Be interesting to see whether members choose to …

Comment posted Waitrose has £325k on table for Tuesday planning hearing – and opposition rolls in by Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll.

Be interesting to see whether members choose to reject the advice given to them by the planning department and the justification for that rejection (should it happen)

Recent comments by Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll

  • Stuart Hill challenges Supreme Court to test security of jurisdiction for Shetland
    You may well be correct Thorfinn. It was a little while ago I read about it so there may well have been a subsequent council decision since.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

  • Stuart Hill challenges Supreme Court to test security of jurisdiction for Shetland

    My apologies for going totally off track with this post but I was wondering whether you might be able to provide a little insight into how the people of the Shetland Isles are reacting to the council’s consideration of selling off Sella Ness.

    No worries if you don’t want to respond. I’m just curious, no hidden agenda.

  • Russell writes to councillors on Castle Toward decision tomorrow as some are denied a vote
    Oban Worthy

    Apologies for the delay responding, I only just noticed your response. You are correct that there is some flexibility which is why I said predominantly. There are always gray areas over whether an item is revenue expenditure or capital expenditure and I would wager there isn’t a council in the country who don’t have some revenue expenditure funded from capital.

    The classic example used in old accountancy days is replacement windows. If you replace like for like it is arguable revenue expenditure as it is maintenance but if you replace single glazed for double glazed then it is an enhancement therefore capital. However the argument for it being revenue falls down a bit if new windows extend the useful life of the building (which they would do if they old ones were in such disrepair).

    However the extent to which it can be done is limited and I don’t see dumping a £750k capital receipt into delivery of services as something which could be classified as being ‘around the margins’

    Sokay, in answer to your question about Mike Russell’s statement I certainly wouldn’t be minded to make a call on reasoning for it. Only he could answer that. As far as I know he doesn’t have an extensive background in finance/accountancy and the restrictions on capital receipts and accountancy rules about revenue and capital budgets are a bit of a nerdy techie thing!!

    Anyway this is all a bit after the lord mayor’s show now as the decision has been made (the wrong one in my opinion). Whilst I say the wrong one I say so based on the arguments put forward on here by people who are far closer to it than I am (and also people who I have respect for). It would be a better scenario if those councillors who opposed the sale would be forthcoming about their counter arguments. However as we have seen many times in the past elected members ed by the nose by Cllr Walsh are rarely forthcoming in their opinions

  • Russell writes to councillors on Castle Toward decision tomorrow as some are denied a vote
    It is maybe worth highlighting that the sale of the asset and the money received (whether it be £750k, £1.75m or something in between) has no impact on the revenue budget as has been suggested on here. Councils are restricted in the way they spend receipts from the sale of assets.
    Predominantly they are only allowed to use capital receipts on further capital expenditure and not for routine revenue expenditure – the revenue and capital budgets are very distinct (albeit with some overlap due to the need for the revenue budget to take account of incurred interest costs and ongoing maintenance of capital assets).

    So the £1m ‘discount’ will not impact on the revenue budget of any area. What does impact the revenue budget right now is the ongoing maintenance costs which have been mentioned many times.

    Whether it is a paper transaction or not is debatable. I am assuming the valuation of £1.75m is based on open market value however that might not be the case. If it was available for sale on the open market would it realistically fetch £1.75m and would there be potential buyers? If the answer to either of those questions is ‘no’ then it isn’t really a £1m discount.

    Someone else suggested a risk that a buyer could get future planning permission on the land and turn round a tidy profit. As far as I know there would be nothing preventing the council putting a clawback clause into the sale contract which would protect them against such an event. Some sort of sliding clawback (i.e. if the buyer resells the asset for a profit within 3 years then 70% of any profit goes back to the council, between 3 and 6 years, 40%, 10 years 20% etc etc). Such a clawback has been used by Scottish Ministers in the past so I assume it would be an option open to the council.

  • Outright win for John Armour and SNP in South Kintyre
    The low turnout doesn’t surprise me. I think the referendum has exhausted people of politics temporarily and whilst I do think there will be a short term increase in the support for SNP candidates in local elections as a show of support this is slightly tempered in A&B because, quite frankly, the local SNP in A&B have been something of a shambles.

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37 Responses to Be interesting to see whether members choose to …

  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?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • 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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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.
    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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