This week in Annandale 01/06/2015

This week was mostly following up case work and reading papers.

There is progress being made on the Johnstonebridge Community Centre work which has been an amazing journey to get to the construction phase. The council had previously committed to £25k worth of support relating to some surfacing works so this needed confirmed now that the project managers are timing the various workstreams. It will symbolise a massive community achievement and given the nick of the current community hall will be a massive improvement that will give a centre back to the village.

Changes to the 380 bus service between Moffat and Lockerbie have a dramatic effect on the routines and accessibility for those in villages like Johnstonebridge. It’s perverse when council-speak is all about the carbon footprint and reducing the need for more and more cars, yet there is a reluctance to find a way to support a well-connected public transport service. The next Johnstone community council meeting should allow Council (Swestrans – regional transport partnership for Dumfries and Galloway) officers to get up close and personal and hear first hand what resident concerns are.

I had an interesting discussion and subsequent meeting around a vision for the future of the Mercury Motor Hotel in Moffat. This has been a bugbear for many Moffat residents for years as the building has gradually deteriorated since it was last in use, with various initiatives and attempts to ‘get something done’. However it is privately owned and on privately-owned land so any attempt to do anything needs to respect that. That’s not to say a vision might inspire some form of community and business partnership and get the right investment and resources to do something creative.

Every elected representative in the area will have had conversations about this I’m not sure where the will is to make the social transaction. The community empowerment and land reform legislation working through the Scottish Parliament might cast a different hue on these things in future. Another option to add to the list: buy it, renovate it, demolish it, paint it, blaw it up, etc., and that should be done by the owner, community, council, planning enforcement, or combination of the above, using public, private, or no money at all. However it is privately owned and on privately-owned land so any attempt to do anything needs to respect that (Coda)

On a very different note, a constituent reported painted penises on the road to me on Friday. This was sort of on the boundary between Annandale and Nithsdale on the road between Lochmaben and Cumrue. An awkward subject at the best of times but not without some potential for humour and/or offence depending on your disposition. Fortunately, officers acted professionally with a swift hands-on approach to cover up the offending articles. I was intrigued by the Thug Life reference in this particular case – any thoughts?

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