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The Council’s controlling Labour Administration have agreed to gift more than £1.5m of Council land in Alexandria to Lidl with little in the way of community benefit or meaningful regeneration.
SNP Councillors asked for the issue to be continued, and decided in a couple of weeks at the full Council meeting. This would allow new Councillors to be brought up to speed on the local development plans and for officers to bring options forward for Council housing to be built on the site as an alternative to Lidl.
Council Leader, Cllr Martin Rooney claimed there was no need for a continuation as new members would have had an opportunity to discuss the plans with experienced Councillors. It then transpired that Cllr Rooney himself did not know the basics of the deal, and even had to be informed by the SNP and Council Officers that Lidl were not paying the Council for the Alexandria Town Centre site.
Despite this revelation, the Council Leader moved that the Council go ahead and given the site to Lidl for free, that the Council looks for a developer for the housing aspect of the site and that the Council delivers any public realm improvements after the Lidl store is built; having received the £1.5m+ site for free, Lidl are contributing a mere £100k for local improvements.
Labour’s amendment, to gift the site to Lidl, passed on the Convener’s casting vote.
Speaking after the decision, local Councillor, Cllr Ian Dickson said,
“Labour are acting against the interests of local people in favour of big business. The decision not to pause, make sure everyone understand the implications and check whether the deal is actually good value for the public purse and good for local people, is inexplicable.
“There was no reason to rush ahead other than to line the pockets of Lidl, a multinational company focussed on profits above all else. Officers confirmed that the demolition of Michell Way could still go ahead and a two or even three week delay would not impact on the planning process, which is still on going.”
Notes for Editors:
SNP Motion in full –
“Committee agrees to continue this issue to August Council or a Special IRED Committee Meeting to
be called by the Convener. A more detailed report should be presented, providing the history of this
plan and why we are where we are at this time.
“Officers should use the report to outline why this is a good deal for West Dunbartonshire Council
and the residents of the Vale of Leven.
“We would also like to see options and officer opinion regards the Council using all or part of the site
for Council Housing as an alternative either to the sale to Lidl, or just for the housing aspect of the
Full audio recording under Infrastructure Regeneration and Economic Development Committee Item 15 – https://portal.audiominutes.com/public_player/westdc
Vale of Leven SNP are delighted to announce the re-election of Councillors Jonathan McColl and Ian Dickson to serve their communities for another five year term.
Following a successful term in Administration, the communities of Lomond and Leven wards have once again placed their trust in Jonathan and Ian to represent them on West Dunbartonshire Council.
Speaking after the result, Cllr Jonathan McColl said,
“It’s humbling to have the community where I have lived all my life give me their support for another five years; I’m incredibly thankful for everyone’s continued support. I made a promise during this election to continue to be a voice for my area, accessible and approachable and to always put the people I represent first; I will not let you down.”
Cllr Ian Dickson said,
“I’ve worked really hard in my community over the past five years so to have that recognised and be re-elected with an increased vote makes my efforts feel genuinely appreciated. I want to thank everyone who came out to support me and the SNP in this election. I will continue to do what I have always done and serve my constituents with passion, honesty and integrity.”
Full election results are published on the West Dunbartonshire Council website and can be accessed by clicking here.
Vale of Leven SNP have officially launched their West Dunbartonshire Council election campaign, with three familiar faces announced as candidates for the Lomond and Leven wards.
Back after 10 years away from the Council, former Council Leader and Depute Provost Ronnie McColl completes the Scottish National Party line-up for the Vale of Leven.
Speaking of his return to local politics, Ronnie said,
“I have lived and worked in the Vale almost all my life, and I care passionately about the area and the communities within it.
“I served as a Councillor for 13 years in the 90s and 00s and filled various roles within the Council, including Social Work & Housing Convener and Council Leader, as well as twice being Scottish Spokesperson for Social Work.
“I feel now is the time to get back involved and serve my community once again. I have a proven track record of working well with colleagues of different political persuasions, as we must do to improve life for those we represent.
“I want to help make West Dunbartonshire a safer and better place to live, work and visit. If you elect me, you can be sure I will represent you with honesty, humility and integrity.”
Fellow Leven Ward candidate Ian Dickson added,
“I have enjoyed representing the ward I live and grew up in these past 5 years and as part of the SNP Administration, I have achieved a lot for my constituents, including delivering a new Renton school Campus, getting approval for net-zero and passive build council houses in Pappert, and of course being able to deliver an unprecedented 4 years of no-cuts council budgets.
“I am one of the most active Councillors in West Dunbartonshire, chairing Corporate Services, the Licensing Board and Tendering committee and serving as Vice Chair of Housing & Communities, and Education. I also serve on Infrastructure, Regeneration & Economic Development, Planning, Dumbarton Senior Citizens’ Committee, Highland Reserve Forces & Cadets Association, the NFLA, and Scotland Excel amongst others.
“As you can see, I don’t mind hard work and I want the opportunity to continue the transformation the SNP have begun, not least of all in Alexandria, where we are about to demolish the dilapidated Mitchell Way to create space for residential and commercial development, breathing new life into our town centre.
“The SNP have delivered a lot in Administration these past 5 years but there is still lots to do. For example, all of the main roads have been resurfaced or repaired, but work will now need to be done to bring roads in our estates and our pavements up to a high standard; it’s core Council services like this that a new SNP Administration will focus on, and I want to be part of leading this positive regeneration in my community.”
SNP Council Leader Jonathan McColl commented,
“I gave a commitment in 2017 that I would seek nomination to the health board with a view to putting the Vale of Leven Hospital front and centre, so I am incredibly proud that my service on NHSGGC Health Board over the past 5 years has seen the future of the Vale of Leven Hospital secured, with new services brought to the hospital and a public commitment from the First Minister to invest in the fabric of the building to bring it up to the modern standard our citizens need. No longer is our hospital an afterthought; the Vale of Leven Hospital now sits at the heart of the Health Board’s plans for delivering services to the people of Alexandria, Dumbarton and beyond.
“I believe Councillors should work hard for their communities, which is why in addition to my work on the health board, I have represented my constituents by serving on more Council Committees than any other Councillor.
“The last few years have been tough and while the pandemic has thrown up many challenges, it’s also presented opportunities. I am determined that not only will we recover, but we will thrive as a community; an SNP Council will continue to listen to the public’s wishes and deliver the high standard of services we all need.”
Households across West Dunbartonshire will benefit from significant additional support introduced as part of a ‘no cuts’ budget agreed today.
The 2022/23 Council budget includes additional investment to double the current school clothing grant from £150 to £300; creation of a £400,000 grant designed to support residents struggling with the cost-of-living; additional support for local foodbanks and an enhanced welfare and Working4U service to ensure residents can access financial and employability advice.
The budget also commits to a £1million investment in apprentices over the next 4 years; an additional £2million investment to improve roads and pavements in the area; funding for additional Christmas lights and the introduction of a pothole rapid repair service.
In addition, £500,000 will be invested for flood prevention, £500,000 will be used to enhance play areas and an additional £50,000 will fund two additional accessible Changing Places toilets.
The ambitious capital plan will see more than £54million invested in total to benefit the whole area, replacing existing assets and funding new projects such as community alarm upgrades, new electric vehicle charging points, a cemetery extension and water safety equipment.
Though Council Tax will increase by 3%, residents in band D properties will pay £111.20 less per year or £11.12 less per month for those paying over 10 months, when counted alongside the Council Tax Credit from the Scottish Government.
The financial plan protects frontline Council services as much as possible, as well as protecting jobs.
As part of the budget, £61,000 will also be invested to freeze social care charges at the 21/22 rate.
Councillor Ian Dickson, Convener of Corporate Services, said: “For the fourth year in a row, we have achieved a no cuts budget in West Dunbartonshire, investing in key areas and supporting our residents without a reduction to our frontline services.
“At a time when our residents are dealing with the impacts of Brexit, the pandemic and the effects of war in eastern Europe, it is more important than ever to protect their income and guard against rapidly rising cost-of-living pressures.
“That is why we know families will welcome the saving they will make thanks to the doubling of school clothing grants and our most vulnerable residents will benefit through the new cost-of-living grant fund. “In addition, we have protected funding to strategic partners who help us support residents, including Citizens Advice and Women’s Aid.
“Our aim is a fairer future for all, and as well as supporting that aim, this budget will help West Dunbartonshire recover economically and as a society.”
Council Leader Jonathan McColl added: “Significant progress has been made over the last year to enhance our communities and support our residents.
“Key achievements this year include rolling out 1140-hours of free childcare; improving public safety with additional life-saving equipment installed and CCTV in place; the restoration and refurbishment of Lomond Bridge as part of significant regeneration works in Balloch and securing £19.9 million to regenerate Dumbarton Town Centre.
“In the year ahead, we intend to make even more enhancements to our area. We’ll move forward with the continued expansion of Early Learning and Childcare Centres for the benefit of our young people; progress proposals for a new community campus in Faifley; develop a Water Safety Strategy for the area; improve active travel routes rolling out additional Electric Vehicle charging points to encourage the use of environmentally friendly transport; and we’ll improve libraries and key road routes.”