Hands off our funds

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THE gloves are off in Forfar as members of the local community council prepare to battle for the retention of the town’s common good fund.

Fears the funds of the county’s burghs may be pooled to benefit those towns without such an asset were first raised in Arbroath where Independent Angus Councillor Bob Spink, followed by Arbroath Community Council chairman Patricia Millar, spoke out against any move to create a communal Angus pot.

After consulting with her fellow members, Mrs Isobel Ross, chairman of Forfar Community Council, has now broken her silence to issue a warning to local elected members to think well about supporting any move to pool all the county’s assets for the benefit of all. Speaking to the Dispatch she said: “As far as I am aware this review is being made by council officers - but they should not be making decisions.

“Common Good Funds belong to the burghs. Councillors support wider Angus, but local elected members should support and protect local interests, such as Common Good Funds and assets. Councillors and councils, including council officials, come and go, but Forfar and our people will remain.

“I ask a question of all Angus councillors. If common good funds and assets are moved over, with your agreement, could you face the electorate of Angus and locally in the burghs you represent, particularly since the 2012 elections are on the horizon?”

Mrs Ross defended the numerous assets on the town’s common good, which include the Reid Hall, Boyle Park and the Meffan. She was fearful the local assets will be raided and distributed across Angus following the review, and was adamant the rich heritage gifted to Forfar townsfolk were for their benefit, not for the wider county.

The community council’s stance received the backing of former Angus Councillor Ron Scrimgeour, but at the time of going to press on Tuesday (yesterday) Angus Council’s finance spokesman gave a categorical assurance a single common good fund for Angus was not being considered as part of the on-going review - see inside for more details.