Council comments’ disingenuous’

THE ASSOCIATION of Residents of Cliffburn and Hayshead (ARCH) has expressed disappointment at comments made by an Angus Council spokesperson in response to an article featured in this newspaper last month.

ARCH chair Margot Reilly said this week that she felt that some of the comments made were to say the least disingenuous.

She continued: “While we acknowledge the support of Angus Council in providing the funding to employ a community development worker and the fact that they provide the funding for our office in Mayfield Terrace, it should be remembered that during the regeneration of Cliffburn we raised £256,000 from a variety of funding bodies to equip the community park.

“The spokesperson said that the council had agreed that there would be a lead officer attending meetings rather than several officers all attending one meeting. This has happened only in the last two weeks and was a suggestion of one of the local elected councillors. While we look forward to working with this officer there has so far been no contact. The spokesperson also said that the community development worker was to support the group and enable the community to develop ideas from grassroots level.

“I am very confident that this has and is being done and we are working on several ideas at the moment. However, our main focus is on trying to establish a community hub and again we have managed to raise funding to carry out a feasibility study by a professional architect who has experience designing community facilities.”

Mrs Reilly continued: “We would like to know how Angus Council is going to support us in our venture to get a community hub. We had asked our architect to look at two possible sites, one being behind the shops in Mayfield Terrace and the other in Seaton Park.

“We also have been investigating sources of funding from the Big Lottery and there are two programmes that we might be able to apply to. However, one of the programmes requires the community to own the asset, i.e. the land, and we asked if this would be possible. We were quite firmly told that we could not afford it yet two weeks later another officer told us that there were ways that the council could give land for a nominal sum.

“The spokesperson said that everything asked of the council has been delivered but we have made protestations about the lack of maintenance of the Cliffburn Community Park and requested a meeting with council officials almost three months ago and still no meeting has been arranged.”

She concluded, “We want to succeed, we want to work with partners, we want to achieve things for our area but what we don’t need is mixed messages. A senior officer of the council at least a year ago said that there was unfinished business in Cliffburn with regard to the regeneration but unfortunately one year on we are still unsure what was meant by this.”

A spokesperson for Angus Council said: “As stated previously, one lead officer from the council will liaise with ARCH and looks forward to working with them to progress their ideas and plans for the area.

“The council’s support for ARCH, in terms of a financial contribution to their work to support the development of housing plans, and also proposals to assist ARCH with land - leased for a nominal sum - for a community facility, was agreed by the Neighbourhood Services committee.

“These reports are available on the council’s website.”