Angus Council bosses have been urged to be more open about their £1 billion “Mercury” spending plans after confirmation of £26.5 million funding in the Tay Cities Deal.
Leaders at the council said at least £26.5m – part of the £700m agreement signed last week – would now stimulate a “visionary” series of investments across the county.
But Brechin community council chairwoman Jill Scott said she first heard about the programme during the signing ceremony.
“This is a great opportunity and we are keen to make the very most of it and ensure communities are fully involved in decision making,” she said.
“But the council has been working on Tay Cities for a long time now, and there are people employed to engage with communities, so why don’t we know more about the Mercury programme?
“I read about it when the deal was being signed. I spoke to some other community councillors and they hadn’t heard about it either.
“The figures haven’t changed. It was announced some time ago that we were getting the £26.5 million.
“They’ve now said these projects will be around environmental, green initiatives, so I would like see more groups getting involved.”
Investment programme ‘developing’
Senior Angus officials acknowledge the programme is still “developing” while Tay Cities deal investment plans in other parts of Tayside and Fife are more established.
It is understood the local authority is looking to further develop Brechin Business Park with some of the cash, alongside other recently announced projects.
Angus Council held a special meeting to discuss its involvement in the Tay Cities Deal on October 19, but voted to exclude members of the public and press from its discussions.
Minutes of the meeting only show councillors “commended” the officers involved in the deal after questioning the council’s director of strategic policy Viviene Smith. The minute does not record the questions or answers.
Previously, Angus leaders highlighted Mercury plans to invest up to £5.6m to promote north Angus and Montrose as a clean growth zone.
Tay cities funding also means a drone port will be built in the town, the railhead reopened and more funding for the A90 to Montrose link road.
Deal cash will also see £5.9 million invested in low carbon projects, such as the increased use of electric and hydrogen vehicles, as well as reducing carbon footprint associated with housing.
An agritech investment of £15m will develop technologies to increase sustainable crop production, improve food security and nutrition, and reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.
£1 billion partnership programme
An Angus Council spokeswoman said: “The Mercury programme is Angus Council’s visionary £1 billion partnership programme between government, public, private and community sectors.
“The purpose of the Mercury programme is to increase productivity through clean growth, protecting places for future generations to live, work and visit.
“Now that the Tay Cities Regional Deal has been signed, Angus Council will be bringing more information and projects forward in due course,” she added.