This week in Annandale 25/05/2015

Moffat Fun Day on Sunday was a great day out: the weather just about held up and there was a great turnout at Station Park with queues for everything including the burgers stall run by the Woollen Mill staff. Didn’t get to the facepainting which was on as part of the activities at the Town Hall but daughter was kept sufficiently amused.

DG First Management Committee on Tuesday was typically frustrating although the Director of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure was in attendance to observe how the current committee was working. We are often advised as councillors not to get involved in ‘operational matters’ but this is exactly what affects our citizens directly so there are times when agreeing a business plan perverts what people keep asking for which is an efficient well-run service that delivers what it’s supposed to. I was representing the concern that while road surfacing and surface dressing works are being carried out, this is often done without carrying out the appropriate culvert and drainage work at the same time to prevent or reduce future problems and potholes developing. Generally agreed by most people as good sense but rather than a ‘whole road’ approach, we are still working with separate budgets for separate parts of the delivery. Needs to change.

What was of interest was a seminar after the meeting about the work being done to source local food and produce for the catering side of DG First which provides the very successful school meals across the region. Even a change to the type of cheese was noticed by school-children last year but glad to report that this is being sourced more locally at a competitive price to benefit budgets and tastebuds.

One of the asides from attending the Lockerbie Jazz steering group was to follow up how the signage for coming off the motorway at Lockerbie could provide more positive information about Lockerbie as a destination and not just somewhere to pass by. After a meeting in the Autolink offices on the B7076 I got some helpful information on how best to go about getting changes to the brown or blue signs at the road side so will look at the process to see how best to proceed. Naturally there are lots of examples of ‘historical arrangements’ in the region where the council was doing something slightly outwith the transparent process which could instead be followed.

Just on a Lockerbie note re CCTV in the town, after it was queried at the last community council. The plan at present is to have three CCTV locations in Lockerbie Town Centre:

  • Position 1: Main St / Arthur’s Place on footpath – 3 x column-mounted cameras.
  • Position 2: On premises of Royal Bank of Scotland, High Street – 3 x wall-mounted cameras.
  • Position 3: Static on Royal Bank of Scotland – 1 x wall-mounted cameras.

Finally some more positive attitude from the council on how to push forward works, especially to the pond, in Station Park. The very busy community council agenda was able to fit in a quick update from the council officer which set out how to take the project forward and what support the community could expect, especially after having spent years working on plans and visions without any sense of progress. Serendipitously, there was a presentation from Scottish Power after the council officer left on the Clyde windfarm extension works which are looking to use the A701 through Moffat to reach the access point outwith Dumfries and Galloway. This was flagged by planning before the meeting as something being followed up with the Scottish Government as we weren’t consulted as a planning authority on this. Both South Lanarkshire and Borders got to have their say but not us. However the meat of the information was that there would likely be an increase in flow of traffic of up to 40 LGV and HGVs per day during the construction phase (for about 18 months and kicking off this summer) carrying quarry materials etc. (not turbines though – they’ll come off from the M74 in South Lanarkshire) and the community consultation was to suggest that some of the community benefit, part of the 5% indicated for Dumfries and Galloway, would go directly to Moffat over a 2-year period to help address the impact of the disruption. There were quiet calculations going on in peoples’ heads on what pressing projects that money could be used for. On another note, Moffat Post Office will be opening at Benmar services in the near future after only 7 weeks of considering the public consultation returns.

Other business:

Lochmaben Primary School should be getting its boiler (biomass) installed and operational over the autumn (let’s call it winter to be safe) but will have to make do with a temporary boiler going in during the holidays.

And… finally there will be a combined dog-poo and litter bin that the council will service without burdening the Barony Gate residents in Lochmaben with unfair Factor charges. Small things make a big difference.

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