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Councillor Scott Kerr said he is “astonished” the heavily corroded bridge in Houston remains in such a poor condition after three years of pressing the issue

councillor scott kerr

A village councillor is calling for urgent action to be taken to fix a metal bridge in Houston which has been “left to rot”.

Scott Kerr said he is “astonished” the heavily corroded Ardgryffe bridge – which is covered in holes and graffiti – remains in such a poor condition after three years of pressing the issue with both Renfrewshire Council and current owners Taylor Wimpey.

The Conservative councillor claims the two have been at a “stalemate” during the period, with Taylor Wimpey wanting the council to adopt the bridge, while the local authority has insisted it is brought into a better condition before this can be done.

The bridge provides a vital walking route for residents – connecting Houston and Crosslee – and is used daily by schoolkids.

Taylor Wimpey has said it has “no concerns” regarding corrosion on the bridge.

Councillor Kerr said: “I am deeply frustrated the issues surrounding the Ardgryffe bridge in my ward continue to remain unresolved.

“This is an issue I have been pursuing since I was elected three years ago and I find it astonishing we remain at a stalemate.

“It is time for the council and Taylor Wimpey to discuss the matters again and commit to resolving this for the people of Houston and Crosslee.

houston bridge

“I will continue to liaise closely with the community council to demand the bridge is once again fit for purpose for residents in my ward as a matter of urgency.”

Taylor Wimpey said a meeting was held this week with the council and an inspection was carried out at both the Ardgryffe bridge and the wooden Crosslee bridge.

The company also confirmed it has “agreed a specification” to allow the council to adopt the bridge – hopefully by the end of next year – and is committed to carrying out necessary works.

The council said it was agreed in July last year that, subject to conditions being met, it would adopt the bridge for maintenance purposes and bosses continue to be in discussions with the developer.

A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey West Scotland said: “We remain fully committed to completing the works necessary to the metal bridge at Ardgryffe Crescent and the wooden Crosslee Bridge as part of a wider strategy to handover Crosslee Woodland to Renfrewshire Council.

“We are in regular communication with the local authority in relation to this matter.

“Following an inspection on September 10, we can advise there are no missing spars to the metal bridge, and we have no concerns regarding corrosion.

“We have agreed a specification to allow the metal bridge to be adopted by Renfrewshire Council.

“We are also addressing the remedial work that is required to the surrounding woodland to remove diseased and dying trees. However, our approved plan for this has been impacted by the current health emergency and we are in the process of engaging a new contractor.

“We will continue to work in partnership with Renfrewshire Council to resolve matters, which we anticipate could allow the Crosslee Infrastructure to be adopted by the local authority towards the end of next year.”

Text by Paisley Daily Express written by https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/authors/stephanie-brawn/

L-R David Cannon, CityFibre's City Manager_ Finance Convener, Councillor John Shaw_ Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson
  • Landmark partnership with Renfrewshire Council will cover the historic towns of Paisley, Renfrew and Johnstone, turning Renfrewshire into one of the best-connected regions in Scotland

14 September 2020: Renfrewshire is celebrating a major milestone in its digital transformation, with work now underway to bring full fibre infrastructure to homes and businesses across the region as part of a £40million private investment from CityFibre.

L-R David Cannon, CityFibre's City Manager_ Finance Convener, Councillor John Shaw_ Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson

Building on its long-standing strategic relationship with Renfrewshire Council to upgrade its digital connectivity, CityFibre’s existing network, serving council buildings including schools, local libraries and community centres, will be extended by approximately 700km.

Construction work has officially commenced in Paisley, with the first homes and businesses expected to be able to connect to the network from early 2021. Across the UK, CityFibre is working with an increasing range of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to deliver next generation broadband services.

PMK is delivering the construction programme on CityFibre’s behalf and is following social distancing protocols to ensure the safety of the build team and the wider community.

L-R Finance Convener Councillor John Shaw_ David Cannon, CityFibre_ Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson

CityFibre has appointed David Cannon, formerly of the David MacBrayne Group and Scottish Enterprise, as its City Manager with responsibility for ensuring close communication with the Council and stakeholders across the region, as well as delivering maximum benefit for the wider community.

Greg Mesch, CEO at CityFibre, said: “The £40million investment we are making in the area is the result of years of close collaboration with Renfrewshire Council. Full Fibre connectivity will put the region at the forefront of the digital transformation we are driving across the country. As the world adapts to COVID-19, the importance of delivering world-leading digital infrastructure for residents and businesses could not be greater.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “I am delighted to see work well underway on developing this state-of-the-art Full Fibre network which will make Renfrewshire one of the best connected regions in Scotland and bring benefits to residents and businesses alike.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has underlined how much we all need fast, reliable broadband connections and demand for better bandwidth continues to grow year on year so it’s vitally important for our businesses, for our schools and for our residents that we have a resilient, future-proofed network to be proud of.”

Councillor John Shaw, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Finance, Resources and Customer Services Policy Board, added: “This is an important first step in our plan to transform connectivity in Renfrewshire. We are taking a strategic long-term approach which has prompted this fantastic private investment by CityFibre, with the benefits to reach Renfrewshire doorsteps early next year.

“The Full Fibre network will bolster business as we recover and restart from the impact of Coronavirus and greatly improve connectivity to our schools, tackle digital exclusion and enhance the experience at local libraries, town halls, community centres and care homes.”

Glasgow Airport exterior

Government ministers have been urged to step in to save local jobs – before it’s too late. 

The call came after UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, could not confirm which aviation companies or how many had made use of special support promised by the Chancellor over two months. 

Glasgow Airport exterior

With Glasgow Airport and Rolls-Royce both major employers in Renfrewshire, any loss of jobs at either would have major implications for the local economy. 

British Airways have already announced 12,000 proposed job losses, representing over one third of their total staff, with Chief Executive Willie Walsh appearing before the Transport Select Committee last week to face a grilling from MPs. 

MP Gavin Newlands, whose Paisley and Renfrewshire North seat includes the airport, and who sits on the Committee, hit out at the UK Government for their lack of action to help employees and employers. 

 

Gavin said: 

“Two months ago the Chancellor promised a bespoke support scheme for the aviation sector, and two months later we are still waiting for detail. 

“Vague answers about letters received just aren’t good enough – tens if not hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country are on the line and people’s livelihoods are too important to simply make vague promises.  We already know BA want to axe 12,000 jobs, including 130 at their Edinburgh base, and there can be no doubt that hundreds of jobs in Renfrewshire are under threat if BA go ahead with their plans.  

“Meanwhile road haulage and logistics firms are weeks from bankruptcy, while the coach industry is on its knees – both key sectors for the economic recovery we all need to see happen once the current crisis is over. 

“Transport is a fundamental building block of our national and international economy, and the lack of answers or a clear plan from the UK Government is deeply worrying.  Leaving our transport future up to Willie Walsh to plan is a recipe for disaster.” 

Provost Lorraine Cameron

The Leader, Provost and Board Conveners of Renfrewshire Council have praised the dedication and hard work of staff, as well as the patience and community spirit of residents during the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a video posted to the council’s social media channels, Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson paid tribute to the “incredible sacrifices” being made by local people to continue to care for the most vulnerable, while Chair of the Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board, Councillor Jacqueline Cameron, saluted the council’s care staff saying “we really owe them a debt of gratitude.”

Provost Lorraine Cameron

Education and Children Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, praised the “imagination and creativity of our teaching staff in creating new and exciting ways of learning”, while Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Environment and Infrastructure, called the continuation of a full waste collection service “an incredible achievement.”

Convener of Finance and Resources, Councillor John Shaw, celebrated the work of the council’s Customer Services team as they answer, “tens of thousands of calls every week to ensure that help and support is available for people, as and when they need it.”, and Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, spoke of the amazing job Renfrewshire Leisure staff are doing to “help all of us with our physical and mental wellbeing at this incredibly difficult and stressful time”.

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Communities, Housing and Planning Convener Councillor Marie McGurk praised the community spirit in Renfrewshire saying of volunteers that she is “delighted that these people call Renfrewshire home”, while Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron declared the actions of local people made her “proud to be part of this community.”

The council’s response to Coronavirus has included setting up a local helpline – 0300 300 0230 – to ensure that those being shielded are able to access essential food and medication – with more than 37,000 meals and essential supplies delivered already.

Health and Social Care teams continue to care for the most vulnerable in the community, while emergency repairs are still being undertaken for residents who need them – with the appropriate PPE and distancing measures in place.

Key workers have received childcare places thanks to qualified staff from across all services volunteering to work in childcare hubs and teachers are continuing to provide a positive, engaging education for pupils in their own homes.

Businesses have been supported to access funding and receive detailed guidance, with more than £15million in grants awarded to local businesses so far.

A full waste collection service is still being provided at this time and the Council’s Community Meals Service continues to operate for those who need it.

To protect people’s mental and physical wellbeing, Renfrewshire Leisure is keeping people active via online classes and resource, and Youth Services are keeping in touch with young people to ensure they have an outlet should they need it.

The video can be viewed via www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VmEI-BmWpg, and is also available on Facebook @renfrewshirecouncil, Twitter @RenCouncil and Instagram @Renfrewshire_Council.

For the latest advice and guidance on Coronavirus, please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.

BrexitSpeech gavin

Gavin Newlands MP has said the UK government must introduce urgent health measures for people travelling to the UK – including health checks and quarantine measures at the border. 
 
The Renfrewshire MP has written to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps raising concerns about the UK Government’s failure to act, which has meant hundreds of thousands of people have entered the UK without appropriate checks and measures in the months since the pandemic began. 

 
The SNP Shadow Transport Secretary said the Government must finally bring the UK into line with other countries, where tighter measures are being placed on travel in response to coronavirus. 

Fellow SNP MP Joanna Cherry, Shadow Home Secretary, followed suit in writing to the Home Secretary asking for similar action to stop coronavirus at the border and halt the virus in its tracks. 
 
Gavin said: 
 
“The UK government must urgently introduce coronavirus health checks and quarantine measures at the border for people travelling to the UK. 
 
“It is deeply concerning that UK Government has failed to act – and is still allowing thousands of people to enter the UK without appropriate checks and measures in place. 
 
“Other countries in Europe and across the world have already introduced these measures – leaving the UK as an outlier. The UK government has been far too slow to act and must now step up to prevent an increased risk of transmission. 
 

“It’s crazy that people can travel from coronavirus hotspots like Italy and Spain into Scotland and UK with no checks, no quarantine, and no action from the border or transport authorities. 

“It’s also putting the staff who remain working at airports at greater risk of contracting the virus and hindering efforts to stop the spread of this disease. 

“For people to have confidence in the UK government’s approach, it is crucial they put these long-overdue measures in place and set out how this will form part of a considered exit strategy.” 

gavin newlands

Charities across Renfrewshire are being encouraged to apply for emergency funding to help cope with the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

gavin newlands

The £50 million Wellbeing Fund is part of a £350 million package announced by the Scottish Government to support those most affected by the pandemic and enable a swift response according to local need. 

Of this, £10 million has been allocated for immediate priorities and £7 million committed to support around 2000 charities through small grants.  

This leaves £33 million of the Wellbeing Fund now open to bids from third sector organisations, with the application process run by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).

Over 500 charities are registered in Renfrewshire with many more headquartered elsewhere but providing services across the county.

The huge impact of coronavirus is being felt by charities with normal donations from the public dropping sharply, combined with a rise in demand for their services as the country battles through the current situation.

Organisations are being urged to visit scvo.org.uk and register their interest soon.

 

Gavin said: 

“Charities are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with donations down and a sharp increase in the demands on their services, so this news from the Scottish Government is particularly welcome. 

“Our third sector is working incredibly hard to help individuals and communities who need help the most, and this new fund is aimed at making sure local groups can carry on the tremendous work already going on in towns and villages across Renfrewshire and beyond. 

“Every charity, big or small, can apply for funding and I urge every local group who needs financial support to continue helping communities across Renfrewshire to make sure their application is in as soon as possible. 

“If your local group needs a helping hand through this unprecedented time, visit the SCVO website and start the process today.” 

gavin newlands

NEW SURVEY REVEALS ONE IN THREE SCOTS WORRIED ABOUT BEING ABLE TO PAY FOR FOOD

Local MP Gavin Newlands has renewed calls on the UK government to provide urgent support to families and households across the UK who are struggling to make ends meet due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes after a Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) survey revealed that one in three Scots expressed worries over how they would continue to pay for bills, food and other essentials. While four in ten living in rented accommodation said they were concerned about future payments on their home.

gavin newlands

Earlier, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford wrote to party leaders urging the UK government and opposition parties to hold an urgent meeting with utilities companies to ensure households have the support they need as unemployment rises, incomes are reduced, and utility costs and usage increase.

Meanwhile the Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP has asked the Chancellor to amend the furlough scheme to allow thousands more workers to qualify, with many falling through the safety net.

Gavin said:

“The coronavirus crisis has pushed many families and individuals across the UK, through no fault of their own, into hardship and financial difficulty.

“With a significant number of people in Scotland worried about how they will pay for food, essential items, bills, and payments on their homes, it is vital that the UK government sets out measures to support people in their time of need.

“Household costs are rising at the same time as millions of people are seeing a reduction or complete loss of their income. The financial strain facing many people is becoming unbearable. The UK government must urgently take steps to alleviate the burden, including through introducing a guaranteed minimum income, an Emergency Coronavirus Energy Grant, a six-month reprieve on utilities being cut off, and a freeze on prices.

“These are difficult times and no family or household should be left behind or struggling to heat their home, pay their bills, or put food on their table.

“The UK government has worked constructively with the devolved governments on measures that have been brought forward so far, but much more needs to be done to help those households who are on the brink and struggling to make ends meet.”

council PCT partnership

The ongoing drive to regenerate Paisley town centre will be boosted through a new partnership between Renfrewshire Council and the group hoping to bring a new cinema to the town.

Paisley Community Trust (PCT) are taking forward plans for a new cinema on Paisley High Street as part of their wider aim of delivering community-driven economic regeneration of the town.

council PCT partnership

And the trust has now signed a strategic partnership agreement with the council to formalise the commitment of both parties to work together.

A strategic partnership acts as statement of intent, strengthening the links and communication between two groups.

The council has already piloted this approach elsewhere in Renfrewshire, and last week councillors gave approval to sign a similar agreement with Active Communities, who are building a new community hub in the former police station in Johnstone.

The PCT are evolving their plans for a community-focused cinema in the heart of the town centre, and with funding from Renfrewshire Council and Regional Screen Scotland, are shortlisting suitable sites and carrying out initial feasibility studies to explore their potential.

This would be ‘Project One’ to emerge from the Paisley Vision – an ambitious ten-year blueprint recently revealed by the council, Scottish Government and Scotland’s Town Partnership, which imagines some ideas for what Paisley town centre could look like in a decade.

The Vision considers how vacant retail space could be better used to meet what people will need in future – and suggests ideas including new homes for town centre residents and new community and leisure ‘attractors’ such as a cinema or continental-style food hall.

The agreement was signed by Renfrewshire Council’s leader Iain Nicolson and depute leader Jim Paterson, and the PCT’s chair Gary Kerr and deputy chair Andy Campbell.

Cllr Nicolson said: “The council’s job is help make Renfrewshire a place where communities and businesses can thrive – but we recognise we can’t do that on our own.

“That can only happen by working with community groups who share our aims and by supporting them to deliver on theirs, and there are a number of current initiatives intended to strengthen that.

“The council and the PCT share a common goal to help bring new life to Paisley town centre and their plans for a new High Street cinema could complement the work we are already doing to transform Paisley’s future through investment in our historic venues and outdoor spaces.

“This agreement helps formalise that commitment and we look forward to seeing how we can support the trust to deliver on their ambitions.”

Gary Kerr of the PCT added: “Paisley Community Trust have been working with our local communities for a number of years to deliver community-focused leisure-led regeneration projects to the town.

“’Project 1’, the cinema project is a culmination of these years of work and refinement. We were delighted to be part of the Paisley Vision research and to make a strong case for the inclusion of cinema in the long-term plans and we are delighted to see its adoption as a vital component.

“Community-focused cinema has such an important role to play in the town. It can reconnect socially isolated groups such as pensioners. It can provide accessible, autistic-friendly viewing options for children with autism and their parents.

“It can educate and deliver resources to our young people to allow them to tell their own stories on film. Vitally it can provide considerable footfall in the town, delivering an economic boost for our local traders.”

Renfrewshire Council is currently overseeing a once-in-a-generation £100m investment in Paisley town centre, including the transformation of Paisley Museum into a world-class destination and keeping Paisley Town Hall at the heart of local life as a landmark entertainment venue, bringing huge volumes of new visitors to the town.

paisley south

The results of the 2019 UK General Election for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, and Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituencies have been declared.

Gavin Newlands has been re-elected as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North.

paisley north

Mhairi Black has been re-elected as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South.

paisley south

In Paisley and Renfrewshire North, 49,835 votes were cast, a 69.2 per cent turnout.

In Paisley and Renfrewshire South, there were 43,217 votes cast, a 67.1 per cent turnout.

Returning Officer Sandra Black, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Council, announced the results in the early hours of Friday 13 December at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley.

The election count involved more than 300 staff, counting the contents of 167 ballot boxes and 46 postal ballot boxes.

59 polling places containing 167 stations across Renfrewshire had been open from 7am until 10pm and included various venues such as schools, community centres, churches and a bowling club.

For more information, visit http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/article/9655/2019-UK-General-Election-Results.

PAISLEY PASSENGERS SET TO BE HIT BY RIP OFF RAIL FARE RISES

Hard-pressed commuters in Paisley are set to pay hundreds of pounds more to travel on ScotRail services after it was announced regulated rail fares and seasons tickets will increase by 2.8% in January.

Analysis by Neil Bibby MSP has shown that a season ticket from Paisley to Glasgow will rise by £25 to £921.08 next year.

Neil Bibby MSP said:

“It’s simply unfair for hard-pressed Paisley commuters to pay more and more for services which are continually plagued by delays, cancellations and overcrowding.

This rip off fare increase, is unwanted, unwelcome and unnecessary and will hit thousands of working people in Paisley and across Scotland who use our railways to get to work.

Scotland’s rail franchise system is broke, we need to bring ScotRail back into public hands to bring an end to these rip off fares and to deliver a railway system that puts passengers first not private train companies.”