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Collapse of community councils

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By Rod Edgar

A BLOW to local government — that is the description of the collapse of a community council in Dumfries.

Loreburn Community Council and those in Thornhill and Closeburn have been forced to dissolve after the number of members appointed through the last round of elections dropped below 50 per cent.
Vice-chairman of Loreburn Father Andrew Crosbie said: “The legislation dictates that if at any point during the period the elected members drop below 50 per cent of the actual allocated number, then you can’t continue — you have to have a by-election.”
Father Crosbie says Dumfries and Galloway Council have responsibility for arranging a by-election within an eight-week period, but notes that the next scheduled elections were due to take place in October.
Stating Loreburn were aware of the looming problem, with chairman Dr Alex Smith having stood down last month, Father Crosbie said: “It’s not good for local government. Loreburn Community Council has spent a great deal of energy and time acting as an influence for the community over Dumfries and Galloway Council.
“There would have been no Loreburn Hall reopened, no Common Good Fund, Gordon Street would have been demolished.”
Father Crosbie says he cannot predict if Loreburn Community Council will be re-established.
He said: “I can’t speak for other people, because I don’t know who’s going to stand.”
But asked if he intends to continue serving, he added: “I’ve done a long time already.”
Dumfries and Galloway Council say that council officers will be working with the community councils regarding the process for the re-establishment of their community council.

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