The County You Live, Work And Play

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Community Council Has Knuckles Rapped


03/04/16





























Bill Arthur


The row over the access road for construction traffic for the new Halfmerke Primary School has gone up a gear after a letter sent to East Mains Community Council and read out at their last meeting refutes claims made by the group.

It also reminds the community council that it has “a responsibility to ensure that it carries out its activities in accordance with its constitution and the Scheme of Establishment of Community Councils.”


The group have questioned the council’s decision to allow the access road through the green space and the community council claimed, after assurances it was temporary, a contract obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, clearly states the East Kilbride Open Cattle Society can retain it if they choose.

East Mains Community Council also say the contract outlines a number of payments to the cattle society but in their letter the council say these statements are “incorrect and/or defamatory” and should not have been issued in statements made by the community council or comments at public meetings.

Speaking at this month’s meeting chairman of the community council, Bill Arthur said they were forced into an FOI after the council failed to clarify a number of issues into the access road and that they have now put the matter in the hands of The Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh.


He said: “We are not and had no intention of making statements which are defamatory – we are simply asking questions but haven’t been getting the answers.

“Surely we are allowed to ask questions of the local authority?

“It is hard to have an open dialogue with the local authority when you feel like it is a case of Big Brother is watching you. I do find it difficult to fathom, when we are trying to represent the interests of local residents and carry out our duties to the local community to the best of our ability, that we are being told we have acted inappropriately.

“We made three separate requests for officials from the council to come and explain the contract and the legalities to us but all three requests were refused – maybe if someone had come and spoken to us we wouldn’t have reached this impasse.

“All the paperwork we have on this matter is now with the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh so they can try and extrapolate the relevant information and confirm the council went through all the due processes in relation to this.

“Quite frankly, we have struggled to get our head around all the legal jargon and what exactly was involved in this – we are all volunteers and if even our elected members find it hard to extrapolate information from these documents then how are we meant to?”


Daniel Lowe, executive director of housing and technical services, said: “A sum of £30,000 was agreed to compensate the society for any losses or costs incurred and discussions regarding the reinstatement of the park will take place before the end of the agreement.

“This was agreed by council officers under delegated authority, in line with standing orders.

“It is precisely because this figure and other aspects of the agreement are already public that we were able to release it to East Mains Community Council when they submitted their Freedom of Information request. So it would be quite wrong to suggest that there has been any lack of governance or accountability.

“The council refutes any allegation of wrongdoing.”