Who speaks for Arran?

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There is clearly something wrong when a respected and hard working community activist feels he has to speak out strongly.

Community council chairman Bill Calderwood is not a man to seek the headlines, preferring to work quietly in the background, but making things happen at the same time.

For him to use the annual meeting of the community council to vent his anger at the new locality partnership structure shows the level of his frustration.

This was touted two years ago by, first the government, and then North Ayrshire Council, as the all singing, all dancing way to ’empower’ local communities to take more control over the decisions that affect them.

But what has happened since? In the last year the locality partnership has met twice while the community council, which has a statutory authority, has met 10 times and dealt with a wide range of subjects that really matter to the community.

But it is worrying that they are being sidelined and that this new structure is being seen as being as disfunctional given that they  have control of the purse strings to the tune of £104,000, on Arran alone, to distribute to community groups.

We hope that Mr Calderwood’s comments will help open a debate as just how the voice of the community should be heard – as heard it should always be.