Opportunity Missed in Aberdeenshire as Councillors Vote Against an Aberdeenshire Care Charter

>> 24 January 2019

Today Aberdeenshire Council rejected an opportunity to develop a local Care Charter which would have affirmed the value placed in the workforce and committed to enhancing the quality of care delivered to residents in local communities.

Labour Councillor Alison Evison and SNP Councillor Ross Cassie had proposed developing an Aberdeenshire Care Charter following the recent rejection of Unison’s Ethical Care Charter by the Integrated Joint Board for Health and Social Care.

Councillor Alison Evison said:

“Councillors from across the Chamber had told us that they shared the vision of the Ethical Care Charter, but they could not support it due to significant legal advice around the payment of the Living Wage in commissioned services. We believed, however, that there would be benefits to staff and to people receiving care from highlighting the core principles around good working practices which are supported in Aberdeenshire. We are disappointed that the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Leadership could not unite with us today around a wider Fair Work dimension. This would have been such an important statement to staff in these increasingly challenging times.”

Councillor Ross Cassie said:

“It is disappointing that all members present at the meeting of Full Council today were using the correct wording and agreeing that Fair Work Practices are demonstrated within the council, while also aspiring for those to be replicated elsewhere with our commissioned services, but that even so the administration councillors could not demonstrate that with action in the formulation of an Aberdeenshire Care Charter. We are judged by our actions and not our words.”


Councillor Stephen Smith Secures Early Resurfacing of A90 Auchiries Straight

>> 23 January 2019

Following extensive lobbying of BEAR Scotland by Peterhead South & Cruden councillor Stephen Smith, works to resurface a section of the A90 on the Auchiries Straight will be commencing this week.

The SNP councillor has been in correspondence with transport bosses for several months regarding the condition of the rutted road surface, which he branded as unacceptable. Having been told initially that there were no plans to take any action but a scheme would be worked up for the next financial year, works have been moved forward and will start this week.

Commenting, Cllr Stephen Smith said:

“I have been contacted by constituents and community groups concerned at the poor condition of the road surface and took the matter up with BEAR as managers of the A90 Trunk Road.

“I didn’t find it acceptable that we would have to wait potentially into 2020 for the road to be resurfaced so I continued to ask for this to be assessed again. I’m pleased to say that they did and Transport Scotland approved bringing the works forward.

“The works are now starting this week and I expect while there will inevitably be some disruption owing to the nature of the work being done, road users will see the benefit very soon.”


Councillor Welcomes Progress on Clerkhill Shops' Footpaths

>> 15 January 2019

Local SNP councillor Stephen Smith has welcomed progress towards Aberdeenshire Council adopting the area in front of the Clerkhill shops in Peterhead following a report which was approved at today’s meeting of the Buchan Area Committee.

The area in front of the Clerkhill shops has been deteriorating for several years now. The pavement and cobbled area is privately-owned so is not the responsibility of Aberdeenshire Council. Efforts to locate the landowner have proved difficult in the past and the council is now moving to adopt the area so that it can carry out upgrading works under the Peterhead Regeneration Scheme.

Commenting after the meeting, Peterhead South & Cruden SNP councillor Stephen Smith said:

“Improvements to the area in front of the Clerkhill shops has been a priority of mine for some time now, as it is a source of regular complaints and even, unfortunately, trips and falls.

“The ownership of the area is in private hands, hence why the council couldn’t just go in and make improvements. But as the most important shopping area in the town after the town centre, I was keen that something should be done.

“The legal process of the council taking over the land has been long and complicated owing to the nature of the ownership. However, we’re nearing the end of that and I hope that before too long we can see work starting on getting this area tidied up and looking more respectable, getting rid of the trip hazards.”


Peterhead Councillor Backs Retention of Free Parking Period

Peterhead North SNP councillor Anne Allan has described plans to end free parking periods in the town’s ‘Pay and Display’ council car parks as a “backward step” and “detrimental to Peterhead town centre”, ahead of a crunch council vote on Thursday.

In a bid to start making a profit from Aberdeenshire’s loss-making car parks, Conservative and Lib-Dem members of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee tried to begin the process of removing free parking periods from council ‘Pay and Display’ car parks last November.

A counter-proposal from opposition councillors – which would instead have balanced the car parking budget while retaining a half-hour free parking period in all towns was defeated by 9 votes to 5, with Conservative and Lib Dem committee members voting against.

However, the Conservative and Lib Dem bid to scrap the free period was thwarted after opposition councillors insisted that any decision on the change be taken instead by all 70 councillors at a meeting of January’s full Aberdeenshire Council.

Speaking ahead of Thursday’s meeting of the Full Council, Cllr Anne Allan said:

“Introducing a free parking period was a key pledge made by SNP councillors standing for election in 2012 and we campaigned strongly on this issue, working across party lines with other councillors get it introduced.

“Having a free parking period removes one of the major disincentives for people who perhaps have only one or two items they need to get but don’t want to fork out to pay for parking when they are only going to need a parking space for maybe 10 minutes. It encourages people back into the town centre and that is a good thing.

“The proposal to remove free parking from our car parks just doesn’t make sense and is a backward step. If shoppers are forced to pay for making even a brief stop-off, many customers will choose to go instead to the supermarkets.

“All the feedback suggests that having this short free parking period has helped sustain town centres. Removing it will be detrimental to the town centre and I will be voting to support local shoppers and local businesses and retain a free parking period when this is debated next week.”


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