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The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

Keep up to date with the latest news and stories from across Dumfries & Galloway.

 

MSP WELCOMES “LONG OVERDUE” END TO FIVE-YEAR “TEMPORARY” TRAFFIC LIGHTS ON SCOTLAND’S FORGOTTEN ROAD

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth has welcomed the news that work has been completed to reroute a section of the A76 at Enterkinfoot away from an unstable embankment- removing “temporary” traffic lights from the road for the first time in five years.

 

Colin Smyth at New A76

The new stretch of road opened to the public at the weekend. However, the local MSP warned that simply moving a stretch of the road a few yards was no substitute for proper investment in Scotland’s “forgotten road” to make it safer and to cut journey times, including adding more passing places.

Colin Smyth said, “To say this completed work is long overdue would be a major understatement. We have just marked the fifth anniversary of so-called temporary traffics lights being placed on the road, which reduced what is supposed to be a trunk road to a single lane. It really is quite shocking that it has taken so long to carry out what is ultimately a repair job. There will be a sigh of relief that the temporary lights have gone and the road is safer because it has been moved away from the embankment. However, I travelled the road several times at the weekend and although a couple of bends have been removed, there is no gain as far as journey times are concerned as the short stretch of road remains single carriageway in both direction”.

“As far as a road improvements are concerned this is a very modest spend. It is no substitute for proper investment to add passing lanes to properly upgrade what has become Scotland’s forgotten road. Without that investment communities in upper Nithsdale are going to continue to struggle to attract employers into the area”.

Election Policy Guides 2019

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The 2019 UK General Election is nearly upon us. Each of the major political parties in Scotland and across the UK have published their manifestos ahead of the country going to the polls next week.

DGChamber has summarised the key commitments that each of the major parties have made on different policy areas, including the economy, the environment and immigration amongst others.

 

READ SCOTTISH PARTY POLICY HERE

 

READ UK PARTY POLICY GUIDE

 

Come along and debate the key issues facing voters as we approach the General Election, DGChamber invites you to its General Election debate - DGDecides, chaired by Lee Medd.

D&G Candidates from all the major parties will make their pitch for your vote and answer your questions.

They are:

Richard Arkless - Scottish National Party

Alistair Jack - Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Ted Thompson - Scottish Labour Party

Mcnabb Laurie - Scottish Liberal Democrats

The event will be held at the Easterbrook Hall, The Crichton, Bankend Road, Dumfries.

Doors will open at 6.30pm, with the debate commencing at 7.00pm on 9th December 2019.

Admission is free but strictly by ticket only.

Dumfries and Galloway Council: Investment Programme Is Capital

The Council’s Communities committee [10 December 2019] will consider a report on its Infrastructure Capital Programme 2019/20.

The Council agreed its capital budget for 2019/20 to 2021/22 in February 2019, with an indicative 10-year Capital Investment Strategy. The agreed funding allocations for the Infrastructure Asset Class are:

  • 2019/20 £10.07m
  • 2020/21 ££9.5m
  • 2021/22 £9.5m

An additional £0.5m was allocated for planned structural overlays on roads for 2019/20 and 2020/21.

Members of the committee are being asked to:

  • Note the progress on the Active Travel Capital Programme and the need to refresh the Active Travel Strategy, which will include a multi-stakeholder event in Dumfries in April 2020;
  • Note the progress on replacing the Brow Well Bridge [B725];
  • Note the progress on managing road closures on the A716, Drummore, including feedback from community events;
  • Note the progress at Stranraer Harbour works, including proposals for public engagement.

The Active Travel Programme includes investment in non-motorised travel. Following the Council’s climate change emergency declaration, there is a responsibility to recognise and address climate change and take action.

Structural damage to the Brow Well Bridge, because of foundation failure, caused the B725 to be closed in September. Following the installation of a temporary bridge, the road reopened on 2 December. Work is ongoing to restore the original bridge.

Following 2 fatalities in November 2018, the Council accelerated plans for coastal defence works on the Drummore coastal road [A716] review the system to implement temporary road closure in extreme weather, identify most critical sections in extreme weather, and assess the main diversion route [B7065]. Following consultation, preferred measures for managing the flood risk, include permanent manual barrier, temporary diversion signage, improving the temporary diversion route, and emergency access/egress from the Grennan area.

Following concerns raised by the Health and Safety Executive [HSE], an automated barrier entry system has been installed and is operating at Stranraer Harbour. Provision of disabled parking and a proposed extension to the boatyard are currently being considered. Community feedback will be gathered in early 2020.

 

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Councillor Andy Ferguson, chair of the Communities committee, said:

“Improving travel links, improving road safety, repairing bridges, enhancing parking facilities, and developing economic opportunities are key issues for this region if we’re to make it a place where people want to live, work and do business. Our capital programme for infrastructure is an essential contributor to this.”

Councillor John Martin, vice-chair, said:

“Over the next 3 years our Council is committed to investing more than £30m on projects to improve and maintain the region’s infrastructure. This is vital for local people, local communities, and our local economy.”

Communities In Region Land Asset Class Cash

The Council’s Communities Committee [10 December 2019] will consider a report on its Capital Investment Strategy – Land Asset Class Capital Programme 2019/20 to 2021/22.

Committee members will be asked to:

  • Note the financial and physical progress on the projects;
  • Agree £7.5k expenditure at Sheuchan, Stranraer
  • Agree £5k expenditure at Glebe Cemetery, Stranraer

The Council agreed its capital budget 2019/20 to 2021/22 in an indicative 10 year Capital Investment Strategy in February 2019.

Projects in this year’s capital land asset programme are progressing.

Projects include:

  • Proposed new cemetery in Dumfries
  • Early of Galloway Monument
  • Inclusive play areas
  • Cemetery headstones
  • Sheuchan Cemetery, Stranraer
  • Glebe Cemetery, Stranraer

 

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Councillor Andy Ferguson, chair of the Communities committee, said:

“Land Asset investments from our Council’s Capital Investment Strategy such as these deliver a significant impact across our region, improving local assets and wellbeing.”

Councillor John Martin, vice-chair, said:

“These Land Asset Investments make a major contribution in our region. They enable us to maintain physical assets and deliver much needed new projects.” 

Dumfries and Galloway Council: Communities Coastal Fund Set To Be Established

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee will meet on Tuesday 10 December and will be asked to approve a report to establish a fund to benefit coastal communities.

As well as approving the fund’s creation, Members will also consider various proposals and agree arrangements and timescales for the fund.

Scottish Ministers agreed more than five years ago that 100% of the net revenue from the Scottish Crown Estate marine assets would be provided to local authorities for coastal community benefit.  The total funding for the whole of Scotland is more than £7million, with over £300k coming to Dumfries and Galloway.  This is the seventh highest award in Scotland, so is not an insignificant figure.

Funding will be used for new projects and initiatives but cannot be used for existing initiatives.  The report to members also sets out that applications can be for capital and/or revenue costs and any award needs to be used within 12 months of the award.  Applications must also demonstrate their contribution to Council priorities and the Climate Emergency Declaration.

Applications will open on Monday 13 January 2020 and will close some ten weeks later, on 23 March.  The Communities Committee will receive a report at its 21 April meeting, where awards will be agreed.  The Governance of the fund will also be managed by the Committee, who will receive a six-month report as well as an annual report on grants, awards and spend.

 

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Chair of the Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Andy Ferguson commented;

“I welcome the kickstart of this fund and would encourage all our coastal communities to have a real think about how they could use the funding for any new projects or initiatives that align to Council priorities.  It is a fairly short turnaround for applications, so the sooner our communities get their thinking caps on, the better.”

Vice Chairman, Councillor John Martin welcomed the report.  He said;

“We’ve got a proven track record of working well with coastal communities in the region and this fund will provide another strand to build on this work. Communities from Auchencairn to Stoneykirk is eligible in terms of the boundaries and could potentially benefit from this funding, but they need to apply between 13 January and 23 March next year.”

To view the report in full visit https://dumfriesgalloway.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=148&MId=4843