Sunday, 31 August 2014

Aberdeen and the Mafia

Gonorreah controlled Aberdeen
You know, we've been very busy at Auchterness over the last few weeks. In fact my lovely wee blog has had to take second place to the major issues we have had to face such as the brain-drain to Inverurie and trying to implement the Sir Malcolm Fraser proposals for our town centre. Of course the Independence Referendum has interfered with my ability to say what I want to say because of Purdie. I've tried to find out who this person is but have failed so far.

It may be old news to many of you but a few weeks ago I came across an article in the Scotsman entitled 'Mafia tightens its grip on Aberdeen'. Ridiculous and typical of what appears in the loathsome Tory rag that once was the respected authority on Scottish News. Now it is as bad as the Scottish Planner. It seems to me that there is a conspiracy against the greatest city in Europe - if not the World. First of all the great motivators and entrepreneurs of the city are described as Masons. Then they are part of a vast Gay and Lesbian conspiracy involving dressing up for allegedly pointless Honorary Degree ceremonies. Now they are apparently part of the Mafia with allegations of violence and corruption in the world of vermicelli, ice cream and fish suppers. The Gomorrah are allegedly intimately involved in the city’s catering, retail and property sectors - not to mention public works!

You know, Sir Ian Woods has been described as a sort of Darth Vader character but for me, the Godfather image does seem more appropriate. Personally I would bend down and kiss his ring if it meant that I could become part of Team Aberdeen! So would Wee Craigie McLaren! 
A Pokey Hat
I would be delighted to sell pokey-hats in Union Terrace Gardens if I could experience the amazing buzz of being part of the Aberdeen Enterprise Experience!

So when I read about the Gonorreah in a useless Tory Rag and calls for Police action against them, frankly I don't care. The press and others, including RTPI Scotland can try to besmirch the reputation of the great ones but in reality they are immune - beyond criticism. They are part of the New Scottish Enlightenment - nothing can stand in their way.

Have a great week and sorry to be so brief - September will bring much more news. Cheeriebye for now.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The real heroes of planning

Govan - from The Planner, photographed by the great Andrew Lee
You know, for the past few months I've tried to ignore the RTPI and it's awful publications. I have fought against the fat planners from London and the unspeakably self regarding RTPI Scotland but I appreciate too that this is probably quite boring for my fans who really just want to hear about the adventures of an expert planner - like me!

However I received my own personal copy of the The Planner last week - 'The business monthly for planning professionals' - and I must admit that it gave me the dry boke. In particular, there is an article about the renaissance of Govan, apparently 'thanks to an RTPI Award-Winning Project'. I'm quoting this because it sums up the shameless dishonesty of the goons in London - and how quickly they have rushed to claim this project as one of their own after many fine people in 'the town' of Govan and Glasgow (who are not RTPI Members) have worked tirelessly to make it happen.

This sort of thing is nothing new of course. I remember back in my days with Scottish Enterprise, many of our esteemed thought leaders were adept at claiming responsibility for work that local councils had done. Goodness knows how the councils managed it - after all they spent half the morning eating bacon rolls and most of the afternoons on 'site visits'. The rest of the time they were in the toilet reading the Daily Record.
Scottish Planner cover
Anyway, this seems to be an accepted part of RTPI practice now. Just look at the latest issue of SP - the Scottish Planner sponsored of course by Barton Willmore and headed up by their stooge Stephen Tucker. The picture on the cover is of a loving couple about to commit suicide from a cliff-top above Edinburgh. I assume they are planners who have read an article from a previous SP in which RTPI Scotland staff murder the English language, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. The latest SP asks the question, 'What is Scotland's Best Plaice?' and follows through with a mind-numbing parade of who's who in Scottish Planning and their predictably dull self-promoting twaddle, desperate to associate themselves with projects that others have been responsible for or which would have happened anyway.

The contrast with my heroes of the New Scottish Enlightenment is vivid! With the Honarary Dr Donald Trump, the Honarary Dr Wee Stuartie Milne or with Sir John Halliday of Halliday Fraser Munro and his large pencil you know exactly what has been done and who is responsible. No special pleading, no lies or exaggeration. Bang! - you have a wonderful project!
The great Sir Ewan Jamieson Of Clydeport 
When I read this week that another great man, Sir Ewan Jamieson of Clydeport, had single-handedly been granted planning consent for student accommodation on the banks of the Kelvin (otherwise known as Glasgow Harbour and a project that you heard about first on my lovely wee blog) I was filled with admiration. But of course the question is 'Who approved this development in Glasgow City Council?' and why is he or she not mentioned in the Scottish Planner? Why hasn't this planner won an award? An RTPI Award? That's the crux of it!

We are asked to swallow a pack of fairy stories from faceless goons in London and Edinburgh lining their own canoes with half truths and puffing themselves up like gannets on the seafront in their Marks and Spencer suits. Meanwhile a generation of real planners - those who have approved projects by Trump, Stewart Milne Homes and Clydeport are left in anonymity. It doesn't seem fair to me.

Apologies for the rant. Best wishes from Auchterness and remember, you are always welcome to drop in for a wee chat, a cup of tea and a biscuit. Rich Abernethy this week! Cheeriebye for now!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Aberdeen's Pocket Genius

Hon Dr Wee Stewartie Milne
Hon Dr Wee Stewartie Milne
You know, when we all grow old and start reminiscing about the good times and the great things we have experienced as planners in our respective illustrious careers, it won't be the talking heads of Scottish Planning that come to mind. I won't mention names and really I don't need to - you all know who they are. And so do they! They turn up at Chapter meetings full of themselves and the latest ideas that they have appropriated from brighter folk and then trivialised for mass consumption.

No! It will be the astonishing success of planning in Aberdeen - in our lifetime. I read in the Press and Journal this week that Hon Dr Wee Stewartie Milne has submitted a proposal of application notice for a residential development with parking at the Cloverleaf Hotel in Bucksburn. Apparently the hotel will be toast! A spokeswoman for the company said yesterday that the building on Kepplehills Drive would be demolished.
Crying out to be demolished - Cloverleaf Hotel
Crying out to be demolished - Cloverleaf Hotel

The firm plans to build houses on the site, but the spokeswoman said it was too early to say how many properties there might be. As an Expert Planner, I know the answer to that. "As many as possible!"  Back in June, the Stewart Milne Group was poised to buy the five-star Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen, with plans for a luxury housing development on the site. Hon Dr Wee Stewartie Milne confirmed that the company had an option to acquire the North Deeside Road site.

Even to the stupid talking heads of Scottish Planning the pattern should be obvious. I talked recently about mono-use and how it was the coming thing - in fact mono-use is the new mixed use. These hotels are now seen as 'non-conforming uses'* and will be swept away before you can say ‘Section 63 Notice!’
*(that's a term that I don't expect you all to understand but please just accept that we expert planners use these words to communicate clearly with each other) 

In the same article, it was announced that plans have also been lodged for a new six-storey 200 room hotel as part of a business park development near Aberdeen International Airport. ABZ of course and I have written before about this clever development from the big pencil of John Halliday himself!

The £15m venture from hotel operator Moxy would be its first in the UK. The firm already trades in Milan and plans to open an outlet in London as well as Oslo in Norway and Munich, Berlin, and Frankfurt in Germany. Amazing isn't it - Auchterness brought you this news first! So Aberdeen is viewed very much as an international city and centre of the Oil Universe!

So hotels are being cleared out of residential areas and better hotels are appearing on business parks. Soon we may have hotel parks - that would be logical. And guess who is centre stage in all this - Hon Dr Wee Stewartie Milne - the pocket genius responsible in part for the implementation of the New Scottish Enlightenment in the Aberdeen area.

You know, as winter approaches and we all gather round the log fire with our mugs of Ovaltine to speak in hushed tones about plaicemaking and exchange stories about Copenhagen and other second rate European cities, we will do well to remember that one of our very own cities has had a magnificent year - a year that has completely eclipsed the achievements of European upstarts like Antwerp, Malmo or Stockholm. Let’s celebrate this wonderful achievement now!

Have a great weekend! Best wishes from Auchterness. Cheeriebye for now.