have.”

There is more information here: https://online.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/apps/news/release.aspx?newsid=6871