The Good:

Finally achieved a Wamphray Site Visit with Crown Estate (represented by Savilles), Network Rail and the contractor AMCO, D&G Council (Flood Risk Management Team), Wamphray Community Council and local residents all in attendance. The local MP had endeavoured to do this for many years but for whatever reason it had never really happened so glad that the various voices have been heard and shared. There is some further work to be done regarding the embankment on the north side of the Annan Water involving SEPA, and clarification on the agreed maintenance and works by the various parties but some progress at least.

Lockerbie Mens Shed is now being supported by D&G Council officers to try and re-use former Council assets, with a link worker now assigned to help the group.

The Bad:

Lockerbie “Legoland” up by Alexandra Drive and Queensberry Road is needing some tender love and care. The residents should expect a better combined level of service from both DGHP and D&G Council for maintaining the public realm both in the paths, car-parks, vegetation, drains, roads and bin emptying. I attended a site visit to record some more immediate issues but am now clarifying responsibilities and maintenance programmes with DGHP and the Council.

This will come up again in the new school term and in the run-up to the next Council Budget: what exactly does extra-curricular mean when it comes to studying music at school? Extra Curricular Instrument Instruction to many normal people means after-school, in your own time lessons, where like any activity you may expect to pay for a lesson. If you are studying music in school hours, and learning an instrument as part of your grades or qualification, what entitlement is there for free in-school tuition? The answers so far from Education Services are not as clear as they could be so it’s no wonder the general public, along with councillors, are getting confused. More to follow…

Parking in Lochmaben is a good example for demonstrating the difference between legal and civil approaches. The driver makes the final decision about where to park, and technically a vehicle may be legally parked on a public road, even if little consideration is given to the local community effects. Because of the speed bumps and sheer length of Annandale Crescent, many people using the school or community centre will park on the High Street or even Balcastle Gardens, which also is affected when the church has a service on. Police can do little except when there is clear obstruction, and there are few if any yellow lines or restrictions to help enforce anything. It drives some residents to distraction but it always comes back to the mind-set of the driver. The local authority and Police can only do so much before individuals accept responsibility for their own actions and how it affects their community.

Dark Sky Signage? Shit ticket system. I am currently following up dozens of Council cases using D&G Council’s “system” for case management. There are so many holes in it, it’s not properly managed, it’s labour intensive and easy to lose track of case progress, and worst of all, if done properly it could save the Council time and money and vastly improve the efficiency and level of service, and communication, to all constituents. Not to mention that but it could tie in to internal work management programming and reporting systems to keep the corporate side of things accountable. 4 years and counting with sub-surface officer-led programme boards and initiatives that have yet do demonstrate a vision that recognises the importance of our digital infrastructure. It really grinds my gears.

The Necessary:

Policy and Resources Committee happened. We located a virement of 138k from revenue to capital budgets which had been assumed rather than agreed so shone a light on it.

The Dead Hedgehog was finally removed from Stanedyke Crescent in Lochmaben – Council did it but it should have been DGHP.

Council Ownership

There are areas of Annandale where Dumfries and Galloway Council owns the solum of a road but in the sell-off deeds of the various plots of neighbouring land, provision has been made for the maintenance and upkeep of such a road by the purchasers.

If such a road has not been adopted, as owners of a private roadway the Council only has a duty to keep the road clear and not cause it to be obstructed.  Generally the majority, if not all, of those who have rights to use such a road have been burdened with maintenance and, legally, this is where responsibility for maintenance of a roadway lies – in other words the Council has no legal responsibility to maintain such a road.

What the Council can do is determine whether it could carry out works to a road based on the case made, and depending on resources. This would be a political or member decision rather than a Council requirement. More on this later as there is a report hopefully going to Economy Environment and Infrastructure Committee on 1st July to address this.

 

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