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Letters | 11th December 2020

A comprehensive report from Councillor Ronnie Tait


ONE of the most contentious issues brought to my attention is roads.

We have many B roads which were not built to take the amount of traffic inflicted on them today.

We have an ongoing programme of works on many roads in the ward and many streets have been repaired in the past three weeks, nine in total. Again, this is always ongoing.

I am contacted all the time about the traffic lights on the B7068 near the old Wauchope Schoolhouse.

I can confirm there is a longstanding dispute between the council and the landowner who has now been identified so, hopefully, they will finally come up with a works plan.

I am sure you will have noticed new road markings in Charles Street, John Street and David Street.

These streets have had car buffers put down in the parking bays to stop the bonnets of cars encroaching onto the pavement.

There has also been a programme of gulley-cleaning in Canonbie and Langholm which has not yet been completed.

I contacted Scottish Water some time back to see whether it would lift some of its inspection chambers which had dipped below the existing road levels. This has been completed successfully.

I also asked for the safety barriers at the end of the Buccleuch Park bridge to be widened and this has been done.

There was some hard lobbying by myself to have the bankings cut in George Street, Elizabeth Street and the Kirk Wynd after the council operatives were instructed by their manager not to cut these this year. The reasons for not cutting the bankings were strange because they had, for a considerable time, always been cut twice a year.

Flood protection scheme:

As a supporter of the Townfoot Sports Centre redevelopment, I’m very concerned about the flooding issue highlighted to the working group by the council.

The council will maintain its objection to any proposed redevelopment on the flood plain which the sports centre itself is on.

I sincerely hope they can come up with some solution to this.

As I have highlighted on many occasions, Langholm needs a flood prevention scheme because most developments, I suggest, will be near the river, especially if the project is for public use.

Transport Scotland

The special projects team have been advised to re-advertise the proposed loading and waiting restrictions again because the 20mph zone will not proceed, a decision made by Transport Scotland and the council, based on recent speed surveys.

Several constituents have contacted me about the high retaining wall on the left-hand side of the road near the Skippers Bridge going south.

I contacted Amey in June and sent photos. Instructions were pipelined to BEAR Scotland to inspect and repair.

I had a meeting on site last week with two engineers from BEAR and, hopefully, they will repair it soon.

A proposal to put up a warning indication sign that children are crossing south of the junction at Hallpath has been pipelined from Amey to BEAR.

I have always had a good rapport with Amey and BEAR so trust this will continue.

Post Office

Having been heavily involved in securing a post office van service in Langholm and working to have it operating from the customer service centre in the town hall, I was amazed to read the headline in the E&L Advertiser last week announcing the arrival of the post office in the Co-operative in 2021.

There has certainly been no recent discussion between the Post Office Counter section and the Co-operative, only when the post office in Langholm closed and it was trying to get another retailer to take it on.

This was unsuccessful with the Co-operative and one other retailer.

The existing service provider is extremely disappointed with the headline in the paper.

I am pleased to say the post office is moving back into the public library in the town hall on January 6, providing COVID-19 behaves itself.

The opening hours will be Wednesday from 10am to 3.30pm and Friday from 9am to 2pm, an extra two hours as they were previously.

Suspension Bridge

I asked one of the chief engineers to inspect the suspension bridge because a constituent called me last week to tell me about some unusual movement at the John Street end of the bridge.

He came on Thursday and contacted me on Friday to say there were no immediate concerns.

Major refurbishment on the bridge will take place in May 2021.

Some good news in Langholm about projects which have started.

Firstly, the extra care housing at Murtholm. This will help keep the elderly in their own community and, most importantly, secure the future of Thomas Hope Hospital. Well done.

The development of the former TG Graham’s yard into business units is exactly what Langholm has needed for years. I’m sure there will be no problems filling them. Well done.

The medicinal cannabis oil farm, which will create 35 to 40 jobs, is exactly what Langholm needs after the demise of the textile industry.

We always assumed there would never be a big employer in the area again. Well done.

The Eskdale Foundation’s project transforming the former police station into affordable housing and bringing an old building back to life. Well done.

To summarise the above: caring for the elderly is most important as is helping businesses, creating jobs and providing good-quality, affordable housing.

I congratulate all the businesses, old and new, for working through a very difficult year. Well done.

Finally, I would like to wish everyone as best a Christmas as possible and certainly a more happy and prosperous New Year.

Councillor Ronnie Tait

Annandale East and Eskdale

Dumfries and Galloway Council

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