By Bill Heaney
COUNCILLOR Ian Dickson has a cheek on him, even for an SNP politician, whose reputation goes before them on that score alone.
After years of SNP neglect to the point of extinction at Mitchell Way in Alexandria, the Labour-controlled council has announced that it has at last begun the demolition of this slum.
However, I checked and that doesn’t stand up.
As the Tory politician Gillian Keegan suggested in the House of Commons, I got off my a *** and went out to the Vale to have a look.
This was in the afternoon of Tuesday, September 5, and I am sorry to have to reveal that it looked not as if the demolition work had been started, since there was no evidence of that, but that someone had gone around the place with a brush – and not a very good one at that.
Indeed, all they had done was the equivalent of putting lipstick on a corpse.
There were large notices put there by the demolition contractors stating that they were responsible for the doubtless very expensive work taking place in Mitchell Way.
But if that were my company, I would definitely be on a mission to keep that quiet.
Not only was there no demolition material lying about or neatly piled in a corner waiting for uplift, but there was litter all along the passage between the Co-op supermarket and the Mitchell Way shops and flats. Indeed, there was litter everywhere. And the ubiquitous long, uncut grass.
It looked to me like a perfect spot to indulge in a bit of illegal drug-taking or illicit hochmagandy al fresco after a few swigs at a bottle of Buckfast.
A man who walked past me there said: “You’re no’ jist takin’ pictures of the litter, are you?”
I couldn’t make out if that was a jibe or a challenge.
The SNP, who were in charge of matters relating to many years of neglect at Mitchell Way, must think they are they are justified in putting the boot into Labour’s “rejuvenation” plans, which were announced at the weekend by their deputy leader Cllr Michelle McGinty.
Cllr Dickson said: “If by rejuvenation they mean creating traffic congestion at the Fountain by making traffic leaving Lidl a one-way road up Bank Street, removing access to Main Street via Church Street or the privatisation and 90 minute time limit on what was the biggest car park in Alexandria.
“In a frenzy to be seen to do something this time, the local Labour councillors have given away a huge chunk of our town centre, for free, to a multi-billion pound corporation to close off for their own uses only.”
Locals are unhappy with the Mitchell Way plans, according to some posts on social media.
Doogie Hamilton said: “I think with the amount of land available taking into account Mitchell Way, the churchyard and carrying on down to the train station, a better vision could have served the Vale better.
“I would of thought a good shopping centre that the railway served right on the edge of the development might have been a better idea instead of another German Supermarket plonked right in the middle of it.”
Cllr Ian Dickson replied: “The demolition is fantastic news, and its appeal to everyone just shows how important place and environment are to our communities’ mental health and well-being.
“What comes immediately after the demolition is a total repeat of the mistakes of the past, like the stopping up of Mitchell Street in the first place, putting up cheaply built buildings and creating the hazard that became Mitchell Way.
“Now Church Street is to be stopped up too, pushing more vehicles towards pedestrians at the Vale Academy and the Fountain.”
The Democrat has been told that the Council is not prepared to comment and so we can’t right now bring a comment from them.
However, we intend to follow the matter up and bring the whole story to our readers. ONE QUESTION WE WILL BE ASKING IS: HAVE THE COUNCIL CHECKED TO SEE WHAT CONCRETE IS GOING TO BE USED ON THIS JOB?
It is surprising that the Labour council leader, Cllr Martin Rooney, has not made this latest announcement since in recent times he has been the person to take most of the flak for the state Vale of Leven and Dumbarton are in at the moment.