Carnoustie funding options discussed

CARNOUSTIE’S proposed trust fund for community projects could become a reality if plans develop as intended.

The idea that the town should have some form of community trust to bring its spending power up to par with the rest of the county was raised by independent councillor Brian Boyd in the Guide & Gazette last week.

Now Carnoustie representatives are considering the applications and alternatives for a fund.

Councillor Helen Oswald agrees with him that something must be done to ensure Carnoustie receives the same opportunities as the rest of Angus.

She said: “Councillor Boyd is correct. The lack of a Common Good Fund in Carnoustie has been a running sore for a long time. Four years a go, shortly after we were elected, Councillor Ralph Palmer and I had a meeting with the director of corporate services to discuss how we could set up such a fund for the town. We were left in no doubt that this was not possible due to the structure of these funds whereby the spend is dictated by the income, not the capital sum in the fund.”

Common Good Funds are generally financed via the rents collected from councils for the use of sites gifted to the community by a benefactor for the common good.

Councillor Oswald notes that in like-for-like projects, towns with a Common Good Fund have seen those projects better funded. She said: “My frustration at the inequities caused by the Common Good Funds in some of the burghs is well recorded.

“Latterly in the case of the Christmas lights, Arbroath was able to add £50,000 to have completely new and upgraded lights over an enlarged area of the town, while Carnoustie’s were curtailed and sorry-looking.”

Councillor Oswald recognises there are other avenues to pursue for community funding. She explained: “We cannot ignore what we do have in Carnoustie and that is an enormous and generous community spirit. This is shown by the Gala Committee which has over the years raised in excess of £100,000 for the good of the town and the new ‘For Carnoustie’ shop which will put its profits to use in the community.

“Although I cannot reveal the specifics at the moment, there has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes for a while on another project that would bring enormous benefit to the town.

“I believe that in the not too distant future, there will be news on this front which will delight the people of Carnoustie.”

The chair of Carnoustie Business Association, Peter Burke, welcomed the idea of a fund serving the town. He said: “I would support Councillor Boyd’s concept of having a Common Good Fund for Carnoustie because we are unfortunate to be the only one in the county not to have one.”

Jim Simpson, chairman of Carnoustie community council, said they have already discussed the matter.

He went on: “We discussed it briefly. It would be lovely if we could have a fund to tap into. From the community council’s point of view this would be absolutely brilliant. There are all sorts of areas we want to expand. For example ‘The Scotland in Bloom’ campaign we were involved in this year.”

Councillor Boyd is pleased with the response so far. He said: “It’s all been 95 per cent positive so far. A retired town councillor ‘phoned me and gave me details of various funds available in the town pre-1975.”

He is realistic about the challenges facing the idea. He explained: “I realise Common Good Funds have a particular kind of legal history. I realise now we may not get a Common Good Fund but there is a feeling that the common resources of our town should be used in a sustainable way for the collective good of our town.

“I’m keen that the council works with the various interested groups in our community to ensure we are making the best use of our ‘common wealth’.”

Twitter: @heraldjohnston