FORFAR councillor Colin Brown has launched a robust defence of his commitment to serving his town, as well as the Alliance administration’s commitment to the burgh as a whole.
Replying to comments made at last month’s meeting of Forfar Community Council, as reported in last week’s Forfar Dispatch and Kirriemuir Herald, the independent Angus councillor said he was “taking the liberty” of replying to comments made by his fellow Councillor, Councillor Glennis Middleton on the development of Montrose and its effect on Forfar.
He said: “I was surprised at the contents of her statements, as they completely ignored the facts and appeared to set out to somewhat hysterically decry the works to be undertaken at Montrose.
“As a Forfar councillor, I too have fought, and will continue to fight, for Forfar and I have often said in the Chambers that I wished this development was taking place in Forfar.
“It isn’t because Montrose pool is the worst pool in Angus and could be closed permanently at almost any time.
“As the vice-convener of Neighbourhood Services, responsible for the provision of sports and leisure throughout Angus I, along with the rest of the committee and the council, took the unanimous decision to replace Montrose Swimming Pool.
“The report clearly detailed the works and the timescales.
“I am unsure if Councillor Middleton actually read the report as her description of the “fantoosh leisure centre’ does not bear any resemblance whatsoever to the reality.
“Out of the total approved costs of just over £8 million, less than 3/4 of a million pounds are being spent on the old leisure centre.
“The majority of that spend is actually to merge the buildings together so they can be more efficiently and cheaply run in future.”
Councillor Brown stated that, as a council, they had a responsibility to ensure the best “for all our citizens”.
He continued: “The petty way the SNP play one burgh off against another in local community council and other meetings only shows real cynicism as they try to manipulate the public’s opinion.
“According to them, every burgh needs more and every burgh is cheated by every other burgh.
“Well, I remember the days of the SNP administration in Angus and the facts - they did nothing about Forfar Pool, or any of the other pet little complaints they currently have.
“The alliance has been in power for only three and a half years now and we have already committed to pools, schools, houses; all for the benefit of the people of Angus, doing what’s needed, first.
“We had a lot to sort out when we came into power, now you will see the results.”
Councillor Middleton’s comments came during a discussion led by community council chairman Mrs Isobel Ross regarding spending in other Angus, and a call for the administration to explain why Forfar was losing out on public spending.
Mrs Ross referred to press reports detailing expenditure of over £300,000 in Brechin, Carnoustie and Montrose, and compared it to the repairs being made to the Balmashanner War Memorial and the Peel Monument in the Newmonthill Cemetery.
Mrs Ross stated: “Forfar elected alliance members in the administration are going to have to tell the people of Forfar why we are not getting anything because everything is going elsewhere.”
Her concerns were back up by SNP councillor Glennis Middleton who referred to the “urban myth” that Montrose was getting a £10 million swimming pool, whilst they were instead getting “a fantoosh sports centre with a pool stuck on the end, which is not at all what the people of Montrose were looking for.”