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MSP: keep public 'fully informed' in Stranraer project

The harbour is to be regenerated. Credit: ITV Border

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Alex Fergusson has welcomed new progress in the £50m regeneration of Stranraer Waterfront.

The council has announced its preferred bidder to lead the regeneration of the harbour - Stena Line.

But the MSP has warned the public need to be involved in the project at all stages:

This is the moment for which a lot of people have been waiting for a very long time and, on that basis, I welcome it. However, we have to recognise that this is just the first step in the process and that further proposals will be brought forward as the partnership between the preferred bidder, the Council and Stena progresses. I hope that progress will be swift.

For that to happen, three further steps need to be taken. Firstly, the Scottish Government must commit to this project wholeheartedly; secondly, if the aspirations of the people of Stranraer are to be met (as the preferred bidder has indicated), then those people must be properly engaged in the process and kept fully informed every step of the way; and thirdly, if the local economic impact is to be maximised, it is essential that as much work as possible is carried out by local contractors and companies.

If those three matters can be addressed, then the future for Stranraer and indeed Wigtownshire looks a great deal brighter than it has for some time.”

– Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Alex Fergusson

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Fish producer 'vulnerable' due to Calais crisis

Lorries parked as part of Operation Stack on the M20 southbound (left hand side) near Ashford, Kent Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Managing Director of a Seafood producer in the Scottish Borders says they've been left vulnerable by travel problems around the Channel Tunnel.

James Cook from Eyemouth based DR Collin and Sons says the company has been badly affected as their produce is not getting to customers on time.

Some of his drivers have spent hours waiting in traffic to get to Calais.

We sell high value premium quality, and we are finding it’s missing markets, customers are walking away from orders, cutting orders, leaving us with the product, so we are then having to discount quite heavily just to find a sale, otherwise we would have to pay just to have the product removed and destroyed so we are in very exposed and tenuous position here and we feel very vulnerable to all the problems that are being inflicted upon us."

– James Cook, Managing Director, DR Collin and Sons

Rain can't keep Lake District visitors away

A rainy day in Kendal. Credit: ITV News

Tourism bosses say business is booming in the Lake District, despite this year's summer being disturbed by heavy rainfall.

According to Cumbria Tourism the number of visitors to the area in the first five months of 2015 is up by between four and eight percent, compared to the same time last year.

In the first five months of this year we're seeing between four and eight percent increase in visitor numbers, and occupancy in hotels, at caravan sites and self-catering accommodation.

So the weather doesn't seem to be affecting us at all."

– Richard Greenwood, Cumbria Tourism

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Foodbank: Demand is greater than supply

One of many food parcels for children who usually receive free school meals Credit: ITV News Border

The North Lakes foodbank in Cockermouth has issued a plea for donations. It says demand is greater than supply.

The charity is giving food parcels to children who would normally receive free school meals during term time.

Cumbrian courts facing the axe

Credit: HM Courts & Tribunals Service

Courts in Workington and Kendal are being recommended for closure in a Government consultation published today.

Courts Minister Shailesh Vara has put forward a list of 18 court and tribunal buildings across England and Wales he wants to close in a cost-cutting move which includes West Cumbria Magistrates' and Kendal Magistrates’ courts.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service say the majority of courts being consulted on are not used for at least two thirds of their available time, and one in three are not used three quarters of the time.

“We are reforming the courts and tribunal service so that it meets the needs of modern day users.

“Access to justice is not just about attending court. As we bring in digital technology for better and more efficient access to justice, fewer people will need to physically be in a court.

“This means that we will need fewer buildings, and with many already underused and in poor quality, now is a good time to review the estate.”

– Courts and Tribunals Minister, Shailesh Vara

The national and regional consultation documents and the full list of sites recommended can be found here. The consultation will last for 12 weeks and closes on 8 October 2015.

If courts in Workington and Kendal close it will leave Cumbria with just two magistrates' courts - in Carlisle and Barrow.

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