Livingston residents urged to set up community councils

PEOPLE in Livingston are being urged to come forward and represent their communities.

Many areas of the new town have no community council – and miss out on the opportunity to scrutinise planning and licensing applications.

“Livingston has a fair share of residents and tenant groups,” said Helen Taylor, the chair of West Lothian Association of Community Councils. “But these groups don’t have the same powers as community councils. I’d encourage people with no local community council in their area to ask about setting one up.”

Currently there are 33 active community councils in West Lothian – but the local authority has made provision for 42.

Said Ms Taylor (pictured above): “In Livingston, areas like Carmondean, Craigshill, Deans, Eliburn and Livingston Village could all have community councils but there’s none at present.”

She added: “There is a community council in Howden, but it’s not meeting just now – and is looking for new volunteers.”

“There are also no community councils in the villages of Seafield, Breich and Greenrigg.”

“The forthcoming community council elections this autumn give people an ideal opportunity to come forward and set up local groups . . . and get the representation they’re entitled to.”

Anyone interested in standing as a community councillor in their area should ask for a nomination form from their local West Lothian Council office.

They can also call the community councils’ liaison officer, Lorraine McGrorty, on 01506 777239 or email: community.councils@westlothian.gov.uk.

Ms Taylor: “Forms can also be downloaded on the community councils’ website – http://www.yourcommunitycouncil.co.uk. This gives people information on community councils, what they do and the kind of roles they play in our area. The Association of Community Councils – as the umbrella group in West Lothian – can also give lots of practical support and advice to people setting up a new community council. Full details are on the website.”

Anyone interested in standing for a community council in West Lothian has until Thursday, September 29, to submit his or her nomination form to West Lothian Council. In areas where there are more nominations than community council places, elections will be held. These will be run by the local authority.
WHAT COMMUNITY COUNCILS DO:
Community Councils are run by volunteers from the community. They work to safeguard and promote their area’s best interests – and represent public opinion to the local authority and other government bodies. Each community council is regularly asked to comment on a range of issues such as:

* the local environment;
* local planning applications;
* drinks (liquor) licensing;
* local plans
* decentralisation of public services; and
* community planning.

Anyone interested in joining their community council should go along to a meeting (if they have one in their area) and ask for details. Alternatively they can log onto the website at http://www.yourcommunitycouncil.co.uk

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Please contact Adrian Mahoney at The PR Store
on 01506 823714 or 07967 150560
or email: adrian@theprstore.net

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