I attended a Citizenship Ceremony on Monday to find out what actually happened at these events first hand. For Dumfries & Galloway these take place in Buccleuch Street Council offices in Dumfries and are for residents of the UK who have gone through a long 5 or 6 year process to become Citizens of the UK, after gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain.

“I, [name], swear by Almighty God that, on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law.” is the oath people have to say and at the end of it there’s a CD player that plays God Save the Queen (not the Sex Pistols version.) It means a lot to those who achieve citizenship, which confers a status that we in Scotland, or rest of UK, consider normal, but I nearly burst out laughing when I first heard the oath. It just sounds like something out of a pompous family fairy tale. Anyway I contained my demeanour and spoke to the new citizens who basically had to get back to work and their normal lives as it was.

Planning Applications Committee highlighted a planning permission in principle for a site in Lochmaben. I asked for a site visit so members could better understand the proposed site and location in relation to the B7020, the existing speed limit signs, the footpath provision and the changes over recent years around the community owned Castle Loch – should be happening in the next couple of weeks.

Moffat Community Council was busy and I have a full list of issues and enquiries to follow up (as per usual) aside from my summary report:

Well Road
Vallance the builders contacted again and asked to deal with the vegetation. Drainage to be checked.

Burnside Railings
No money in council budget for railings and fences, suggestion to remove if community happy to do so.

Hidden Corner
Ongoing work to get the footpath widened at old bridge abutments. No cost for works provided yet.

Overhanging branches at streetlight (Ladyknowe)
Outwith Roads Department responsibility but works to be done via Schools for the Future (PPP) as nearest Council asset.

Station Park
Council report still not approved at committee but Council Officers working with community on Heritage Lottery Fund application. Council to lead on application to ensure ongoing maintenance of park and structures and demonstrate engagement with community, and biodiversity. Meeting CC in October and HLF offering to meet in November.

Signs
The sign for the Rugby Club is on order and will be erected in due course. Proposals for the Dark Sky town signage have been passed to the Community Council and approved. Funding for this has been made available from the Council’s tourism budget.

A708 Pothole
Reported in January and fixed in September 2016.

Hedge at Mansfield Place
Trimmed by DGHP and now on maintenance programme for future.

Old Academy
Missives still not concluded.

Barnhill Road
The Planning Inspector to check for authorised use of land. Also road repairs asked for to fix defects but will be prioritised. Council officer suggested it would “appear prudent for cyclists not to travel at speed on the roads in question”.

Beattock Station
STAG report being advanced looking at impact of proposed stations on timetabling, freight and passengers, as well as affordability, and will be reported back to Swestrans and Council committees.

Speed Bumps on A708
Council Officer response: this section of A708 now looks pretty tatty, but from a strict road safety perspective, nothing requires immediate attention.

Dickson Street
Patching works have been carried out and various ironwork reset. Scottish Gas Networks have still to reset one toby.

Annandale & Eskdale Area Committee was characterised by quality not quantity (hack) as only 4 councillors turned up. The Committee was just quorate but we made up for it by heavily scrutinising the reports, especially the commissions to what was DGFirst – this is now meant to be Enterprising DG but councillors are concerned that this entity has not started providing reports on what it is now doing, so it is effectively trading without being monitored fully.

Parking in Lockerbie was provided with another option to consider after I managed to arrange a meeting between a landowner and the Swestrans officers who are able to take these issues forward through the proper process. There has been an inordinate delay over putting the yellow lines and parking restrictions back in town, especially along Well Street and the High Street but am still pushing for this along with the Community Council

Social Work Services Committee happened and the main confirmation was that all Home Care workers, including the contracted services, should now be getting the Scottish Living Wage @ £8.25ph. This marks a good use of the direct investment from Scottish Government into Health and Social Care to directly support this and keep it at least one-step removed from wayward Council Administrations. I asked about the concerns that had previously been raised in Annandale about the pressure on providing care in rural areas but was assured that the new negotiated hourly rate for providers would allow them to manage the wage and travel budget across their service. One oddity is that we can calculate roughly the number of required assessed home care hours needed per year in Dumfries and Galloway and this figure should be our target to achieve, but historically a number has been set that means nothing so this was raised at Committee for future performance reporting.

I later met with the Health and Social Care Locality Manager and Social Work with members of the Board of Bankfoot Residential Care Home in Moffat to discuss the wider provision required to meet the need for beds in the town and area. With the changes to the surgery and the plans for a proper Health Centre, there does need to be a mix of accommodation available so that people don’t get stuck in the wrong place.

I so wanted to go to the Proudfoot Open Day for the Proudfoot Indoor Sport and Social Club on Saturday but other business got in the way. Was all set with the guitar-head on and a table-tennis bat as well. Main thing is it’s now open to the public and you don’t need to be a member to get in.

 

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