Shire votes to stay in EU

A majority of people of Aberdeenshire voted to remain in the European Union.

A total of 76,445 (54.99%) voted to remain in the EU, while 62,516 (44.97%) voted to leave.

The turnout for Aberdeenshire was 70.6%, with 139,014 taking part out of an electorate of 196,809.

The declaration was made by returning officer Jim Savege at around 4.35am at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Overall Scotland voted in favour of the UK staying in the EU by 62% to 38%.

Popular Newtonhill

Last night I was given a newspaper cutting about house prices, based on the Bank of Scotland’s seaside towns study. Seven of the 10 coastal towns with the biggest price increases over 10 years were in Aberdeenshire. Top of the list was Fraserburgh with prices up by 139% to £151,719 in 2015, the equivalent of a monthly increase of £735. Next were Macduff (up 102%), then Peterhead (up 95%), Cove (up 94%) and Newtonhill (up 91%).

North Berwick is the most expensive seaside town at an average price of £327,124, followed by St Andrews (£302,536), Newtonhill (£245,507), Stonehaven (£236,057) and Inverbervie (£213,468).

All fine and dandy if you are a houseowner in Newtonhill like me and my other half, but not so great if you are trying to get on to the housing ladder.

By the way, the least expensive coastal town is Port Bannatyne in Bute with an average price of £77,132.

Pharmacy plans turned down

So the plans for a pharmacy at Hillside have been thwarted, with the application being turned down by the NHS pharmacy practice committee. It was felt the case had not been made and there already is sufficient provision in the Portlethen area. The transcript of the hearing is now publicly available. Click here, and follow the link regarding Dickie’s:…/gra_display_simple_index.jsp…

They have until 27 June to appeal.

Work suspended on bypass

A busy North Kincardine Rural Community Council this evening in Lairhillock primary school. 10 members of the public attended, along with three Aberdeenshire councillors. Here are the points which caught my eye.

– The seven day voluntary suspension of work on the Aberdeen by-pass was discussed. This was caused by run-off from the heavy rains which were turning local burns chocolate brown. The 2000 or so workforce still had to report for work, but in the main had nothing to do. Some maintenance work was taking place, along with work on water-related matters.

Colin Pike told the meeting that the community council would be able to access material that was surplus to AWPR needs, such as wood, pipes and so on. The project is keen that materials are recycled, and indeed when it is completed there is likely to be many items available for good causes and local organisations. The community council will have the required permission and SEPA licence.

– The Deeside caravan park has applied for planning permission for a 1.1 metre plastic wall round the site to protect it from flooding. The meeting was told by planning officer Colin Pike that the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has concerns. The community council is to write to Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council and SEPA raising concerns about the impact of development (including the Aberdeen bypass) on the flood plain. The caravan site officially reopened on Friday.

– Local police constable Neil Fraser told the meeting that this remains a low crime area. Since the beginning of May 285 incidents were reported to the police in Kincardine and Mearns, resulting in 38 reports to the fiscal. He also reminded the meeting that certificates to possess air weapons need to be obtained by January 2017, or the weapons surrendered to the police. There may be an exception for those who already have gun licences.

– The Maryculter Woodland Trust is being given a grant of £200 towards the £334 cost of carving a seat from an elm tree trunk. More applications from local organisations for grants would be welcomed by the community council.

– The Old Mill Inn at Maryculter is for sale. The original hotel is a C listed building.

– The final work has now been completed on repairing the flood damage to the Corbie Hall at Maryculter. Unfortunately the playgroup is not returning to the hall as it is no longer in existence.

UPDATE: I have been told this morning that the mothers & toddlers is to restart in Corbie hall very soon. That’s good news.

Consultation over enhanced provision

That was a lively consultation meeting about Aberdeenshire Council’s enhanced provision proposal tonight in Newtonhill Primary School. about three dozen parents and interested residents were there to hear council staff explain how the centre could be relocated to Portlethen primary school some time in 2017. The timing depends on the opening of Hillside primary school, which will free up space in Portlethen.

This provision gives enhanced levels of expertise and staffing to meet a range of additional support needs. There will be one such centre serving the Newtonhill, Portlethen and Muchalls area. This would be in line with council policy,

The meeting last well over two hours with lots of comments and questions. Assurances were given that pupils who make use of the Newtonhill facilities can continue with their education at Newtonhill. However there is greater need in Portlethen with 30 plus pupils there able to benefit from such a facility, compared to single figures at Newtonhill.

A similar meeting was held in Portlethen primary on Tuesday,

The consultation runs from 10 June until 16 September.…/education-consultations/ The outcome is earmarked to be reported to the February meeting of the education, leisure and learning committee

Concerns over rat reports

A slick meeting of Newtonhill, Muchalls and Cammachmore Community Council tonight in the Skateraw Hall.

A police officer attended to tell about what’s been happening in the past month. In Kincardine and Mearns there have been 255 incidents resulting in 38 reports being sent to the procurator fiscal. Locally there had been concerns about a missing person, with a good outcome.

There was also a discussion about reports of rats in the St Ternan’s and St Michael’s area, with complaints having being made to community councillors and passed to Aberdeenshire Council. The strong message was not to put out food for birds and ensure that bins are closed.

An update on the Chapelton development was given. The projection had been that 150 houses would be occupied this year; the current tally is 77.

A “strongly-worded” objection has been lodged with Aberdeenshire Council regarding plans for an agricultural building on Cran Hill.

Caravans must go, says council

Aberdeenshire Council has issued two enforcement notices against farmers in the North Kincardine ward for creating caravan sites without planning permission.

In one case, there are four caravans on the farm occupied by Aberdeen bypass workers.

In the other case, a farmer has three static and 10 touring caravans, also occupied by AWPR workers.

The farmers now have two months from 1 July to remove the caravans – unless they are occupied by essential farm workers. The farmers have the right to appeal to Scottish ministers.

Good news for rail passengers

I had sight of an early draft of a rail timetable for the new services around Aberdeen. Hourly trains calling at all local stations (including Portlethen) throughout the day. A lot of debate to be had though before this becomes reality in a couple of years. The timetable was shown to members of the transport partnership Nestrans this afternoon.

We also saw the latest plans for the Kintore railway station, which should open in December 2018. It will cost some £11m of which £1m should come from Aberdeenshire Council, £2m from Nestrans, and £8m from the Scottish Government (a crucial and deciding factor). It is expected to attract between 300,000 and 400,000 passengers a year by the mid 2020s. For comparison Laurencekirk has about 100,000 passengers a year.

If it is a success I am hopeful that Newtonhill could see our station reopen too.

Recycling centre to open soon

This morning was devoted to the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee. One important issue was the building of the household waste recycling centre in Badentoy, Portlethen, at a total cost of £1,700,000. It is due to be opened on 5 August, but that is subject to confirmation.

Councillors also agreed a delegated granting of planning approval for a telecommunications mast between Checkbar and Charleston on the Old Wellington Road.However this is subject to checks to ensure that the erection of the 20 metre mast does not conflict with the council’s proposed cycle path and walkway to connect the two communities. The applicant was prepared to have the pole some 1.5 metres back from the kerb, but I wasn’t sure that would be far enough and proposed the more cautious approach of checking before giving final approval.

Runners will be interested to learn that we also agreed a £3000 grant to Parkrun Stonehaven to set up a weekly event in Mineralwell Park in the town. Similar runs in Ellon and Aberdeen have proven popular.

Views sought on Causey Mounth proposals

I was asked today at the Banchory Devenick School fair about the proposals to either close the Causey Mounth to vehicles or introduce a 20mph speed limit and speed tables at the new Hillside Primary School. There is an opportunity now for anyone to put forward their views before a final decision is made by councillors.

The consultation process for making of a Traffic Regulation Order requires:

1) A 28 day statutory consultation period which is open between 20 May and 17 June.

Followed by a

2) A 21 day public consultation following an advertisement in a local newspaper.

During this 21 day period the order(s) are available for inspection via Aberdeenshire Council website and via web access at any council library and a paper copy of the orders will be available for inspection at the roads service office in Stonehaven.

In addition site notices will be posted on the roads affected by the order.

Subject to publication dates the 21 day public advertisement period is currently likely to commence around 1 July and will remain open for representations to be made until 22 July.

There will be no online surveys or public meetings as such, just a public advertisement proposing each of the orders and any person wishing to object to either order will have opportunity to do so.