A towering problem
A tourism operator believes there is plenty of v-room in the area for a new venture – motorcycle sidecar tours.
Alan Jamieson, from Kirkpatrick Durham, is looking to take tourists round the area using a pair of motorbikes in a business that would be a first for Scotland.
The council’s licensing panel will decide on Tuesday whether or not to grant him the necessary licence.
Mr Jamieson said: “No one else has done this here. The council has put a fair amount of work in and it means if anyone wanted to do something similar in Dumfries and Galloway there would be a template for them.”
Over the past few years Mr Jamieson, 56, has offered tours to guests who stay at holiday cottages he runs with his partner on Durhamhill Farm.
These have been free but as he is planning to introduce charges there is red tape to deal with, including seeking a private hire operator’s licence from the council.
The tours would be taken by Mr Jamieson and his pal Robert Sproat, 62, who are both experienced motorcyclists.
The tours would be on quiet roads, for people over the age of 16, and while helmets are not legally required they would be offered to all passengers.
The report also reveals Mr Jamieson would plan to use a Russian Ural Gear Up 745cc and a Triumph Bonneville T100.
But the Chief Constable has raised concerns. He wants seat belts and guard rails fitted to the sidecars, although Mr Jamieson feels this would compromise safety.
As a result, a mechanical engineer has been brought in to prepare a report for councillors about the matter. Thousands of pounds of repairs need to be carried out to a Dalbeattie church.
And that could mean part of the tower at Christ Church having to be removed.
The roof of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which was built in the 1870s, has started leaking.
Some funds are available to carry out the work but around £25,000 is still needed.
Rector’s warden Dr Keith Dennison admitted: “It may be that some of the tower has to be demolished.
“We’re looking to replace the roof there. At the moment it has a flat roof, but we’re looking to put a pitched roof on it.
“There is a lead roof just now but it is rotting and we’d like to put a slate roof on.” The leaking tower has caused other problems in the church with timbers also needing to be replaced.
The church currently has what Dr Dennison described as a tarpaulin “bonnet” on the tower to keep out as much water as possible.
He said: “The church was built by Leicester quarrymen who came here to work in Craignair Quarry.
“They didn’t have anywhere to worship and they built the church using granite given to them by the quarry owners.
“There was no tower at the time, it was put on in the 1950s. They had intended putting a spire on but they ran out of money so didn’t manage to do that.”
Keith Dennison at Christ Church, Dalbeattie