I turned up in time to hear a …

Comment posted Waitrose has £325k on table for Tuesday planning hearing – and opposition rolls in by Graeme McCormick.

I turned up in time to hear a lady in support of Waitrose say she wanted Waitrose so she could buy pak chow in Helensburgh. That seems to be the level of the debate.

Recent comments by Graeme McCormick

  • Syriza, one seat short of overall majority, now talisman for the Scot Nats
    Couldn’t agree more Murdoch but is the City of London listening? Usury of the worst kind!
  • McGrigor’s cross party debate on Argyll’s depopulation crisis
    All very good but you need to market A & B as a place to live and work. The thousands of cars which pass my door on the A82 contain people who love A & B and they can’t get enough of it.

    Many will be unaware that they could move permanently and live in our midst. We never ask them? Just imagine if every cafe or pub had a leaflet asking people if they have ever thought of moving or why wouldn’t they if they had the chance.

    We need to plan the seed and answer the misconceptions

  • Savills say new version of Land & Buildings Transaction Tax 27% higher than rest of UK
    Not all rural areas are suffering depopulation, and some of the ones most affected by population decline are in the Central Belt like Helensburgh and Lomond.

    Scotland needs a debate on rural re population and if it is deemed a good thing then rural Scotlandhas to be promoted as a great place to bring up your family and work. We probably need some positive discrimination in favour of rural living as a enticement for what would be social engineering. It doesn’t just need government help though.

    Within the general programme each community would promote its own niche selling points.

    Thus far one of the more depressing features of potential and selected candidates for the constituency is a failure to communicate evidence of an exploration of what each community might offer. Perhaps it’s fear of being presumptuous.

    I wish they’d share their dreams and we’d all make positive noises regardless of our politics. “But” is such a draining word.

  • Savills say new version of Land & Buildings Transaction Tax 27% higher than rest of UK
    My firm deal with around 5000 purchases and sales in Scotland every year from first time buyers to houses over £1m. I’ve never found the cost of SDLT an impediment to a purchase of a higher priced property. Higher priced property in Scotland are cheap for what you get for property in the South.

    I don’t recognise the term “heavily taxed middle class”. People on higher than average salaries are not highly taxed. It’s not so long ago that taxation levels exceeding 80% for higher earners were in force in the UK. That was heavy taxation.

    Lowering the level of duty on property prices is inflationery as it provides the prospective purchaser with a bigger deposit so in a competitive situation he can offer more.

    Most folk in the price range up to £150000 have higher loan-to-value mortgages than prices above that level so it makes sense to raise the threshhold for payment of the tax since they will have less available funds to buy and pay the other costs (even though our legal fees are very reasonable at £320 + vat!).

    For those concerned about purchasers with aspiration I’d suggest that such purchasers are usually well able to expend some extra perspiration at work to make up any extra tax liability.

    The wealthier in the UK do rather well out of the tax system.

  • BBC ALBA revisits the story of Jessie King, the last woman executed in Edinburgh
    Interestingly in those days Scotland had corroboration but no court of criminal appeal

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37 Responses to I turned up in time to hear a …

  1. Helensburgh has rejected a supermarket on the pier three times in the past decade. How many more times do you need to hear it?

    That being the case, the rest of your argument falls. I am beginning to think we need a For Helensburgh website, leaving you to concentrate on the old Argyll area where you are clearly better informed.

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    • It is about For Argyll itself, which in many respects I admire but which does not seem to have much of a clue about Helensburgh.

      This morning at the hearing it was made clear, through various surveys, that thousands were in favour of Waitrose at Colgrain, and that there was a roughly 55-45 split against a pier supermarket.

      Yet For Argyll has consistently claimed the opposite in both cases.

      Today there is a huge attendance of Waitrose supporters and, so far, six objectors have put their heads above the parapet.

      Interestingly, the only person booed this morning was the representative of Helensburgh Retailers Association.

      If I was the editor of For Argyll, at this point I would be questioning the quality of the reporting.

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  2. For Argyll don’t seem to understand my area either. Folk here are still waiting to learn the membership make up of the Easdale Island charity, Eilean Eisdeal, and how the money was spent from the Scottish Gas Green Streets award. For Argyll claimed that this information should be in the public domain – so where is it? We seem to have been forgotten or FA aren’t interested in persuing this further. Perhaps they’re not bothered about the rights of folk here, or is it too political?

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    • Lowry – as you must know, we are a very small team with a huge amount of work to do and we cannot keep absolutely on top of everything.

      We haven’t forgotten about this matter and we will be pursuing it.

      You gave us a smile at the suggestion that this – or anything – might be ‘too political’ for us. Hardly our MO.

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  3. Copied from URTV’s Facebook page:

    Final count is 693 letters of support to the council for Waitrose and 137 letters against, including a petition. There were also 7 miscellaneous letters.

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  4. Same source again – URTV:

    The Council Planning Department and Waitrose have both spoken. The Planning Department say that the effects on the town centre could have been grossly underestimated by Waitrose’s retail impact survey and that they are maintaining that they recommend refusal of the application.

    Waitrose still believe that the effects on the town centre will be negligible and they can mitigate them. Waitrose spokesperson, Martin Gorman, received a big round of applause for saying Helensburgh is crying out for a good quality food store.

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  5. I could be wrong. But I think they made an exception for Henry Bros at Colgrain, which was greenbelt outwith the local development plan. That seemed strange at the time. Probably a large brown envelope involved there.

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  6. From URTV again:

    ‎30 pro Waitrose representatives have spoken, including Councillor Vivien Dance and Community Councilman Nigel Harman. Now it’s over to the objectors.

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  7. We cope with bin collections once a week (or even fortnightly) so how about fancy supermarket visits once a week? – a Waitrose on a seagoing barge, serving the west coast – say from Helensburgh to Fort William, stopping off at Dunoon, Rothesay, Campbeltown, Oban, Fort William – and maybe Tobermory and Port Ellen alternate weeks. Just dreaming. At Helensburgh it would tie up at the pier, of course. The supermarket aisles would be cushioned with giant airbags to keep everything shipshape on passage, and maybe even giant gimbals would be effective.

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  8. Bruce Marshall has stated that he will support the application if a competent amendment can be brought forward. David Kinniburgh has stated that he will be doing the same. Robin Currie has stated that he hopes the application will be approved but the mitigation is insufficient. He is looking for an additional £420k in mitigation for various items. Neil McKay also looking to support it if an amendment can be put together but needs more mitigation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Alex McNaughton has also confirmed his support along with Gordon Chalmers. It is now clear that it will be approved if a competent motion / amendment can be put together.
    Cllr McAlister has also indicated support along with Cllr Devon, Cllr McMillan and Cllr McQueen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Pingback: Argyll News: RIP Helensburgh town centre: Waitrose out of town location approved | For Argyll

  11. A long hot day, but full marks to the Helensburgh area public for their active participation.

    The right result too, so long as Waitrose are not put off by the vastly increased ‘mitigation payment’.

    On a wider stage, Government should be looking at how such payments, which are pure and simple bribery, could be regulated.

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    • I thought ‘mitigation’ in the context of a supermarket proposal meant meeting the cost of any extra roadworks, pedestrian crossings etc made necessary by the extra traffic generated by the development. I’d like to know if some councillors took a more elastic view of the meaning of the word.

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  12. I’m sure they won’t be put off by the mitigation payment. In all probability there will be negotiations over the purchase price between drum & waitrose. The application was made under two names – Waitrose & Wandering Wild (aka drum). It is highly likely that there is an agreement between drum and waitrose, where waitrose purchase the land subject to planning approval. This allows them to attach caveats re planning gain / mitigation payments. It will probably be drum who take a hit on the price. They’ll be aware that without planning approval their land is worthless. I actually think planning gain is a good thing. Just as long as it reaches the intended parties and not the council coffers, which sadly often happens.

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  13. I’d like to see the money used to directly improve the retailers units / frontages. I’ve attached a link to the merchant city initiative below, which completely transformed that area.
    http://glasgowmerchantcity.net/regeneration.html
    I’m pleased Waitrose got their approval. Had Waitrose been rejected, then all that would have happened is a continuation of the current decline of the town centre. That decline is due to the apathy of a lot of shop keepers. Either the shopkeepers take this opportunity to get their fair share of mitigation money to improve the service that they provide. Or they sell up and allow the next generation of shopkeepers to take over. I’m sure like me, the majority of Helensburgh shoppers do not want to soley shop in Waitrose. To me the Waitrose development has always been about a high end outlet recognising the potential and wanting to invest in our town, which will hopefully be a catalyst for further investment in the town centre.

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