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Opposition councillors’ ‘frustration’ at delays to health services in grass cutting debates at Moray Council

Buckie councillor Tim Eagle.
Buckie councillor Tim Eagle.

Opposition councillors in Moray have hit out at delays in attempting to discuss on-going health service concerns in the region and grass cutting fears.

Conservative members tabled motions to have the topics debated at special full council meetings due to be held next week.

However, the request was rejected due to regulations dictating that the time be devoted to single-item agendas.

Instead, the items will now be discussed at the next full council meeting, which his scheduled for October 2.

Council convener Shona Morrison has explained that the move will mean that the debates will be delayed by less than a week.

But Conservative group leader Tim Eagle has hit out at the wasted time as “unacceptable”.

He said: “It’s intensely frustrating that we will not be able to discuss these matters in a timely fashion. They are important and people expect their councillors to take them seriously.

“Dr Gray’s has been a source of much concern for many months now. Having spoken to a wide range of users and medical staff my group felt it vital that Moray Council submits a response to the consultation currently being run by NHS Grampian.

“Our views should be heard and we should not be going cap-in-hand asking for permission to make a late submission to the NHS as this delay puts us past the consultation deadline.”

The health authority is currently running a consultation about proposed changes to children’s services at the Elgin unit.

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Meanwhile, the Conservative group has also called for grass cutting changes, which were approved unanimously as part of budget talks, to be reconsidered due to fears communities are becoming too stretched to cover council cut-backs.

Mr Eagle added: “We are delighted by the huge work communities have done but we should let volunteers invest in other community activities.”

Two special full council meetings are due to be held next week, one devoted to a proposed senior management restructure and the other focused on external audits.

Mrs Morrison said: “There are rules which say these meetings have to be single-item agendas that are outwith normal business. Those rules are there because these items need to take precedence so we can’t take notices of motion.

“Other notices of motion have been turned down previously from other councillors in similar circumstances so it’s right and proper the same is done here.

“I am more than happy to take them at the next scheduled full council meeting, which is only four working days later.”

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