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The truths they don't want you to read....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The truth will out.....

Casual readers may wonder why the Council would bother to block a modest little blog such as this.

Council leaders will claim that I am undermining the operation of the Council and the trust and working relationships they are spending years building.

To that claim I can only laugh; as they seem quite competent at undermining their own relationships.

A prime example is the (private) contempt in which Storas Uibhist is held whilst the public front of support lubricated with large sums of money continues.

Talking about development in South Uist; how is it possible for a major Council development in Uist to actually cause local businesses to close?

The answer I am told lies with simple incompetence and a massive failure in the drafting of legal documentation.
Fairly recently I saw a letter in the public domain from Stephen MacAulay of Askernish Quarry, about the rock being used at Ludag (link will follow when I find it again).  I was intrigued and started to dig deeper and what I found was a murky tale of startling decisions and unbelievable oversights.

Amongst the bids for the development was one which involved the transportation of rock from Askernish on the public roads to which a risk or cost factor was applied to reflect the damage to the roads and the general upheaval.  This made it more expensive than transporting the rock from Argyll.

Ooops, but the transportation from Argyll forgot to factor in any costs for using the foreshore, or indeed any permission, and Storas were not aware of that plan.  When their costs were added, that made that bid more expensive.

So a third bid was assessed and found to now be cheaper and this was the one selected.  Only now are there questions about the assessment process, given that the rock is coming from North Uist.

It is at this point that the Council realises that they haven't factored in the risk premium for transporting the rock on the roads; leaving the contractors free of any obligations.  Contracts accepted.  Deal done.

But let's cut to the chase: the outcome is that the local taxpayer is going to carry the extra costs for damage to the roads; the council will try and bury the bad news; no-one was responsible; Councillors in the dark.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.  I'm only trying to be that little ray of sunshine for staff and Councillors.


Anonymous said...

One wee bit of the jigsaw missing.
The work being done at the Ludaig /Kilbride stretch of road is directly as a result of the 2005 storm. Storas are demanding £50,000 to allow the barge the use of the foreshore.

Similarly, in the 'half assed sticking plaster solution' which was built at the breach in Kilphedar - funded by SNH - Storas took a management fee of £8,000.

Looks to me like they are trying to make money out of a local tragedy.

Anonymous said...

Not meaning any offence but I have great difficulty in thinking of you as "a little ray of sunshine" Angus.

Dr Evadne said...

Your ray of sunshine is about to be ecilpsed by the crab nebula of Campbell Sblog. How are you ever going to compete with the fascinating news concerning the umpteen junkets he has attended in the course of one week?

Anonymous said...

Let me make sure I understand this properly. Storas Uibhist asked the Council for £50k for the privilege of landing a cargo of rock over its foreshore?

That's the sort of thing that, if it had been a private landlord or the Crown Estate, would have sent the West Highland Free Press into paroxysms of "Off with their heads" fury but because it's Storas-do-no-wrong-Uibhist, not a cheep!

The hypocrisy is sickening.

Anonymous said...

Aye 10.51 and look how much the community landlords charge for a feu. Thousands in excess of what the private owners ever asked. As you say the hypocrisy is sickening.

Anonymous said...

Is this not similar to Pairc Trust imposing a 20% levy / tax on all tourist related businesses in the Pairc area should they be succesfull in their buyout.

Anonymous said...

" Pairc Trust will levy a 20% tax" ? where does that appear? Surely that couldn't be legal?

Anonymous said...


Not many people take the West Highland Free Press seriously any more. What credibility they had was shot to pieces with their repellent behaviour during the Barvas wind farm debacle, and the poor buggers have been fuming ever since, but usually about the wrong things.

Really, it's little better than the Gazette now. Oh, it's easier to hold though. That's something.

Anonymous said...

Storas asking for 50K for what??

7:42,I agree completely with the comment about the price of fews.

The Crown were excellent landlords in many respects compared with so called 'community' landlords as all to often it is not the community but more of clique within the community. People like Storas / West Harris / North Harris / Galson should be giving fews away for virtually nothing to the right people, maybe a couple of K to cover the legal & admin costs. That's how you encourage young families to build and settle and keep kids in the schools. Not by charging them 25 or 35K!

Anonymous said...

why should'nt storas ask for a so called 50k (.60p per ton) Maybe the contractor should have aproached storas for permission before submitting tender! At least we know who the storas board are, not hiding behind anonymous! Making money from a local tragedy, what sort of low life are you?

Anonymous said...

9:19, Lowlife 4:25 here again.

Well, every month when I get ashore it is usually to hear of a further lurch in the status in which the Storas board are held.

I do not have any problem with a landlord asking a contractor for a fee for use of the foreshore, the concern arises when the village sees the landlord taking the money with no direct benefit for the locals, other than keeping Storas in the manner to which they have become accustomed. The usual tune of "it's for the benefit of the community" simply doesn't wash anymore.

We are seeing a bizarre white elephant being promoted in Lochboisdale which will have a two way road from Gasay to Rubha Bhuailt, yet Storas have not voiced any concern at the lack of progress on the two way spinal route which has been on the table for several years.
It has been very easy to have - with the support of headlines in the Free Press - manufactured rows with Cal Mac and the Scottish Government while meaningful progress in even small achievements which have benefitted the community are singularly lacking.
There may be a Hadrians Wall of a coastal protection barrier placed in Kilbride, yet we will still have a disgraceful single track road system from Clachan in North Uist through to the Eriskay Ferry terminal.
I also noted in the last Storas newsletter that the planning application for the Lochboisdale white elephant had been submitted by Fairhurst & Partners on behalf of Storas. One would therefore assume that the combined might of a very expensive CEO and assorted staff have run out of pencils. Thank goodness that the public purse was on hand to hand out yet more fees to a mainland consultancy.

Yup, lets hear it for the lowlife.

Neil King said...

Lets not forget about Storas' PR consultants as well.

Anonymous said...

7:14 Lowlife

Your comment about the forthcoming Hadrians wall prompted a bit of discussion at our local fireside debating society regarding the entire Kilbride scheme.

The council rationale is that it has to be built to protect a council asset - the road - from another flood.

One of the more disreputable members of our group made the observation that if the road were to be upgraded to two way, and elevated slightly at the same time, there would be no need for a sea wall to protect it. This would appear to address the issue of upgrading the spinal route, saving money, and inject a little bit of common sense into the latest engineering marvel being proposed.

The fee for this consultation will be £17.26 which should furnish the fireside group with a modest dram... sorry, that should have been at least £17260.00, in keeping with normal fees in the public sector.

Anonymous said...

Rumour and Speculation!!
I'm new to this blog, but i'm glad to see its only a small minority that don't support Storas Uibhist and the community.

From what I hear through the the most relied upon source of information (rumour mill) Storas intend to use royalties from Coastal projects on further Coastal projects that never received funding from the government.

The 'Lochboisdale White Elephant' as quoted previously, is what Lochboisdale needs. Already their is talk of investors looking to set-up business once the development is complete, thus creating employment in an area were unemployment is rising. I agree it's a disgrace that the port of entry and main spinal route in general is a disgrace, but were are our councillors on this topic?...yup, silence! Once the lochboisdale development is complete...the council will have no choice but to upgrade the roads. I't funny how our old landlords & even the crown estate are now portrayed as 'excellent' landlords. I never heard them shouting about the roads, ferry's, new developments, coastal works, drainage .... the list goes on. People need to wake up, Rome wasn't built in a day.... and in-case you heard a 'rumour' it was built in a week, thats also not true!! ;)

Jonathan Bridge said...

As one of the residents of Cille Bhrìghde (West Kilbride is you really must), I can tell you that at the bay by the walled garden (yes, that's where I stay), the road was not only not damaged by the 2005 hurricane - not even scratched!, but good old mother nature has since been quietly at work restoring the marram and wind-blown sand such that it is now actually more extensive than it was before the hurricane. But the Comhairle's original proposals for this bay were so heavy handed insenstive as to prevent those natural processes of repair. The odd thing was that the proposed works are all on Storas/croft land and yet the Comhairle didn't seem to think it necessary to ask permission or offer compensation, and to my knowledge still haven't!

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Bridge

I am also sure that you are aware that our next door neighbour, whose house is immediately adjacent to the shore, was threatened with a compulsory purchase order if he did not agree to the rock barrier.

Is this the best solution to the flooding risk which is now threatening Kilbride? A threat which did not manifest itself until the Eriskay cuaseway was built.

Likewise, the flooding in Iochdar is now recognised as being exacerbated by the south ford causeway.

I don't see any sign of activity regarding the desecration of the environment by any of the usual agencies which are all too willing to block development in other instances. Storas presumably is only maintaining an eye on the prize of royalties; and the pesky locals ought to appreciate what their betters are toiling for on their behalf.