“Civic pride” at stake in Brechin

Brechin paddling pool
Brechin paddling pool

A call to Angus Council “to step up to the mark” when it comes to providing facilities in the town has been made by angry residents.

The demand comes following a meeting with a council representative to discuss the on-going saga of the closure of the town’s paddling pool.

Derek Harper of the community council who, along with George Garden and Jill Scott met with the council’s Strategic Director Alan McKeown recently to discuss the closure, said that from the minute he went into the meeting he became acutely aware that no progress was to be made.

“We went in with ideas and suggestions about how we could keep the pool open for this summer at least but it was very apparent to us that this was a fait accompli, a done deed and there would be no going back by the council,” said Mr Harper.

“We are not prepared to accept this. This situation has become about very much more than simply the closure of the pool. Civic pride is at stake here.

“We feel the council are being disrespectful and derogatory about the requests of townspeople and are not carrying out their promise of seeking public consultation.”

“They make all sorts of claims about seeking public consultation but in reality that doesn’t happen. They are not even following up their own policies and plans which highlight the need for community involvement and community engagement but that is just not happening.”

“Angus Council really need to step up to the mark when it comes to the future of Brechin,” he added.

He said campaigners felt the flood prevention scheme would have been the ideal opportunity to carry out proper investment in that part of Brechin but instead there was no investment at the bottom end of the town.

“We need to explore further organising a good vocal and visible PR campaign. There is a play strategy in place in Scotland and we want to ensure that things happen in Brechin to keep in line with that. Angus Council need to do so much more for Brechin.”

He said that civic pride would drive the townspeople forward and the next step they planned to take was to take the paddling pool matter higher and would be seeking meetings with council leader Councillor Ian Gaul and the council’s chief executive Richard Stiff.

A council spokesperson confirmed that the council had been in dialogue with the group on a number of occasions since the passing of the 2014/15 budget.

She continued: “On each occasion the council have been clear that they unanimously agreed a three year package of saving and cuts totalling £19 million. Included in that package, which affects all council services, is the closure of the paddling pool in Brechin. We appreciate that some of the decisions the council has had to take to set its budgets are not universally popular, however Angus Council, like every other local authority, is working with less money year on year and that is set to continue in the future.

“We have also sought to assure the group that any decision to close community facilities is never taken lightly and that the budget measures approved in February were the subject of considerable discussion and consideration prior to being put forward for approval.

“We have suggested that the group could take forward the paddling pool as community ownership and offered assistance with this option.”