One of the other issues which the Community Empowerment Bill aims to deal with, albeit with a pretty light touch, is the Common Good. Many felt that the Bill’s reluctance to frame a definition of what Common Good actually means will undermine its ambition to bring greater transparency to the way that local authorities keep records and to restrict how a common good asset can be disposed of. A retired GP from Selkirk has reviewed the performance of Scottish Borders Council in its management of the region’s £10m Common Good fund and has found it to be worryingly off the pace.
19/11/14 Borders Telegraph
Published: 27 Aug 2014 11:00
A HAMMER blow has left East Renfrewshire Council reeling after a court decision shot down newschool plans.
In a shock decision from the Court of Session in Edinburgh, council bosses
have been told that they can not build a new Barrhead High School on Cowan Park land. Continue reading
Herald Sunday 22 June 2014
A top Holyrood official is embroiled in a conflict of interest row over controversial plans to build a school in an Edinburgh park.
Andrew Mylne, the head of the Parliament’s non-executive bills unit (NEBU), advised Edinburgh council about its legislative proposals for Portobello Park and met opponents of the plan.
However, a campaign group has made a formal complaint as Mylne lives in the area and has children in the school catchment.
It has been announced today that MSPs have decided to put the Portobello Park private bill, which seeks to circumvent the ruling by three senior judges of the Court of Session prohibiting the development of Portobello park or any other inalienable common good land, to the vote on 26 June. This comes as no surprise – evidence sessions were cut short, not all objections were heard, not all questions were answered but, such is the desperation to railroad this bill through, the objections of more than 500 people and many others have been swept to one side. The council has declined to make the “new park” part of the bill, despite the fact that it was suggested by PPAG and one of the bill committee. A clear indication that they have no intention of creating one and conveniently there is no mechanism for the parliament to call the council to account if (when) they do not follow through on their promises. There will be a “debate” in parliament on 26 June but we know already how the vote will go as many MSPs without knowing anything about the issues stated their intention to support the bill way back before it was even lodged. The merits or otherwise of the bill have not been properly scrutinised and a political decision has been taken. Never mind that it puts all common good land across Scotland at risk.
Please e-mail your constituency and list MSPs now and ask them to vote “NO” to the bill.
Restoring the Commons From Andy Wightman
Image: Black Law Commonty
The task at hand appears overwhelming. To restore the common ownership of the land & natural resources has been a goal of reformers down the ages but it has often met with limited success. Faced with legal frameworks devised and defended by elite interests, the citizen has had little hope of seeing meaningful restitution or recompense … which makes this week’s blog so sweet. Continue reading
COUNCILLORS have voted today (Wednesday) to look at alternative sites for a new Our Lady and St Patrick’s High school (OLSP).
At a packed meeting of the education services meeting, held at the Denny Civic Theatre in Dumbarton, a motion was carried calling for Posties Park and the current site to be rejected and for all potential locations to be re-visited.
Officers have now been tasked with revisiting all alternative sites in council ownership and exploring what private sites might be available should this be required.
The motion was supported by both Labour and the SNP – to the delight of Save Posties Park campaigners.
It read: “The committee will continue to work with all stakeholders to identify a suitable site for a new OLSP and ensure that we maximise the funding opportunity provided by the Scottish Futures Trust.”
Afterwards jubilant campaigner, Dorothy Heron, joint secretary of Dumbarton East and Central Community Council, told the Reporter: “I’m absolutely delighted and I have to commend the committee, I’m relieved that they have come to this decision and they have to be congratulated for it.
“It was a difficult decision for the councillors to make because now they have the task of finding a new suitable piece of land but I am confident that they will.
“We are so pleased that they have taken the public view into account, it shows it is a democratic council.
“I thank the campaigners and the public for their support over the last few months.
“It’s a terrific example of Dumbarton’s community spirit and the power of the people.”
Speaking afterwards, Councillor Michelle McGinty, convener of Educational Services, said: “We agree with Council officers that the Posties Park site is the best option available in Dumbarton on educational and construction grounds.
“However we take decisions on behalf of the people of West Dunbartonshire and had to acknowledge the lack of support for the building of the school on Posties Park, as well as the strong public desire to retain the open space.
“Regrettably the current school site has also proved unsuitable. The full exploration of that site showed that it was extremely restrictive and would be difficult to develop safely without major disruption to pupils educational experience.
“A completed school on this site would also be an inferior establishment relative to the other new build secondary schools in West Dunbartonshire.
“We thank officers for their professional work to date on this project, and look forward to hearing the results of their new investigations into possible Council and private sites where the new OLSP High School could be located.”
A public consultation on the new school sites received 515 responses, with 185 opting for the current site, 149 for Posties Park and 176 other responses – of which 123 were opposed to Posties.