Great idea – a 21st century Vital Spark! …

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

Great idea – a 21st century Vital Spark!

Recent comments by Tim McIntyre

  • Telegraph’s Alan Cochrane clarifies issues on Salmond aide who smeared Clare Lally
    Politicised civil service? Wasn’t it just a few months back that a senior Whitehall civil servant waded into the independence debate by his ‘highly unusual’ publishing of advice to the Chancellor over the currency union issue?
  • Shaming defence from FM as Salmond’s own adviser attacks young No Thanks supporter
    Integrity – that Record article is almost two years old. There doesn’t seem to be any doubt that Ms Lally is, today, both an ordinary mum AND a pretty well-connected Labour activist, as an adviser to the Shadow Cabinet and a member of the party’s National Policy Forum. None of which would in any normal circumstance be relevant to what she has to say in the independence debate. So why have we had an almost week-long media frenzy, which essentially hinges on how you define the word ‘ordinary’?

    Seems to me that it comes down to Better Together’s acute awareness of the fact that it has little in the way of active grassroots campaigning support, despite still being ahead in the polls. It is viewed (and routinely mocked across the web) as a top-down politicians’ campaign. This is not to suggest that it doesn’t have popular support, just that it has, through relentless negativity and scaremongering, entirely failed to inspire its supporters to go out and make its case in public on their own initiative, as is happening on a large scale with the ‘Yes’ movement. Following the ‘Vote No Borders’ astroturf initiative farce, BT’s need to be seen involving ‘ordinary’ non-political members of the public has become almost pitifully desperate, which is also the reason why any attempts to do so are immediately put under the microscope by some in the ‘Yes’ campaign, who sometimes seem almost as desperate to disprove them.

    It doesn’t reflect well on either side, in my view. Mr Gunn’s intervention which, despite the faux outrage was not remotely abusive, was nevertheless poorly-judged and entirely unnecessary. It triggered a convenient smokescreen over what was in fact a very bad-news week for unionists, what with Gordon Brown clunking his fist into Better Together, Alistair Darling getting caught indulging in ‘Salmond Dictator Bingo’ and agreeing that, ‘at heart’ Yes supporters are all narrow ethnic nationalists. Oh, and a Survation poll showing the ‘No’ lead shrinking to its lowest level yet.

  • ‘No Borders’ campaign the first serious support for pro-union case
    Robert – thank you for your considered response. I agree with you & Richard in principle that a federal arrangement, or perhaps Devo Max, might have been seen as attractive alternatives to full independence. But neither of those things are on offer.

    Not so much a case of being fooled by ‘trashy political leadership’ (by which I presume you mean the Scottish Government) – after all it was the UK government who refused to allow a third option on the ballot paper and thus effectively said that, as you put it, ‘divorce is the only option’. They certainly haven’t as yet offered any kind of vision of what we might get in the event of a ‘No’, close or otherwise, which might satisfy the clear demand for significant further powers for Holyrood.

    Each to their own, but I’m much more concerned about the possibility of ‘repenting at leisure’ if we pass up this one chance we have been given to choose a future where we control our own destiny.

    Jon Snow’s article is indeed a breath of fresh air from a London media establishment which mostly seems to have not the slightest clue about Scottish politics.

  • ‘No Borders’ campaign the first serious support for pro-union case
    Robert – re: “What rubbish…” – if Scotland votes ‘No’ in September, however close the result is, we will have effectively returned the sovereignty we were offered to Westminster and said ‘no thanks’.

    In effect, we will have given a popular mandate to the principle of government of Scotland from London which has never existed in the past. It is hard to see how this could be interpreted as anything other than a strengthening of Westminster’s mandate from the Scottish people, and a weakening of Holyrood’s.

    You call that cynical manipulation, but can you explain what possible motivation or indeed mandate you think Westminster would have for devolving further powers to Holyrood in the event of a ‘No’?

    This referendum gives us a choice between two futures. It would be a mistake to imagine that either of them are a return to the ‘status quo ante’.

  • ‘No Borders’ campaign the first serious support for pro-union case
    Erm, yes… thank you Jamie.

    Mind you, in JnrTick’s defence, I can see why it might be difficult these days to tell the difference between a parody of Project Fear and the real thing… though he/she has no excuse for imagining I was being serious about those other titles being impartial :-)

    True to my post above, I did indeed NOT buy a Sunday Herald today, because there are none available in this part of Argyll :-(

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37 Responses to Great idea – a 21st century Vital Spark! …

  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.

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  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.

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  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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