Blackett Welcomes Lottery Funding for Braemar Festival

>> Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Local SNP councillor Geva Blackett has welcomed the announcement that the Braemar Creative Arts Festival will benefit from over £2000 of lottery funding.

The award has been made from “Open Project Funding”, which is available to a wide range of organisations and individuals working across Scotland in the arts, screen and creative industries.

Commenting, Cllr Geva Blackett said:

“Braemar Creative Arts Festival is an annual community led event attracting locals and visitors to try something new – this year I joined the Dumfriesshire-based Samba Sisters for their percussion workshop which was such fun we have decided to start our own group in Braemar.

“There are plenty of other activities on offer ranging from acting workshops through to wildlife photography. It’s a great event and I am delighted they organisers have been awarded funding to help with the costs.”


Further Progress Welcomed on Kintore Station

Plans for a new railway station at Kintore have taken another step forward.

Councillors agreed to contribute £3.2million towards the project from Aberdeenshire Council and the North-east Regional Transport Partnership (NESTRANS) recently. Now, the Scottish Government has confirmed it will increase its funding from the Scottish Stations Fund from 50% to 60% towards the project.

This follows on from last week’s decision at a meeting of the full Aberdeenshire Council to proceed with Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) for the required land.

Nestrans and Aberdeenshire Council have today welcomed the commitment from the Scottish Government to provide additional funding for the new Kintore station.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr David Aitchison said:

“This additional funding from the Scottish Government for the new Kintore Station is very good news. Aberdeenshire Council and NESTRANS will continue to work in partnership with the Scottish Government to ensure the project moves forward, unlocking substantial economic benefit to Kintore and wider Aberdeenshire.

“The support from the Scottish Government for road and rail improvements along the Aberdeen-Inverness Corridor is extremely welcome indeed. The commitment to dual the A96 and the major investment in the railway line between Aberdeen and Inverness, coupled with the increased number of services to and from Inverurie introduced in recent years will be transformational for this area, for the travelling public and also for the local economy.

“I’m delighted that the North-east will be benefiting significantly from this huge investment.”


P&J "Completely Wrong" on Administration at Aberdeenshire Council

Richard Thomson
In response to the wholly-inaccurate front-page lead in the Press & Journal, Co-Leader of Aberdeenshire Council Richard Thomson has sent the following letter to the Editor for publication:


Dear Sir,

Your Monday front page lead and editorial gets it completely wrong on several key points about Aberdeenshire Council's review of governance.

Administration councillors understand perfectly well what we have decided. New committees with different responsibilities require chairs to be appointed and the administration will be putting forward our candidates for those positions. Those positions will go to those whom the chamber decides to support - not necessarily to the group with the largest number of councillors.

There is a clear route to power for any opposition which wishes to become an administration and that is to win a vote to remove the Provost. That's not up for discussion as part of the reforms being implemented. To attempt to change administration in any other way would be constitutionally improper, which is why the scenario painted in your story will not happen.

If there is a change in administration in January, it will not be because the Partnership Administration has "voted itself out of power". It will be because the opposition will have done what they already have the numbers to do if they so choose.

It makes one wonder how many other stories appearing in the P&J are based on similarly weak assertions and misunderstandings. Meantime, we'll get on with the business of running the council.

Yours etc,

Cllr Richard Thomson
Co-Leader, Aberdeenshire Council


Councillors Agree Consultation on Future Delivery of Sport & Culture

>> Monday, 28 November 2016

A consultation which will ask members of the public for their views on the concept of a charitable trust delivering sport and cultural services on behalf of Aberdeenshire Council will take place in December following discussions by councillors today.

At the meeting of Full Council on Thursday, Aberdeenshire councillors were asked to consider a series of options for the future delivery of those services, including:

  • Outsourcing the delivery of the services to a private company;
  • The creation of a public-private partnership;
  • Continuation of the status quo;
  • An enhanced version of the status quo, through which the services would continue to be directly delivered by the council;
  • The creation of a charitable trust, wholly owned by the council
Councillors agreed that the creation of a trust is their preferred option for further consideration and that public consultation on the principle of a trust delivering the services should take place next month as part of the council’s budget engagement process.

The results of the consultation will inform a further decision by councillors in January as to whether a detailed business case for a charitable trust should be developed.

Co-Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Cllr Alison Evison (Lab-North Kincardine), said:

“Today we have agreed that officers should continue to explore the idea of a charitable trust to deliver sports and cultural services in Aberdeenshire and come back to us with more information on how it might operate.

“The quality of the debate we have had so far gives me confidence that we are now on the right path, a path which could open up huge opportunities to sustain jobs and services.

“This path must include discussions with staff as well as public consultation and I’m pleased to see both happening.”

Co-Leader, Cllr Richard Thomson (SNP-Ellon & District), said:

“We know that alternative ways of delivering services have worked successfully elsewhere and it is time for us to consider why we aren’t doing it as well.

“The public consultation will help inform us when we meet again in January to decide whether to proceed to a more detailed, full business case for the creation of a charitable trust.

“We’ll be looking for views from sports and community groups, as well as individual residents who have both used and have never used our sports and cultural services.

“Our budget engagement will begin next month and will be promoted across Aberdeenshire so that is your chance to have your say.”


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