Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Victory for Democracy as Labour get Garnock Site Selection Delayed
The Labour Group on North Ayrshire Council is claiming a victory for local democracy after it forced the SNP Administration to delay the enforcement of a controversial proposal to site the new Garnock Campus at Longbar. The delay will allow time for consultation with Garnock Valley parents.

At the Council meeting of 19th September the decision on a proposal to site
the school Campus at Longbar was deferred until the next council meeting in
November.   Speaking at the Council debate Garnock Valley Labour Councillor John Bell
said;   "The location of a development like this is a major decision which will have a huge impact on Kilbirnie and Beith. The SNP leadership has tried to force this through without allowing parents and the community time to consider the change of site.  It's sharp practice by the SNP to officially tell the community only 6 days before the decision was to be made and giving them no opportunity to present their case to councillors. The decision is wrong and the process is flawed."

"Because of concerns raised by Garnock Valley residents about the unsuitability of the Longbar site at the statutory consultation the new Garnock Campus was planned to go to a site near Stoneyholm Road. For some reason the SNP have changed that and want to put it in exactly the wrong place.   "Given that they had no time to respond, it is remarkable that locals have organised a 500 signature petition which I have delivered to the council Chief Executive." 
"Four possible sites had been involved in the original consultation. Locals were strongly in favour of sites on Largs Rd and Stoneyolm Road. If these sites were chosen it would mean most of the schools users, the 970 nursery primary and secondary pupils from Kilbirnie, would be within reasonable
walking distances.   It also means that secondary pupils from Beith and Dalry would continue to
be eligible for free school transport."
A majority of councillors supported a motion to defer the decision in order to allow consultation with parents and to give an opportunity for the petioners to present their case to the Councils Scrutiny and Petitions

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

What do SNP have against Kilbirnie and Beith ?

Since the council elections in May a number of promising proposals for Kilbirnie and Beith have been cut or changed so much they will do real and lasting damage to the area.

An upgrade to the A737 has been announced but will not include the required safety improvements  to the junctions at Barrmill Road and Gateside Road on the Beith Bypass.

The revised Local Development Plan has been published for consultation, with the plan for Large Scale Regeneration of Lochshore removed leaving the council to concentrate on Ardrossan Harbour.

Then there is the replacement for Garnock Academy where they seem set in changing a major opportunity into a disaster by locating in in the no mans land of Longbar. They think saving  money from removing school buses from Beith is more important than choosing the best site for a school.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Local Development Plan, the SNP changes

This is the section that the SNP councillor had removed from the Local Development Plan.
The Section titled RES 9 : Large Scale Regeneration Opportunities

Lochshore, Glengarnock
Proposals for a residential led enabling development will be supported provided such proposals form part of an approved comprehensive masterplan for the area. Such development will establish or contribute to an existing Town Centre Regeneration Fund and also provide a basis for improvement to the existing business/industrial development at Lochshore South, which may include its rationalisation and/or consolidation. The masterplan will demonstrate the creation of direct links with Kilbirnie Town Centre and also on the major opportunity for creation of a well connected green network in the area.
The masterplan will also set out in detail the proposed phasing for the development, including timescales.
Provision of an education campus on the site would also be supported.
The development of land at Caledonian Road outwith the control of the majority landowner lies within the masterplan boundary and will require to consider links to the wider masterplan site.

Now the only major Regeneration Opportunity being pursued in North Ayrshire is for Ardrossan Harbour.

Should you want to make a case for Kilbirnie please get the forms from the website

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

North Ayrshire Council invests in local jobs, young people and protecting the vulnerable

North Ayrshire Council is to invest millions of pounds tackling unemployment, protecting vulnerable people and investing in the area's young people.
The Council is able to make this investment thanks to good housekeeping and prudent financial management over the last few years.
Around £4m will be invested in the Council's core priorities, including:
  • Early intervention and Prevention, including parenting programmes, child protection, family centres and tackling domestic violence - £920,000
  • Investment in a range of schemes to stimulate economic activity and job opportunities across North Ayrshire – over £1m
  • Increased allocation to the capital investment programme – around £800,000
  • Mentoring vulnerable children, supporting educational attainment and developing excellence among young people – almost £300,000
  • Increasing Council living wage to £7.20 per hour
  • Increasing level of funding to the Older People Change Fund
Speaking after the Council approved its budget for 2012/13 today, Leader of the Council David O'Neill, said: "By approving this budget today, we are investing in the most pressing areas of need in North Ayrshire.
"We will make this investment despite facing a funding shortfall of £23.3m over the next three years and a poor grant settlement compared with some wealthier authorities.
"Our staff have worked incredibly hard and have responded positively to the challenges of the last few years and this has allowed us to invest in the Council's priority areas of job creation, early intervention and prevention.
"It is clear that next few years will continue to be challenging. However, I am confident that we can continue to show the right attitude while providing quality frontline services to the people of North Ayrshire."
The Council agreed a total spend of over £450 million for the forthcoming financial year (2012/13).
Agreed efficiency options totalling £4.9m in 2012/13 include improved contracts and tenders; the personalisation of care for people with disabilities, and a redesign of Council services.
Elected Members also approved indicative options of £7.1m for 2013/14 and £2.37m for 2014/15
They also approved a Capital programme for the next four years. A total of £126m is available to fund a wide range of capital projects between 2012 and 2016. Projects approved include:
  • Additional investment in the school estate, including Irvine East Primary School and Garnock Campus – approximately £43m
  • Investment in core infrastructure, including roads, lighting, vehicles and waste – approximately £16m
  • Resources for first phase of Upper Garnock Flood Prevention Strategy - £2m
The Council also agreed a lower rent increase than had been anticipated and potentially increasing investment in Council Housing stock. In 2012/13 rents will increase by 2.25% rather than the anticipated 5.5%. Additional resources will also be made towards achieving and exceeding the Scottish Housing Quality Standard.
Further investment in the Council's housing in 2012/13 includes:
  • Improvements to existing housing, including a minimum of 1,290 window replacements, 850 new kitchens and 720 new bathrooms - £26m 
SNP Council ignores Garnock opinion and chooses “worst” site for school
Councillor John Bell attacked the “disgraceful decision” of SNP Councillors to defy the majority local opinion in the Garnock Valley, and the opinion of the Council’s own consultants, on the site of the proposed new Garnock Campus.
At a recent Council meeting on the preferred site for the Campus, it became clear that the ruling SNP group is determined to site the Campus at Longbar, Beith despite sites in this area being previously rejected following extensive consultation with parents and pupils. Consultants commissioned by the Council had recommended 2 sites, off Largs Road and off Stoneyholm Road, as providing the best opportunity. The consultants also judged that the Longbar site was the worst of all the options available.
Councillor John Bell said
“The SNP’s decision to ignore the views of Garnock Valley voters on this matter is wrong-headed and illogical.
"Choosing Longbar as the site would be a disaster for parents and pupils in Kilbirnie and Beith as well as Kilbirnie town centre shops and businesses. The Longbar site is isolated and too far from the main housing areas and will mean an increased reliance on cars and buses to get kids to school. It will also mean that pupils from Beith will have a long and exposed walk, in all weathers, to the SNP’s preferred site. The SNP seem more eager to save money by cutting free school transport for Beith pupils than they do in choosing the best site for the Campus.”