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

  • Russell’s remaining questions on Castle Toward
    While Michael Russell’s questions are perfectly reasonable one must ask if they are made by him accepting that the Community bid is dead or not. Even the most resolute of developers will tire of being political pawns after a while so I would caution making much of the whys and wherefores at this time and let’s have some encouragement for what on paper could be a major boost to Cowals economy.

    I’d give the proposer five months to produce the financial package after which incisive questioning of the council role would be appropriate.

  • End of Castle Toward soap opera may be sale to soap tycoon
    Having tried to suggest a practical way to bridge the divide between the council and the proponents of the Community buyout I must say that this sounds a better deal for the council and the local communityif the funds stack up.

    Scotland is littered with large Victorian piles which end up in public or community ownership. they cost a fortune to maintain . I live in a house built in 1865 and my wife pays for its repair. That is our choice as private individuals.

    However it is invariably the case that Victorian piles for community use are a waste of public funds. Much better to build something built for purpose. It costs less to build and maintain and offer our excellent young architects opportunity.

    Introduce a Land Valuation Rental system and the land will become available. Then the community will build its facilities that are fit for purpose. Let’s move on.

  • Argyll Bute Council, challenge, complaint, codes of conduct and the scheme of things
    Instead of the past political shenanigans one would hope that the SNP council candidates will sign up to an agreed programme to serve all of A & B .

    The programme must include a division of the political leadership and the paid officials through the creation of a public service bureau .

    Devolution to local areas of all services and a repopulation strategy are essential elements.

  • Signpost to a one-party state: First Minister aims for record turnout at 2016 Scottish election
    Rather than bleat about a one party state perhaps Newsie could advise what the SNP should do to reduce its appeal to the electorate all in the interests of democracy.

    I don’t recall Newsie complaining about a one party state over the 50 years when Labour always won despite never securing 50% of the popular vote.

  • Davidon chases clarity from Labour on charitable status of independent schools
    I haven’t come across any parents who think their children’s education is dire.

    The purpose of education is to inspire everyone to develop his or her talents to flourish. To flourish one needs to understand rather than simply have an ability to exam pass. Curriculum for excellence is designed to promote understanding .

    If private education was to end the state would have to provide school places for these children about 30000. To fund that tax would need to be increased and that would be taxes on all taxpayers not just those who would otherwise choose private education. From a practical point of view who is prepared to pay more tax to abolish private education?

    I think I’m right in thinking that there are senior politicians in all the major parties who privately educate their children.

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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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • 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.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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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