Brechin in partnership

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A meting of the Brechin Partnership was held on Wednesday, October 19, at the Damacre Centre, with a good attendance (writes Steven Rae).

The meeting is the first of the newly-merged City of Brechin and Area Partnership and the Brechin in Partnership groups.

Jim Milne, who was chairman of the City of Brechin Partnership and who is also is the main volunteer for the Brechin Youth Project, commonly known as the Attic, headed the meeting.

Others in attendance included representatives of the Local Community Planning Department for Angus Council, The Mechanics Institute, Brechin Learning Centre (located within Brechin High School), Stracathro WRI, The Acorn Club and Angus Guild, The Round Table, Brechin Business Association; Councillors Bob Myles, Mairi Evans, and Provost Ruth Leslie-Melville; Nigel Don, MSP for Angus North and Mearns; Steve Dempsey, Rector of Brechin High School; Grahame Lockhart, who has proposed the reformation of Brechin Community Council, along with other members of the public.

The tourism and marketing of Brechin was a key subject discussed.

The possibility of a leaflet being printed, highlighting Brechin and surrounding area’s many cultural points of interest, such as the Cathedral and The Glenesk Retreat, were suggested.

Promotion of Brechin’s Fair Trade status was also mentioned, with the possibility of advertising this on signs which are on the outskirts of the City, to highlight this to visitors to Brechin.

Car parking in Brechin, an on-going problem in the City for shoppers, was also discussed. A solution was suggested that a sign be erected to remind people that parking is available.

The City Hall, another major focal point in the town, was discussed.

It was commented that the hall would need substantial money spent on it to bring it to the standard needed for a modern building.

With it being such a historic part of the city, the topic was discussed at length, but given the money needed, the group was unable to suggest a means of financing the repair work required at this moment in time.

Local transport was mentioned at the meeting. It was brought to the attention of the group in attendance, following a story covered in The Brechiner recently, that those who work in Aberdeen but live in Edzell, if relying on public transport, have no way of being in Aberdeen for a 9am start, short of hitch-hiking or cycling to Brechin. The other bone of contention was that there were so many transport links to Dundee, but no way of getting to Aberdeen via coach from Brechin, as none stop at Brechin bus stops, this despite coaches and buses passing regularly on the A90.

It was suggested that perhaps once Stracathro Hospital’s new mental health facilities take over from Sunnyside Hospital, journies to Aberdeen via the A90 may improve. Local transport around the city itself and to closer locations was also discussed.

In Edzell, the restoration of the library and museum in the Inglis Hall was discussed as a long-term plan.

Formerly used as a library, the building no longer accommodates such facilities, but will hope to do so in the future. Inveresk Community Council is to be involved in the project.

One of the main items discussed was the possibility of combining the Pageant with the Taranty Fair, to boost attendances, given that both have seen vast reduction in the past decade or so. It was also suggested that, during the run-up to Christmas, the pedestrianisation of the top of Brechin High Street with entertainment such as bag-piping and Scottish dancers be considered.

The on-going debate regarding the abbattoir owned by A. P Jess on the Montrose Road was discussed at the meeting.

Most were in agreement that the creation of 30 jobs in the town, at a time when unemployment was at a high level, was a good thing, given that this works out at roughly 0.5% of the population of Brechin itself, and that many of Brechin’s residents are not of working age.

This was, of course, taken with the view that the smell which had previously caused a lot of contention between residents in the area, had been dealt with.

The main point made was that Mr Jess had ensured that the incinerator, which had caused the smell, would no longer be in use.

The Watson-Watt Society, whose president Brian Mitchell was unable to attend, reported that it was around a third of the way towards the total of £80,000 needed for the planned statue of Sir Robert Watson-Watt, inventor or radar, which is planned to be erected at St. Ninian’s Square on completion.

The re-establishment of the community council was welcomed by all in attendance. Grahame Lockhart, who initiated the reformation, was in attendance at the meeting, and all were in agreement that once established, the community council and Brechin Partnership should remain in contact and co-operation on matters.

The next meeting of the Brechin Partnership is on Wednesday, January 18 at 7 pm at the Damacre Centre. All are welcome to attend.