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Shire Opposition Refers Parking Proposals to Full Council - "Free Period Must be Retained"

>> 30 November 2018

Opposition councillors in Aberdeenshire have called for free parking periods in the area’s council car parks to be retained, after they succeeded in referring proposals which would have scrapped the current free period to a future meeting of all councillors.

The referral to full council came after a discussion at today’s Infrastructure Services Committee on the council’s recent review of off-street parking in Aberdeenshire.

Committee Chair Cllr Peter Argyle (LD) – seconded by North Kincardine Councillor Iain Mollison (LD) - moved to begin a formal consultation on a proposal which would have increased parking tariffs while removing the current free period.

A counter-proposal from opposition councillors – which would have instead consulted on retaining a half-hour free parking period in all settlements and introducing it to the first time to Huntly, together with an adjustment to parking tariffs to bring the car park budget back into balance – was defeated by 9 votes to 5.

At the request of opposition members and in line with council standing orders which allow for such referrals to take place, the matter was then referred to the full council for wider consideration.

During debate, Cllr Glen Reid (SNP) thanked council officers involved in the preparation of the report and councillors who served on the recent Member Officer Working Group. However, he expressed his disappointment at administration councillors’ support for the removal of any free period. Afterwards, he said:

“All across Aberdeenshire’s towns, we can see the benefits that have been brought by the introduction of a short free period for parking”, he said.

“Our proposal today would have seen us consult on free parking periods being retained with a further review of the impact after 12 months.

“This referral to full council will give all councillors the opportunity to have their say on all the options and to make the final decision on whether or not a free period should be part of the proposal that goes forward.”

Opposition Leader and Ellon & District Councillor Richard Thomson (SNP) added:

“Most people using the free period are making some kind of ‘grab and go’ purchase, all of which helps maintain the prosperity and wellbeing of our town centres. If they have to pay, many customers will choose to go instead to the supermarkets.

“While no-one wants to see council car parks running at a deficit, there’s no justification for the measures being proposed by the administration, which risk hitting town centre trade while raising far more than we need for car parks to break even.

“Car parks are there to help people use our town centres and not to act as either a cash drain or a cash cow. I hope that the administration will reconsider and come back with proposals which strike a better balance between increasing revenues and supporting our town centres."

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Peterhead 'Well-Placed' to Benefit from Scottish Government Schools Funding

>> 27 November 2018

A Peterhead councillor has said that plans for the new Peterhead Community Campus are well-placed to benefit from the Scottish Government’s announcement of funding for new schools.

Education Secretary John Swinney announced last Wednesday a £1 billion scheme to continue investment in the school estate from 2021, when the current scheme reaches an end. The issue was raised at Thursday’s meeting of the Full Council by local councillor Stephen Smith during a discussion on the council’s Medium-Term Financial Strategy.

Commenting, SNP councillor for Peterhead South & Cruden Stephen Smith said:

“Thanks to the leadership shown by the previous SNP/Labour Administration in Aberdeenshire, plans for the new Peterhead Community Campus should be at the front of the queue when it comes to taking advantage of the £1 billion of funding for school buildings announced by Education Secretary John Swinney last week.

“I remain proud of the fact that it was the SNP/Labour Administration which made a new academy for Peterhead a priority immediately upon taking over control of the council in 2015.

“I readily acknowledge the work done by the new council administration since they took over in sticking with our priority and moving it forward. I’m delighted we have six of the Peterhead councillors all working together across party lines to make this project happen and, with this funding announcement, we’re well-placed to deliver a new community campus for Peterhead by 2025.”

Independent councillor for Peterhead South & Cruden Stephen Calder added:

“Peterhead cannot afford to miss this opportunity to get funding towards its new Academy. It would support the learning of our young people and mark a huge step forward in the regeneration of the town. I urge the Council Administration to do all they can to ensure we can benefit from this money from the Scottish Government.”

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Local Councillor Smith and Community Council Bring Dogs Trust Event to Boddam

>> 30 October 2018

Peterhead South & Cruden SNP councillor Stephen Smith and Boddam Community Council have been working together to promote responsible dog ownership in the village.

Dogs Trust, a national charity, will be holding a roadshow in Boddam Public Hall on Wednesday 14 November from 10.00am to 2.00pm and are hoping for a good turnout of four-legged friends.

Commenting, Cllr Stephen Smith said:

“I’m very pleased Dogs Trust have accepted my invitation to come to Boddam with their roadshow.

“Boddam Community Council have kindly supported the event in an effort to promote responsible dog ownership but I think all dog owners will find it useful to attend as there will be free advice on hand from a Registered Veterinary Nurse who will give dogs a free health check, as well as free microchipping and free nail-clipping being available.”

Jennifer Terris, Dogs Trust Campaigns Manager for Scotland said,

“We’re delighted to be working with Boddam Community Council to provide this community event.

“We hope that by working together we can provide a free, easily accessible service to local dog owners and promote all aspects of responsible dog ownership. Our community events across Scotland offer informative advice to dog owners and potential dog owners alike on the fundamentals of owning a dog. This includes the importance of neutering your pet, helping your dog maintain a healthy lifestyle, the cost and time involved in owning a dog and resources on dog training and behaviour; as well as the legal requirement around having your dog microchipped.”

The Dogs Trust Registered Veterinary Nurse will also offer FREE microchipping, FREE nail clipping and a FREE general assessment of your dog’s health and where appropriate advise owners if they should visit their vet.

At the roadshow, Dogs Trust aim to promote all aspects of responsible dog ownership including:
  • The change in the law regarding compulsory microchipping
  • The legal requirement of keeping the microchip owner information up to date
  • The legal requirement for collar and tag
  • The legal requirement to pick up after your dog
  • The importance of proper training/socialisation to prevent anti-social behaviour
  • How to be safe around dogs
  • The importance of the five freedoms (freedom from hunger and thirst; discomfort; pain, injury or disease; fear and distress and freedom to express normal behaviour.)

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Council's Vehicle Fleet Goes Hi-Tech to Save Money and Reduce CO2

>> 23 August 2018

Following the introduction of a ‘Carbon Budget’ by the SNP/Labour Aberdeenshire Partnership administration in 2017, councillors were today briefed on the introduction of telematics to the council’s vehicle fleet.

As part of the SNP/Labour Aberdeenshire Partnership’s commitment to climate change mitigation, the first Carbon Budget was set for 2017/18. The new approach, approved at full council in February 2017, encourages the whole council to fundamentally consider how it is run and the resulting carbon implications. Aberdeenshire was the first local authority in Scotland to implement such a budget.

In the latest development, fleet vehicles used across Aberdeenshire Council are being installed with telematics to help save money and benefit the environment. The system is web-based, using GPS satellite positioning data and the mobile data network.

Following the successful use of such systems in other large organisations, including councils, it is also intended to promote safe and efficient driving and working practices. It can also help protect lone workers, reduce vehicle running costs and help to quickly ascertain the facts of any accident or incident.

It is hoped it may even allow the reduction of the council’s fleet in future, through the improved use of vehicles, which would also mean significant savings.

Commenting, Infrastructure Services spokesperson for the SNP/Labour Aberdeenshire Partnership Cllr David Aitchison said:

“We were proud to be the first council administration in the country to introduce a Carbon Budget. As well as aiming to be more environmentally-friendly, another major benefit is that many of the measures introduced as a result of the need to reduce emissions have the potential to save the council-taxpayer huge sums of money.

“For example, it is estimated that installing telematics in council vehicles could save between £190,000 and £275,000 each year on fuel through better fleet management resulting from the data generated by each vehicle.

“I’m delighted that the current council administration is carrying on the work the SNP/Labour Partnership started on reducing emissions and saving energy.”

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