Defending stance on common good fund

Angus Councillor Glennis Middleton.
Angus Councillor Glennis Middleton.

“HET up” members of Forfar Community Council defended their stance in ensuring gifts made to specific towns in Angus, for the benefit of the people, remain on the Common Good Fund.

Members spoke out last Thursday following a full meeting of Angus Council, at which independent Angus Councillor Bob Spink won a victory over the local authority in his fight to ensure Arbroath Library – a gift to the people of Arbroath – is not moved from the Common Good to the council’s general fund.

The community councillors were reminded of instances in the past when gifts made to the town have been lost.

Angus councillor Glennis Middleton defended those who had been criticised by Angus councillors in the past, and in particular by Angus Councillor David Fairweather who advised Arbroath Community councillors to “stop bumping their gums” when they spoke out against any plans to remove the library from the Arbroath Common Good.

Arriving straight from the full council meeting, councillor Middleton informed Forfar community councillors that Angus councillor Bob Spink had won overwhelming support for a motion that places the emphasis on gathering evidence as to why the library should not remain on the common good.

It would take about a year for a report to be completed.

She said this could well be significant for Forfar which would have to do the same thing for items on its common good.

Councillor Middleton said there had been a lot of “heated debate” at the meeting, with one member reporting to be “incensed” by language used in the press about “corporate thefts” and questioning why people were getting so “het up”.

She said: “What I said was, people are actually getting ‘het up’ because, in Forfar, the Infirmary was built on Strang’s ground. At the Fyfe-Jamieson the ground was gifted to the people of Forfar and the money that built the maternity unit was gifted to the people of Forfar. It was all taken away from us because the Government said it all belonged to the NHS.

“They were sold for significant sums – that’s why people get ‘het up’”

Mrs Isobel Ross, chairman of Forfar Community Council, added she did not think the Reid Park Lodge – built for a park worker – should have been sold off.

She added: “These are the reasons that people get ‘het up’. I was somewhat irritated by councillor Fairweather’s remarks in the press today. “Bumping your gums” is not a professional phrase. Talking to the press is not just for local elected members. It brings sharply into focus issues that affect your local community council area.

“It’s all about protecting your assets and your funds. It gives me cause for concern that a local elected member cannot stand up alongside their community council.”

The Forfar Common Good Fund was later discussed with members expressing concerns regarding an application for £70,000 from Forfar Athletic and Forfar Farmington Football Club to provide an all-weather pitch at Station Park.