LISTEN: John Duff gives his view on the reallocation of funding across the council
A meeting of the council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee has voted to reallocate the funds which were earlier decided to be invested in a Town Centre project.
Problems listed by the council include neighbouring land, a lack of ‘officer capacity’, ‘resources being redeployed’ and a drawing deadline as reasons why they couldn’t progress with the project at this time.
The report put to representatives yesterday says, ‘It is very unfortunate that a viable project cannot be identified in Pitlochry’.
Adding, ‘in order for that funding not to be lost to Perth and Kinross, it is recommended that the funds previously allocated to Pitlochry (£383K) and the remaining balance of our revised Town Centre fund allocation(£32K)’, that the money be, ‘be allocated to the projects identified in the recommendations below which officers believe are the projects which best meet the aims of the Fund’.
Instead, the council will be investing in more illumination in the town as well as greater integration to the internet with the £200,000 Local Full Fibre Network project.
Highland Ward Councillor, John Duff, said when the report was made public: “It is extremely disappointing that we have been unable to agree and progress the project in Pitlochry.
“However, local elected members welcome the council’s commitment to continue with development of the project and its intention to identify other funding going forward.
“Pitlochry will still benefit from the introduction of a local full fiber network and free town centre Wi-Fi system.
“Officers are also bringing forward a new lighting scheme for the war memorial and memorial gardens.”
However, the project had already been given an extension from the Scottish Government after Perthshire North MSP and Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, stepped in.
Offering his reaction to the news, local Highland Ward Councillor, Mike Williamson, said: “I feel that the project set off on the wrong foot when Perth & Kinross Council asked Councillors to nominate shovel ready projects which could demonstrate Community Support. This left many residents feeling excluded from the decision-making process and in my view the project never really regained momentum.
“With my colleague, John Swinney, we did manage to succeed in getting the Scottish Government to extend the funding deadlines in February last year, until March 2021.
“Along with a failure to resource additional officer time, I feel that it is a great shame that more use was not made of this additional time to bring this project to fruition.”
More details on the report passed by the council can be found here: https://perth-and-kinross.cmis.uk.com/perth-and-kinross/Meetings/tabid/70/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/397/Meeting/2802/Committee/3/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx