This week in Annandale 17/08/2015

Hello Again
It’s lovely to be able to choose to relax in a place where you can’t access the internet. Embo beach near Dornoch is recommended.

On return to councillor duties after the recess, the first main briefing of the week was on the South of Scotland Alliance meeting, held in Moffat, where the important priorities are:

1. to get mobile and broadband improvements for Dumfries and Galloway, as well as the Scottish Borders
2. to improve access to rural skills-based training and employment by working with Dumfries and Galloway College (this is obviously tricky due to the rural nature of the region, the relatively low numbers that might be able to get to the course, the difficulty, time and expense for young people to even be able to attend courses if there is no easy way of getting to them, etc.)
3. Following up on the M74 corridor development strategy work and Stranraer Waterfront

What do think about Scottish Enterprise? Let me know…

Annan
I spent a more than usual amount of time in or around Annan this week:
1. Putting You First Day Opportunities Panel – awarding one-off funding to encourage community groups hold activities to reduce isolation for older people
2. Returning Officer training for the upcoming Community Council elections on 22nd October 2015 (if they are contested that is) – I’m Returning Officer for Royal Four Towns Area which requires a minimum of 6 nominees and if there are more than 11 it will trigger a Poll
3. Annandale & Eskdale Area Committee which was followed by a meeting with the Locality Manager (Gary Sheehan) for Integrated Health and Social Care in the area (Population Profile for Annandale & Eskdale)
4. Annadale & Eskdale Divisional Licensing Board where we determined the Occasional Licence arrangements for the International Sheepdog Trials 2015 at Meikleholm, Courance, which is just off the A701 between Parkgate and St. Anns

Lockerbie Community Council
A brusque welcome back with plenty of constituent issues to follow up including the state of some of the buildings and public realm in Station Road, Lockerbie. I’ve had assurances from council officers that the footpaths on Station Road will be cleaned routinely (and additionally) if resources allow. The frustrating problem is that quite aside from the state of the buildings, the guttering is full of weeds and debris which prevents proper drainage, so organic matter is falling on the pavement and adding to the problem for street cleaners.

The properties are in private ownership, which limits the degree of legal intervention the council can use, but they are on the Building Standards “Watch List” which is monitoring the condition of the buildings, and if no action is taken by the owners when required, there must come a point when intervention is required. Determining the legal owner of buildings and making contact with them can be a long drawn out affair but I will continue to work for a solution until this gets resolved.

It’s astonishing how much public resource goes towards the issues created by the private business sector.

Parking in Lockerbie is often an issue so I’m also trying to find out what land assets could be used to ease the problem and reduce waste ground at the same time. The proposed changes to the parking at the Station and moving the listed wall are taking ages.

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