Tidy up our town, say councillors

Two of Newton Stewart’s most iconic structures are badly in need of maintenance, Cree Valley Community Council heard on Monday evening at their monthly meeting.

Community councillor David Inglis said it was imperative that the Earl of Galloway Memorial and the Cree Bridge were tidied up.

He said: “Every picture taken of Newton Stewart has that bridge in it. It’s the centrepiece of the town but there are weeds growing out of it. The Earl of Galloway memorial needs a good cleaning too.”

CVCC chairman Tom Greenaway said the council had been approached about he memorial but it was not there responsibilty. The council did, however, maintain the gardens surrounding the monument. The memorial had been raised by public subscription so ownership was a grey area. The plan was to meet with a representative of the Earl of Galloway’s estate at the site to find a way forward.

Comment was also made about the state of roads and cycle paths in and around the town. The popular cycle path from the River Cree out to Carty was badly needing attention by the council and this situation aerated Mr Inglis.

He raged: “Is it a case of who shouts loudest gets things done. That’s a horrendous position to be in. What’s it going to be like in five years time?”

When Mr Greenaway suggested community councillors toured the town to compile a list of things to do for the local authority, Mr Inglis replied; “But it’s not our job to do that! At the moment, if people come to Newton Stewart on holiday, they can’t walk the paths if they are overgrown!”

The state of the River Cree came up for discussion with community councillor Jim Brown pointing out that action was needed to clear debris upstream now in case Newton Stewart ended up with the same scenario as happened in Creetown in July when flash flooding washed trees downstream blocking a bridge.

A Newton Stewart resident was devastated when visiting to a loved one’s grave to discover cut grass left by the council was “ankle deep” in places.

The woman, in a letter to Cree Valley Community Council, pointed out that the bereaved should get a better service from the local authority.

At Monday’s meeting of Cree Valley Community Council, councillor David Inglis said: “I believe some cuts were missed because of the bad weather but to leave a state like that in the cemetery is disgraceful.”

Mid Galloway Councillor Jim McColm added: “This community is not the only complaining about this. Its a matter of priorities for the council. We may have to ask for this to be a higher priority. Money spent on this will mean less money spent elsewhere.”

The Dumfries and Galloway Council had replied to say the grave in question was on the end of a row of lairs and was where the mower turned causing the grass to gather there. Local authority policy is to cut but not lift grass in cemeteries.