This week in Annandale 29/02/2016

The Good:

Wamphray Community Council was very welcoming and it was good to catch up in person at the Village Hall and hear some of the issues affecting the village. A number of these have been reported for action with DGC such as road defects, the bins, and drainage issues and I’ve arranged a walkabout with the Chair next week to get a better understanding of some of the specifics.

Met with the Roads Network Manager to feed in some of the feedback from Moffat Community Council on where yellow lines and markings should and shouldn’t be. He has assured me that a draft TRO (traffic regulation order) will be sent out to the Community Council in due course so that they can give full feedback for the whole town.

A good meeting at Beechgrove pavilion in Moffat with a representative from the Bowling Club and SCIO partnership let me see the situation on the ground and the actual state of the existing pavilion. The vision for the area is strong and I am currently chasing legal services in the Council for a renewed long-term lease to allow the SCIO to give assurances required by external funders.

Logic Modelling: this was the start of a Health and Wellbeing exercise in SONAS next to Annan Hospital to look at the priorities and outcomes, targets and aims, and the work that needs to fit into the Locality Plan for Health and Social Care.

The Bad:

There were 4 budget amendments on budget setting day at Full Council submitted timeously by the SNP Group, the Independent Group, the Administration, and the D&G Independent Group. The Conservative and Unionist Group did not submit a budget. These were spoken to and then voted on.

First up the Independent budget was voted down by support for the D&G Independent Group budget which the SNP Group supported of the two. Everyone else abstained.

Next up the SNP Group budget and the D&G Independent Group budget tied at 6 votes each with the Leader called upon to exercise his casting vote. He spoke with the Depute Leader at the top table, who then walked down to the seated members to consult with the Chair of Economy Environment and Infrastructure Committee. After going back to update the Leader and having rejected the opportunity for a re-vote, it was decided that a pack of cards be brought in. #absurd

People expect councillors to take decisions, and accept that you can’t please everyone but you still take the decision. This was pantomime behaviour from the leading Administration and aside from the perception that peoples futures were being reduced to cutting the pack, I feel embarrassed for Dumfries & Galloway given how the national press got to see how our Council is led.


The SNP Group got the highest card and the final step was the vote against the Administration budget. Lo and behold the Conservative and Unionist Group voted with the Administration after having abstained from voting on any previous budgets. It turns out that they needlessly painted themselves into an untenable position as ‘constructive opposition’ by propping them up again.

If their strategists has just done the numbers they would have calculated that 15 (Administration) votes would beat 6 (SNP) + a handful of (Independent) votes, without their constructive support. I’m not sure if this sort of thing helps either unionist party’s Scottish Parliament election candidates. Hell mend them.

The Necessary:

Local Review Body allowed the members present to overturn 2 of the 3 delegated decisions and we have agreed to a site visit for the third.


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