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

  • Darling launching pro-union Tourism Together on Loch Lomond this morning
    In that ‘never trust a commie’ statement, for me, you have presented yourself as the No campaigns equivalent to No Cheese Here for the Yes campaign.
  • Darling launching pro-union Tourism Together on Loch Lomond this morning
    To be honest a No voter should be keen to encourage NCH to post as much as possible. There must by Yes campaigners who cringe at his ignorance and belligerent manner. Don’t knows will be swung by idiotic and aggressive posts.
  • Jamie Grigor gets answers on current cost of Argyll Ferries passenger ferry contract
    Jamie,

    Back at my PC now so easier to respond. I accept entirely that there are plus sides to the right to buy scheme. The massive discounts do let people get on the property ladder who would otherwise have struggled to and this provides a degree of security and an asset to act as a safety net if things go bad, or can be handed down to younger family members later in life to help them get a foot up in life.

    It certainly does provide greater independence in terms of life choices and I also accept the point about ownership often resulting in there being more pride and, consequently care of the home and surrounding area.

    So I do recognise there are positives – to be honest there are not many policies where there are not ‘for’ and ‘against’ arguments. I suppose everyone has to make an opinion on which outweighs the other.

    For me, right to buy is more negative than positive.

    It has created a massive hole in social housing. That is not entirely due to right to buy as successive governments have failed to build sufficiently however right to but contributed to it massively. In particular Thatcher’s policy to prevent councils reinvesting the receipts from right to buy into building new homes. The combination of these failings is now very apparent in the housing crisis and astronomical numbers of people in temporary housing. Rural communities in particular are hit hard due to reluctance of councils to build in rural areas. There are many instances of rural areas losing all their social housing through right to buy and now having no affordable homes whatsoever. The knock on effect of this is falling school rolls, diminishing facilities for young families etc etc – the potential endgame being the very sustainability of the area.

    There is also the very principle of social housing (which is what I touched on in my original post). The intention of social housing was to use public money to benefit the entire country, not to financially benefit individuals. I appreciate not everyone used right to buy to benefit financially (either through corrupt practices or entirely legal ones such as selling on for big profit or through renting them at market rates whilst having well below ‘market’ mortgages. This was an inevitable consequence of the policy which anyone could see coming. The public purse, in these cases, was being dipped into to return private profit.

    On the matter of ‘corruption’ it is certainly true that it wasn’t just people getting on the property ladder and enhancing their security and self-esteem. It was plagued with corruption and abuse by both individuals and companies who managed a plethora of former council houses. However I accept that shouldn’t be used to criticise people who did it in good faith.

    A further consequence is that the council stock which isn’t bought privately tends to be the worst of the stock. This means people moving into social housing thorough necessity are probably stigmatised more now than they ever were before. The result being quite the opposite of enhanced self-esteem.

    As I have said before I should say that I have no problem with people who took advantage of the right to buy – if an opportunity like that is provided by the Government it would be insane not took take advantage. My ‘beef’ is that the opportunity should never have been provided in the first place.

    Also as I have said before a staggering statistic is that the average discount awarded on right to buy properties is 47% (give or take a few decimal places) and as at the end of 2011 £45.5 billion of capital receipts for the Right-to-Buy scheme had been taken in. That means the value of assets given away by the public purse was (as at end of 2011) a staggering £40.4 billion! I just don’t believe for a second it, as a policy, has delivered either value for money or sufficiently enhanced quality of life for the country as a whole.

    Just my two cents (plus change!!)

  • Darling launching pro-union Tourism Together on Loch Lomond this morning
    One off polls are always marginally interesting in terms of sparking a bit of feel good factor for one camp or another however it is always a little pointless picking one poll and getting excited about it whilst ignoring a different one which tells a slightly different story.

    The BBC website’s poll tracker is a useful tool to get an idea of the movement over a 6 month period, across six different survey companies (Panelbase, YouGov, Survation, TNS BMRB, Ipsos Mori and ICM). I will grant you there are more poll providers than these six. It is the overall trend over the extended period which people should take more notice of.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/events/scotland-decides/poll-tracker

    It would be useful if the BBC combined all the results into one graph rather than just showing the individual ones however it isn’t too difficult to get a feel from quickly reviewing the six.

    Ignoring the Don’t Knows.’ Over the past six months two of the six show a small reduction for the NO vote and Survation showing a big reduction of 6%. The other three show a small increase for the NO vote. Meanwhile bar ICM they all show a gradual increase for the YES vote (Survation again the outlier as it shows a 9% increase).

    A slightly quick and dirty averaging of all six shows very marginal movement over 6 months. No down 1% and YES up 3%.

    The biggest variation across the pollers seems to be the number of ‘Don’t Knows’ ICM and TNS sometimes have it as high as 28% however the other four tend to have it fairly consistently in the 11-15% range.

  • Darling launching pro-union Tourism Together on Loch Lomond this morning
    I have to say that as an English person living in Scotland I don’t find the Snp or Yes campaign to be anti English. Sure there are some members and supporters who are but no more or less of a bigoted minority than you get in the vast majority of societies.

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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.

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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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