WANTED: Your views on how Aberdeenshire budget is spent

Each year, Aberdeenshire Council carries out a consultation on budget plans.

It is an essential part of local democracy, ensuring that the voice of communities comes through in any and all budget setting decisions.

This year, we have launched a brand new approach, in order to try to simplify and illustrate the challenges faced.

In place of traditional surveys and written text, the team have developed a suite of infographics, each of which paints a different picture of a different part of council budget setting. For example, there is a section on the pressures that councils are under, one which focuses on council tax, and one which lays out some of the future opportunities.

Attached to each infographic is a short set of questions, in some cases just two questions, to give people the opportunity to make their voices heard.

The engagement process is open now and will close at the start of January, giving enough time for the results to be passed to councillors who, in turn, will use them to inform their decision making for the coming financial year.

Highlights:

  • All the infographics and associated questions can be found at www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/budgetengagement
  • Surveys are all open now and will close on 3rd January.
  • Reports will be submitted to elected members in January to give them time to consider all views in time for the budget setting in February.
  • The 7 topics are as follows: Pressures on our services; Investing in our communities; Increasing efficiency; Identifying savings; Council Tax; Income generation; The future of sports and cultural services in Aberdeenshire

The new approach has been taken to allow people have their views on as many topics as they feel passionate about. So views on all seven areas are being sought, however those with a particularly strong opinion on a particular subject can ensure that they get that message across loud and clear.

The infographics themselves are also being issued for use in community forums and discussions right across Aberdeenshire, to make sure everyone gets the chance to participate.

Council Co-leader Cllr Richard Thomson said: “It is important for us to embark upon our budget setting discussions with our eyes open. To get a feel for what people in our communities want and need from us, and to make sure they feel empowered to know what they can do for themselves. We want to maintain high quality public services while at the same time making sure we are as efficient as possible. We also want to minimise the impact any reductions have on residents and service-users.

“The views you share will help us as we come together as a council to debate how to make the best use of the funding available to us, and we value the feedback.”

Co-leader Cllr Alison Evison said: “Aberdeenshire Council is embarking upon a year of change and challenge. Local elections coming up will change not only priorities but faces around the chamber. Some significant projects will be delivered this year and others will be progressed. Ensuring we have had robust and extensive consultation will play a part in everything that we do.

“I encourage people across Aberdeenshire to let us know what their views are and look forward to getting the results.”

All the infographics and attached questions can be found at www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/budgetengagement

 

Councillors agree to consultation on future delivery of Sport and Culture

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, 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, 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, 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.”

 

Do you know someone inspirational?

inspiring-aberdeenshire-bannerinspiring-fraser-anderson

Inspiring Aberdeenshire is a celebration of the outstanding achievements and hard work of young people, staff and members of communities across Aberdeenshire.

Nominations are now open so put forward an inspirational resident or group today!

Now in its fifth year, Inspiring Aberdeenshire promises to be bigger and better than ever and will take place on Friday, 23 June 2017 at Haddo House.

The deadline for nominations is midday on Wednesday, 1 February 2017.

Nominate now!

surveymonkey.co.uk/r/IAbsh2017

or print off a nomination form here – inspiring-aberdeenshire-nomination-form

 

Review of dispensing GP practices

prescription 2

You may recall that NHS Grampian has been consulting with the patients of six GP practices who currently get, or who are eligible to get, dispensed medicines from their GP practice.

A Review Group will be analysing all the responses to the consultation and will make recommendations to the Board of NHS Grampian.

The Review Group would like to invite any group or individual in the communities affected by the consultation – Skene being the only one in Westhill and District – to make representations or presentations to the members of the Group.

The Review Group will be in attendance at Westhill Community Church on Thursday 24th November 2016 from 9am-12.30pm.

If you would like to make a representation or presentation to the Review Group please email nhsg.involve@nhs.net or write to Freepost, NHS Grampian by Friday 11th November.

Millbank to Mains of Shiels road to close

roadworks

Please note that due to CARRIAGEWAY REPAIRS to be carried out by Aberdeenshire Council it will be necessary in the interests of public safety to apply the following restriction to traffic.

CLOSURE

ON THE B993

 FROM MILLBANK TO MAINS OF SHIELS

Commencing   24 October 2016 for 2 weeks.

Site notices will be erected in due course indicating the temporary restriction to traffic and the alternative routes where applicable.

The alternative route is via A944 to Dunecht, B977 to Echt, B9119 as per map below:

b993millbank241016 Compatibility Mode

Ranger events and activities for October

squirrel

Saturday 8th October                 2.00 – 3.30pm

NUTS ABOUT SQUIRRELS!

Join us on a walk through Wrack Woods as we search for evidence of red squirrels. Go nuts as we discover more about these charming creatures and other animals of the woodland. All welcome, children must be accompanied. Booking essential.

MEET: at the car park, Duff House, Banff AB45 3SX

CONTACT: the Banff and Buchan Ranger on 01261 813299,

banffandbuchan.ranger@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

Sunday 9th October

SUNDAY PLAYTIME

Let your kids go wild with an old-fashioned morning of fun, creative play at Haddo.

We’ll provide a whole selection of play items – logs, sticks, ropes, blankets, balls, water trays, craft items, nature kits or a dressing up box. You just need to bring along some imagination! Booking not required.

MEET: at Haddo Country Park, Ellon AB41 7EQ

CONTACT: the Haddo Visitor Services Officer on 01651-851041, vsohaddo@gmail.com

stoneage

Sunday 9th October                    11.00am – 2.00pm

STONE AGE SECRETS AT HADDO

Explore the secrets of the Stone Age at Haddo. Find out about Neolithic and Bronze Age life via reproduction artefacts and materials from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages including axe heads, arrowheads and a bow drill, as well as examples of materials such as flint, stone, copper, tin, antlers and beeswax. Free drop in event at The Pheasantry, booking not required.

MEET: at the Pheasantry, Haddo Country Park. Ellon AB41 7EQ

CONTACT: the Formartine Ranger on 01358 726417/ 07786 021780, formartine.ranger@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

hibernation

Thursday 13th October               10.30am – 12noon

CREATURE COMFORTS at Arnhall Moss, Westhill

As autumn and winter approaches it is important to think about the birds and animals and how they will survive now that it is getting cold and dark. We’ll talk about hibernation and how we can help the animals in the woodland by giving them somewhere dry and cosy for the winter. We’ll also make bird cake for you to either take home to your own garden or leave in the woodland. Please wear warm clothing. All welcome, children must be accompanied. Booking essential.

MEET: at the tennis court car park, Arnhall Moss, Westhill AB32 6TX

CONTACT: the Garioch Ranger on 01467 681470, garioch.ranger@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

Friday 14th October                   10.30am – 12noon

CREATURE COMFORTS at Gauchhill   As autumn and winter approaches it is important to think about the birds and animals and how they will survive now that it is getting cold and dark. We’ll talk about hibernation and how we can help the animals in the woodland by giving them somewhere dry and cosy for the winter. We’ll also make bird cake for you to either take home to your own garden or leave in the woodland. Please wear warm clothing. All welcome, children must be accompanied. Booking essential.

Meet and park on Birch Wood Road, Kintore AB51 0QN

CONTACT: the Garioch Ranger on 01467 681470, garioch.ranger@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

roar of the reds

Friday 14th October          5.00 – 7.00pm

ROAR OF THE REDS

Experience the sights, sounds and smells of the red deer rut, when stags challenge each other for the hinds amidst stunning scenery. Includes walk of up to 3km / 2 miles on track with gentle inclines. Under 16’s must be accompanied. Bring warm and waterproof clothing, stout footwear, torch and (if available) binoculars. Sorry, no dogs. Booking essential. Event organised in partnership with Invercauld Estate.

MEET: Auchallater car park, A93 2 miles south of Braemar AB35 5SX

CONTACT: the Marr Ranger on 07787 583976, marr.ranger@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

 

Thursday 20th October              10.30am – 12noon

CREATURE COMFORTS at Bennachie

As autumn and winter approaches it is important to think about the birds and animals and how they will survive now that it is getting cold and dark. We’ll talk about hibernation and how we can help the animals in the woodland by giving them somewhere dry and cosy for the winter. We’ll also make bird cake for you to either take home to your own garden or leave in the woodland. Please wear warm clothing. All welcome, children must be accompanied. Booking essential.

MEET: at the Bennachie Visitor Centre, Chapel of Garioch AB51 5HX

CONTACT: the Garioch Ranger on 01467 681470, garioch.ranger@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

autumn

Saturday 22nd October               10.00am – 4.00pm

BEGINNERS AUTUMN PHOTOGRAPHY

The Donside Camera Club joins the Garioch Ranger to guide you through your camera functions and how to use your camera for macro, wildlife and landscape photography. Bring your camera, a packed lunch and suitable clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Cost: £15. Booking essential. This is a partnership event between Aberdeenshire Council Ranger Service, Donside Camera Club and the Bennachie Centre Trust.

MEET: at the Bennachie Visitor Centre, Chapel of Garioch AB51 5HX

CONTACT: the Garioch Ranger on 01467 681470, garioch.ranger@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

bushcraft

Tuesday 25th October                 10.00am – 12noon

‘BUSHCRAFT’ FOR GROWN-UPS

Want to be more confident camping? Impress the kids with your outdoor skills? Just learn something new? Join us for some grown-up, outdoor skills where you can learn to set up camp, make rope, try simple knife skills, do some knot tying and treat yourself with some campfire cooking. Ideal if you or your family want to explore the great outdoors. Activities will be flexible and weather dependent, if there are any particular skills you’d like to learn or practise then let us know and we’ll see what we can do! Campfire food and hot drinks included – bring a mug!  Cost: £5 per person, over 16’s only. Booking essential.

MEET: Haddo Country Park, Ellon AB41 7EQ

CONTACT: the Haddo Visitor Services Officer on 01651-851041, vsohaddo@gmail.com

halloween storytelling

Monday 31st October                            7.00 – 8.30pm

HALLOWEEN STORYTELLING EVENING

Following on from May Eve’s Celtic Stories’ success we now offer an evening stroll, serenaded by Tawny owls on this other most magical night of the year that welcomes the winter, to then settle down around a campfire (or indoors if necessary) and listen to some truly grim and ghastly stories both local and from further afield. Suitable for non-nervous adults and older children (8 yrs. +). Refreshments provided.  Booking essential.

Cost: £5 per person including refreshments. Call 01651 851041 or e-mail haddo@visithaddo.com to book.

MEET: at the main car park, Haddo Country Park, Ellon AB41 7EQ

CONTACT for information: the Formartine Ranger on 01358 726417/ 07786 021780

 

Road closed Mason Lodge to Carnie Roundabout

roadworks

Please note that due to Carriageway Re-Texturing to be carried out by JMS Lincoln Ltd it will be necessary in the interests of public safety to apply the following restriction to traffic.

CLOSURE

On B979 between Mason Lodge and B9119 Carnie Roundabout

on 23rd October, 2016 for one day.

Access to Emergency Vehicles will be maintained at all times

Access for pedestrians and to adjacent properties will be maintained whenever possible.

The alternative route is via A944 and B9119, as shown on the attached plan.

b979masonlodge231016

Site proposed for improved mobile service in Dunecht

Telefonica UK has entered in to an agreement with Vodafone United pursuant to which the two companies plan to jointly operate and manage a single network grid across the UK. This agreement allows both organisations to:

  • pool their basic network infrastructure, while running two, independent, nationwide networks
  • maximise opportunities to consolidate the number of base stations
  • significantly reduce the environmental impact of network development

Vodafone is in the process of progressing a suitable site in the local area of Dunecht for a radio base station. Before they submit a planning application they are keen to consult with communities, so if you have any comments on the proposal (location as per attached information below), please let me know.

CTIL_112256 TEF_069870_VF_11887_REV_C plan drawings

Mobiles can only work with a network of base stations in place where people want to use their mobile phones or other wireless devices. As part of Vodafone’s continued network improvement program, there is a specific requirement for improved services in the Dunecht area and the proposed upgrade of the established mast at this proposed site will improve 2G, 3G and 4G coverage in the area.