Fears growing over registry services

The Registrars' Office in Girvan.
The Registrars' Office in Girvan.
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Prominent Girvan residents have raised their growing concerns this week over registration services in the town.

Currently South Ayrshire Council has suspended registry services on a Friday at its offices in Knockcushan Street but bosses insist the move is only temporary.

However, the situation has been on-going over a number of months and shows no sign of stopping in the immediate future, say critics.

The issue has been raised at both the Girvan Town Team meetings in July and August as well as at the latest meeting of Girvan Community Council last Tuesday where South Ayrshire Council chief executive Eileen Howat was in attendance.

The current situation means that residents in Girvan and the surrounding towns and villages in the area only have access to registry services on a Tuesday meaning that they would have to wait a whole week to register a birth, death or a marriage if they wished to do so in Girvan. Girvan Community Council chairman Ken Johnstone has been one of the leading voices raising concerns against the lack of services for people.

He informed the Girvan Town Team of the situation at its meeting in August.

The issue was once again raised by Mr Johnstone at the Community Council meeting last week where he informed members that a number of celebrants had left which had been the main cause of the Girvan office being under-staffed.

And there seems to be growing concerns amongst the community in South Carrick that council services may be getting more centralised in Ayr as part of a series of cutbacks in the area.

Girvan and South Carrick councillor Alec Clark was present at the Community Council meeting on 3 September and said that all three councillors for the area have raised this issue.

“We have discussed this with council bosses and I hope soon that Councillor Phillip Saxton (the council’s Portfolio holder for Housing and Customer First) will be able to reassure you on this.

“This is a major Carrick wide issue considering we live in such a rural community and what we don’t need is a second class service.

Councillor Alec Oattes added: “This is a very emotive issue and you hope it is a once in a lifetime thing you have to do in terms of registering a death.

“I’ve been told that there were 109 deaths in Girvan over the last year averaging about two a week. We don’t need a belt and braces approach to a service like this.”

Many others on the community council raised concerns that you simply might not be able to plan for a death whereas if it is a birth or a marriage you wish to register you will more than likely know well in advance.

Council chiefs say they are well on their way to fixing the staff shortage problems at the Girvan office.

“The suspension of the registrars presence at Girvan on Fridays is a temporary situation, not permanent as some people appear to think.

“We have had a number of our casual marriage celebrants leave the service at what is our busiest period for weddings and this is adversely impacting on our ability to provide our normal level of service.

“We are currently finalising the recruitment process to take on a new team of casual celebrants which will enable us to return to normal office services in Ayr and Girvan.

“We apologise if any of the temporary changes are causing inconvenience to anyone and thank residents for their co-operation.”