Wigtown Community Council notes

Parking issue at the Mercat Cross in the town look set to continue after police told members of Wigtown and District Community Council that parking there was not illegal.

The junction of North and South Main Street has become a traditional parking area in the town and although there have been complaints from resident about the number of vehicles parking broadside onto the road, especially during the recent book festival, Community Officer Nicola McFadzean told the meeting that officers could not issue parking tickets as long as there was room for vehicles to travel down each side. She described the area as a ”weird junction” but added that if a vehicle was causing an obstruction the police should be informed so they can do something about it. The officer added that the matter of the road markings was the responsibility of the local authority. Members wondered if they should ask to council to create designated ‘parking boxes’ there but Community Councillor Willie McCartney said that very subject had been discussed with the council “two or three years ago” an the idea was “not popular with the people of Wigtown” and he advised to “leave well alone”.

Two Community Safety Enforcement officers from Dumfries and Galloway Council told the members of Wigtown and District Community Council that dog fouling continues to be the number one complaint to them from communities across Galloway.

The officers, Andrew Hay and Diane McColm, said they were working hard, particularly in schools, to make children aware of the heath dangers of dog mess as well as engendering an sense of responsibility among dog owners.

Dog fouling in graveyards was a particularly contentious and upsetting issue in communities, with Whithorn residents regularly complaining about the problem. But Andrew Hay said the council’s policy is to allow dogs in cemeteries but they must be on a lead. The officers will issue an on the spot fine of £40 to anyone failing to pick up dog poo.

Littering in the street of our towns and villages is another anti-social problem that the community safety team are tackling with £80 on the spot fines for dropping litter, including cigarette butts.

But there was good news that one anti-social problem, fly-tipping, is on the decline in the west of the region since the Household Waste Recycling Centre opened in Newton Stewart. Abandoned vehicles and caravans are also getting scarcer since the price of scrap metal went up. However, fly-tipping on Forestry Commission land still continues.

The Community Safety Partnership have made funding available of £36,381 in Wigtownshire and £28,778 in the Stewartry to support small scale projects and initiatives that aim to make people feel safer in their neighbourhoods and/or aim to reduce the number of people who are victims of crime or anti-social behaviour. Details of how communities can apply for this funding are on the council’s website.

Wigtown and District Community Council held their monthly meeting in Kirkinner Hall on Monday night to hear about issue in that community. The lack of street signs in the village was brought up by a resident, with St Kennera Terrace in particular having no identification. Mid Galloway elected member Alastair Geddes pointed out that this could make things difficult at night for doctors called out to the village if they can’t find out where they are going.

The secretary was instructed to write to the council and also social housing landlords DGHP to ask them to get new street signs in place.

The local authority are to be given a reminder of their pledge to be proactive in tackling blight and dereliction in Dumfries and Galloway by Wigtown Community Council after the state of a property in the town’s High Street became a concern.

Elected member for Mid Galloway Alistair Geddes said that he had been informed that the property had been ‘declassified’ and was no longer regarded as a house. Community councillors unanimously wanted the issue dealt with sooner rather than later as the building was not a good advert for Wigtown’s outstanding conservation area status.

Councillor Geddes added: “The council have a right by law to address this and I would like to see them adopt a more ‘can do’ attitude. If there is the political will to do something about this is should be done.”

Teething problems with the council’s new multi-bin zero waste police were raised. One Wigtown resident had one of her recycling boxes nicked while Bladnoch residents were initially given the wrong rota dates.

However, these hiccups have now been ironed out and the new system “is here to stay” said Councillor Geddes.

He commented: “You have to remember the council were forced into this by the Scottish government. Wigtownshire is generally at the coo’s tail but if it’s a contentious issue we are the testing ground!