This week in Annandale 05/09/2016

Dowding Memorial Service

It’s 44 years since the late Miss Irene Park (MBE no less) of Moffat started the Dowding Memorial Service to mark the pivotal contribution Lord Hugh Dowding made to the Battle of Britain in 1940.

Dowding died in 1970, but was born in Moffat in 1882 at the independent “St Ninian’s Preparatory School” for boys, founded by his dad just before Hugh was born. He then went on to be privately educated at Winchester College but dropped out after a couple of years to join the Royal Military Academy in London.

After the Battle of Britain, Air Ministry politics at the time meant he was made redundant in 1942, but by 1943, Dowding had written his first book on spiritualism, and rejected Christianity to join the Theosophical Society. A confirmed vegetarian, anti-vivisectionist and member of the Fairy Investigation Society, his life outwith the military machine sounds more interesting, if not so strategically decisive.

Ladyknowe Road revisited

Ok, enough’s enough – this road can get repaired with some will and agreement with those ‘stakeholders’ who are prepared to contribute for the common good. I’ll be getting in touch with each of them to see what their views are and see what competitive quotes are available to address the immediate problem while seeking a longer term and fairer solution for future years.

Kate’s Kitchen

Enjoyed a lunch (KFC?) and discussion at Kates Kitchen in Annan and found out first hand what service is being provided in the current property. This came on the back of an Area Committee Discretionary Grant decision on the level of funding to award towards a project. What became clear was the commitment of the volunteers and staff and the positives it had for the service users. In an ideal world this type of project could benefit from use of a former public sector asset with a more secure and less onerous lease as these are costs that need to be met before opening the doors but I’ll happily meet with the board to see what their thinking is on this.

Lochmaben Community Council

20’s plenty! Some good discussion around the traffic speed concerns and road safety issues with the school crossing. The data from the rubber tubes doesn’t support a 20mph limit through the town (average speed measured at 25.3mph) unless serious works were carried out. However the school crossing build out is to get support at council committee and should (hopefully) be in place over the Easter holidays in 2017. This should tie in with the parking restrictions (double yellows) that will be put in place at Balcastle Gardens. Too many other issues to mention but Lochmaben Castle is now much more highly regarded by Historic Environment Scotland and should benefit from exploratory historical investigations and the siting of information panels.

(Royal Four Towns Community Council in Hightae meeting got moved back a week)

Chapelcross Site Stakeholder Group

On the back of this meeting I’ve now asked Council Chief Executive to address the lack of Council reporting on regional safety risks, e.g. Chapelcross, DuPont, etc. This has been passed to the appropriate department for action. A judge recently ruled against NDA for not applying their own competition rules for the bidding process for the current Parent Body – NDA acknowledged the potential risk to future budget for Chapelcross and other sites owing to potential legal costs, however the ruling is now under appeal. There are questions over the detail for Scottish Government’s Higher Activity Waste guidance which is being clarified by Cabinet Secretary (Roseanna Cunningham). It was also noting that no D&G Council member are on the Scottish Councils Committee on Radioactive Substances (SOCCORS) but a council officer attends. This is odd given that we are one the regions in Scotland that actually host a nuclear site. I’ve asked the Chief Executive to look at this as soon as possible.

George Hunter Trust

Monies dispersed to projects and for the benefit of individuals in Lochmaben. Need to catch up with Lochmaben FC re plans to see what the best funding support would be now and in future.

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