Alastair Majury on Letter to Stirling Observer about the DCC

I am grateful for the Stirling Observer printing Mr David McNeil’s letter to the Stirling Observer, highlighting the ongoing issues with the Dunblane Community Council not consulting our local community of Dunblane, and they also represent the communities of Ashfield and Kinbuck.

Stirling Council’s Scheme of Establishment for Community Councils available to read here, clearly states the following:

Statutory Purposes The statutory purposes of the Community Councils established under the Scheme are set out in Section 51 (2) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, as follows: —

‘’In addition to any other purpose which a Community Council may pursue, the general purpose of a Community Council shall be to ascertain, co-ordinate and express to the local authorities for its area, and to public authorities, the views of the community which it represents, in relation to matters for which those authorities are responsible, and to take such action in the interests of that community as appears to it to be expedient and practicable’’

Hopefully in future the Dunblane Community Council will feel able to ‘ascertain, co-ordinate, and express’ ‘the views of the community which it represents’.

The Scheme of Establishment for Community Councils also states:

The general purpose of Community Councils is to act as a voice for their local area. This will involve them articulating the views and concerns of local people in their area on a wide range of issues of public concern and making representations to their local authority, other public sector bodies and private agencies on matters within their sphere of interest. It is essential that these views be demonstrated to be accurately representative of the community. Accordingly, the Community Council will have in place, in consultation with the Council and other key stakeholders/partners, recognised consultative mechanisms to validate their views and devise strategies to secure greater involvement by all sectors of the community. Community Councils have a statutory right to be consulted on planning applications.

Hopefully in future the Dunblane Community Council will be able to demonstrate that the views they are passing to third parties such as Stirling Council and NetworkRail on our behalf are representative of the majority view.

I understand that in the past and current the Dunblane Community Council has used their members to establish general community views on most matters, using their networks (physical and virtual), as appropriate before passing a view to third parties such as Stirling Council and NetworkRail as being representative of the majority view of our community.

However, as we have seen this approach has not been shown not to result in the community’s majority view being correctly picked up by the Dunblane Community Council and hence an incorrect view being passed to third parties.

They made a decision on the North Parapet without consulting the wider community, and ignored the consultation which showed over 50% of the community preferred a solid Light Ivory colour as the option. More information available here.

The Dunblane Community Council also decided to misrepresent the situation with respect to the North Parapet. More information is available here.

Stirling Council has also confirmed that they would ordinarily expect community councils to promote the existence of Common Good Funds, and encourage local applications to apply to them. Bridge of Allan’s Common Good Fund has distributed nearly £50k, whilst Dunblane’s have had zero applications made to it since it has existed. More information is available here.

The Dunblane Community Council as part of the Dunblane Community Partnership proposed the controversial ‘Stirling Road Access for All’ project, which a majority of the community does not like, based on a recent survey. More information is available here.

The Dunblane Community Council again as part of the Dunblane Community Partnership also proposed similar ‘improvements’ around the Cathedral. Which the community rejected (in a Stirling Council run consultation), the Dunblane Community Council rejected our rejection of their proposals, and we were asked again (in a Stirling Council run consultation) and the community again rejected their proposals. The now former Dunblane Community Council Chairman however still wanted to proceed with the ‘improvements’ around the Cathedral even though the community had twice rejected them.

It is therefore clear that Dunblane Community Council’s network is not providing them with a representative view of what a majority of our community wants.

I understand that the Dunblane Community Council are due to discuss this issue at their June meeting, and I trust that they will adopt a different approach that complies with the Scheme of Establishment and similarly to the Bridge of Allan Community Council and other community councils throughout the Stirling Council area will actually start consulting the community before they provide a view on our behalf.

This will enable them to demonstrate that these views are then ‘accurately representative of the community’ as the Scheme of Establishment requires them to do so.

Alastair Majury resides locally in the historic Scottish city of Dunblane, and is a Senior Regulatory Business Analyst working across the country. Alastair Majury is also a volunteer officer at the local Boys’ Brigade company, a charity which focuses on enriching the lives of children and young people, and building a stronger community. Alastair Majury also serves on the local council (Stirling Council) as Councillor Alastair Majury where he represents the ward of Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, topping the poll.

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