We understand that it is practically unheard of …

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

We understand that it is practically unheard of for Councillor Danny Kelly, who is chairing the hearing, to overturn the planners’ recommendation. If he were to do so on this occasion, it would be strange.

newsroom also commented

  • This could be said to be an almost perfect line up of the numpties. Authoritative? Hardly. But no doubt it will be sufficient, along with a side dish of pak choi.
  • So where did the recent survey majorities FOR a retail development on the pier head come from – as quoted by Sainsburys in the letter we have published?
  • 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.

Recent comments by newsroom

  • Breslin gets no confidence motion in Walsh and McQueen on Area Committee agenda
    And Argyll and Bute Council claiming that a bus shelter/gazebo/wind tunnel on the North Pier will generate 59 full time equivalent jobs?
    This sort of figure is almost invariably plucked from the air and ought to be regarded as a humourous aside – except in very rare cases where estimates are demonstrably accurate – as in a new transport company with a certain number of bus routes and buses – and therefore employing to emply a specific number of drivers.
  • Convenor of South Cowal Community Council puts last ditch case to all councillors
    An important distinction – and apologies for our error.
    We will correct the text above at once.
  • Astonishing infrastructural deficiency threatens Oban’s business development
    If any of us had other people’s money to spend, surely we could run an event and a street party?
    Your sense that this is evidence of an OK performance highlights the rock-bottom expectations Argyll now has of its council.
  • Astonishing infrastructural deficiency threatens Oban’s business development
    Your first remarks would discourage amy business developent whatsoever – which we’re sure is not your intention.
    Any 21st century entrepreneur is entitled to expect that the infrastructural provision of major towns is automatically business capable.
    We have never described the previous Executive Director responsible for Infrastructure and Economic Development as a star performer but at least he knew the field – a ‘square one’ necessity. Now the council has chosen not even to have level of competence available.
  • NHS Highland attempts heist on Campbeltown’s volunteer kidney support group
    We have some problems with the comment above.
    The first is an arguably unintended but careless smear on Councillor Kelly and on Jamie McGrigor MSP in saying: ‘councillor Kelly and Mr McGrigor hijacking a very positive cause for their own personal political gain’.
    Unless ‘personal gain’ is qualified as ‘personal political gain’, the immediate reading of such a comment is that money is involved.
    Beyond that, we stand to be corrected – but we find it unlikely that any community could be in a position to guarantee to raise funds allocated to issues over which it has no control and is not necessarily consulted upon – without question and at the dictat of an organisation which is not answerable to them.
    If this was a contract, it would be different, There would be accountability to those who pay the bills.
    This sort of confusion need not arise if relationships and responsibilities are clearly framed and agreed at the outset.
    The main issue here is the credit to the community in Campbeltown and to people like yourself who have donated to this very worthwhile alleviation of additional stress on people already suffering from a serious illness.
    We don’t know a lot about Councillor Kelly’s work in South Kintyre although we notice his involvement in a lot of community causes and projects, indicating a widespread engagement with community development; but we do know a lot about Jamie McGrigor’s work across the Highlands and Islands and anyone further from the caricature of ‘posturing politician’ would be very hard to find.
    Whatever his party, he is someone who is – unusually – unvaryingly focused on issues he knows to be important for his regional constituents. He also never routinely runs down other political parties or those who represent them when he disagrees with their policies or actions. That is unique in our experience and a welcome breath of fresh air.

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37 Responses to We understand that it is practically unheard of …

  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.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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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