Infrastructure Services Committee Round-up 21.6.19

The last meeting of the Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) before the summer recess began with a presentation from KIMO UK Coordinator Faron McLellan, who outlined the work of the organisation.

The committee heard that KIMO (translated as Municipalities for Sustainable Seas) is an organisation founded in 1990, with two Scottish members and one each from Denmark and Norway.

Since then it has grown to include 83 European municipalities from eight countries around the edges of the North Sea, representing more than five million citizens.

Faron outlined some of the projects the organisation has been involved in over the years, including the highly successful Fishing for Litter campaign, as well as some of its newer activities.

One of these is called the “Pitch In” project, whose purpose is to reduce harmful microplastics escaping into the environment from artificial grass playing fields. Members heard this plastic pollution is an increasing issue.

The Fishing for Litter Programme started in 2003 and seeks to help fishermen clean up the seas as they go about their business.

Councillors heard it originated because fishers were hauling rubbish out of the sea in their nets, but potentially being charged to dispose of it if they brought it back to shore.

Fishing for Litter covers the cost of disposal and provides practical assistance to fishers to help them continue to care about the contents and condition of the sea on a voluntary basis.

Councillors heard that in Scotland alone, since 2005 1,400 tonnes of litter have been collected from the quayside at 19 harbours, with around 230 vessels taking part. In Aberdeenshire, last year alone more than 93 tonnes of marine litter was recovered from boats operating out of Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Macduff Harbours, with a disposal cost of £23,000.

Aberdeenshire Council is one of the main funders of the project since 2008 and hosts the KIMO Coordinator role.

The committee went on to determine a retrospective planning application submitted by Fraserburgh and District councillor Hamish Partridge for his business premises on Fraserburgh High Street.

The committee granted Full Planning Permission for alterations to the shopfront at Peartree Coffee House and Bistro, which is in the town’s Conservation Area.

Planners said while the opportunity to install a more traditional shop front had been missed, there was minimal impact on the Conservation Area and had recommended approval.

Kintore Railway Station Delivery Arrangements

The committee received an update on progress towards a new rail station at Kintore, which the Council has been calling for for many years, as highlighted by ISC Chair, Peter Argyle. 

Councillors heard the programme is on track to deliver the station in May 2020 and queried the arrangements being made for parking, which is expected to include around 170 spaces as well as Electric Vehicle charge points. Officers advised work is currently ongoing to optimise the number of spaces, following feedback from the contractor delivering the works.

Councillor Glen Reid (East Garioch) expressed concern over the possibility of the target opening date being missed and received assurances from officers that they will continue to reinforce the point that a May opening is an “absolute requirement”.

The committee acknowledged the progress made on the project and agreed to receive further progress updates in due course.

Pay and Display parking changes

Changes to Pay and Display car parks to try to ensure they pay for themselves were agreed by the committee and new tariffs will take effect from September 1.

ISC rubber-stamped proposals which were originally agreed by the Full Council in January.

Following statutory and public consultation, councillors decided they had to press ahead with changes designed to cover the cost of operating the car parks, as well as supporting town centres.

It includes the removal of free periods, where they currently exist – Pay and Display car parks in some towns had offered between half an hour and an hour for free, while some none at all.

The vast majority of parking in the area’s towns continues to be free – only the Pay and Display car parks, currently being operated at a deficit, will be subject to the changes.

More information is available on the council’s website.

Management of On Street Parking in Aberdeenshire

The committee agreed to revisit the feasibility of the introduction of Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) in Aberdeenshire.

In Aberdeenshire the enforcement of on-street parking remains the responsibility of Police Scotland. DPE would allow Aberdeenshire Council to enforce on-street parking.

The council had previously decided against pursuing DPE, but has heard concerns from communities about the manner of on-street parking, which could be controlled by the council if it is introduced.

Officers will now look into the feasibility and the costs of doing so and will bring a report back to committee for further discussion next January.

Regional Economic Strategy and Partnerships update

The committee considered a report giving an update on the Regional Economic Strategy and related partnerships, including Invest Aberdeen and Opportunity North East (ONE)

You can see the update in the report to committee online

The committee asked for a further update in six months.

Food and Drink Activity Budget

The committee endorsed the work undertaken to support the food and drink sector in Aberdeenshire, which was set out in a report.

Councillors approved a contribution of up to £47,005 by Aberdeenshire Council towards total project costs for Food and Drink Activity of £212,525, undertaken by Opportunity North East (ONE).

You can see the report, which includes relevant information on the activities of ONE, on the council's website.

** You can see all of the reports to committee on Aberdeenshire Council’s website.

The meeting of the Infrastructure Services Committee at Woodhill House was webcast live and you can view a recording of the proceedings and see the full detail of discussions online