No changes at Maybole Community Council as good progress made

There were no changes in office bearers at the 2014 AGM of Maybole Community Council held recently.

Continuing in office are Mark Fletcher as chairman, Michael Connell as secretary and vice chairman and Senga Mason as treasurer. There are two vacancies for anyone wishing to join.

In his annual report, Mr Fletcher thanked South Ayrshire Council for listening to concerns regarding the dangers posed by the asbestos in the old Co-op building and for granting the money required for the demolition of 31 Whitehall and the Co-op.

“In particular,” he said, “special thanks go out to Mike Newall and his team for their attention during the festive season when the storms nearly sorted the demolition issue for us.

“It was comforting to know monitoring was taking place and that officers like Mike were on board even in a holiday period. Although it does appear to have ground to a halt at this time.”

Other positive outcomes throughout the last year included gaining two new members to the community council.

He added: “Good progress appears to be happening with the bypass with two very informative town meetings with Transport Scotland and the completion of surveys - a definite milestone for this long awaited and much needed road.

“There have been closer ties with Carrick Academy with the school captains attending meetings and Roy and Peter visiting the school. The information that the captains have brought to the table has highlighted the importance of stronger links with the younger members of our community.

“A project between SAYLSA and the community council is looking at a way to improve the look of the train station, which will be more appealing to both locals and tourists.

“A security device has been designed, manufactured and installed to the flag pole which stops theft of the flags and vandalism.

“Thanks to Simon Mackie for setting up a facebook page for the community council. Although no one has actually brought issues to us via Facebook as yet, we have reached an audience that otherwise might be unaware of things happening in Maybole. One instance shows us that over 600 people saw one particular posting.”

“We are a member of Carrick Community Councils’ Forum which has seen the completion of the first phase of the tourism project with the launch of the heritage hubs trail and the shoe and boot industry plaques around Maybole.

“We now have a fantastic tourism website and this combined project has been at the Expo show in Glasgow which is a massive achievement for a community group. Work still continues with this project and more ideas are being worked up to continue to build up Carrick’s profile.

“The Carrick Centre, although we have no direct involvement or membership on, is going from strength to strength as an employer and training organisation; it is offering a food bank, a credit union, film club and comfortable space for many different groups as well as a conference centre. It is a great facility which we should continue to support and embrace even if it’s only from the sidelines at times. Their support on our combined projects, now and in the future, is invaluable and can only serve to strengthen the community, and more joined up thinking should be encouraged.

“Continuing on the things that the Project Committee has been involved in, we had a launch for the shoe and boot industry plaques in August. We worked jointly with South Ayrshire Council and the provost to celebrate the retirement of David Kiltie from the community council presenting him with keys to Minniebole.

“A joint funding bid has been applied for, to host a Commonwealth Games event for all schools at the Glebe, similar to that for the Olympics.

“A joint funding bid was granted by Carrick Futures for the charity shop and a group of volunteers from the community council, the Men’s Health Forum, the charity shop and the Carrick Centre redecorated the shop. This combined with new lights and carpet have made the shop much more user friendly.

“As you would expect, for every success story and positive item there inevitably has to be some disappointment.

“Sadly, we saw the end of the Pathfinder project which resulted in none of the community assets either transferring or being co-managed by the community.

“We don’t seem to be any closer to having another supermarket as Tesco, despite having planning consent have put their plans on hold effectively blocking progress here by up to three years or more.

“The state of the roads in our community is getting worse and with the cuts in budgets it looks like things may not improve much in the near future. In saying that, the Council have combined road services with East Ayrshire so it will be interesting to see if this has any effect on services.

“When 31 Whitehall was declared unsafe, the toilets in Maybole were closed for safety reasons and when the risk was removed the toilets remained closed. With very poor consultation, a decision to not re-open the toilet block was made. We have entered into a dialogue with Lesley Bloomer regarding the issue and costs are being gathered to look at facilities in Maybole.

“This is not an isolated incident when it comes to poor consultation from the council. I’m not going to mention them all now, as we need to find a way forward but it is very disappointing as they are more than aware that there have been problems in this area for some time now.

“We have been referred to as blobs at a conference that don’t fit into square holes, and whereas I might resemble the shape I don’t believe for one minute that Maybole is not open to good dialogue. I appreciate the meaning is more about them not knowing how to fit us in as each community is different, but nonetheless it was a very bad example.

“We have written to the chief executive who has arranged for Claire Monaghan to engage with us. Without good dialogue and without listening to the people on the ground the council is not capable of, and cannot sort all the problems on their own particularly in these difficult financial times. Despite the problems and the disappointments this community council still has a good share of success stories, both large and small, and it is incredible when you think about the amount of things that we deal with.”