Big Sparra 6.jpg 7Going off for the summer – the owners have been forced out of the Big Sparra Muric Cafe by traffic chaos in Glasgow Road, Dumbarton.

By Bill Heaney

Having West Dunbartonshire Council on your side is like playing a game a man short.

They couldn’t work out a plan for a game of jiggys never mind a road traffic strategy for Dumbarton.

And so we are left in a maelstrom of traffic madness which has led to businesses being closed and traffic, when it’s not going round in circles, going nowhere for long periods at a time.

The shoulder shruggers – it’s no’ ma fault and it wisnae me brigade – in the new council offices in Church Street Burgh Hall should think black, burning shame on themselves.

What a shower of incompetent time servers we have inherited since the last reorganisation of local government.

And some of them are on salaries of more than £100,000 a year, while working in one of the worst areas of deprivation in Scotland.

The councillors don’t do too badly either and supplements his wages with enough from the council coffers to fund private flying lessons.

As one of the businesses in Balloch, which has also been blighted by council traffic madness, said: “They couldn’t run a bath.”

It’s little wonder the SNP administration and the hubristic officials who do their bidding want to strangle The Democrat at birth.

The last thing they need around here is inquisitive journalists uncovering their incompetence.

And when I say officials, by the way, I don’t mean the workforce in general but the wafflers, comic singers, big eaters and simultaneous dancers who make up the management team.

The guilty ones who have covered up for years the fact that they have made a pig’s ear of the procurement procedures and ignored the officers’ code of conduct.

These gauleiters have cost this community an incalculable amount of money through their intransigence and incompetence.

More shops are closing because they can’t run a traffic management system while roadworks are going on.

Admittedly the roadworks is extensive, but who co-operated and did the planning with the contractors doing the work?

If it was the Council roads department then they should be put down a manhole and have the lid screwed on – tight, very tightly indeed.

The latest disastrous decision to come our way has been the closure of Glasgow Road in Dumbarton – at both ends. For seven weeks throughout the summer.

Glasgow Road was beginning to see new life injected into it by entrepreneurial young businesses, putting High Street in the shade, not that it’s not got a shadow hanging over it most of the time. 

The message from the Big Spara Music Cafe, where Sloan the Butcher and the Sunnyside Dairy once was was this: “You have approximately four hours left to snag that record, eat that sanny and swatch that patter before we close.

“Thanks to all our loyal patrons for the support, see you in a couple of months. It’s been a business doing pleasure with you.”

Unbelievably, they have been forced to shut up shop because of the Council’s lack of foresight and forward planning. They’re not the only ones.

The Dumbuck House Hotel has been working its socks off – and spending a fortune – to reinstate itself at the top of Dumbarton’s entertainment and wedding venues, but the new diversions have been a huge set-back.

Can you imagine people having to detour up to Dunglass round about at Bowling before being able to get back to Dumbuck?

It’s not so long since the same roads department sent drivers on a diversion off the A82 which put about 20 miles on to their journey when they could have taken the slip road into Renton or Dumbarton’s West End.

Ghost town – Glasgow Road empty as never before.

Linda Speir said: “I just heard about this today. What a disgraceful situation for all businesses on Glasgow Road. We have a Town Centre and High Street to be ashamed of, whereas Dumbarton East, with its diverse independent shops, has given us hope for how things could be. Surely these businesses should be offered compensation and given all the support they need?”

One hundred and thirty people supported her immediately on social media.

Campaigner Louise Robertson was more sanguine and gave the young café owners a bit of encouragement: “Enjoy your break as best you can. You have started a wee transformation of Dumbarton East.”

Shirley Collins said: “I am so angry that the chaos is forcing you into this course of action, it’s desperately unfair on you and I look forward to your reopening when it’s over. Coffee and vinyl makes a great combination! “

Stephen McDowall-Laing said: “See you soon guys! We’ll miss our local record store/cafe. Haste ye back!”

Dumbarton poet Stephen Watt said: “Just gutted for you, guys. A real positive in the Dumbarton area – hope you will return with aplomb once pesky summer is out the way.”

And now for the really bad news.

Phase three of the of the roadworks, which begin on Tuesday, July 9, will last approximately eight weeks and will see Glasgow Road, Castlegreen Street and Greenhead Road reopened.

Scottish Gas will be working in Castlegreen Street near the fire station and temporary traffic lights will be in place during this time.

The company recently carried out multiple emergency repairs on these mains, which are located on a busy junction in the town.

Stephen Campbell, project manager, said: “We’ve worked closely with the local authorities in planning this work and we will be doing everything we can to limit disruption during our essential work in Dumbarton.

“We appreciate that roadworks can be frustrating, however, the new plastic pipe has a minimum lifespan of 80 years.

“This means once the work is completed, Dumbarton homes and businesses will enjoy the benefits of a continued safe and reliable gas supply for many years to come.”

Bacon no more – the Council is said to have collaborated in this plan which failed to bring home the bacon for shop owners.

West Dunbartonshire Council are sticking to their usual stance of not replying to questions from The Democrat, Dumbarton’s FREE digital community newspaper which gives FREE advertising to community groups, campaigns, good causes and services while the Council forks out premium advertising rates in council taxpayers’ money to organisations which don’t even have an office in the area.

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