How long can a situation be described as temporary? Three months and counting is the answer from South Ayrshire Council.
That’s how long the registration office in Girvan has been closed since sudden staff absences forced the suspension of services in October 2014.
And when contacted by the Gazette this week for an update on the situation, the council remarkably described the situation as still being “temporary”.
Ralph Riddiough, South Ayrshire Council’s Head of Legal and Democratic Services said: “We can assure our residents that the current lack of provision of registration services in our Girvan office is a temporary one due to unexpected staff absences.
“Everyone can access the full range of services in our registration office in Ayr and information is available on our website at www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk.
“We would like to thank everyone for their co-operation and apologise for any inconvenience it may cause.”
However, Girvan and South Carrick councillor Alec Clark has hit out again at the lack of action.
“As a councillor for this ward, this is frankly a ridiculous situation.
“You have got to ask when does a temporary situation start to become a semi-permanent one as that is what is happening here.
“This is a system that is designed to serve the whole of Girvan and South Carrick and we were told when the registration services were realigned and closed in Maybole that we would have a top service here in Girvan but that just isn’t happening.
“I don’t say this lightly but I think with the registration office being closed, we are seeing a real example of social exclusion in this area.
“If you don’t have access to register a birth, marriage or death, then you are obviously being socially excluded.
“This is a situation which needs resolved as soon as possible.”
The staffing absences at the Girvan office in Knockcushan Street mean that residents across Carrick are having to travel up to Ayr to register birth, deaths and marriages.
For villagers in Ballantrae at the south of Carrick that is a 70 mile round trip to carry out what can be a stressful task, particularly registering a death.
In October last year, the council promised to resolve the situation quickly but currently there doesn’t seem to be an end of the temporary closure in sight.