East Dunbartonshire residents ‘frozen out’ of council winter plan

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A councillor says he has major concerns that local residents have been frozen out by the Lib Dem/Tory controlled council regarding its plan to have the area ‘Winter Ready’.

Independent Councillor for Bearsden North Duncan Cumming hit out in response to the council’s winter plan to keep pedestrians and motorists safe, which was reported in last week’s Herald.

LibDem Councillor Susan Murray assured residents that the council is prepared for the coming months.

She said: “The people of East Dunbartonshire should know we are well placed and doing everything in our power to be prepared.”

But Councillor Cumming said: “I am upset and concerned our communities have not been consulted and as a result have been frozen out of making a significant contribution”.

Councillor Cumming said he witnessed himself the adverse weather last winter and received numerous representations from constituents about the Council’s reaction to the conditions, particularly in December 2017.

He said: “I proposed a motion to the Council and this was tabled to be presented on Thursday March 8, by which time the ‘Beast from the East’ had wrought havoc here”.

Councillor Cummings motion proposed the formation of an Elected Member/Officer Working Group to undertake a detailed review of the Council’s reaction to the recent winter conditions.

He moved this Working Group would undertake proper, detailed and meaningful consultation through the Community Council Liaison Committee, Community Councils, Residents’ Associations and the Emergency Services, and will give due consideration to any representations. He also moved that in developing the winter maintenance programme for 2018/19, officers have regard to the outcome of the Working Group’s review.

But Councillor Cumming’s motion was rejected by Tory, Lib Dem and SNP councillors and replaced with a review of winter maintenance undertaken by a scrutiny panel of Audit and Risk Committee.

Councillor Cumming said he was “horrified” at this 
approach.

He said: “My Motion had at its heart the community and would have afforded an opportunity for local people to engage in a proper, detailed and meaningful consultation.

“Under the current structure, the public can attend at meetings in Kirkintilloch, but are not allowed to participate. Many people have told me that they are appalled by this.”

At a recent Council meeting where the new Winter Service Plan was adopted, Councillor Cumming said he tried yet again to get the council to engage in a proper detailed and meaningful 
consultation process.

He said: “Regrettably the committee did not support me. I have also advocated 
additional supplies of grit should be available in the Bearsden and Milngavie area, and not just in Kirkintilloch which could involve a 20-mile round trip in potentially difficult road conditions.

“This is completely 
unacceptable and outrageous.”