Councillors reject plans to reduce Oban community council funding

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Plans to change the funding given to community councils in Argyll and Bute have been rejected.

Officials from Argyll and Bute Council had suggested altering the way funds are allocated to the area’s community councils, in a way which would have seen the bodies in four large towns losing out.

Under the proposals, Oban community council stood to see its annual grant drop by by £379.

The community councils in Helensburgh, Dunoon and Campbeltown were also set to lose out – by £750, £249 and £200 – while Lochgilphead’s group was in line for a cut of £27.

But members of the council’s policy and resources committee declined both the recommended option and an alternative put forward by officers.

There will now be further investigations into how the authority can make any changes to its allocations to community councils.

Charles Reppke, the council’s head of governance and legal services, told the committee on Thursday: ‘Members asked us to look at different options after a decision taken a number of years ago.

‘We have continued year on year to provide funding, and the appendix [with a report issued to members] sets out ways in which we can apply funding.

‘I appreciate that some larger community councils will not be pleased about it, but it is for members to decide how to go about it.’

Councillor Ellen Morton said: ‘Money cannot be dispersed on the basis of any decision taken today. What I suggest is that we make no changes to the current system. It maybe needs another look. I think a solution can be found, but not this way.’

And Councillor Lorna Douglas added: “I absolutely agree with that. It is short notice for a lot of community councils and I don’t think this is a fair way to resolve it.

‘I would agree that it can’t stay as it is, but it is something we can come back to at a later date, once there is more information on what the community councils are doing.’

Councillor Robin Currie (Kintyre and the Islands) also said: ‘I am quite fortunate in that I have eight community councils in my ward and they all do excellent work to link the community and the council.

‘I think we are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.’