The leader of Angus Council has joined neighbouring authority counterparts at the Tay Cities top table in a rejection of claims of an “apathetic” approach to the £700 million investment initiative.
Arbroath independent David Fairweather has replaced former council leader Bob Myles on the Tay Cities Region Joint Committee in a move set to be ratified at a meeting of the full Angus Council later this week.
The changeover comes more than seven months after a row broke out over deposed leader Mr Myles remaining in the role, and against the background of more recent suggestions Angus has been relegated to “junior partner” status in the scheme.
SNP opposition figures claim the lengthy gap between Mr Fairweather becoming council leader and taking up the TCD position “signals a lack of interest and ambition for Angus.”
Deputy council leader Angus Macmillan Douglas will remain on the committee.
Montrose and District councillor Bill Duff said: “‘The SNP group on Angus Council is pleased that the council leader David Fairweather is eventually taking his place on the Tay Cities Deal Joint Committee.
“We have called for this for a considerable time and that is has taken eleven months since his assumption of the council’s leadership signals a lack of interest and ambition for Angus.
“In the past year we have seen our neighbours and partners land ambitious deals as part of this transformative project.
“Unfortunately, Angus has only been awarded three specific projects; a £26.5 million pot which it is unclear what we can spend it on, £1m for rural broadband and £3m worth of land at Condor base which has now been withdrawn by the UK Government.
“Compared with the projects awarded to Perth and Dundee we have been short changed.
“The apathetic approach of Angus Council administration must have played some part for this failure.”
Rejecting the criticism, Mr Fairweather said: “When I became council leader, Councillor Myles and Councillor Macmillan Douglas were heavily involved in the Tay Cities Deal process and I felt continuity was required.
“Councillor Myles was the chair of the committee, and that has now been taken over by Perth and Kinross Council, so we felt the time was right for myself to take up the role.
“As far as I am concerned, Angus is looking very good from a Tay Cities perspective.
“Our officers are doing a fantastic job, we have seconded two of our officers to work on this virtually full-time and there are very exciting times ahead for Angus.
“We want the best for Angus and I have a meeting with the senior leaders of our management team this week to get a briefing on our proposals and the way forward.”