Brechin needs a community council

Brechin needs a group of people who will be willing to speak up for the community, and this is something that one ex-City of Brechin and District community councillor feels strongly about.

In October of last year the community council was disbanded after only five people registered an interest in serving on the body.

Irene Gilles explains: “When I was at church, the Rev R. Graham commented that, whilst attending the General Assembly, he had listened to a preacher from America who stated in his discussion about “them and us” that there is no them, just us.

“This got me thinking about the community council.

“We have no community council at the moment but it is a time when we need it more than ever.

“We need a group of people who are willing to speak out for the community at large.

“Many of us who were in the community council originally are getting older, although we still have a lot to offer, so we really need some younger people to take the lead.

“Any youngster who is aged 16 or 17 and lives in the area and named on the Electoral Register for the area is entitled to stand for and vote in an election so it would be perfect for someone who was thinking about beginning a career in politics.

“We cannot wait for people to be asked to join, so if you want to join then put your name down for it.

“We have a wonderful city and hopefully one day we will be able to see a drop in unemployment, houses for everyone and the city to prosper the way it did some years prior to now.

“We need to show that we care about what happens in this city.

“It only involves attending a meeting one evening a month. I know people have other commitments, we all have, but as it is only once a month it is possible to manage it.

“People within the community are concerned about the new school and the proposed community hub, as well as what will happen with the City Hall, and we need the community council to be strong to ensure that what the people of the town need and want is listened to and taken account of.

“This is where having a community council can help.”

Councillor Bob Myles explained that if there was enough interest there was no reason why a community council could not be created.

“If enough people come forward there is no reason why the community council cannot be reformed.

“I know at the pageant they were trying to generate a bit of interest.

“It is always possible for the opportunity, if we can get enough people together, to form a community council but it has always been a problem in the past getting enough numbers.”

The general purpose of a community council is to act as a voice for its area.

This will involve it articulating the views and concerns of local people in the area on a wide range of issues of public concern; and make representations to the council, other public sector bodies and private agencies on matters within their sphere of interest.

A community council has a statutory right to be consulted on planning applications. Licensing matters and any other matters may also be jointly agreed between the community councils, local authorities and other public sector and private agencies.

Mark Johnston, community learning and development worker at Angus Council said: “The process, if someone is interested in forming a community council is to write to Angus Council’s chief executive to ask the local authority to look at starting the process required for holding an election. We would require a letter with the support of 20 signatories.”

More information about community councils can be found on the Angus Council website or you can telephone 01356 666119 and speak to Mark Johnston or Beverley Gibb who are happy to talk to anyone about the process of becoming a community councillor and the varied role of community councils.

If you are interested in joining the bid to reform the community council contact Irene at email irenegillies06@aol.com

She hopes to be able to gather the required number of signatures to kick-start the process.