View Full Version : Fit's in 'e Coorier 'e day

07-Mar-12, 10:26
John O’ Journal review: March 7, 2011

CRITICS of a new development in Wick have been branded “shallow” for raising last-minute objections to the plans, says the paper on its front-page lead story. Local Highland councillor, Graeme Smith, said opponents to the new 8.5 million council offices in Market Square, were guilty of sitting back and allowing the development to go through. He made his views known along with fellow Wick Highland councillor Bill Fernie – at Monday night’s meeting of the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council. It came, after members revealed locals had disapproved of the plans after seeing an artist’s impression of how the offices will look, in Dan Mackay’s column in the Caithness Courier, on Wednesday. But when the application went through the Highland Council’s planning process, it received only one letter of objection and was given the green light in January. Mr Smith said the plans were given the go ahead as a result of democracy and the fact there was little opposition, was one of the reasons why it was passed.

A WICK law firm, which was at the centre of a legal probe, is being wound up, with the loss of four jobs. The move, which heralds the end of the Highland Law Practice, after almost eight years in business, came after an investigation was launched last month. The Law society of Scotland applied to the Court of Session to appoint a judicial factor after it inspected the firm’s books and became concerned about accounting records. The probe got under way on February 15 and, after three weeks, it emerged the law firm was being wound up. Three full-time and one part-time member of staff have lost their jobs as a result. Solicitor Sylvia MacLennan, who ran the High Street business along with her solicitor husband, Stephen Copinger, has had her practice licence reissued and has been taken on by local legal firm Georgesons. Mr Copinger’s licence remains suspended.

THREE members of staff at a Wick hospital have been suspended, it has emerged. NHS Highland has confirmed that it had taken the action against the employees who are based at the Town and County Hospital, last week, after receiving complaints. The three members of staff, all work in the Harmsworth Unit at the hospital which is a ward for the assessment of older patients who suffer from mental illnesses. Caithness locality general manager, Pauline Craw, would not confirm if the suspensions centred round allegations of verbal abuse towards patients or comment further on the positions of the staff that had been suspended. She said that family members of the patients involved, have been notified of the situation and that reports are being carried out into the cause of the complaints. She added that family members are being consulted as part of the investigation.

A THIRD-year journalism student from Castletown has been picked to join the press operations team at the London Olympics. Colin Stone “still can’t believe” he has beaten thousands of other applicants to become of the group which will help the world’s media throughout the event being staged this summer. The 20-year-old, who studies at Glasgow Caledonian University, will be based at the Olympic Stadium where the track and field competitions will be held. He said he is “ecstatic” to be taking part in the first Olympic Games to be held in the UK since 1948. Colin, who is a Radio Caley presenter and a feature columnist for Rangers FC on US sports website Bleacher Report, first applied for a “games maker” position more than 16 months ago.

A WICK haulage and coach operator has been put off the road for five years after breaching all the conditions of his two licences. The decision was made by the traffic commissioner for Scotland, Joan Aitken after a hearing in Inverness. However, John Budge, who lives at The Bungalow, in Newton Row, told the inquiry in a letter that he wished to surrender his licences as he no longer has time to operate the business. The inquiry heard that Mr Budge had lied about the use of his minibuses, had unsuitable maintenance facilities, kept deficient records and breached rules on drivers hours. Ms Aitken also said that the inspection facilities operated by the firm were “as dire as I have seen in this job”.

THE father of a young Wick man, who died in unexplained circumstances 15 years ago, has urged the police to drop its “stonewall attitude” and work with the family and help solve the case. Hugh McLeod and his family are convinced 24-year-old Kevin was murdered and was beaten up shortly before he ended up in the water at Wick harbour on Sunday February 9, 1997. They have been critical of the way the police handled the case but feel that if Northern Constabulary would take “a more positive approach” it could help end their “15-year nightmare.

CONTROVERSIAL fees for public entertainment licences in the Highlands looks set to be vetoed by licensing chiefs who admit the proposed charges would be unfair. Community and voluntary groups, charities and other organisations, needing the licence, were told by Highland Council in January they would be charged from April 1 because of amended legislation. The authority said the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 would mean some public events would need a licence which could cost 76.50 – for a six-week licence to cover a community hall event – to more than 10,000 for three years permission to hold the commercial, outdoor events, for more than 30,000 people. However, the changes provoked a storm of protest and groups behind events like galas, school fetes and senior citizens would have to stump up hundreds of pounds. However, the Highland licensing committee met in Inverness and discussed the controversial rules in private, after members, including chairman Peter Corbett received a barrage of complaints. The board has now decided to oppose the legislation changes and will make a recommendation to the full council to scrap the proposed fees.