Carnie All Weather Pitch – have your say!


The all-weather football pitch at Carnie was provided through planning gain when the first phase of housing was developed at Leddach Grange. The original plan was to have a couple of turf pitches and some sort of pavillion. The plans were then changed to have the main pitch surfaced with an all-weather material which did not leave enough funds for a pavillion. Four short years ago, I remember the pitch being flood-lit, good-sized goals in place with the older teenagers playing football quite happily at one end with the younger kids being able to join in or play on the other half. The youngsters took responsibility for switching on and off the lights and I think this system worked very well. It was a good community facility.

Since then, someone in their wisdom decided that the youngsters were not responsible enough to manage the lights and the developers switched them off and padlocked the control box. On a recent visit to the pitch, I noticed it is looking a bit tatty and the goals would look more at home in a nursery playground.

I know all the leisure facilities in Westhill and Elrick are being looked at to see if they can be better managed and used more efficiently. How would you like to see the AWP being managed? Who do you think should run it? Should it be a free-for-all or should a booking system be used? Would you like to see some sort of pavillion or changing rooms provided? Please comment below or send me an email with your thoughts.  


Big Energy Week Monday 16th – Saturday 21st January 2012


Rising fuel bills are stretching household finances and people are looking for ways to save money on their energy bills.   

To help consumers spend less on heating their home Citizens Advice is coordinating an advice campaign called Big Energy Week (16-21 January 2012) which will see thousands of people across the country get practical help and advice to cut their fuel bills and get all the financial support they are entitled to.

Big Energy Week is supported by consumer organisations such as Consumer Focus and Which?, charities, the Government, energy suppliers and switching websites.

As part of Big Energy Week there will be events up and down the country where people can get practical advice on how they could spend less on heating their home.

Reminder: Echt road closure starts Monday 16th January

The B9119 Aberdeen to Tarland road will be closed from Echt Primary School to Myriewell Cottages for six weeks to allow work to be carried out at a housing development.

Diversions will be in place during the work, directing motorists along the crossroads at the B9125 Garlogie to Raemoir Road and the B977 Kintore to Echt roads (click on the link below to see map).

New freedoms for Credit Unions welcomed

Over recent weeks the media has highlighted  a morally-bankrupt lending industry with pay-day loan companies being accused of  mis-selling and low-earners being charged 150% more for household goods on the high street.  Recent survey results from Shelter have shown that over 1 million people have taken out a pay-day loan to help pay their mortgage or rent in the last 12 months.

I have long been an advocate of credit unions. Credit unions have been promoted for many years within  NHS, Police and emergency services staff rooms as they offer low cost loans whilst encouraging savings to grow at the same time. Any profit stays within the organisation and the credit unions are regulated by the FSA meaning the first £85,000 of savings are safe should they fail.

The main changes just announced will mean savers and borrowers stand to gain as credit unions can now offer a viable alternative to banks. It will now be easier to become a member as joining rules are being relaxed, i.e. membership will not be restricted to certain occupations as mentioned above. Membership will no longer be limited to individuals but open to community groups, social clubs and local authorities. Credit unions will now be able to pay interest on savings rather than a dividend linked to annual performance and we should see these rates being published on best-buy tables making it easier for members to compare their credit union with banks and building societies.

Credit unions have not taken off in a big way in the UK in contrast to being a huge success in countries such as Australia, Ireland and the United States. I think if local groups and agencies such as Citizens Advice Bureaux, housing associations and local authorities could work in partnership with credit unions to promote their services, we could see more of their branches open in the high street and outreach services provided in the more rural areas. Judging by the local statistics for people currently accessing debt and money advice, they would get a huge welcome.

Time to dispose of your Christmas tree thoughtfully!

Ok, I admit to cheating and my Christmas tree gets pulled apart section by section and stuffed back in to it’s original B&Q box taped together by an annually added multi-layer of parcel tape, sellotape or whatever kind comes to hand at the time in my haste to get on with the year ahead!  For those more traditional souls, although there are no kerbside collections of Christmas trees in Aberdeenshire, you can recycle them free of charge at Household Waste & Recycling Centres.

Inverurie, Souterford Road, AB51 0TP

  • Standard hours From 12th December 2011 :
    Monday to Sunday: 9am to 5pm
    Tuesday: 5.00pm to 8pm (April to September)

Westhill, Westdyke Avenue, AB32 6QX

  • Standard hours From 12th December 2011 :
    Monday to Sunday: 9am to 5pm
    Tuesday: 5.00pm to 8pm (April to September)


Long awaited dog bins now here!


Leddach Grange residents welcomed two new dog bins recently. Payment passed to Aberdeenshire Council from the developers through planning gain funded the additional bins. I have been campaigning for over three years for the provision of extra dog bins here. Up until now, dog-walkers in the estate had the use of one dog bin which was unsuitable for the expanse of the estate. These new bins should help keep the area clean and safe. One bin is located on Carnie Crescent near the entrance to Burnland Place and the second is nearby the all-weather football pitch.



Gearing up for Winter

Aberdeenshire Council maintains over 3367 miles of roads and over 932 miles of footway. This year four new 4×4 gritters have been added to the fleet, staff rotas have been drawn up and the winter maintenance operations room is ready to go.

 Of course Aberdeenshire Council cannot deliver the service single-handedly. Cllr Gurudeo Saluja told me that they are supported by a highly reliable team of local farmers and contractors who play an important role in the overall maintenance strategy and that they are ready for snow-clearing action across the local area.

 I spoke to Skene farmer, Graeme Phillips who has been on stand-by each winter for over 20 years to ensure that roads are kept clear of snow. He can be out from as early as 5.30 in the morning to ensure roads are cleared to enable residents to get out and about. Graeme says  “The system works very well, I usually get a phone call from the Roads Department the night before if the weather turns bad. I work in a team with other local farmers and we keep in contact with each other throughout the operation to make sure all areas in our patch are covered”.