Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Labour denounces lack of consultation on cut-down Garnock Campus

Labour councillors have expressed their anger over the consultation process for the Garnock Campus which has been scaled down by the SNP.
The Labour Councillor for the Garnock Valley, Cllr John Bell, has expressed his anger at the continued lack of consultation and voiced safety concerns over the new Garnock Campus, after a meeting was arranged at 24hrs notice to prepare Councillors for a planning application for the Campus. Commenting on the reduced sports facilities in the plan, Cllr Bell claimed that £1m would have been available for these facilities if the Campus had been built on the original site at North Lochshore. Cllr Bell also criticised the lack of time and detail allowed for local parents and Councillors to influence the Campus’ design.
Speaking after the display boards were revealed on 24th April, Councillor Bell said;
 “This so-called consultation is totally inadequate for a complex project like the new Garnock Campus. Despite the real concerns expressed about the distance and safety of walking routes to the remote Longbar site, the consultation provides little information on how pedestrians will access the Campus never mind outline the works which must take place to improve the safety of routes from the towns.”
“The SNP Administration is not even providing the level of facilities initially promised, with only one grass football pitch and a synthetic rugby field planned. An extra £1million would have been available for these facilities had the school been built on the Town Centre Kilbirnie, a site offered for free, rather than the SNP’s remote and costly site at Longbar. Now, ironically, much of the Longbar site is to be left as marsh-land as it has been deemed too expensive to provide adequate drainage.”
The SNP shambles continues, they forced through the choice of a remote isolated site, despite overwhelming community opposition, despite the fact that a better site was available at no cost and now they have to cut back on the facilities due to the limitations of their chosen site.” 
NAC Labour Group Leader Cllr Peter McNamara commented: 
“In previous North Ayrshire school building projects the previous Labour Council allowed time for consultations with Pupils, Staff, Parent Councils and the wider community. We consulted on the design of the schools, layout, safe access for the staff and pupils and even on the detail of the colour schemes and types of furniture that would be used. The opinions of local people and groups were taken into account because Labour believes that they are important and, if they are ignored, the consultation will fail.”

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Labour denounces “Almighty Shambles” of SNP’s Development Plans

The Labour Group on North Ayrshire Council has expressed dismay at the lack of strategic economic development planned for North Ayrshire in the SNP’s Local Development Plan (LDP) and National Planning Framework (NPF3), describing the lack of serious development an “almighty shambles”.
Speaking after the LDP was formally adopted, Garnock Valley Councillor John Bell said;
 “The content of both of these plans has been dictated by the SNP and both are inadequate for the needs of North Ayrshire in the 21st Century.”
 “Planned developments in the Garnock Valley were stopped in their tracks by the SNP’s decision to remove housing allocation from the North Lochshore site, thus blocking an agreement with Scottish Enterprise to develop the site and the wider area.”
“Now, ironically, the Scottish Government has restored planning permission for houses at North Lochshore, with the result that there is the possibility of houses, which are welcome but not an essential need, while the associated economic development, which is desperately needed, has been lost.”
“It’s such an almighty shambles. You couldn't make it up. And it’s the responsibility of the SNP at Holyrood and in Irvine.”
“Following on from the disaster of the Garnock Campus, you honestly wonder what the SNP has against the Garnock Valley. 
North Coast Councillor Alex Gallagher, who has campaigned for strategic status to be retained at the Hunterston Peninsula, said; 
“The removal of Strategic Development status from Hunterston in NPF3 means that there are no planned developments of national importance in all of North Ayrshire. It is predicted that there will be power shortages in the medium term, but the SNP’s blind opposition to nuclear power means that Hunterston, which has been a site of national importance for 60 years,  has been left with no viable future.”
“It is a tragedy that, through the actions and decisions of the SNP locally and in Edinburgh, we have been left with no prospect of substantial economic development in North Ayrshire. I doubt if there has ever been a more inept administration in the history of Cunninghame North or North Ayrshire Councils.”

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Labour demands answers on Campus land costs Site at North Lochshore could have been acquired free

The Labour Group is questioning the cost of purchasing the land at the Longbar for the new Garnock Campus after it was confirmed North Lochshore could have been acquired for free.
After the Scottish Government re-instated planning permission for the site at North Logshore, a site which the council could have had at no cost for the proposed Garnock Valley Campus, the Labour Group on North Ayrshire Council has demanded to know the costs of buying and preparing the land at Longbar which is the current chosen site for the Campus.
Garnock Valley Councillor and Labour’s Education spokesman Cllr John Bell said; 
“We believe that a large amount has been spent on the Longbar site before any design work has been started. It makes no sense in light of the fact that the land at North Lochshore could have been had for free.”
“Given that the Council is currently cutting vital services to our constituents, it is a scandal that the Nationalists are prepared to waste such a huge amount on a site which is not nearly as suitable nor as popular with parents and pupils of the Garnock Valley and which would have saved a large amount of much needed cash for other vital services.” 
Cllr Alex Gallagher, Vice Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, said: 
“Previous attempts to address this matter through Scrutiny were stymied by SNP manoeuvring to ensure the matter never got to the Scrutiny Committee."
“The question to the portfolio holder is yet another attempt to force the SNP to shed some light on their murky dealings in this matter."