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A Problem of Accountability
I refer to the article in the last issue by David Hepburn on the implementation of the Kirkintilloch Masterplan.
I note that the potential maladministration of commencing works in two places before the end of the published so-called ‘consultation’ period (end of August) was not disputed by the quoted council official.
This infringement of democratic rights seems of no consequence to councils.
No wonder only 30 per cent of citizens vote in local elections: people know that decisions are made and it is all ‘cut and dried’, that ‘consultation’ means informing people what has in reality already been decided – whilst giving the right to ‘have one’s say’.
Regarding the proposals, much of it looks good. However, in a number of cases, there are serious faults, especially in a lack of consideration for the elderly and infirm, and disregard of civic amenity.
This is quite apart from the disregard for public safety in the new road exit onto the by-pass road.
We need to ask why the people were not given a number of alternative proposals to consider.
Regarding this point, we should be aware of the remit given to the people who were chosen for the Champions Group to represent the population.
The council stated its terms of reference (August 13, 2012) thus: “The group shall be a consultative body only to assist officers with design and deliverability issues associated with the implementation of the programme of agreed works.” The operation of the group shall not in any way constrain the council from dealing with any issues arising from the implementation of the masterplan.
Again, on September 6, 2012, the remit is reiterated: “The Champions Group will have an advisory function and act as a consultative body, set up to help with the design and delivery of agreed project works.”
So we see that the group was set up to facilitate implementation of what had already been agreed by officials: so much for ‘consultation’.
Does this worry you? If so, then please contact Accountability Scotland (www.accountabilityscotland.org.uk). Dennis Canavan is its patron.
As their conference organiser I have convened a conference in the Scottish Parliament on September 16, which deals with these issues.
It is called “Making Scottish Public Services Accountable”.
It’s sponsored by our MSP, Fiona McLeod, and involves our former MSP Dr Jean Turner and three acclaimed professors of Administrative Justice.
Dr J Wallace Hinton,
Milton of Campsie
Call to safeguard historic building
In the Herald of July 31 the article on the proposed community hub at Lennoxtown included a photograph of ‘the site of the proposed community hub.
It is to be hoped that the plans for the hub don’t include demolition of the building shown, for this is one of the most historic buildings in Lennoxtown, some would argue the most historic.
It is in fact the former central branch of the Lennoxtown Friendly Victualling Society, one of the earliest co-operative societies in the world, that celebrated its 200th anniversary last year. The building is therefore an icon of world-wide co-operative history.
The building has a second significance as one of the few surviving examples of the ‘new town’ buildings of Lennoxtown, that were erected during the creation of a community for workers at Lennoxmill Printworks from 1786 onwards. Lennoxtown has very few remaining historic buildings.
If retention of links to its history is in any way worthy of consideration, then serious thought should be given to the preservation of this building and identification of an appropriate purpose to safeguard its future.
Community council under fire
I am writing in response to the letter, published in the Kirkintilloch Herald (July, 31), congratulating Campsie Community Council on the build of the wall at the Milton of Campsie end of the village.
Your unidentified correspondent, whilst gushing with praise and enthusiasm fails to mention the following:-
1) At no stage did Campsie Community Council consult with the residents of the village, with regard to the building of this wall
2) At no stage did Campsie Community Council make clear in their published minutes the methodology employed which demonstrated that the village residents welcomed such a build. In fact, there is precious little in any Campsie Community Council minute which evinces either involvement or liaison with the community. And surely the fact that the writer of this letter lacks the conviction to even share his / her name with your readers should raise a few eyebrows?
6 Cumroch Road
Town Hall Square
Following up the article by David Hepburn last week I would like to express my concern about the council ignoring the ‘consultation’ period by starting work before it ended.
I would also like to comment on the proposals for the so-called Town Hall Square.
Actually, a ‘square’ as such does not exist in the proposal, which shows a space in front of the town hall broken up with zig-zags of concrete steps and triangles of bare grass between small paved areas.
This provides no meaningful public amenity and makes it impossible to have any market stalls there.
Arguably a town needs an attractive and useable open market square to bring in visitors and trade.
The grass triangles could easily be eliminated from the plan to give a more spacious square paved area.
The plan shows nine concrete blocks scattered about for seating and these are totally unsuitable for elderly or infirm people who need a back-rest.
They may, however, prove popular with the skate-board jumpers! Furthermore, these blocks will hold water, will be cold to sit on and get mouldy in our damp climate.
It is suggested that the Town Hall Square should be surrounded by good-looking metal slatted benches with backrests, as currently between St Mary’s Church and the canal.
Milton of Campsie
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