MONTROSE Community Council has fallen into abeyance after the group took the decision to fold due to a lack of members.
A meeting to discuss the community council’s future was held recently after last month’s regular meeting had to be cancelled as absences meant the committee would have been unable to form a quorum.
Former chairman Tommy Stewart said the developments are “unfortunate” but the community council could not continue with the current number of members, despite appeals for new blood.
It is the first time in more than 30 years that the town has had no representation at community council level. The bodies were introduced in 1976 to bridge the gap between local authorities and communities, and help to make public bodies aware of the opinions and needs of the communities they represent.
He said: “This has been a problem for quite a while now. Members met to discuss where Montrose Community Council was heading. It was advised that due to work commitments, David Gardiner, who had not been able to attend most of the previous meetings had decided to resign on this basis.
“It has become the case that all community councillors would need to attend every month to make the meetings quorate. Again, this was proving difficult and, despite letters to Montrose Academy looking for pupils to become members and also several appeals through the press, it has not attracted new members.”
The community council’s number was reduced at the last election in 2010 when several long-standing members resigned, leaving only eight nominations for its 15 vacancies. Although no election took place, the membership at that point was enough for the community council to continue, but the group hit further problems the following year due to the resignations of first its treasurer followed by its chairman.
Mr Stewart added: “I contacted Angus Council to advise the situation and also to advise of my own desire to resign from the position of chairman.
“Rachel Green from Angus Council said she fully understood the position and that she feels the best way forward for the community council would be to recess for the time being.
“It is unfortunate it has come to this and hopefully the situation will reverse.”
Local councillor Paul Valentine said he was saddened to hear that the group has folded and encouraged anyone interested in joining to contact Angus Council.
He said: “I don’t want to see Montrose without a community council. The community councils can provide some good feedback and bring up a lot of issues for councillors, but also reflect the views of the community.
“Personally, I’d like to pass on my thanks to the community council members who were there at the end for what they’ve done. It’s sad to see it going that way and hopefully we can get some new members to enliven it again.
“When I’ve been at meetings I’ve seen that there weren’t a lot of people attending and knew they were looking for new members so I hope there are people who will be willing to give up a little bit of their time to continue the community council.”
An Angus Council spokeswoman this week said the authority is aware of the situation, which will be reviewed in three months’ time after the launch of a membership drive.
She said: “We are aware that Montrose Community Council is currently having difficulties meeting its quorum for meetings. We have agreed that they will not hold any formal meetings until June when we will review the situation.
“Meantime the local community planning team will work with the community council to launch a membership drive. We have recently had a similar experience in Strathmartine where work by the local community succeeded in bringing the community council up to full membership after three months in abeyance.
“Anyone who is interested in joining the community council can contact the local community planning team for Montrose and Brechin at BrechinLCPT@angus.gov.uk.”