BAND GETS MARCHING ORDERS

RED tape and crazy licensing laws could finish off Milngavie’s famous pipe band.

For 50 years, the pipers have played in the town - often raising vital cash by holding outdoor precinct performances.

However, they are increasingly being made to scale mountains of paper work just to get permission to play - and then they have to wait for weeks to get everything processed and rubberstamped.

Founder Hector Cruickshank blasted the “stupid” regulations which, he claims, are now threatening the band’s future.

Police

Hector (74), from Milngavie, described how every time Miln-gavie Pipe Band want to play in the town centre they have to get prior permission from East Dunbartonshire Council’s legal services department.

The application then has to be passed to the police before it can be approved which can take anything up to three weeks.

He said: “The system is way over the top. We can’t survive without collections, but I don’t blame the council. I think the regulations are coming from higher up and the legal department is tied to the system.

“In the past we were at liberty to go out and play whenever it suited us but over the last couple of years a policy seems to have evolved. Now every time we want to play and raise funds I have to fill out a lengthy application form and submit it to them.”

Although Hector, who has been the band’s honorary president for the past three years, can appreciate why the council need to regulate the number of groups fundraising, he said: “In this day and age, with internet access, why can’t there be a more streamlined procedure?”

He added: “The issue was brought to a head last year when another fundraising group, which I’d rather not name, complained that we were reducing their income.”

On a good day Milngavie Pipe band can collect about £500, which is a very welcome revenue stream considering they get no funding from any other body.

As the custodians of Milngavie’s oldest building, The Corbie Ha’, the group need to find £23,000 just to replace the roof.

Hector said: “It’s an expensive business keeping the hall going. Last winter was one of the coldest for a long time and we had to keep the place heated all the time, so we have a quarterly gas bill of £1,000 for that period.”

Alistair Crichton, head of the council’s legal and democratic services, said: “The council has a legal duty to send all fundraising applications to the police for comment and this process can take 21 days or more to complete. This is the timescale we have to work to by law.”