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COUNCILLORS SLAM EXCLUSION OF COMMUNITY IN DEVELOPMENT ACTION PLAN

Upper Nithsdale’s local Councillors John Syme and Jim Dempster have slammed the failure of the Council to involve the community in the development of a joint regeneration Action Plan between Dumfries and Galloway Council and East Ayrshire Council.

In a report to go before the full council next week (Thursday 29 August) Councillors are asked to endorse the plan that has been developed in discussions between the “Political Leadership” and Chief Executives of the new councils.  However, local Ward councillors and the local community have been excluded from these discussions, leading to huge gaps in the plan.

Mid and Upper Nithsdale Labour Councillor John Syme commented:

“It’s all very well for the for the Council to say that the “Political Leadership” and the Chief Executive have been involved in preparing this plan but none of  them live in the communities or represent them on the council. They have been working on this plan for a year but not once did they ask local councillors or the local community what they wanted to see in the plan.  How would the Leader and Deputy Leader know what the communities of Upper Nithsdale need or want?”

“Some of the projects are positive, but too many of them are a rehash of local initiatives or go against what the local community wants.  For example, I and my colleague Jim Dempster been holding talks with the Department of Works and Pensions for some time about locating facilities in Kirkconnel, where the unemployment figure is currently 8.7 %( 5% above the national average). Yet there is no mention of Kirkconnel. 

“Upper Nithsdale has been excluded from the Council’s regeneration projects for years, despite the huge challenges we have, and this plan does very little to reverse in any meaningful way”

Fellow Mid and Upper Nithsdale Labour Councillor Jim Dempster also questioned whether the plan will have any major impact on the area.

Councillor Dempster commented:

“We have been promised joint working with East Ayrshire before when it came to the so-called A76 Action Group.  Unfortunately due to a lack of commitment from our East Ayrshire colleagues, very little was done.  Lack of investment by the Scottish Government in the A76 is one of the biggest hindrances to the regeneration of the area.  Unfortunately, the Action Plan says very little concrete about improving the A76.”

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