NOTEBOOK: HOW WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE WAS ROBBED OF RATES REVENUE

NOTEBOOK by BILL HEANEY

Staff working at Ben Lomond  and other parts of the Loch Lomond National Park suffered “verbal and physical abuse” over parking spaces this Easter weekend.

Council workers were targeted by motorists at Balmaha over “frustration” regarding parking after Covid-19 restrictions changed from ‘Stay Home’ to ‘Stay Local’ which, like so many of these restrictions are a piece of nonsense.

The guidance, which changed on Friday, still prohibits non-essential travel to outside of local council areas, but even the Scottish Police Federation are becoming frustrated and embarrassed over this and have complained that politicians are passing the buck to them.

One of the reasons for the confusions, which isn’t new here, is the gerrymandering that has gone on over many years and was brought about by the redrawing of council boundaries.

The Clyde Submarine Base at Faslane, for example, was moved out of Dumbarton District at the last reorganisation of local government.

With the stroke of a pen this happened when the Labour controlled Dumbarton council of the day decided to declare the whole of their area a nuclear free zone, which it wasn’t of course.

The Base remained exactly where it had always been, as did the submarines and nuclear weapons.

But the massive rates revenue was taken away from a cash-strapped Labour council and awarded to a comfortably off Conservative one.

The SNP government would still like you to believe that Cardross, for example, is in Argyll, which it is not. Not really, buy that’s their loss.

It’s surprising that the Sturgeon team have not cottoned on to the fact that they could switch the Base itself, Helensburgh, Cardross et al back into West Dunbartonshire and collect the rates revenue.

However, they are probably too busy trying to sort out their party’s own financial bourach in Edinburgh at the moment.

In their Wheesht for Independence world in which we are currently living, this information is most probably classified and kept under lock and key, along with the papers that were never delivered to the Salmond Inquiry.

Faslane has been in Dunbartonshire for centuries, as have Helensburgh, Rhu, Garelochhead, the Rosneath Peninsula and Tarbet, all the way up to Arrochar, Succoth and beyond.

So, too, has most of the west bank of Loch Lomondside, which has been the subject of more political infighting than the Gaza Strip between Israel and Palestine.

The abuse of council staff, which also happened at Ben A’an and other parts of the National Park at the weekend, was not  just about parking arrangements but the closure and opening of public toilets.

Travellers have been infuriated to have gone out for the day and found there was none open for them to spend a penny.

Not just that, they are being ripped off for inflated parking charges.

“We’ve unfortunately had reports of verbal and physical abuse directed towards council staff working at the clearways at Ben A’an and at Balmaha,” one official statement said.

“While there may be frustration for some regarding parking at some of our beauty spots as lockdown restrictions are being eased, we will not tolerate abuse of staff.

“Our teams are there to keep communities safe and do an important job. Please be considerate of those who are working hard to keep the public safe and #StayLocal.”

The team at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs added: “Really disappointing to hear this has been happening to Stirling Council staff just doing their jobs.

“Everyone wants to enjoy the outdoors, but it’s important to do so responsibly, be respectful of others and to #staylocal.”
There has in recent times been criticism of Loch Lomond Park Authority for closing public conveniences overnight in some places to save money. And for the unprincipled hike in parking charges.
However, one critic said that if the Authority left the toilets open overnight they would avoid criticism and confrontation with the public and would at the same time save money on staff costs since no one would have to be paid for doing that work.

One comment

  1. No surprise really about the animosity to charging.

    Charge, charge, charge, penalty, penalty, penalty, the rip off goes on and and on. Folks are sick to the back teeth of it. And as is the case of West Dunbartonshire Council all wrapped up with rotten and corrupt council service.

    Unfortunate for the staff but that’s what happens when local authorities in the pursuit of revenue go head to head with the public. But hey, shit happens, look at the Police fixed penalty COVID fines.

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