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It’s a bunting ‘disgrace’!

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By Euan Maxwell
It’s a bunting ‘disgrace’!

MOFFAT and District Community Council were this week branded a “disgrace” after refusing a grant towards bunting for the upcoming Jubilee celebrations.

It comes after Moffat Civic Pride applied to them for £500 for bunting.

That was rejected so now they have clubbed together with Moffat Town Hall Trust and Moffat Promotions to raise the cash instead.

But Promotions group chairwoman Linnhe Cringean said: “We are livid and it’s a disgrace.

“The assumption we all made was that the community council would do something to celebrate the Jubilee.

“It’s not only that but they bang on about Moffat being a tourist town and trying to get our name out there. Well by doing this they are going to get their name out there as people who don’t support a Jubilee.”

Community council treasurer David Booth explained at Tuesday’s meeting that after e-mailing members, he only had four responses with two “not keen” – it was therefore rejected.

He added: “Based on that as I didn’t get anymore responses I didn’t want Rosemary to place an order for something that we could not defend and not discuss.

“Since then other members have come forward and stated they would’ve supported it. But it had already passed its sell by date.

“I don’t want to lead people on and suggest they’ll get funds and not give them the funds. We’re trying to be transparent and honest and trying to do the best for the community.”

When asked by members of the public for the objections to the decorations, community councillor Fiona Murray stated there was “insufficient information” in the application, including the overall cost, the location and how long it would be up for.

Ms Murray said: “Is this just for the Jubilee? Also, will having red, white and blue bunting have a short shelf life and is that something we’d want up in the town all year round? The colours red, white and blue are not going to suit everyone. That’s potentially an issue.”

Ms Cringean – who owns 17 Reasons – noted that the bunting would be going up the High Street and Well Street.

She added: “It could be up all year round or up during the visitors’ season. We had bunting up before and it did improve footfall up the street.

“Red, white and blue are standard colours and I’m not quite sure what the objection is. It’s not a Union Jack if that’s what people had an objection too. The colour is completely irrelevant and I think anybody picking up on red, white and blue is petty and quite frankly really disappointing.”

Resident Anne Gibbard said: “What we’re trying to do is to improve the environment for visitors and locals alike.

“Surely the community council wants to build community support and a sense of community within the town. This is an ideal opportunity to have done something for that but you’ve just missed it.”

As the meeting got heated, community councillor Sasha Carlyle expressed disappointment at the situation, adding: “This application wasn’t discussed. It was put out on an email. We have done nothing to contribute towards this celebration which is very disappointing – and it must be more so to the local community.”

Mr Booth clarified the situation with retrospective grants, saying: “We don’t do that, fact. Unless there’s a compelling reasons to do so.

“If the bunting has been bought, it’s been bought. We can’t go changing rules, legal rules, unless there’s a very good reason to do so.”

Afterwards, resident Evelyn Carlisle said: “The community council are non-political and two of them objected to the red, white and blue, which is political. They are not representing the people of the community by saying that.

“The application wasn’t even discussed properly.”

A disappointed Rosemary Thomson, secretary of Civic Pride, added: “We realised that nobody was doing anything here. Everywhere is celebrating it. It really should’ve been discussed months ago.

“I went round cap in hand around businesses in Moffat and every single one I went to has given me cash towards the bunting.”