Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

April 24, 2013

A democratic spat

Until the future of community councils is finally resolved, the tensions in the relationship between local authority councillors and community councillors are unlikely to go away. Many community councillors believe that they are the legitimate, most localised form of democracy whereas some local councillors take the view that community councils simply exist to do their bidding – which is presumably why such a spat has blown up in South Ayrshire.


A democratic spat

COUNCILLORS who accused a community council of ‘getting into bed’ with developers over a windfarm application should apologise after basing their verdict on out-of-date planning rules, it was claimed last  week. 

Alec Clark, former chair of Girvan and District CC and now a South Ayrshire Councillor, and David Kiltie, former chair of Maybole CC, hit out following a recent report on a planning application for a wind farm at Tralorg – which included a claim from Councillor Peter Convery that GDCC appeared to have ‘gotten into bed’ with developers. 

Defending the place of the community council as ‘a living part of their community’, whose role is contained within the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment Bill, the duo said councillors were wrong to challenge their approach in the wind farm application. 

They state: “Community councils represent the wishes of their community on issues such as wind farms and other planning developments through representation either in favour or against when these applications are considered by the South Ayrshire Council Regulatory Panel. 

During the application presentation they should be given the right to speak to their supporting statement or objection without fear or favour and to hear this considered in a fair, reasonable and professional manner at all time.” 

Mr Clark added: “During this process on March 21, the Chair of Girvan and District Community Council exercised this right in his statement to the Regulatory Panel in favour of a wind farm development at Tralorg, to the east of Girvan.”