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Hill group fights back against town rumours

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By Fiona Reid

A FIRM denial has this week been issued by a woodlands group in Moffat after escalating rumours about the future of the town’s Gallow Hill.

Moffat Community Woodlands Trust (MCWT) are in the process of buying the 33.4 hectares with the aim of replanting it as a mixed broadleaved woodland.

But group members are frustrated at postings on social media about them and bogus claims about their plans for the site.

They have issued a statement categorically denying that a mountain bike trail is on the cards.

It said: “We wish to make a few things absolutely clear – yet again. “There has been no agreement to build mountain bike trails on the hill; no contractors have been booked to survey, design or build trails, and there has been no conflict of interest or malpractice whatsoever in our recent recruitment process.

“We cannot keep reiterating the same points over and over again – it is detracting from our main focus to get on with purchase, planting and community engagement. If some (Facebook) posters don’t believe what we say, there is nothing more we can do.”

MCWT invited those with concerns to attend a recent meeting but say no-one showed and the group said: “We offer – again – to meet those with concerns at a mutually agreed time and place. If you don’t take up this offer, having not come to our meeting when invited, then we will just refuse to reply to your posts on the same subjects.”

Despite the claims being refuted by MCWT, some locals are still concerned that the trail will go-ahead.

One reader, who contacted this newspaper, believes it is a done deal owing to the appointment of a project officer with previous experience in the mountain bike field.

They said: “The issue seems to be that the trust is saying no decisions have been made on mountain bike route, but nobody will answer questions. Why would they hire an experienced mountain bike promoter if no tracks are going ahead?”

And concerned resident Andrea Reive is calling on the Trust to publish full details of the project officer jobs.

She said: “To restore credibility and our trust, all the Trust need do is publish in this newspaper, next week, both job descriptions for the newly hired project officers, so we can all see precisely what each individual has been hired, and is being paid trust funds, to do.”

Meanwhile, fake Facebook accounts set up to comment on the matter have been reported to the police.

Dumfries and West, Front

17th May

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