Arran Banner letters – week 47

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Roles need clarified

Sir,

Mr Laing’s rather disappointing letter, in last week’s Arran Banner, appears to have missed the real point of the published article which was that the community council member’s are starting to be made to feel that their role is becoming undervalued and their potential constrained by the local authority’s perceived support for Locality Planning, as the representative body for the Arran community views. The letter also contains quite a number of factually inaccurate statements.

Arran Community Council has, over many years under a number of chairmen – including Mr Laing, a good record for proactive participation on many topics such as roads, planning and many other key areas for the island.

The much misunderstood Locality structure has only been established since September 2016 and the facts speak for themselves. Interestingly North Ayrshire Council have so far chosen not to challenge the CC’s claims. The author may wish to speak to other representatives on the Locality to get their views and experiences over the past term.

One organisation, the Arran Community Council, is made up from volunteers from around Arran representing all villages and areas, who meet 11 times per year and work together to lobby the various cases which the community bring to our attention.

The other, the Locality Planning Partnership, is a top down politically appointed and directed organisation which the local authority are compelled to support despite their reservations. In today’s world where ‘democracy matters’ it has to be challenged which structure delivers the intended outcome.

The author may also note that the CC representation is up to the CC members with ‘chair or such community councillor as shall be nominated’ in the standing orders. A change Arran CC fought to amend in the furtherance of ‘democracy’ to address other criticism of having the  ‘same face’ representing at every committee.

The views expressed in the initial press article were a reflection of the group’s views and it can only be hoped that, on reflection, Mr Laing can recognise the CC’s role as the first level of local governance in its apolitical aim to represent the Arran community and set aside whatever his preferences were that may have driven his letter.

Pending the outcome of any review resulting from the Islands Bill, the present structures must co-exist for the benefit of the community at large, albeit that their roles and funding may have to be clarified.

Yours,

Jim  Henderson,

Secretary, 

On behalf of Arran Community Council.

Road closure

Sir,

In your article covering Arran’s services of Remembrance in the Banner of  November 17, you state that the service in Brodick took place at 10am due to the ‘infeasibility of closing the (A841) at 11am when the ferry departs’.  I fail to see the logic in such a decision.

Firstly, the scheduled departure time of the ferry is 11.05am.  Secondly, at the time of the road closure on November 11 people heading for the 11.05am ferry from the northend, west coast, Blackwaterfoot and Shiskine would be travelling trying to comply with CalMac’s latest check-in criteria of 10.35am for vehicles.  Those foot passengers travelling by public transport from the above areas would have been scheduled to arrive at the ferry terminal by 10.38am, passing Brodick’s War Memorial on the way,  Finally, by 10.55am even foot passengers need to have boarded the ferry and at 11am would be, hopefully, observing a two-minute silence prior to departure, as requested over the ferry’s public address system.

Would it not be more logical for the road to be closed after the closing vehicle check-in time, and after scheduled public transport had passed the War Memorial, say 10.45am?  Passengers arriving in Brodick on the 09.45am ferry from Ardrossan could be advised by the public address system/notices on the ferry not only that, but also when, the A841 would be closed for the Service of Remembrance, a luxury not afforded to those ‘not in the know’ travelling to catch the 11.05am sailing.  Further, the people of Brodick could observe the protocol of the Remembrance Day silence if not at, then closer to the 11th hour.

Yours,

P W Yates,

Catacol.

Concert cancelled

The carol concert, which has been held on the first Monday in December and which, to many, heralds the start of the Christmas season, cannot be held on that date this year.

This is because the High School and Lamlash Primary are using the community theatre for Christmas events, and so the dress rehearsal for Sound of Music, which is replacing the pantomime this year, has to take place on December 3, a week earlier than normal.

This means that many of those who would have taken part in, or attended, the Carol Concert cannot do so.

As a result, it has been agreed that the concert could not achieve the same variety and success of last year, and that reluctantly the concert has been cancelled, but it is hoped that the problem can be rectified next year.

Everyone will be welcomed at the various Christmas events in all the churches, and in Lamlash Church there will be the traditional service of readings and carols on December 9 with ARCO, and with a special collection for Clic Sargent (Scotland).

The decision to donate to this fund was made when the concert was set up by Mr John Dick, church organist and head of music in the high school in the early 1980’s in memory of a music student who passed away as a result of leukaemia while still at school.

Yours,

Ian Watt,
Session Clerk,
Lamlash Church.

Poppy thanks

Sir,

On behalf of my knitting friends, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to the cascade of poppies on Brodick Hall wall. Everyone’s generosity in giving their  time and effort to creating the poppies, ensured that It was a stunning display and we have received a great deal of messages from locals and visitors alike expressing their appreciation of the tribute commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.

I have also received donations of over £250 for Poppy Scotland, from people who admired the display which is a very respectable total, so thanks very much to all who contributed.

Many thanks also to the library staff who collected the poppies for us and to Ian and John for putting up and taking down the display.

Finally, it once more demonstrates that the community spirit in Arran is strong and people can be counted on to rally round, so many thanks to all.

Yours,

Jessmay Peacock,

Whiting Bay.