He was speaking at the consultation drop-in day on May 8 in the community centre which presumably was partly intended by Patersons as a softening up exercise for locals who are against the plans.
If they thought they would alter hearts and minds then they went the wrong way about it. If anything, all friends of the Save Gillies Hill movement left with an even greater determination to stop the further destruction of the hill. People who went along with an open mind, fully prepared to listen to the company’s arguments, are now more likely to sign up to SGH.
The day started badly - the Patersons staff were “held up in traffic” and , when the five-hour consultation started at 2.30pm, two representatives from consultants Johnson Poole and Bloomer were left holding the fort.
They didn’t have any answers to people’s questions, so we started reading the quite limited handful of information boards and the information leaflet and feedback sheet.
By the time the Patersons bosses appeared on the scene, the content of the consultation information was causing voices to be raised in anger and incredulity. Some supposed “facts” were simply not true and the whole presentation was very poorly compiled.
Community council treasurer Marion MacAllister summed it up pretty well when she commented: “If that is how they treat us when they are trying to reassure the village, what would happen if they got permission and nothing could stop them?”
That’s why we must redouble our efforts to stop this application. If this is passed, then the area of the hill owned by Tillicoultry Quarries will be the next target. And we need to seek the help of neighbouring communities in Torbrex and Kings Park.
Polmaise Road is heavily used by children going to St Ninians Primary and Stirling High – does that mean nothing? On a different tack, but one that may find some influential backers, will Kings Park house prices start to fall?
There was a cynical and contemptuous tone to the Patersons’ argument about restoration proposals which they have discussed with Stirling Council. It sounded to me that they were saying that the deal was done. Are we going to be let down yet again by Stirling Council – let down when they didn’t carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment in 2002, let down when a much-vaunted “Suspension Order” was found not to be worth the paper it was written on, what next?
Is our local history, our scenery, our wildlife, our health and well-being worth nothing compared to the fat profits to be acquired by an absentee landlord Drygrange Estates and his tenants from the quarrying firm from Lanarkshire?
Let’s fight this plan to destroy our heritage. We must join together in the few short months between now and late August/early September to ensure that we have a successful strategy and the wherewithal to stop Patersons’ application in its tracks