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

 

DGCouncil welcomes funding for Community Enterprise Managers

Dumfries and Galloway Council has welcomed funding support from the Scottish Government through the South of Scotland Economic Partnership for the recruitment of Community Enterprise Managers in Annan/Langholm, Dumfries, Stranraer and Upper Nithsdale.

This is a pilot project, which has been developed alongside Scottish Borders Council. It is based on a successful Highlands and Islands Enterprise programme and has been awarded £510,000. The project will run for 12 months with lessons learned planned to be fed back to the development of community support within the incoming South of Scotland Enterprise. 

 The project will see specialist advisors work with the local communities to support new and developing projects which will have a positive local economic impact in towns and locations across the South of Scotland.  It aims to encourage an ambitious and enterprising approach to enterprising community and business activity including the potential to develop new, financially sustainable, projects.

Rob Davidson (Social Image)Councillor Rob Davidson, Chair Economy and Resources Committee said: “This project is a fantastic opportunity to pilot methods to support communities to deliver new services and projects with the intention of generating greater economic impacts within their localities.

In the Highlands and Islands this type of business support and planning has proved invaluable for community enterprises, and this is a chance to test if this type of approach can be adapted to suit some of the unique challenges we face in the south of Scotland.”

 Vice Chair, Archie Dryburgh said: “This funding is very welcome as it will enable us to  help develop new projects which are much needed to boost our towns’ local economy. The pilot will also make links and work in collaboration, where appropriate, with the Third Sector networks in Dumfries and Galloway, covering as wide a remit as possible.”

 The Council will work with host organisations in each of the four areas in Dumfries and Galloway to recruit appropriate staff to deliver the project.  The aim is for the Community Enterprise Managers to be in place by late Autumn.

MSP URGES PUBLIC TO GIVE VIEWS ON ROAD FUNDING AHEAD OF PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY DEADLINE

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth has urged road users to give their views to a Parliamentary Committee on the effectiveness of the current approach to road maintenance in Scotland and whether current funding levels are sufficient.

 

COlin Smyth

The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee are carrying out a Pre-budget inquiry into roads maintenance in Scotland, with a view to making recommendations to the Scottish Government ahead of them publishing their draft budget in December.

The deadline for evidence to the Committee--6 September - is fast approaching, although anyone wishing to give his or her views can also contact Colin Smyth, who is a member of the Committee, beyond this date as the Committee is not scheduled to consider the evidence until the end of September.

Scotland’s road network consists of almost 56,000km of roads, as well as footways, bridges, lightning, signs and lines. Local authorities are responsible for 25,600km of classified roads and 26,800km of unclassified roads. Transport Scotland is responsible for 3,600km of motorways and trunk roads, which make up only around 6% of the road network but account for a third of the traffic.

Audit Scotland, in a series of reports on roads maintenance in recent years, has been critical of the standard of local roads, within the context of declining budgets.

Colin Smyth said, “If there is one issue that can often dominate my inbox and advice surgeries it is complaints about the state of our roads. Despite often the best efforts of councils who spend millions on repairs and resurfacing, there is no doubt that the plague of potholes is getting worse not least because of Government budget cuts. That’s why the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee are carrying out a Pre-budget inquiry into roads maintenance in Scotland, with a view to making recommendations to the Scottish Government ahead of them publishing their draft budget in December. The Committee wants to hear from road users across Scotland, whether you area a large commercial transport operator, a small local businesses, a community groups or an individuals to develop a deep understanding of views on how our roads are being maintained. The call for evidence was made in June but with the deadline approaching I’m urging anyone who hasn’t submitted a view to do so soon, as it is vital that the voice of the south of Scotland is heard on a issue that impacts on so many people in our area.”

Leading businesswomen secure top accolades at the Scottish Women’s Awards 2019

Scottish Chambers of Commerce has lauded the winners of an awards scheme featuring female leaders in Scotland. The Scottish Women’s Awards 2019 highlighted the achievement of winners and finalists in Scotland. 

 

Sarah Medcraf

Sarah Medcraf, CEO of Moray Chamber of Commerce and Hazel Moffat, Partner of law firm DLA Piper and Directors on the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Board each received awards at the glittering ceremony held at Glasgow Crowne Plaza Hotel on Wednesday 28thAugust.

Sarah Medcraf won the Women of Influence award, whilst Alison Henderson CEO of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, was a finalist in the same category. Hazel Moffat received the Services to Law award for the 2nd year in a row.

Hazel Moffat

 

Dr Liz Cameron OBE, CEO of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Congratulations to all the award winners and finalists at the Scottish Women’s Awards. In particular I extend this to Hazel, Sarah and Alison whom I have the great pleasure of working with through the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network.

“It is worth highlighting that there is plenty of evidence to show that emphasis on diversity is key to business and economic success. SCC would like to see more female role models such as those we are highlighting today to inspire an inclusive style of leadership in business and civic Scotland. SCC is dedicated to playing its part in supporting the current and next generation of female business leaders and these awards will act as further inspiration for us all.”

DGCouncil to hold Information Event on the A716

An information session centred on keeping people who use the A716 safe during adverse weather will take place in early September.

 

A716 image from council

 

On Thursday 5 September from 4pm to 8pm in Drummore Primary School, DGCouncil’s Engineering Team will be holding a drop-in session to provide stakeholders and the local community updated with plans to make the A716 safer during adverse weather.  The road suffers coastal flooding emanating from high winds and increase rain fall, so DGCouncil is stepping up efforts to improve the system for closure of the road that links Drummore to The Rhins during adverse weather.

The information event will also address the impact on properties who have restricted access to and from the A716 and will advise on planned improvements to the main diversion route (the B7065) during the times that the A716 is shut.  Feedback received at this drop-in event on 5 September will shape the thinking of DGCouncil, in conjunction with key partner the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) into how the road can be effectively closed during adverse weather, as well as how it can be efficiently repaired and tidied after the worst of the weather passes, before being re-opened to traffic.

Speaking ahead of the event, Councillor Andy Ferguson, who is chairman of the Council’s Communities Committee said;

“This information session is very much two-way.  We need the views of the locals who use the road every day, who have lived there all their lives and who will be directly affected when the road is closed.  Our main objective here is to make the road closure as effective as possible so it keeps people safe but causes minimum disruption.  Please come along on Thursday 5 September and not only hear what we have to say and show you, but also to tell us what you see as options for the road closure.”

Vice Chairman of Communities Committee, Councillor John Martin also commented;

“The section of road we’re talking about here in the Kilstay Bay area is a relatively small section of the A716, but a vital section.  We’ve seen it shut several times in recent years as a result of coastal flooding and our Council wants to come up with a local solution to a local problem here.  The information event will let the local community have a real input on how we can do that.”

A report will be taken to the Tuesday 5 November meeting of Communities Committee detailing options for the road closure of the A716.

DGCouncil Building Links Across the North Channel

 

MEA delegationEconomic Growth is vital to Dumfries and Galloway and Dumfries & Galloway Council are keen to explore new ways to increase the region’s potential by working in partnership with neighbours.

The Council is already part of the successful Bordelands Inclusive Growth Deal partnership with the local authorities’ of Scottish Borders, Cumbria, Carlisle City and Northumberland and the council is now keen to build on this success with neighbours in the West.

 

 

 

With this in mind a delegation of Members from Dumfries and Galloway Council travelled to Northern Ireland (28th August) to spend two days meeting with Chief Executive Anne Donaghy, Mayor Maureen Morrow and Members of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. The two Council’s already have a shared history with the North Channel Partnership Group which was set up in 1999, and DGCouncil are keen to re-establish and build on this.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Maureen Morrow, said: "We have strong ties to Scotland, and Dumfries and Galloway, and I am delighted to welcome our visitors to Mid and East Antrim - an area with such a rich and proud Ulster-Scots heritage. This visit is all about building on our close relationship and exploring what we can do together to grow our respective economies for the benefit of all our citizens.

"We will also be exchanging ideas and shared learning, and showcasing just some of Mid and East Antrim's many tourism gems. We will be discussing our plans for significant investment locally through Belfast Region City Deal, as well as other ambitious development opportunities we are currently working on."

Chair of Mid and East Antrim's Borough Growth Committee, Councillor Gregg McKeen, welcomed the reinvigoration of the partnership. He said: "Our Scottish counterparts have a lot of experience in developing infrastructure, the economy and tourism, and we are keen to learn from that. This renewed partnership moves us beyond the original vision for the body. This will focus us on connectivity and infrasture, and how both areas can benefit from one another's development.”

The councils plan to discuss opportunities for greater joined up working on a number of key issues, including: improved infrastructure and connectivity, including roads and broadband; Brexit; ports and town centre regeneration; and tourism.

Rob Davidson, Depute Leader and Chair of Economy and Resources Committee said: “We face many similar challenges in terms of economic regeneration, demographics, and transport infrastructure. Both our regions are now part of significant growth deals and the time has never better for us to reinvigorate the North Channel Partnership and examine how we can work together to attract future investment.

I’d like to thank my colleagues in Mid and East Antrim for arranging a full programme which will really focus on areas of shared interest and potential joint projects. I hope that it will be the start of a fruitful relationship between our Councils and one which will deliver economic benefits for both our regions.”

Archie Dryburgh, Vice Chair of Economy and Resources said “‘We are looking forward to our visit to Mid and East Antrim council. The Statistics show how similar both councils are with the same issues and industries, there is a strong appetite in Dumfries and Galloway to reinvigorate our former arrangements to the benefit of both councils.

We want to thank Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Mayor Councillor Morrow and Councillors McKeen and Donnelly for the invite to restart what I hope will be a very fruitful relationship between our two councils.”