FOLLOWING an article in last week’s edition, an Arbroath businessman has come forward to give his side of the story.
Mr Valys Ossman, who owns a string of buildings and businesses in Angus, including the Arkive chain which has stores in Arbroath, Dundee and Perth, responded to claims regarding debris in a back garden of a building he owned on the High Street.
Mr Ossman explained the debris was the result of the renovation of flats in that block which had been damaged by flooding last Christmas.
He explained that although the insurance pay-out for damage to the shop underneath had come through earlier in the year, it was not until the end of August that a pay-out had been secured for the flats.
He added: “That’s my garden out there. We’ve just spent £3,000 digging that out and having it re-stoned, I’m not just going to dump rubbish in it.
“But I don’t want to put a skip out on the High Street. It’s unsightly. I don’t want to make a mockery of the High Street with skips.”
He added that debris was cleared away every couple of weeks by lorry, but the cost of transport and disposal meant that a full load had to be ready to make it cost-effective.
With regards to involvement with Angus Council, Mr Ossman said: “Angus Council did come and inspect the garden, and we explained that it would take about four weeks to clear. We showed them the flats and said we’d clean up as fast we can.”
He added: “We’re modernising the flats entirely, new kitchens, central heating, all for my tenants.”
Accusations that he did not respect Arbroath or his tenants were completely denied: “This is all part and parcel of the business.
“He said that I take in a lot of DSS, well DSS have the right to live somewhere too. I don’t differentiate.”
Mr Ossman started his retail business in that very building in 1996, and he said he makes a point of investing in new shops and property in the town whenever he can.
“Investing in the High Street is our way of giving something back to where we started.”
Mr Ossman indicated the shop around him in which our reporter was interviewing him: “These are our roots.
“People have offered to buy this building from me many times. I don’t even need to hear their offers, I wouldn’t sell this place for a million pounds.”