Civic pride needed to tackle ‘blight’ town

The town clock
The town clock

Plans are in motion to tackle a number of sorry sights in Newton Stewart that have been left to fester for too long.

The town’s community council was united in agreement this week that action must be taken to spruce up parts of the town that have been neglected over the years.

Top of the list was the town clock which is set to be given a £92,000 facelift thanks to council funding.

But also in line for attention are flower baskets and planters, signs to local attractions, monuments and stonework on the Cree Bridge.

A letter to the council from shopkeeper Laura McGaw pointed out a number of sore points in the town which are an embarrassment and added that not a day goes by when a visitor isn’t taking photos of the clock from outside her Victoria Street shop.

Member David Inglis added that the monument in the Earl of Galloway Gardens “probably hasn’t been cleaned since it was built” and used to be the backdrop for wedding photos.

Mr Inglis said: “You wouldn’t see anyone use it for wedding photos today.

“Simple things need to be done but they just seem to have been neglected for so long. What happened to the planters as you come into the town? It’s some welcome – dead plants.

He added that there people in the town willing to take on re-planting flowerbeds for free if the community council can provide plants, but who were upset they hadn’t been given the chance before the council grassed over some.

Elected member Alistair Geddes said: “It’s a disgrace that the likes of the clock has been allowed to decay and fester like it has by the authority. Parts of the town are, at present, nothing short of a blight.”

He added that civic pride would play a big part in rejuvenating the town.

Chairman Tom Greenaway said he couldn’t understand how the council can act so fast on removing inappropriate signage at local fast food shops but can’t act on decaying buildings.

It was agreed to invite a council officer to take a walk around the town with members to point out what needs to be done and whether funding would be available before other funding routes are looked at.