Call to create Common Good Fund

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A CARNOUSTIE councillor is leading a campaign to create a Common Good Fund for the town.

Independent councillor Brian Boyd said he is tired of seeing Carnoustie suffer financially because it lacks a Common Good Fund.

Councillor Boyd has found possible avenues for developing a fund from existing assets he believes should be publicly owned.

He said: “The Links golf courses belonged to Carnoustie originally, as it was Carnoustie citizens who raised the cash to develop them.

“They were ‘absorbed’ by Tayside Region on the abolition of town councils, and then passed to Angus District Council on its formation.

“There have been huge arguments in the past that people feel they should be owned by the town.

“It’s not only the golf courses. As other examples, why did the Panmure Centre and Carnoustie House Grounds not fall into Common Good Funds in 1975?”

Councillor Boyd wants Carnoustie brought into line with the funding options available to other Angus burghs.

He said: “I find it infuriating sitting on council committees hearing month after month how other burghs’ common good funds are used within their communities.

“As we try to establish a skatepark for our town, it annoys me greatly to see Montrose using £25,000 and Forfar using £50,000 from their Common Good Funds to help fund their parks. Where can Carnoustie find its funds?”

He continued: “It will be a long process to get these imbalances sorted out. Common Good Funds are steeped in hundreds of years of donations to towns and statutory powers to ensure they remain within each community. This will not change.

“What can change is working clever as the cuts bite. I will be working with different council officers in different departments to re-dress the imbalances within the council structure.

“What is required is fairness throughout Angus. We need firstly, when making awards to community groups, to consider our lack of Common Good funds.

“Secondly we need evidence that all departments are ensuring Carnoustie is getting its fair share when area and burgh budgets are being set.

“Thirdly, if we have been gifted any assets let’s ensure they become part of a Common Good Fund. Let’s get council officers to investigate, but if any residents can help me establish the history of this I would certainly appreciate the help.

“Lastly, if we can’t establish a Common Good Fund we must work at innovative ways of trying to establish some form of local community trusts.

“We have this already with our new shop ‘For Carnoustie’ and with Gala Day funds but we need to bring more on board. These four things will help re-dress these imbalances.”

Councillor Boyd added that spending discrepancies between the burghs has been a sore point for some time, citing a Gazette web poll from January 21, 2011, which asked: “Do you believe our towns get a raw deal when it comes to council spending?”

He said: “I am very conscious of this survey which highlighted 91 per cent of residents thought we got a rough deal from Angus Council. I will chip away at every opportunity to get this reversed.”

Twitter: @heraldjohnston