People power

23 Nov

A couple of people have told me they missed the November 6th edition of the Perthshire Advertiser in which I ranted on about the proposed supermarket in Scone. Following publication the Community Council contacted me and asked for permission to reprint it in their next free newsletter, so an antidote to SCoPE will be forthcoming through every letter box in the village in the next few weeks. How exciting!

After my letter was published I was pleasantly surprised to receive phone calls, texts, Facebook messages and be stopped in the street by many people who not only agreed, but wanted to thank me for putting my neck on the line and speaking out. Apparently I’m only saying what a lot of people are thinking which, if you know me, makes a nice change! The following week a further two letters were published from residents who support a new supermarket in the village. Last week, on 20th November “Name and address supplied” sent in a cowardly unsigned letter brandishing my views stupid, selfish and dishonest. My reply has been sent to the PA and I’ll be reproducing it here once they have had a chance to publish (or not) on Friday.There’s really no need to get personal.

In the meantime I have setup an online survey, which I hope the PA will publish a link to, and I invite any local residents whether from Scone, Perth or the outlying villages, to make their views known. It’s all very well that the people I meet give me a slap on the back, but if the consensus is that we are opposed then it really needs more than the current handful of very vocal people to stand up and say “No” (or “Yes” or “Don’t Care”).

Several people have voiced a desire to see a local group setup in opposition to SCoPE, the main naysayers who seem to think they speak on behalf of the whole village. It may come to that if I can figure out what needs to be done to move it forward (or anyone else? hint hint!).

So, for now here’s a full draft of the letter I sent to the PA. It was only slightly altered, I think I laboured the wine point a bit much. Enjoy!

Who will it be now?

who-will-it-be

“It’s time someone spoke up on behalf of the thousands of Scone residents who didn’t protest at the Park and Ride on Saturday 31st October, who didn’t return their questionnaire in May this year and who aren’t being called to rally in support of the proposed supermarket development in Scone.

My family has lived in the village for four generations and each of those generations has witnessed some expansion or development that threatens to “kill-off” the village and turn it into an un-serviced suburb of Perth. Clearly this has not happened. I am not the first generation to stop, take a look around and not recognize the place I grew up in, yet when I was invited to protest against this supermarket by a group of parents I was amused to find that not one of them had lived here longer than seven years. “What do these people know of how the village has changed?” I asked myself. It changed to accommodate them! To claim that any further development would destroy their village, the same village that has expanded time and time again with the housing developments they live in, is surely a joke? It is utterly ridiculous that people move into villages that have had to grow and develop to allow them to live there then demand that they cease to change forthwith.

With the best will in the world, nobody who purchases a car load of groceries a week can do so in the village stores, they just don’t stock enough lines to provide that sort of service. People who use the village shops choose them because they are convenient, or perhaps they only need a few things, or they actively support small independent business or, it’s not beyond imagination, they have already downed a bottle of wine before they realised they would need two (it happens).

There are many reasons to use local shops and for some people they will be the only ones they use. The Scone shops manage quite happily despite the fact that many of us drive to Perth for our “main” shop. Building a supermarket on the edge of the village will replace the weekly trek into town for those of us who shop for a large family but it will not stop us nipping to the Co-Op for milk and bread (and maybe wine) if that’s what we already do. It will not stop people who only shop in Spar from continuing to only shop in Spar and nothing will ever replace taking your child to The Sweetie Shop so they can stand on the stool and pick from the tuppenny tray.

With regard to traffic, we have no right to protest through traffic in Scone when we tolerate 6 buses an hour and vote for a footbridge across the Tay rather than a road bridge that would direct haulage away from the village. A daily supermarket delivery is but a drop in that particular road pollution ocean.

Finally, and not altogether seriously, I have heard calls to “Think of the children!” Well I have three and despite my efforts to ignore them I do often fail. Should they ever get the urge to earn their own money I would be a far happier Mum to have them work after school in a local supermarket, rather than have to put that Friday wine from the Co-Op on hold so I could go pick them up from some far flung supermarket off the No7 route.

The 4000+ Scone residents who didn’t protest last weekend and the 81% who didn’t return their questionnaires in May 2009 should not be dismissed. We are the silent majority who either welcome growth, relish change and crave the services that bigger towns have or don’t have much of an opinion either way. That said, if anyone doesn’t agree with this development and hasn’t said so then perhaps it’s time to disassociate from the silent majority and make yourself heard.

Nobody will be forced to use any new supermarket! If it succeeds it will be because people use it and therefore support it. Maybe I am naïve but I believe the only business that a Scone supermarket will get is business that already goes to big supermarkets elsewhere. The driving issue isn’t whether the people of Scone want a supermarket, as clearly only a few don’t, it’s what the people of Scone will choose to do when they get one that counts.”

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9 Responses to “People power”

  1. Wilf November 23, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    When I started reading your post I was getting ready to roll my eyes and brace myself for another rant about “I don’t like change” as seems all too common – particularly on shows like “Tonight with Trevor MacDonald”. Groan.

    But no, it was actually refreshing to read your letter. I hadn’t heard about there being a new supermarket in Scone, but I live 2 minutes from one of Perth’s Tescos (in fact I was just there) and it’s about as evil as the introduction of email. It’s much more convenient and reliable for the large local population than would be using many smaller shops or travelling to the other side of town.

    All of your points are valid and well explained, and I agree completely.

    • mrsw November 24, 2009 at 12:11 am #

      lol – I’ve just re-read the post and the first few paragraphs give absolutely no indication of where I’m going with it – I could be for or against, maybe I’m ambivalent? My main gripe is that all we ever hear is the very loud, non elected voice of SCoPE who represent nobody but themselves. They irk me muchly.

  2. Marylin November 23, 2009 at 5:18 pm #

    Very well written imo. 🙂

    • mrsw November 24, 2009 at 12:12 am #

      Friday’s PA for Part Deux – if they don’t print it I’ll put it up here and publish on Facebook 🙂

  3. Mike Ogilvie November 24, 2009 at 12:44 am #

    Scone shouldn’t be used simply as another out of town retail/shopping park! Clearly there is a lack of develpoment sites around Perth but villages DESERVE to remain villages, and how many supermarkets are needed in Perth???? Already Asda, Morrisons, THREE Tescos and soon to be Sainsburys (western edge), change is good if it BENEFITS the majority, can a village with a population the size of Scone actually sustain a supermarket?????

    • mrsw November 24, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

      Scone, when it was smaller and as you well remember Mike! used to sustain… Mace, Farquharson’s, Spar, Ritchie’s, Kennoway’s Baker, 2 butchers, the Proudfoot’s van, the fish man, Cathy Dow’s, The Cafe AND the Park Shop (not to mention numerous ice cream vans) and that was just FOOD. I have a vague remembrance that the Coffee Pot/Peach River premises may once have been a Co-Op too. We had two newsagents, two petrol stations, one extra pub and a nightclub that drew people from all over Scotland. Tis all gone now. Consumption patterns have changed, we are now much bigger yet have LESS choice. The first person to contact me was a former neighbour. She’s in her 80s now and cannot walk to Spar, she can’t afford anything when she gets there anyway! Her and her husband have to drive to Perth to shop. Not only do the shops here stock very little, they charge twice the flippin price! Everyone who has appriached me from young Mums to pensioners desperately want this supermarket. Yes I think Scone and everywhere north as far as Blairgowrie and everywhere this side of the Tay can adequately sustain one (and a new secondary school if you ask me – but people rarely do).

      You have touched on a point my next letter covers – why exactly does Scone deserve special consideration? The communities of Letham, Craigie and Muirton had thriving local shops before Tesco and Asda arrived – and surprise surprise they still DO.

      It’s just NIMBY at its worst.

  4. Heather November 24, 2009 at 9:39 am #

    an interesting argument – should those that now live in scone because it has developed to accomodate them resist more change? Food for thought.

    • mrsw November 24, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

      Nah – actually that applies to people who have lived here forever too – if they live in one of the new developments they really have no grounds at all to protest any further expansion of the village – they are only protecting their equity and it’s pure hypocrisy on their part to fly an environmental banner. I now have a list of the SCoPE steering committee members and nearly choked laughing on seeing the woman who runs the local SPAR is on the list – quelle surprise – and I bet she has the environment at the forefront of her concerns (yeah RIGHT!).

      Another two members were formerly on the local Community Council which resigned en masse after the local authority criticised them for not running their affairs properly – so SCoPE – elected and representative of the village? That would be a no.

  5. Mike Ogilvie November 24, 2009 at 11:52 pm #

    Hiya Nikkii, I sent you a full reply via Facebook but I remember all those shops, and I think at one time 3 paper shops existed as there was one where the Scone Arms pool table is now!!!! I also remember Ernie Miller @ the Spar doing home deliveries FOC for pensioners, not a bad wee enterprise me thinks! I might be wrong here but about 15 years ago they upgraded the sewage system in Scone, however PKC clearly stated at the time although it had been improved was running at full capacity so no new developments (housing) were to be granted permissions, only new builds on existing plots yet lo and behold a whole new estate at the old mill appears? Do all the residents in those houses suffer severe constipation or has the system been upgraded again???? Or was it another case of the dastardly brown envelope and the councillor!

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