SPRING is here and community councillors all over the country are busy planning summer festivities and badgering the authorities to repair the ravages of winter on roads and drains. But not in large swathes of Dumfries and Galloway, where the council just has decided to shut down 38 of its 91 community councils.

Dumfries and Galloway (D&G) Council alone amongst Scottish councils decided to introduce a rule that community councils must adopt their constitution within three months of election or be abolished. Our local community council signed its constitution four days late in January after being advised by an official that it was OK and to just call an extraordinary general meeting as soon as possible. D&G Council then approved our constitution and returned it to us with no indication that there was a problem.

We now have a week to collect 20 signatures to prove that local people want a community council and our cash-strapped local authority will have to pay to re-run 38 elections only six months after the original ones. Sadly this is likely to prompt large numbers of volunteer unpaid councillors to decide that they have better things to do with their time and some community councils will cease to exist.

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At the very least, this action has severely dented the trust between the county council and local people at a time when the Scottish Government is planning to further empower the self-same communities.

Linda McDonald,

Stenhouse Cottage, Tynron, Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway.