By Lynn Malone
 
A row is brewing in Kirriemuir over claims that Angus council is indulging a pro-Union complainant who is unhappy with a Yes Scotland independence campaign shop.
 
Local man John Henderson, 66, helped set up the new Yes shop in Kirriemuir to promote the case for independence with the support of members from Labour for Independence, Women for Independence, the Greens and the SNP.

The retired SNP member said: “A local busybody has complained to the council that we have put up a sign, a Yes campaign banner, repainted the shop and changed the use from shop to office, all without permission.

“They have instructed us to take down the banner, which we have done, and apply retrospectively for permission to change the colour scheme and change of use.”

Mr Henderson said they he had harboured the idea of opening a shop for the Yes campaign for some time.

He said: “We were keen it would be Yes, not SNP.  I emailed Labour for Independence, Women for Independence, and the Greens.

“I got stuff back from them all and we set up a Yes shop in Kirriemuir.  In the window we display leaflets from Labour for Independence, Women for Independence, the Greens and the SNP as well as “Yes” materials.”

The shop is owned by a couple who are SNP members and own a row of shops with storage above. They plan to refurbish the properties and turn the storage areas into flats and redevelop the shops before renting them out.

Mr Henderson added: “We asked if we could have the use of them until they were refurbished.  We may have the shops for a couple of months; they have to get permission from the council to change them from storage to flats – maybe six months.” 

“We repainted the shop blue and white and put a Yes banner up. There is no SNP stuff in the window as we wanted to make the point it is a Yes campaign.

“Then a local busybody complained to the local Councillor, Iain Gaul, so I assume the person is opposed to the Yes campaign.”

SNP Councillor, Iain Gaul, confirmed to Newsnet Scotland that a complaint had been made about the Yes shop. He said: “The gentleman who complained is a Unionist; he’s not for independence – which is the basis for his complaint.

“The reason behind it is neither here nor there and the grounds may be weak but it has to be addressed. There are 7,500 people living in the town and we have only had one complaint – but we have to address it.”

Mr Henderson is adamant that the area has been improved because of the shop and said: “The shop was a dull maroon so we repainted it blue and white.  It’s bright, it’s clean and it’s cheerful.  The area is a conservation area but the other shops are derelicts, they look awful.

“They couple who own the properties have never had complaints about former tenants repainting a shop before.  It’s been empty for quite a while, so I think it is bureaucratic nonsense – the shop looks better now than it did and my colleagues and I think we should fight back against this.”

Councillor Gaul says Angus council are obliged to investigate the complaint. He said: “It’s not bureaucratic nonsense.

“A member of the public has complained that the colour has been changed.

“It’s a listed building and there has been a change of use, that’s the rules we all live by. If there was no complaint we would normally take a pragmatic view, but a gentleman has complained – we must address it”

Bosses at Yes Scotland have stepped in to help the campaigners reach an amicable solution.  Their spokesperson said: “We have been aware of this and steps are being taken to reach an amicable solution.

“Yes is the biggest community-based campaign in Scotland’s history which befits the importance of the decision we will be asked to make in next year’s independence referendum.  It is important that people have as much information as possible in order to make an informed decision.”

In a formal statement to Newsnet Scotland Angus council said: “Kirriemuir town centre is a conservation area. Conservation areas are designated by the planning authority as being areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.  This is set out in the Planning, Listed Building and Conservation Area (Scotland) Act 1997.

“We can confirm that there has been a complaint made to the council about a property in Kirriemuir and which we are currently investigating.”

Bruce McLaren, 56, a content compiler for Labour for Independence was at the opening ceremony of the shop and is disgusted. 

He said: “It was lying derelict! Other shops are lying derelict with water running down the walls too.  For somebody who has taken on an old derelict shop and spent time and effort, to be opposed on political grounds, is a real shame.”

Comments  

 
#
Breeks
2013-08-03 06:18

Why need a change of use? Sell some YES promotional stuff and it remains a shop, and entitled to promote its YES products. Be polite and stand your ground would be my advice.
 
 
#
clootie
2013-08-03 07:22

Well done to the team involved in opening the shop. It’s good to see something different being tried.
Ignore the complaint – it is petty and small minded.
The NO side have very little drive in the commuity and depend on the BBC and press to drive home their propaganda. The unionists simply do not want any information available that undermines the distortion that now passes for news reporting regarding the independence debate.
 
 
#
mearns46
2013-08-03 08:13

Systematic silencing of the campaign debate is another tactic of Project Fear. ow can BT defend the negative campaign they are running, and complete lack of substantive arguments for the Union. Combine this with the clear lies and image manipulation of the latest story to hit the MSM (without correction of the facts). Tiresome, but demonstrates BT casual use of lies and misinformation at the core of their campaign.
 
 
#
cjmjr
2013-08-03 09:16

Small minded unionism, again doing themselves more harm than us. If it has to be closed explain why with a great huge sign.
 
 
#
hiorta
2013-08-03 09:27

It looks as though the Unionists in Kirriemuir prefer dereliction to clean freshness, stagnation to necessary change.
 
 
#
Sulzer27
2013-08-03 09:30

Quoting hiorta:

It looks as though the Unionists in Kirriemuir prefer dereliction to clean freshness, stagnation to necessary change.



Rather sums up their approach to the nation.

 

 
#
davemsc
2013-08-03 10:19

Seriously, what did they expect? The key words here are “without permission”, rather than “local busybody”, for heaven’s sake. I’d have thought they’d have thought about what they were doing and gone through the correct channels rather than attracting complaints.
 
 
#
cuckooshoe
2013-08-03 11:30

The key words are –

“A member of the public has complained that the colour has been changed.”

and

“The couple who own the properties have never had complaints about former tenants repainting a shop before.”
 
 
#
davemsc
2013-08-03 12:55

That does not alter the fact that they should have made sure that they could do what they wanted to do before going ahead. It’s a petty issue, but it’s not the sort of issue we want which can potentially detract from the campaign. A wee bit of common sense was definitely in order here.
 

 
#
proudscot
2013-08-03 10:32

I wonder whether this small-minded anti-independence complainer also complained to the council about the state of the derelict properties all around the Yes shop, asking for them to be cleaned up? Then again, probably not. He obviously prefers the derelict state of the status quo, rather than the clean, bright new future of independence. Typical!
 
 
#
RTP
2013-08-03 10:45

Has anyone else seen this.
UK Government energy Dept. has a map showing important harbours round the UK the only thing is that the ports north of Dundee seem to have been forgotten they soon had the map withdrawn,we could maybe have a laugh about it but it just shows these people have no knowledge of Scotland.
How could they omit the Cromarty Firth one of the best deep water places in the UK and how it was used during the last war,oh well that is Westminster for you.
 
 
#
mudfries
2013-08-03 11:13

The pictures of those shops seem like a bit of a metaphor for Scotland do they not! the independence supporters want their shop full of life with bright colours and in full use, the unionist would rather they were like the other shops – shut down and in a state of decay, says so much about the unionist mindset to me.
 
 
#
Kinloch
2013-08-03 11:35

Quoting mudfries:

The pictures of those shops seem like a bit of a metaphor for Scotland do they not! the independence supporters want their shop full of life with bright colours and in full use, the unionist would rather they were like the other shops – shut down and in a state of decay, says so much about the unionist mindset to me.



I couldn’t agree more, looks like another own goal for the No future campaign!

 
 
#
Breeks
2013-08-03 13:18

You are right! I’m on the phone so posting a link is challenging but I recall the 20 reasons I’m an Independentist from Catalonia featuring the smiles and sense of optimism and well being that supporters shared.
 

 
#
samizdat
2013-08-03 11:42

Angus council is an SNP led council and Angus has been a stronghold of the SNP for more than a generation with MP’s and MSP’s and so they have to be seen to be following the accepted protocol for these things irrespective of the complainant in all probability just being a unionist crank, although it is frustrating seeing the SNP always bending over backwards to play by the rules while the Better the gither lot get to do what they damn well like!
 
 
#
george davie
2013-08-03 13:14

Agreed. If Angus Council (SNP led) ignore this you can imagine the reaction of the Unionists.

Fairly typical of how the Unionist mindset works. Play ground bully boy tactics at work – leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.
 

 
#
Glengorm
2013-08-03 11:56

“The reason behind it is neither here nor there and the grounds may be weak but it has to be addressed. There are 7,500 people living in the town and we have only had one complaint – but we have to address it.”

No, you don’t, councillor. One complaint is grounds to have a quick look to see if ONE person has a point. The complainant in question, freely stated by the councillor to be a pro union person opposed to the Yes Scotland campaign, could very easily be dismissed as complaining mischievously and ignored. All he should have done with it is pay lip service.

Although, whilst it makes the councillor look a bit daft, it’s also a case of a unionist making a complaint based on nothing more than his dislike for the Yes campaign… so ultimately this is great publicity both for the pettiness of the unionists and the Yes movement as a whole.
 
 
#
Teri
2013-08-03 14:28

Instead of complaining why doesn’t the unionist complainant get together with some of his/her Lib/Lab/Tory pals and open a ‘Bitter Together’ shop in Kirriemuir. Then people will have a choice. Simples.
 
 
#
MartinOfBothwell
2013-08-03 14:28

A Freedom of Information request will procure the name of the complainant and will bring into the public domain correspondance outlining his/her complaint.

Should be interesting. That any individual would be sad enough to complain about something like this simply because their politics are opposed, well, words fail me.
 
 
#
Old Smokey
2013-08-03 14:54

Not sure why they want to change the use form Shop to office, as I would have thought that it would still be a shop as they are selling/giving away merchandise (ie mugs, pens, t-shirts etc). To me , premises involved in providing merchandise to the public is a shop. Regardless if there is some admin work involved, all shops have a certain amount of admin
As for the unionist idiot that would prefer to have dereliction instead of some modicum of commerce or colour, really needs to seek medical help
 
 
#
Ready to Start
2013-08-03 15:12

No real difference between a shop and an office as they are not really selling stuff.

However this is typical of Unionist pettiness as both of the SNP offices I have knowledge off have been subjected to complaints about the colour scheme etc.and other issues.
 
 
#
birnie
2013-08-03 16:15

This is rather like the situation in Musselburgh when a Labour Councillor instigated the removal of banners advertising a Yes open meeting on the grounds of “traffic safety”!
 
 
#
Daviegw
2013-08-03 18:14

My son goes to a nursery at David Lloyd sports centre at Newhaven in Edinburgh. Last week there was a guy taking down the Saltire flag which has flown there for as long as I can remember. I shall be enquiring as to the reason why next week. Maybe we should start complaining to M and S about their continuous Union Jack displays.
 
 
#
ButeHouse
2013-08-03 22:49

I’m sure in my day there was no need for change of use when using empty premises for Campaign Offices – but if we do today, then Breeks’ suggestion of selling YES material and turning it into the YES Shop.

Equally this could be a good issue to take a stand on – make no changes – carry on as before and let the media see the Council attempt to close the shop down.

But this and the Musselburgh situation will continue unless we knock it on the head. The best thing is to have a neutral – preferably European body – to act as Ombudsman for grievances as they come in. His/Her decision final.

Over at the Inverkeithing Highland Games where the YES Table was kept busy (too windy for the mini Marquee. Organiser Councillor Alistair Bain tells me they have weekly stalls in Cowdenbeath High street and visit all the former miner Galas in places like Cardenden and Kelty.

VOTE YES in 410 DAYS
 
 
#
next day
2013-08-03 23:45

well this is weird commenting about my town, anyway that part of the town, shops never last long and also what the pic do not show is the shut down shops beside it and so it does brighten up the place.
So what I cannot understand is the complain about the colour, some have red walls, purple walls and PINK walls, so why are blue rims on the shop a no no.
 
 
#
chicmac
2013-08-04 00:44

The shop was open this morning and supporters of Labour for Independence attended along with SNP supporters and some of no party affiliation.
 
 
#
ButeHouse
2013-08-04 01:46

Glad to hear that chicmac.

VOTE YES in 410 DAYS
 
 
#
Jock Wishart
2013-08-04 11:52

Another own goal by the No’s. Got to be some mention in the the local rags. Best kind of advertising you can get and all free too.
 
 
#
Northesk
2013-08-06 18:45

I’ll be interested to read tomorrow how the Kirrie Herald spins this puerility, but won’t be too surprised by any union-biased slant. Like too many regional newspapers it is owned by Johnston Press, the unionist unthinkers’ ever-present friend in need.
 
 
#
rob4i
2013-08-07 04:06

Such small minds those Unionists!
 
 
#
Northesk
2013-08-07 16:39

Apropos my post of yesterday, I scoured this week’s Kirrie Herald in the hope of finding a report highlighting the pettiness of the complainant, or at least a passing mention of the issue. (This would have been a front-page story in most local rags, but not this Johnston Press-owned one.) No mention whatsoever, which speaks volumes ….
 

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