The “silent majority” of Banff residents are in favour of a new Morrisons being built over the town’s Canal Park according to the results of our poll.
Debate has raged in the coastal community about Aberdeenshire Council’s plans to sell off the patch of land, gifted to the area in 1907, for a new supermarket.
Those fighting to protect Canal Park say Banff would lose an irreplaceable piece of history if it was to be paved over.
And football clubs have raised fears they could be forced to fold if they have to find alternative homes.
But one local businessman argued that it would boost trade in the town centre, by bringing more people into Banff.
And locals told us the new supermarket was needed to revitalise the “dying” commercial heart of the community.
The survey says….
Having spoken to both sides of the argument, we launched our own poll over the weekend.
Hundreds cast their votes between Saturday morning and 5pm on Monday.
The result showed that 311 people wanted a new Morrisons at Canal Park, while 239 voted to save the green space.
That represents a majority of 56.55% against a 43.45% minority.
‘Reminiscent of Indy Ref’
Owner of the Good Sleep Company furniture shop, Scott Birnie, said the result of our ballot proved most Banff residents agree with him about the need for a Morrisons.
He said: “There’s always a silent majority in these things.
“If you think back to the Scottish independence referendum, it seemed like it would be a Yes vote – but then the silent majority spoke and it went the opposite way.
“Especially on a subject like this, in a small community, people can be scared to publicly say how they really feel for fear of upsetting their neighbours.
“I’m pleased the result has shown that, I was convinced most people are for it and glad I’ve not been barking up the wrong tree.”
Canal Park campaigners ‘not surprised’
Rachel Kennedy is one of the leaders behind the campaign to protect the playing field and surrounding green space from development.
She told us the result didn’t come as a shock to her.
Rachel said: “We understand that folk want a supermarket, that has never been an issue for us.
“The issue for us is why we have to sell this particular land for it, it does not have to go there.
“Why have we got to lose this? It’s not wasteland, Canal Park is a well-used and well-loved area.
“It is used for recreation and plays an important role in many locals’ lives.”
Rachel added that a petition created to save Canal Park has now secured more than 350 backers.
The most important way for residents to affect change is by taking part in Aberdeenshire Council’s online consultation – which closes next Wednesday, June 30.
They can make their opinions known by contributing to a “virtual town house” or by e-mailing email@example.com with their thoughts.
The results of the consultation will be discussed by the Banff and Buchan area committee in August.