This week in Annandale 05/10/2015

Planning Process feedback
Monday started with a meeting with agents and developers to hear views about the public experience of the D&G planning process and the level and consistency of service across the region. Here are some of the bullet points…

  • Concerns that planning process is unnecessarily slow with up to 15 days for case officers to be appointed to new applications;
  • Concern over geographic distribution of planning officers and level of staffing impacting on efficiency;
  • Perception that officers are defaulting to a negative interpretation of LDP;
  • Suggestion to review Planning Forum arrangement and participants, e.g. Building Standards, Agents, Planning Officers, etc.;
  • Reported difficulty in getting pre-application advice;
  • Concern over consistency of pre-application advice against ongoing case advice with different officer;
  • Concern over public perception of experience as a result of these issues;

Lochmaben Community Council
After the walkround and following up the various cases, many of the smaller issues have been getting resolved, including the overgrown hedges getting cut back so you can walk on the pavement with a buggy down the Lockerbie road.

I had a fun exchange with Royal Mail over refurbishing the post box on the high street but that’s now been stripped back and is due for completion in November (in the post – groan.

The biggest talking point was the traffic management around Lochmaben including road safety and speed limits. With the success and popularity of community-owned Castle Loch, the increase in users and visitors is changing the profile of the traffic. Police in attendance were very supportive so it’s just finding how council officers, Police Scotland and the community can work together. Looking at 40mph signs, resiting of 30mph signs – low-cost deliverables that will make a difference (and where there is “resource to enforce”)

An interesting siding is a query around some wasteland. R&D Construction (in adminstration or liquidation?) owned the land behind the Barras, which used to be part of the old railway. However the company no longer operates so would this land or the proceeds from the sale of the land form part of any settlement with creditors? Am finding out.

Lockerbie Academy Parent Teacher Council
I had too many meetings to attend on Wednesday evening so prioritised Lockerbie Academy Parent Teacher Council (what a difference the new management team has made to that school in such a short time. Dark and Light compared my experiences in 2012) where preparations are afoot for some consultation with the wider parent body over budget reviews in Education.

Lockerbie Old School Development Group
Since being involved at the start of this group forming, it’s been strong enough and has had some support to continue without my meddling, but I wanted to see if there was any nudging needed with Property & Architectural Services, or the Estates Management Team in DG Council. One member of staff has moved on, who was assisting with the group, so I was concerned that there should be continuity. The Group is having a Christmas Craft Fair in Lockerbie Town Hall on Saturday 31st October (Free Entry) 

Welfare reform Sub Cttee
DWP, DHP universal credit – bedroom tax, SSSC,
DGHP cautious
Tory cuts propped up by Labour support (or abstinence)

Lockerbie Swimming Pool Trust Cake Off
Much cake was to be had at the Dryfesdale Parish church on Saturday. There was some debate on whether the next one should be advertised as a Coffee Morning with Cake Off to reach the best audience, but

Free Leccy
There are 2.4 million households in Scotland and the average household uses 4800 kWh electricity – which would amount to 11,520,000,000 kWh or 11.5 GWh (which tallies with the Sub National Electricity Consumption Stats)

I’m guessing that the remaining 26.7 GWh are consumed by businesses and workplaces, etc. in Scotland.

So the 14-16 GWh to be deployed by 2020 will be on top of the 18.961 GWh already in place to meet the reducing projected total of around, say 34 GWh.

It looks like we’re already producing enough renewable energy to supply all the households in Scotland, and that’s the metric being used in planning applications from windfarm developers. In theory it can be calculated what each windfarm will contribute to the national target.

Can we now get free leccy with businesses paying a commercial fee?

Langholm
Just an update for the Langholm residents about the light faults. D&G Council have been to Langholm and fixed a circuit breaker that was faulty. They also changed a couple of lights that were faulty elsewhere. The only column that is cowped over is a sign pole that belongs to the A7 trunk road. It is on Glenesk Road but just at the junction and it has a trunk road number on it which has now been passed to Amey Highways.

 

Moffat Dark Sky
Finally (after some prolonged wranglings) just to confirm that D&G Council has sent a letter to the International Dark Sky Association on behalf of the Moffat Dark Sky Community Initiative. Officers had been working on the draft of this letter for some weeks now and feel that it now adequately reflects D&G Council’s position with regard to the ) and statutory and non-statutory supplementary guidance.

Community Councils Elections Reminder
For Annandale and Eskdale, elections will take place for the following Community Councils on 22 October 2015

Johnstone (in Annandale North ward)
Brydekirk & District
Canonbie & District

Lockerbie & District Community Council did not received the minimum required nominations and a notice of dissolution will be displayed.

North Milk Community Council remains disestablished at this time.

Health Warning
A note on throwing things from a motorway overbridge on the M74. This could have caused a totally avoidable and pointless tragedy. If the wee police officer inside your head can’t stop you throwing random grenades at strangers, you need help.

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