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Debate over lamppost banners

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
Debate over lamppost banners

A COMMUNITY group is seeking permission to display banners on lampposts in the region – but Dumfries and Galloway councillors have reservations.

Kirkconnel and Kelloholm Children’s Gala Committee members are keen to promote what’s going on in their villages by attaching banners and motifs to street lamps in the area.

However, some elected members are worried it could lead to unwanted political material appearing all over the area, and a “free-for-all” with posters and banners further down the line.

Mid and Upper Nithsdale Councillor Jim Dempster spoke on behalf of the Kirkconnel and Kelloholm group at the recent Dumfries and Galloway full council meeting, and called for the group’s request to be supported and finalised at a future communities committee.

He said: “They’re looking for permission to attach banners along the lamp stands in the village, and it’s simply a means of promoting and enhancing the economic opportunities in the village to celebrate all that’s good about Kirkconnel and Kelloholm, and importantly as far as we are concerned, it’s community empowerment.

“It’s giving Kirkconnel and Kelloholm Gala Committee the support that they need to deliver what they feel is best for their community.”

Councillor Andrew Wood, who also serves the Mid and Upper Nithsdale area, seconded the motion, saying: “It is very much about empowering the community, supporting local organisations, strengthening the local economy – and there’s no additional cost to the council for recognising health and safety.

However, some councillors were not fully switched on to the lampposts idea, expressing concern at last week’s meeting.

Councillor Archie Dryburgh, leader of the Labour Group, said: “I’m happy to support it, however there is one thing I would suggest to add to it – and that would be no political banners.

“We don’t want to be in a position where we’re like South Lanarkshire and Aviemore where there’s nothing but party logos all over street lighting.”

Stephen Thompson, leader of the SNP Group, said he would “thoroughly echo” this, while Dee and Glenkens Councillor Dougie Campbell warned there may be potential for a ‘free-for-all’ across the region with posters, banners, stickers, adverts, and political material.

He added: “I think the best option here would be for a report to go to the communities committee so that all the implications that could arise are properly explored.”

Meanwhile, Castle Douglas Councillor Pauline Drysdale said: “I’d support this motion, but I’d like to remind my fellow councillors that the Kirkcudbright, Annan, and Stranraer community would be extremely grateful, when it comes to communities, to incorporate info banners regarding not feeding the gulls, anti-littering, and no dog fouling – which I am always sending to the communities committee.

“In Ayrshire and Arran Council it does work well there.”

It was agreed that the banners on street lighting issue will be passed onto the communities committee where the finer details can be agreed.

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