NOTEBOOK: How basket case Council have allowed the Vale to become a ghetto

Beautiful Vale is no more around The Fountain at Main Street and Bank Street, Alexandria.


1. Oh where is the land that can boast aught so fair,
As the Queen of Scotch Lakes midst the pure mountain air,
‘Tis not the Rhine Valley that any could win
To the beautiful scenes of the Vale of the Leven


Beautiful Vale, Beautiful Vale
Beautiful Vale of the Leven

2. It is sheltered all round from the wild storm and gale
While the old Castle Rock points far up the Vale
Ben Lomond in friendship nods back to the Clyde
And the hills of Carman shade its western side

3. I have viewed it in sunshine, I have viewed it in shade
I have viewed it in summer with blossom arrayed
I have seen it in winter, when clad o’er wi’ snow
But to me it is lovely in mid’st of them a’

4. Its sons that are scatter’d far over the earth
Oft remember the Vale that at first gave them birth
And the kind friends they left when they bade it adieu
Oft they long to look back just to see it a-new

5. When the cares and the toils of this life are near o’er
And my barque is nearing yon beautiful shore
My last wish is this, that to me it be given
To be laid to my rest in the Vale of the Leven

Words and Music by James Shanks, Farmer Ladyton Farm, Bonhill

If farmer James Shanks of Ladyton ever got his wish to be laid to his rest in the “beautiful” Vale of Leven then he would be birling in his grave were he to witness what West Dunbartonshire Council have done to his heaven here on earth, writes Bill Heaney

I have said it here many a time before, but our hundred grand a year council chiefs aren’t worth the paper that £1 notes used to be printed on.

The beautiful Vale is no more and the well-heeled suits and skirts who nowadays run the local authority have a sin to answer for, many sins to answer for.

Labour councillor John Millar has accused them, and the chanty wrastlers who make up the sorry, stitched together SNP administration, led by the diddy man Cllr Jonathan McColl, of leaving the area “forgotten”.

Cllr Millar maintains that the mediocre local authority’s dreams of making a fortune from a developer interested in a big money land deal are now “pie in the sky”.

The Leven ward councillor believes the years-long neglect of crumbling Mitchell Way, off Main Street, is clear evidence means that prospective developers, if there ever were any who were really serious, would not be falling over themselves to invest in the Vale.

Councillor Millar said: “Nobody quite knows what’s actually happening with it. The company who were buying it went into liquidation, another company came in and it happened again.

“Somebody somewhere is not looking at that shopping centre now and thinking ‘here’s an opportunity’. ”

Andf he demanded that something must be done quickly to stop the Vale deteriorating any further.

He added: “They have actually made the Vale that much of a ghetto, the place will go only at the lowest possible price.”

Cllr Millar, pictured right, claimed that the town centre has been crippled by years of inaction.
He said: “We had a public meeting at one point and I asked if the for sale signs on the Vale could at least be cleaned.
“I asked if the pillars in the shopping centre could be cleaned but nothing gets done.
“We aren’t going to get top dollar for that.
“The Vale has been forgotten, I’ve called Bonhill the forgotten ward before, but central Alexandria has now also been forgotten.”

Meanwhile, the local authority has recently come under fire for blowing £20,000 of Sustrans cash on controversial planters placed around the Vale’s historic fountain at the junction of Main Street and Bank Street.

This was supposed to be part of “improvements” to create a “gateway” to the town on Main Street, but there has been a storm of criticism which has seen local people complaining that they are unsafe and unsightly.

It has been the subject of regeneration plans for years, with pledges that the area would be demolished “within weeks” as far back as 2016 amidst an anticipated £6.5 million plan which was set to see a Lidl supermarket and new homes on the site.

The works is yet to start and Lidl have still to confirm the future of their interest in the site.

However basket case West Dunbartonshire Council say they are committed to regenerating the town centre and say they are “ working closely with community organisations to make improvements.

A West Dunbartonshire Council spokesperson (they refuse to speak to The Dumbarton Democrat) told a local journalist: “We continue to invest in the area and have recently completed the final round of consultations on the proposed Alexandria Masterplan, setting out a range of projects to enhance the town centre. These proposals are shaped by the local community.”

The local community don’t seem to know they were consulted on the the plan, which sadly resembles putting lipstick on a corpse.

The song about the Beautiful Vale is disappearing into history and being replaced by The Band Played Believe It If You Like.

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