Community council members in walk out

Community council chair, John Brownlee, said he allowed the discussion to continue.
Community council chair, John Brownlee, said he allowed the discussion to continue.
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Members of Peterhead Community Council stormed out of Wednesday night’s meeting over the use of the York Street car park for car boot sales.

At the outset of the discussion, Community Council chairman John Brownlee said members involved with Peterhead Projects - the body which organises the boot sales - could speak on the topic, but not vote on the issue should a vote arise.

Community Councillor Stephen Calder voiced his concerns, saying there was a “crisis of car parking in Peterhead town centre”.

However, controversy erupted at the meeting when Mr Calder suggested that other members of the community council were part of a “Peterhead Projects bloc vote”.

A total of six community councillors then stormed out of the meeting - including treasurer Bruce Buchan.

The furious scene left the eight remaining community councillors questioning whether the meeting could continue.

However, it was determined that there were sufficient members to proceed.

Following the exodus, Mr Calder moved a motion, stating: “In the event of any future proposals to close town centre car parks to public vehicles, the Shire council should consult the local residents, as well as the wider community who would be affected, by means of leaflets through doors, press reports and adverts, as well as by consulting the community council.”

However, the motion failed as no community councillor agreed to second it.

Mr Calder lamented the failure of the motion, saying: “I don’t think this community council is representing Peterhead town centre at all.”

At the end of the meeting, John Brownlee apologised for the exodus of community councillors earlier in the evening.

Commenting afterwards, Peterhead South and Cruden councillor Stuart Pratt said: “I thought that the walk out was premature. I thought it was a reasonable debate, both sides put their case strongly. Although one of the comments clearly hit a raw nerve.”

Also speaking after the meeting, chairman John Brownlee commented: “At the agenda item relating to the control of town centre car parking a number of members brought up the substantial need for the community to access such car parks from time to time for other purposes such as the Muckle Markets, car boot sales and other town centre events.

“In addition, other aspects were brought up which were well away from the main proposal which I considered were all part of the wider topic and as such I allowed this discussion to continue.

“Unfortunately, at this point, several members chose to leave the meeting. The meeting remained quorate and continued without them.”