FRAE YIR ITHER COONCILLOR
After the budget I thought I would do a piece for the Crier but it may be too political.
The SNP Councillors’ viewpoint The SNP have always backed funding a modern and fit-for-purpose leisure pool and sports facility at the centre of Perth. PH20 is a well-designed project, which will attract people to the city and, importantly, offers a much-needed leisure facility for the residents of Perth and Kinross. We can’t say how important mental and physical well being is, without then offering people facilities that can help them to stay healthy. Delivering on PH20 has always been a priority for the SNP and if we were in administration we would absolutely make sure this project was up and running as soon as possible. It is disappointing that the current Tory administration does not share the same urgency for developing this project.
This may be controversial, however rather than front load the City Hall project as neither the UK have signed the Cities Deal to release the funding, nor have we had a decision by the Keepers of the Regalia on whether the Stone of Destiny will come to Perth or be housed in a new area being developed in Edinburgh Castle. Thus we put an amendment to pause the development of the City Hall until funding was in place, which is a commitment from UK Government through the Tay Cities Deal, and until we had a decision on the Stone of Destiny. As we are going through such difficult times with financial uncertainty, surely to front load such a project is not financially prudent. Again our Tory administration, bolstered by the LibDems, won the motion; so ahead we shall go, flying by the seat of our pants.
On the positive side we are proceeding with the much needed and long awaited Cross Tay Link Road which will be partly funded by the Scottish Government as a part of The Tay Cities deal. No problem there then.
Again Blairgowrie Recreation Centre had its funding cut by the Tories and LibDems in the last Capital Budget. A proposal was agreed by all to go ahead, but with a considerable additional expense because of the delay caused by underfunding. Not in our area but delays have not been good for the people of Blairgowrie.
Good news for our secondary children is that the go ahead for new Perth High School went through and it will be built to the Passivhaus standards, which will make it carbon neutral, and it will be a school for the future with all the latest technology to give our children and grandchildren the best start in life. This will be a great tribute to the late Councillor Bob Band who started this project off whilst he was Convener of Life Long Learning. Again not in our area but a new primary school at North Muirton was also passed unanimously at full council and again will be of Passivhaus standards so this will ensure that the school estates are kept to the highest standards that can be had.
I hope that this allows the good folk of Abernethy to get a clear view on how council budgets are debated and how conclusions and decisions are come to. However if the administration decides to make a bad decision it is up to those of us in opposition to bring it to the scrutiny of the constituents.
FRAE YOUR ITHER COONCILLOR
Hi, All you Crier readers. I hope you are all coping with these challenging times which we have had to endure since March. I don’t imagine anyone will forget Covid19 as every generation has been impacted in one way or another.
My thoughts and condolences go out to those who have lost their loved ones during this time whether directly due to Covid19 or the restrictions imposed to protect against Covid19. Not being able to say farewell because we are in such circumstances is so sad for close relatives and friends.
It is regrettable that I have not been able to get around the ward as much as I would have liked. However, don’t be shy, I am available either by phone or email; contact details are at the bottom of this article. I have kept busy with ward issues and a bit of volunteering to help when I can, to ensure that those who are vulnerable receive all the support we can possibly give them. You may ask what was done when we were in lockdown? Well, we distributed food parcels to those who asked for help and we need to thank all those who were involved in Abernethy and Perth as we all worked extremely well together to ensure that everyone who needed food received a parcel. Transport was another issue for folks who were key workers in the care sector and those who needed medical appointments. Delivery of prescriptions was a task that many volunteers undertook for their neighbours. All these services and more were done by ordinary folk looking after one another, and it is with great pride that I can say Abernethy folk like many folks in Perth and Kinross rallied round to get all these tasks and countless more done, and I thank you all.
The other thing that Covid19 has impacted is businesses. It is heartbreaking to see all our local businesses being double whammied with Covid19 and the disastrous Brexit that will happen in December. Covid19 could not have been avoided and, as little was known about this disease, we went into it making the most of what we had. However, Brexit we were well aware of and the polling evidence in Scotland clearly shows that we didn’t want it but little notice of Scotland’s desire to remain was taken on board at Westminster. In Scotland there are more things that unite us than divide us.
So, what shall we do? We can support our local businesses by shopping locally and eating and drinking locally with locally sourced food and drink for one thing. We must not accept the replacing of local branding by national branding, as we then do not know where the produce is sourced from.
Lastly Abernethy has now lived with the Binn Ecopark for many years. The folk of Abernethy have rightly been concerned when new developments happened. Working with the Ecopark companies and maintaining a dialogue with SEPA, PKC officers and your local councillors will ensure that projects that go ahead are monitored and that health and safety is paramount for the community and for the workforce up at the Binn Ecopark. I will make it my job to ensure that any developments are scrutinised and that expert guidance is followed if these projects are to progress.
Finally, I wish you all a very Merry digital Christmas and pray that 2021 is a far better year and Covid19 is consigned to the history books.
FRAE NUMBER 3 COONCILLOR
Go Wild In The Country. Part 1. A big thank you to everyone who has been working hard to keep many of the paths clear around Abernethy during the summer. The Council kindly cut back over-growth on the Circular walk. The new-ish owners of the Rough Glen, Mr and Mrs Blaine, have done a sterling job. Kyle Gordon who owns Castle Law has been very helpful with the path up to Castle Law. Allistair Hollingsworth and I, also, went out with our trusty garden shears to do some snipping away.
In these unsettled times, there’s nothing like a good healthy walk to lift the spirits, so it’s great to see the path network looking so good.
A new Puffin Crossing to replace the existing Zebra Crossing and a new Puffin Crossing outside the Primary School are due to be installed in late January. Although this date could easily change because of weather and the progress of other projects, it is good news that these road safety improvements are on their way.
On the 30th September, the Council voted to increase the budget for the new Perth High School building from £50m to £58m. This will allow the building to be built to Passivhaus standard, which will make it highly energy efficient and save money over the life of the building. Everyone with children, or grand-children, at PHS can see that the building is well past its sell-by date and is looking forward to the new school opening in 2024.
Planning Permission for the first phase of 159 new homes at Oudenarde has been given. Although this isn’t actually in Abernethy, some of you have been in touch to see what can be done to tidy up the eye-sore that greets you as you come off the M90 at the “Pringles” roundabout. When this first phase is completed, the area will look much better.
Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust have published a marvellous little book, “Hillforts of the Tay” about the community-based archaeological digs at the tops of Moncrieffe Hill near Bridge of Earn and our very own Castle Law.
Packed full of g l o r i o u s photographs and illustrations, it tells the story of digs that took place over the summers from 2015 to 2017, what was discovered about life in the forts 2,500 years ago and who took part in the digs.
The book costs £5 to buy and will be available from the Museum when it re-opens next summer or directly from the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust Web Site.
Now we are in December going swimming outside is probably quite far from your mind but over the summer we were delighted to discover the pleasures of wild swimming in the disused Lochmill Reservoir near Newburgh.
Obviously there are no changing facilities, no lifeguards, no vending machines, so you do need to be a confident swimmer before you get in. However, on the plus side there are no queues, no crowded lanes, no noise and while the water is not heated, because it’s relatively shallow it did warm up as the summer progressed. Because it’s neither salty nor chlorinated it’s a very pleasant experience to swim round the reservoir while admiring the local wildlife.
The reservoir is now owned by the Newburgh Community Trust, so anyone can use the loch, but you need to be a member of Newburgh Angling Club to go fishing.
If you’d like to get in touch with me about any matter, you can email me on Dillingworth@pkc.gov.uk or call on 07767006275. Councillor David Illingworth.
FRAE OOR COONCILLOR
This has been a very strange year for us but nature has carried on regardless. We have experienced spring, summer and autumn with Covid and have all enjoyed and appreciated the beautiful countryside either on a short walk or a more adventurous ramble. Unfortunately there is a minority of the population which thinks it is clever to drive out into the countryside and dump their, or someone else’s, rubbish on someone else’s land. There is absolutely no excuse for this behaviour; this antisocial behaviour is a cost to everyone. It costs the landowner to remove and it costs us the public, as individuals, if the council has to remove it from the roadside. Please be wary if someone offers to collect garden rubbish or household clearances at a bargain price, it may not being going to a recycling centre.
Here in Abernethy new puffin crossings will be installed in January and at the same time the flooding problem at the bottom of School Wynd will be addressed. Talking about flooding, Abernethy and district escaped the havoc caused by the torrential rain in August. Homes flooded, culverts washed away, the plant rooms at Perth Leisure pool and at the Council Buildings flooded. Unfortunately Perth Leisure pool will be closed for sometime.
The shared path from Aberargie to the Glenfoot road should be completed by the time you read this. Another step to try to please all road users.
Abernethy and District Community Council met on Zoom in October and sadly again one of the main topics was speeding on Perth Road. Comments were made that most of those who speed are local people. Please can I ask everyone to obey the speed limit twenty four hours a day. It is now dark at 5pm and people are out walking a bit more than used to be the case so please SLOW down. I do not want people to have to be named and shamed.
Perth and Kinross council is moving ahead with an ambitious capital programme - City Hall, Cross Tay Link Road and the replacement Perth High School, which will be built to Passivhaus standard, (energy efficiency and quality). Completion of the Perth High School is likely to be 2024; good news for Abernethy pupils.
The Council launched a Climate Change Engagement consultation document recently and it can be accessed at https://www.pkc.gov.uk/article/21853/Climate-Change-Engagement. The opportunity to contribute is now open and closes on 5th Jan 2021. This is your opportunity to influence council policy on climate change.
What is the offer?
The offer is about how everyone in the Perth and Kinross community can genuinely connect to make our vision for Perth and Kinross happen. Everyone has something to offer and communities have many superb volunteers who volunteer regularly and this year it has been great that others have helped out in the pandemic. Council Officers have been engaging with numerous stakeholders, individuals, residents, businesses and community leaders to build a comprehensive picture of how the pandemic has affected them. This includes making contact with our seldom heard communities. The Council has also held a number of Ward meetings to find out how the pandemic affected their communities, Ward 9 Almond and Earn meeting was postponed twice due to lack of available people at the time. There will be another opportunity for us to give our views of the issues locally. If you or your group would like to be part of this group please contact me.
Some of the findings of engagement so far have shown an increase in volunteering, strong sense of community, provision of support for most vulnerable, quieter roads, more people walking and cycling, people more aware of open space and a greater use of technology. This could be Abernethy.
Perth and Kinross Offer has a web page which provides details of what is meant by the offer, how to get involved and examples of the Perth and Kinross offer in practice https://www.pkc.gov.uk/pkoffer. Hopefully you will take time to read this.
At the time of writing Perth and Kinross council are working on contingency COVID plans. Who knows what lies ahead But I trust that we will be able to look out for our neighbours and make sure they are SAFE AND WELL by helping out while remaining mindful of all the RULES.
Abernethy Angels did a fantastic job during the earlier lockdown and we all know the value of volunteers. Here in Abernethy there are many people who volunteer regularly - youth leaders, In Bloom members and those individuals who litter pick and those who informally look after paths and in winter help to grit paths.
Prior to the COVID pandemic the council were requested by the Scottish Government to consult on a Draft Food Growing Strategy and the finalised strategy would meet the requirements of the Community Empowerment Scotland Act and contribute to the Scottish government‘s vision to be a Good Food Nation by 2025 Check out the Council webpages and you can contribute to this consultation. It is really interesting with lots of ideas.
This year has seen a huge increase in the number of people showing an interest in not only growing their own fruit and vegetables but sharing the results with others. There is a demand for allotments. I hear of people looking for more ground to cultivate and others who feel their garden is too big for them, so sharing your garden could be a possibility. An open space could be a community garden althouh I hear some saying that we need more car parking if there is available space.
During the past few months the workload for Perth and Kinross council has not diminished in any way, it has increased. Some examples are:
The regulatory team of food safety, environmental health and trading officers have undertaken more than six hundred and seventy compliance visits to businesses.
New 20mph areas and 2m pavement markings have been agreed.
All of the flooding issues.
This is on top of all the other duties , waste collection, ground maintenance etc..
I, as a councillor, have been just as busy working from home, having many meeting on teams but am available to be contacted as usual email@example.com.
This has been a year with many challenges and we have coped with them. Well done to all the young people who have accepted that Home is Best ! , I am sure we are looking forward to the day when we can open our door to family and friends. However we celebrate Christmas this year, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family well on what will be a different Christmas.
STAY SAFE AND WELL