Plans to tackle de­pri­va­tion hotspots

Re­port lists eigh­teen com­mu­ni­ties

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

The people of Ruther­glen are more likely to live in ar­eas suf­fer­ing from se­vere de­pri­va­tion than any other com­mu­nity in South La­nark­shire.

Out of 40 datazones iden­ti­fied by the Scot­tish Govern­ment, 16 in the Burgh are con­sid­ered in the worst 20 per cent across the coun­try.

The 40 per cent fig­ures com­pares with Larkhall, which is the next worst, where 38 per cent of 24 datazones are in the bot­tom 20.

A fifth of Cam­bus­lang datazones are in the bot­tom 20.

In com­par­i­son, the whole of East Kil­bride has just five datazones out of 109 in the worst 20.

The fig­ures were re­vealed at South La­nark­shire Coun­cil’s last ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee when coun­cil­lors dis­cussed the cre­ation of a lo­cal out­come im­prove­ment plan and as­so­ci­ated neigh­bour­hood plan.

In Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang, 18 com­mu­ni­ties suf­fer­ing so­cial and eco­nomic prob­lems were ear­marked to become neigh­bour­hood plan­ning ar­eas.

They were: Blair­beth, Cathkin, Fern­hill, Spit­tal, Spring­hall, Burn­hill, Cly­desmill, Gal­lowflat, cen­tral Ruther­glen, Cairns, Half­way, Light­burn, Vi­car­land, West­burn, cen­tral Cam­bus­lang, Cly­des­bridge, East­field and Whit­law­burn.

Plans will now be cre­ated for each area set­ting out pri­or­i­ties for im­prov­ing lo­cal out­comes.

An 80-page re­port on how to take the plan for­ward was pre­pared for coun­cil­lors.

But Ruther­glen South coun­cil­lor Robert Brown claimed the re­port “largely missed the point.”

He said: “Ev­ery­one agrees that there are sig­nif­i­cant ar­eas of mul­ti­ple de­pri­va­tion, not least in the Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang ar­eas, which need ex­tra ac­tion to give people more op­por­tu­ni­ties, to boost em­ploy­ment and fam­ily in­comes and to tackle the many as­pects of mul­ti­ple de­pri­va­tion.

“The prob­lem was that the coun­cil have been told by the Scot­tish Govern­ment to pro­duce lo­cal­ity plans on far too tight a timetable and with­out any re­view of how it all fits with ex­ist­ing ar­range­ments.

“My per­sonal view is that the Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang area com­mit­tee and the other area com­mit­tees should be given more pow­ers, the suc­cess­ful neigh­bour­hood man­age­ment boards in ar­eas like Cathkin and Fern­hill should be built on, and other ar­range­ments like the hous­ing fo­rums should be re­viewed to en­sure a wider pub­lic in­volve­ment and a closer link with the area com­mit­tee.”

Coun­cil­lor Maureen Chalmers, deputy coun­cil leader and chair of the South La­nark­shire Com­mu­nity Plan­ning Part­ner­ship, said: “I think there is a grow­ing con­sen­sus that if we are go­ing to tackle poverty and dis­ad­van­tage then we need a dif­fer­ent and better ap­proach, and this is re­flected in our com­mit­ment not just to con­struct and de­liver tar­geted neigh­bour­hood plans, but to do so with a full com­mit­ment to com­mu­nity en­gage­ment.

“That is why our pri­or­ity go­ing for­ward will be to en­sure that our neigh­bour­hood plans are de­vel­oped jointly with com­mu­ni­ties to re­flect lo­cal needs and lo­cal people’s as­pi­ra­tions for their ar­eas.

“A good deal of work has al­ready been un­der­taken to iden­tify the main chal­lenges in ar­eas like health, poverty, un­em­ploy­ment and com­mu­nity safety. This will al­low a full con­ver­sa­tion with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties so their views, ex­pe­ri­ences and as­pi­ra­tions shape the plans as they are fur­ther de­vel­oped.”

Res­i­dents can go to http://tinyurl. com/SLCLOIP to have their say on the lo­cal im­prove­ment plan.

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