Gazette Letters 06.03.14

Reader Morris Macleod was up with the birds last week to capture this image of the drillshop 'Stena Carron' off Point. The vessel was travelling down the Minch en-route to Las Palmas.
Reader Morris Macleod was up with the birds last week to capture this image of the drillshop 'Stena Carron' off Point. The vessel was travelling down the Minch en-route to Las Palmas.

Supermarket controversy

We write regarding your editorial, ‘It’s good to talk’ that appeared in the 27th February issue of your newspaper.

While we do not know the detail of the Lews castle matter, your treatment of the two different issues you refer to appears to treat the Council process in a more sympathetic way than that involving North Harris Trust which we feel is more judgemental and inaccurate. We do not accept that what you characterise as “clearly [keeping] people in the dark” is a fair description of what has happened.

An infrequent series of telephone calls and e mail exchanges between the agent acting for the Cooperative and the Trust took place between late August and December 2013. These involved the possibility that a small food retail store might come to Tarbert if the Trust as landowner could identify a half acre site in the area.

The directors of the Trust were informed in September 2013 of the approach and decided to continue to discuss the matter.

A possible site situated on Common Grazings was identified and two meetings were held with the C.G. shareholders in December 2013 and January 2014 to advise them of the approach and brief them on the situation up to the present.

NHT asked that the matter remain confidential because the site had not even been visited by the developer and therefore there was no certainty that the project would progress beyond these initial contacts.

This is still the case. In the course of these meetings 10 of the 11 shareholders were content for NHT to continue to talk with the agent. One of the eleven, although in agreement and of the opinion that the Trust was duty bound to talk with the developer, considered the site unsuitable for his own reasons.

NHT has always had a policy of consulting the Community on any major development that it may bring forward and has done so on a number of occasions.

The principle is that if the membership does not want something to happen, then it will not happen. Like any other business, we receive many approaches from companies and individuals, who for valid reasons, do not wish information about their plans to be announced until a certain point is reached.

On the part of the Trust, this was to establish what the grazing shareholders felt as a first priority.

We fully understand that existing shopkeepers and other vested interests see that a development such as this might affect their business, however from the viewpoint of the whole community, are we really saying that NHT should not enter into discussion with potential investors if this might be unpopular with what could be a relative few?

We do not think that this is reasonable and we await the results of the consultation. The Trust staff and directors are entirely at the disposal of any person who wishes to raise a concern or have questions answered and NHT refutes any suggestion that we are less than transparent or, as you say, “have a lot to learn” about disseminating information. We have a long history of consultation and openness with the local community.

Finally, to comment on your reporting of our AGM, I feel that this could not be described as balanced when; there is no mention of some statements of a completely unacceptable nature made by an individual and directed at staff and directors who are unable to respond in the face of an orchestrated attempt at bullying and intimidation.

Directors and Staff of

North Harris Trust

Editor’s Note: My comments in last week’s editorial were based on the information revealed in the story.

Alistair Macleod, North Harris Trust Development manager admitted that he had asked people to “keep the matter confidential”, therefore I felt it reasonable to question whether this was a good idea?

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, perhaps if the Trust had made public this particular proposal earlier, and had clear evidence that the proposal would be backed by the wider community, then the AGM would not have been as fraught.

Finally the Trust were asked to comment on the statements made at the AGM meeting, however they declined that offer.

Thankful for water

Much as I regret decisions made at Westminster and Holyrood in respect of same-sex marriage, I think it’s unfortunate that your correspondent Donald J. Morrison regards recent flooding in the UK as being pay-back time from God (Letters 27.2.14)

Intense winter lows have piled-in from the Atlantic causing considerable damage, but this is no new thing. Widespread flooding occurred because rivers spilled-over onto recognized floodplains on which homes had been erected.

The railway wash-out at Dawlish demonstrated both the awesome power of the sea and the inadvisability of constructing a railway anywhere near it.

England as I recall was recently running short on water with reservoirs at a worryingly low level. So whereas there’s a down side to all of this, there’s also a plus side in that there’s now water in abundance. And I daresay many are relieved by that, and thankful for it.

Keith Fernie

8 Drakies Avenue,

Inverness IV2-3RW

Couldn’t say NO

Now Westminster says ‘NO’ to sharing currency with Scotland should we gain independence at the referendum. During the past 60 years the Scottish people didn’t have the choice to say NO to Trident within 15mls from Glasgow on the Clyde.

The testing of illegal depleted uranium shells in Dundrennan, near Kirkcudbright.

The decommissioning of highly dangerous Barrow-in-Furness/Birkenhead built nuclear submarines at Rosyth in Scotland. Sixteen ships containing thousands of tonnes of the deadly Anthrax Spores,Tabun,Sarin and Ricin secretly dumped in old scuttled ships in deep water west of the Outer Hebrides.

The UK takes great pleasure in allowing NATO excercises to be carried out twice yearly in north of Scotland waters. Scots were never asked if they agreed.

Again only a few weeks before devolution, the LabourParty gave England 6, of Scottish North Sea waters rich in oil/gas.

This is as close to dictatorship as you can get.

The Scottish people could not say NO to what was happening in their own country.

However, let us hope that after September this year that we can claim the land and sea so many of our kin gave their lives for by voting YES.

Don’t let us and our future generations be treated as a third world nation, enough is enough.

Donald J Morrison,

20 Haig Street,Portknockie,

Buckie,AB56 4NT