This could be said to be an almost …

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

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.

newsroom also commented

  • 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.
  • 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

  • Indy, the banks and the Scottish economy
    Suppose you supply and source the factual numbers you’re talking about and we’ll take it from there.
  • BBC indy debate: incoherent uncontrolled unedifying bear pit
    Alex Salmond has, in each of his two debates with Alastair Darling, specifically asked voters to give him the mandate to negotiate for the specific prospectus in the White Paper on Scotland’s Future; and to give him ‘the mandate to keep the pound’.
  • Mario Draghi and Carwyn Jones point to financial policy and currency issues
    Here is the ECB’s charting of the progress [downwards] of the euro against the pound from September 2013 to 26 August 2014.
    https://www.ecb.europa.eu/stats/exchange/eurofxref/html/eurofxref-graph-gbp.en.html
  • BBC indy debate: incoherent uncontrolled unedifying bear pit
    In relation to our comment above, the detail of the United Kingdom government’s financial commitment to stabilising the Royal Bank of Scotland alone in 2008 was a total of £320 Billion – £45 Billion in recapitalising RBS to protect deposits and savings; and £275 Billion in guarantees RBS was given through the United Kingdom’s Asset Protection Scheme.
    This total of £320 Billion represented 211% of Scotland’s GDP in 2008 – and that figure includes Scotland’s geographical share of North Sea assets. How would an independent Scotland be able to stabilise the RBS at this level, were it to be headquartered here and suffer a similar failure in the future?
    A useful point of comparison is that the United Kingdom government’s total financial intervention across the entire banking sector at that time was a total of almost £1.2 trillion – 76% of the GDP of the entire United Kingdom for that year, including Scotland.
    In the event of an independent Scotland pegging a Scottish pound to the continuing United Kingdom pound, if the banks did not restructure and kept their headquarters here, our financial sector would be a worryingly large proportion of our GDP.
    And if the banks moved south, as is virtually inevitable, their departure would undermine Scotland’s standing as a financial centre.
    This is cold-headed fact and analysis – there is no adventure or thrill of risk here. But it demonstrates the folly of proposing to bin the level of stability and reassurance Scotland’s financial sector currently presents.

  • BBC indy debate: incoherent uncontrolled unedifying bear pit
    You neglect to allow for the fact that Scotland would be moving from a position of financial security to one of uncertainty. It has been supported in the de facto currency union of the United Kingdom by the traditional lender of last resort of the Bank of England and the larger economy of the United Kingdom. Together these proved their worth in the successful intervention of 2008 to stabilise our collapsing banks.
    The particular and negative change of circumstances of an independent Scotland pegging its currency unlicensed to the pound and without a lender of last resort would provoke extreme caution in the markets; which would be driven beyond caution by any decision to default on its share of the National debt, which is a debt of honour for Scotland.
    The lack of a lender of last resort would lead to a flight of capital from Scotland.
    Banks would have no alternative but to migrate their HQ’s to retain the Bank of England as lender of last resort. 2008 lives in the recent memory. Many individuals, households and businesses – a proportion of which will support independence, will nevertheless protect themselves by transferring their assets and transactions to the care of financial institutions which are protected by the Bank of England.
    Individuals, households and businesses, in a period of uncertainty, have no option but to defend what they have earned and built up to assure their futures and those of their families, employees and investors. This is not a matter of lack of confidence. It is a matter of the instinctual survival instinct that individuals and businesses each experience.
    Prior to the pegging of its currency to the US dollar, we are unaware of the Cayman Islands having enjoyed a similar status to the United Kingdom’s as a leading financial sector centre.
    In their circumstances, pegging their currency to the US dollar therefore moved them up in the reliability stakes; where Scotland would be a much less secure bet than it has been – and the markets do not respond well to movements in that direction. Borrowing costs would increase and investment would hold back.
    In comparing the Cayman Islands with the United Kingdom, you are not comparing like with like – one of the standard devices of a doorstep salesman.

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37 Responses to This could be said to be an almost …

  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.

    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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • 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.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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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