by Willie McLaughlin, Chair, Dalmuir Community Council

The pantomime season has finished – but our community council was involved in a panto of our very own recently.

We had intended to participate in the community budgeting process where local groups and organisations apply for money to spend in their communities.

Our idea was to use this money to paint the front of Dalmuir Library which was looking rather drab and not on the painting programme. A fine idea you may think, but then various council departments got their knickers in a twist.

One department said “yes you can”, another said “oh no you can’t” and in the end we just gave up. Perhaps they can sort out who is the front of the pantomime horse for next time.

I noticed some activity down on the waterfront. Walls torn down at Bruce Street, diggers and a crane. I then read various accolades from local worthies concerning the district heating system for all the new housing, and a plan to spread this along to the college, council offices, leisure centre and health centre.

This all sounds great, but hang on a minute. The tenants of the Dalmuir flats have been calling for just such a scheme to replace their antiquated electric storage heaters for years now. The Drumry flats have the same problem. It sounds like they are all being left behind.

This winter many residents have struggled to heat their homes due to the increased cost of electricity. Fuel poverty exists for many, including pensioners, families, disabled, low paid and those on benefits.

If this country is serious about ending fuel poverty and using sustainable, cheap energy then this type of system should be prioritised for all residential properties, and people that desperately need it now, not in 30 years.

This week we’ve also heard the proposed bridge to Renfrew is no more. Renfrewshire Council has dropped the whole thing and is looking at other projects. Millions of pounds have been wasted in the process. Councils seem to be struggling to spend huge sums of money on daft projects under the “use it or lose it” City Deals programme.

Give the money to us at Dalmuir Community Council, and we will build district heating plants all over town.