Jul 6 2012 by Jackie Grant, Dumfries Standard Friday
A DECISION to set up a sub-committee to deal with Dumfries Common Fund has been declared a “major victory” for the people of the town.
Nithsdale Area Committee on Wednesday agreed a recommendation to establish the committee.
Dumfries Common Good Fund is presently administered through the area committee but, until now, there has been no recognised application process for community organisations or individuals to apply for any funding available.
The new sub-committee will consist of six councillors and representatives from three community councils that cover areas contained within the old 1975 Royal Burgh of Dumfries boundaries.
During the meeting, an amendment moved by Labour councillor Tom McAughtrie was passed to double the number of Loreburn Community Councillors on the committee.
Other members will include those from Georgetown and Lochside and Woodlands community councils.
Delighted Loreburn Community Council chairman Dr Alex Smith said the move came as a result of a long campaign by them.
He added: “This decision is a major victory for local people and the wider Dumfries community.
“Loreburn Community Council is the only one that fully represents residents of the old royal burgh and increased representation will enable the new sub-committee to draw on the expertise of the Common Good Working Group, which the LCC established last year.”
Father Andrew Crosbie, who convenes that working group, said: “This is an historic day.
“But the hard work now begins in earnest. One of the sub-committee’s first tasks will be to investigate all council property sales so that the Dumfries Common Good Fund can be fully compensated for common good lands the council may have sold off unlawfully.
“We will also need to agree rental income for all common good properties the council currently use rent-free so that these revenues can be used to support activities that promote the common good of the wider Dumfries community.
“We will begin with the Loreburn Hall, a common good building the council is using rent-free as office space and storage but should be returned to community use forthwith.”