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Let’s tidy up Lockerbie

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By Fiona Reid
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Let’s tidy up Lockerbie

LET’S get Lockerbie looking better. That’s the message from the town’s community council to Dumfries and Galloway Council and the public.

At their meeting on Tuesday night members expressed frustration at the state of the town and called for action.

Issues highlighted ranged from blocked drains the length of Bridge Street, potholes in various streets around the town, weeds dominating flower beds in McJerrow Park and a lack of dog fouling signs in the park, to the plague of pigeons in the building above the Tower Chippy, filthy road signs, overgrown trees and verges and the state of the main roundabouts.

They would particularly like to see a new sign for the park itself and improvements at the entrances and exits to the town.

Chairwoman Jan Andrews said: “The entrances and exits to Lockerbie have always been a problem, it’s hellish at the four ends of the town.

“We would welcome visitors but we are getting discouraged because of simple things that would make it look better, like washing signs and cleaning up the roundabouts. We have been told we cannot do it for health and safety reasons.

“I am hearing the council’s community asset team who deal with these things do not have enough staff to do that work. When you drive into Dumfries, how wonderful it looks with flowers, and you drive to Lochmaben and the memorial is beautiful, then you drive to Lockerbie and it’s what?

“At the station they are filling the planters and when folk are getting off the trains it looks lovely then they walk out of the station and it’s a grey, dingy town. There’s nothing.”

The community council put out benches and planters but some have been damaged and Ms Andrews said: “We try to support the council because we were promised top up money for flower boxes but it never happened.”

Karen Agnew added: “It’s embarrassing.”

Outlining further hurdles faced, Ms Andrews added: “In general the signs are really bad. We brought this up a few years ago too and we were told at they time they were going to get addressed.

“Also, a ward officer asked us for improvements needed for Lockerbie, but it was just a tick box exercise. We discussed what were important things to tidy up the town and attract more visitors and reported them back but we have seen nothing happen.”

Addressing their complaints, Annandale North Councillor Stephen Thompson urged them, and townsfolk, to report any issues through the official council website.

However, he stressed that there are similar requests regionwide and said: “All work reported is going to the community asset team, which is already struggling at moment. It’s going to get to the point where there’s not the staff budget to do it all.”

On the roundabouts, he said: “The council would be happy to do something low maintenance and make it safe, like put gravel on there. The council will do that but it would put the kibosh on the idea of a squirrel.”

Members agreed it would be ‘better than it looks now’ and asked him to make inquiries.

Meanwhile, Cllr Thompson acknowledged Lockerbie can feel like the ‘poor cousin’ but said: “It’s not always comparing like for like. What the council are able to deliver and what people want them to deliver, there’s a gap.

“But I do take the point about Lockerbie and the inconsistent approach.”

However, he encouraged them to spread the word around the community and other groups who might be able to help.

“There’s a number of ways of looking at the problem,” he said: “If community groups are so minded and if there’s enough will in the community.

“It’s not that there’s not community support here, there are lots of online groups but they are not about the visual appearance of the town.”

Agreeing, Karen Agnew said: “We have not got a community group driving it, like a civic pride group. There are lots of groups here but they are not joined up.”

The issue will be discussed again at the group’s next meeting, in September, and anyone with ideas or suggestions should contact treasurer Helen Haggart at [email protected].

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