This week in Annandale 23/11/2015

Re-Shaping Up

Met with the Director of Communities first thing on Monday to discuss Annandale North ward priorities and how the ‘re-shaped’ Council services will be geared better towards the communities own needs and projects. Finally got some traction on ensuring the Saltire gets flown on Lochmaben Town Hall for St Andrews Day (I think it got flown over the whole weekend in readiness for Monday 30th – smiley face.) The flying of national flags all year round is encouraged and technically the Council  could have Saltires flying all the time as long as the specified days are observed for flying the Union Flag. If I was in charge this would be happening.

Beattock Station

Finally on track: following a meeting with Transport Scotland, Swestrans and BSAG, a Council supported pre-appraisal study has been commissioned which should provide a strategic set of priorities early next year that will be recognised in future national transport programmes. The Action Group has been really effective in getting this to the official table and now it’s a case of keeping awareness high and seeing what comes from the study.

Proudfoot Institute

Finally we’ve achieved funding of £125k from the Council (as Trustees) to fix the wind and watertight problems with this symbolic building in Moffat. Work will start in the new year and a report will come to Annandale & Eskdale Area Committee to provide options for how to modernise the Trust legally and pragmatically so that user groups and elected members can have a proper governance structure to support work to sustain this community asset.

Moffat Community Council

Key projects to carry forward include the ongoing Station Park programme which I’m really having to press Council Officers on for their support. The community can access external funding for the more aspirational aspects of the park but really need the Council to recognise a share of capital funding and a maintenance programme going forward (been here before.) Accessibility is still an issue along with wider traffic safety and management in the town so I’ll be going out on a mobility scooter to see what some of the problems are in navigating to a from the town centre and trying to negotiate the various streets and crossings. The Old Moffat Academy has a closing date on it of 15th December – interest has been expressed but I’m not saying if this is connected with Moffat Manor as the community council and DGHP have also let the Council know they’d be keen to work towards redevelopment for the benefit of the town.

Arts in Annandale

After Planning Committee on Wednesday and following up constituent case work, I attended the Community meeting in Victoria Halls, Annan to hear from the Arts sector in Annandale and some of the positives and problems in getting projects going. Support for gallery and exhibition space was a need, and comments were made about the buy-in costs and criteria for getting on the Spring Fling programme in Moffat. A very interesting presentation was given which highlighted the Annan, Clyde and Tweed rivers starting their journeys through Scotland all within a few miles of each other in the hills north of Moffat. At some level I knew these facts but had never really joined them together to appreciate it.

Johnstone Community Council

This was the first time I’d attended the community council meeting in the new community centre. Excellent venue and may benefit from signage from the main roads in future. Still details to be cleared with parking overspill arrangements with the primary school next door (and the lighting rig on the ceiling could do with being movable so you could get a decent game of badminton without firing shuttlecocks into it every 2 minutes. Am chasing up the works to the path at McLean Drive as it’s falling apart and not very safe.

SPEN Pylons

Councillors met to discuss how the Council would be pro-active in responding to the SPEN pylon proposals on Friday before a special item at Planning Committee in December. It was clear that not enough information was provided about alternative routes and methods of transmission (such as undergrounding) before pushing the overhead lines option. We will ask for this as there should be a clear substantiated  case made for anything that could significantly affect communities in our region. We can’t make the decision on this but we can make our comments known to SPEN and when the time comes our official consultation response to Scottish Ministers. OFCOM and the Department for Energy and Climate Change are big players in this so the sights should also be set squarely on these Westminster functions. Make sure your MP is fighting for Dumfries and Galloway’s interests by influencing these bodies.

Christmas Lights

Moffat lights switch on prevailed despite the weather disrupting the plans for the street activities.

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