Will continue to do my best
Once again I feel obliged to respond to your correspondent Mr Bill Stirling of Pinwherry, in order to correct his allegations against me in last week’s edition of the Carrick Gazette. He would appear to have a problem, with regard to the fact that I live in Ayr,I would ask him, does this make me unable to fulfil my duties as a councillor?
If that was the case I would not have been re elected as a councillor in 2012. The fact that I live in Ayr has no bearing whatsoever with regard to road repairs or indeed the lack of them. Perhaps Mr Stirling would prefer it if I moved to Wales like the Conservative member for North Kyle and still retained my seat on South Ayrshire Council.
He is wrong in his allegation that I drove from Ayr to Pinwherry, on the 24th of January just to see him, that is not the case, I had a meeting that morning in Girvan and I also had a ward visit to make in Barrhill and as I was in the Pinwherry area, I decided to check out his claim in the Carrick Gazette of the 22nd of January, with regard to poor road repairs, on the A714 Pinwherry to Barrhill road. Having done this, I then went to his home, spoke to him perfectly calmly and rationally, to say I actually agreed with the comments he had made in his letter to the Gazette and that I would pass on his letter to the appropriate council officers who deal with road issues, in order that the poor road repairs, could be addressed.
At no time did I make a statement saying a “team would be up next week to put right the poor standard of repairs”. Anyone who I have tried to help with regard to council issues over seven years, will attest to the fact that I do not promise any course of action will be taken, until I have checked with council officers.
I do agree with the comments, I stated in my email to Mr. Stirling that accidents can happen on any road and repeat them here. I have driven this road for 45 years, as a postman, an ordinary driver and as a councillor often in poor weather conditions and in the dark and have managed to avoid any accidents. Anyone can skid or have an accident on any road once, perhaps even twice, but to skid three times on the same stretch of road, indicates to me a negligent level of care and attention and a poor standard of driving.
It is unfortunate, but wrong, that Mr Stirling had to resort to contacting Sandra Osborne MP to be assured of any action being taken and I personally am disappointed this appears to be the case. I am grateful that Sandra Osborne MP was able to contact the Chief Executive Eileen Howat. This of course should be wholly unnecessary, but it follows that if anyone has a complaint against the council, should they therefore bypass local councillors and go direct to the local MP?
I would have thought any MP or MSP would have enough on their plate, without having to address council issues. I would also suggest these overdue repairs were in the pipeline, due to my earlier actions, as it takes time to plan and implement such major road improvements.
Perhaps Mr Stirling should address the fact that South Ayrshire Council recently had a shocking report from Audit Scotland and from the Standards Commission reflecting how inefficient the current Conservative Party and Labour Party administration is on the council.
Do not forget they are in total control of council matters and cannot put the blame on council officers or on anyone else.
The lesson I should learn from this, is not to go out of my way to help someone, is it better like others, not to put ones head over the parapet and hope the problem will go away? but of course problems do not go away and I will continue to do my best to help anyone or any community group to the best of my ability in resolving the many issues that come my way as an elected member of South Ayrshire Council.
SNP Councillor Alec Oattes,
Girvan and South Carrick Ward,
South Ayrshire Council.
He can believe what he wants
Mr Bill Stirling is to be highly commended as, clearly, is our local MP. Whilst the issue of the state of the A714 has been written about, by all too many of your readers, including the self same local MP, not forgetting the local community council, all too often, over the past few years, ad infinitum, he infers that the matter is at long last being resolved in the Pinwherry area.
Sadly, regardless of who speaks to the council chief executive, there is no way in a month of Sundays, that all of the elements which are required to allow road repairs to commence, road repairs that will cause the road to be closed for five days, can be pulled together in 16 days! Firstly funding is required to pay for the work, which one assumes would have to be in the council’s annual budget, plus the legal, public notifications of the road closure and let us not forget the tendering process.
The A714 either side of his property has for some years had a reputation for road traffic accidents, and it has been claimed that these have been caused by a slippy road surface. I understand that a special machine was previously brought over from Northern Ireland in an attempt to resolve this matter. Additionally, warning signs were erected by the local council warning drivers of this claimed problem.
I totally agree with Cllr Oattes statement that “if drivers do not drive with due care and attention then accidents will occur on any road.” After all, as a policeman recently told me, all the road does is lie there!! Accidents are caused by bad drivers. The A714 between the Colmonell turn off and the main street in Pinwherry and the road between the old Barrhill Church and Barrhill Village Hall, in my humble opinion, are more deserving of having money spent.
The A714 is an utter disgrace of an excuse for a road, and Mr Stirling is to be commended for his claimed endeavours, but sadly, he ruins such by attempting to make political gains out of car owners and their misfortunes.
In future, he would be better served by concerning himself about the genuine worries and expensive outlays of all local car owners who have had their vehicles damaged by potholes and leave the politics to the professionals.
Hurdle for Scotland
Alex Salmond should factor in an additional hurdle for an independent Scotland to navigate before being able to join the EU. East European MEPs are telling me that they will insist on transitional measures being applied to any new EU accession state, including Scotland. This is because they had to suffer harsh transitional measures when they joined and they are adamant new Member States can expect no special favours.
When ten East European and other countries acceded to the EU in 2004, subsidies for farmers were phased in over a period of ten years, only reaching parity with the rest of Europe this year. This was also the case for the Bulgarians and Romanians who joined in 2007. When Croatia joined last year, they had an additional restriction of 70% placed on their budget for fisheries. An independent Scotland would require an absolute majority of MEPs before acceding. This isn’t “Tory scaremongering”; it’s reality.
Struan Stevenson MEP