Councillors grilled over stance on social club row

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ADVICE is being sought by Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk community council over whether it can support the social club's dispute with Legion Scotland.

Langholm Social Club is seeking support over its dispute with Legion Scotland from the community council
R Norris
Langholm Social Club is seeking support over its dispute with Legion Scotland from the community council

At its May meeting the councillors agreed that because the club was in a legal dispute over ownership of the premises, it could not write a letter of support as a council. However, members said they supported the club as individuals.

At this month's meeting David Patterson, chairman of the trustees, attended the meeting with other members and asked why the councillors decided not to write a letter of support for their cause.

He said: "It gave me the impression that you're not bothered whether it closes, although councillors were allowed to write their own letters.

"I take it as a given that councillors would act in the best interests of the community which you represent or to at least hear why we're fighting this case.

"I was really surprised to read that no letters of support are being written because everyone else has done it.

"Our two MSPs have written to Legion Scotland. I don't think it would look very well if I had to say we don't have your support. Would you like to reconsider your position or like to have more information?

"We could meet outside this forum and you could tell me why you don't want to offer your support.

"Although it is a members' club and we have 400 members, it's used by all in the community."

Margaret Sanderson said the club had every member's individual support but, because it was going to court, they could not support it collectively."

Billy Young said if the club closed, it would mean even more job losses and another empty building.

Mrs Sanderson agreed to contact Dumfries and Galloway Council to clarify whether they could write a letter of support.

Kevin Gray, Legion Scotland's chief executive, said: “We have, from the outset, aimed to find an amicable solution to this issue. The legal route is regrettable but unavoidable.

"We have a responsibility to our 28,000 members to protect Legion Scotland’s interests and assets. We have presented a number of different options which we believe are reasonable, in good faith and would achieve the outcome we all want, to ensure the club’s continued use by the former members and wider community. We remain hopeful an amicable solution can be found."

Referring to South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine's comments in the E&L Advertiser last week, he said: "We welcome her intervention and have already responded to her letter in detail.

"There is little to be gained by having this debate in the media which is why we hope Ms McAlpine will accept our invitation to meet so we can find a solution which is acceptable to all parties.”

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 10:38AM
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