Deputy’s visit ‘not enough’

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been criticised for failing to offer a further financial boost to Stranraer during her visit on Monday.

The SNP MSP was in town to chair a Stranraer Taskforce meeting and witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the council and Stena Line.

She said it was an “exciting time” for Stranraer with the £2.4million redevlopment of the west pier and marina, but was unable to offer more cash to hurry the town’s regeneration along.

She said: “The £2.4 million being spent in the west pier is a fraction of the investment that’s going in to making sure Stranraer has the modern up to date infrastructure, digital infrastructure that it needs to thrive as a town in the future. So this is an ongoing process.”

She went on: “I am delighted that the community and a number of key local partners have shown such a strong interest in working in partnership with the council to explore the potential for the future of Stranraer and I look forward to receiving further updates as the positive work continues.”

But Stranraer and North Rhins Councillor Marion McCutcheon said: “In recent weeks we have seen our town split between those who wanted the council’s £2.4 million of funding invested in the waterfront and others who felt the wider town should benefit.

“Local businesses are really struggling because of the loss of the ferry terminal from the town and we need to do something to support them. I’ll be seeking urgent talks with council officials to discuss what more the council can do to help, because it is clear that it will be up to local people to try to find a way forward.”

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown added: “I didn’t have high hopes that Ms Sturgeon’s visit would amount to very much. However even I’m taken aback by the fact it turned out to be little more than a photocall by the seaside for SNP politicians.

“It is clear that having to come to Wigtownshire simply gets in the way of her day job running the SNP’s independence referendum.”