Former Montrose Community Council chairman wants to “set the story straight”

Former Montrose Community Council chairman Tommy Stewart
Former Montrose Community Council chairman Tommy Stewart

The former Montrose Community Council chairman wants to “set the story straight” about why the body was dissolved.

Last month, the Review revealed that the community council in the town was dissolved due to a low turnout at its meetings.

Former chairman of the community council Tommy Stewart, of Glenprosen Street, said: “I want to set the story straight. The only reason why the community council was dissolved is because we didn’t meet the quorate at meetings.

“So even if people wanted to be co-opted onto the council, they couldn’t be because we didn’t have enough community councillors turning up to the meetings to do so.”

Montrose Community Council can have up to 17 community councillors and a minimum of five members must turn up to meetings for other people to be co-opted on to it.

“However, the community council only had five councillors before it was dissolved.”

Mr Stewart (43) said: “In 2010, there were only eight people interested in becoming councillors, therefore an election didn’t need to be held as we were under the maximum number needed and everybody was co-opted on. We see-sawed with numbers for a while as people resigned and we were left with five members at the end but not everyone can make it to every meeting.”

He added: “The were legitimate reasons why councillors resigned, one resigned because she had to move to Glasgow to care for her sick mother, two resigned because they were unhappy with decisions to do with the Christmas lights and another resigned due to work commitments.”

Mr Stewart commented: “Why has it come to it being dissolved before people take notice? I had E-mails from people saying they wanted to be co-opted onto the community council who said they’d come to meetings so they could be, but they never turned up.

“I would say that if the community council is re-established there needs to be about 10 to 11 councillors because not everybody can attend every meeting.”

Mr Stewart added he and other former community councillors are is still interested in being members of the body.

A petition launched by Montrose resident Jim Shaw (60), of Standard Close, to re-establish the community council in the town has now been submitted to Angus Council. A minimum of 20 signatures were needed to petition the re-establishment of the body, and Mr Shaw, along with Ron Campbell (74), of Melville Gardens, exceeded this by getting 28 signatures.

Debate sparked on our Facebook page after we asked you whether you wanted a community council in Montrose.

Gavin J. Dunbar commented: “When I was on the MCC from 2000-2009 there was never a threat of it being dissolved. Who was in charge to let this happen? What a total complete disgrace. This should not have happened.”

Mr Stewart wrote: “Montrose Community Council tried on several occasions to attract new members. There was no interest until recently. Where was everyone before when we were asking for people to join?

“There are 28 people who have signed a petition saying they want a community council, I’d like to think they would all want to become community councillors but I doubt it.

“As far as the previous community council is concerned, had they kept Angus Council informed of members moving away, therefore not being eligible to be a member, numbers could have fallen with them too.”

He added on the social media that members who no longer attended meetings were listed to keep numbers up.

Gavin J. Dunbar wrote: “Maybe this was to keep some people from joining the MCC and ruining it.

“Maybe whoever is the new chairperson can keep control of the MCC without members resigning or failing to turn up.”

An Angus Council spokesperson said: “I can confirm that a petition for the re-establishment of the community council has been received and in the next six weeks the returning officer will make arrangements to hold an election.”