THERE are calls for the rules governing community councils to be scrapped, amid concerns the organisations are operating “under the thumb” of East Renfrewshire Council.

A public poll is being held today to reduce the number of representatives on Barrhead Community Council (BCC) from the Auchenback area.

An election in October produced six nominations from the neighbourhood, out of a total of 13 from the entire Barrhead area.

However, in accordance with East Renfrewshire Council rules, no more than five Auchenback members can sit on the Barrhead organisation.

“It’s a piece of nonsense,” said Rosaleen Reilly, chairwoman of BCC. “Barrhead is a community and we always operated as Barrhead Community Council, not as Main Street, not as Dunterlie, but as Barrhead.

“This is division.”

Although Auchenback was oversubscribed with nominations, other neighbourhoods, such as Dunterlie and Grahamstone Park, still have vacancies.

As a result of delays, BCC members have not met since June and are not due to meet until January.

“Why have vacant seats in one neighbourhood and stop people joining another?” asked Mrs Reilly.

“We are under the council’s thumb."

An East Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said the rule, introduced in 2015, was brought in to attract “a greater number of people representing a wider area.”

However, Mrs Reilly feels the “antiquated” regulation must change.

Currently, just six community councils in East Renfrewshire are operational, with four in abeyance.

Rosemarie McInally, vice-chair of BCC, described the guidelines as “silly.”

She said: “They’re basically undermining what a community means, especially at a time when Barrhead needs a community council.”

Mrs McInally said there are a few projects underway in the town which the community council is unable to scrutinise because of the delay.

She continued: “I would like to see a real change, so that it doesn’t matter what area of Barrhead we come from. It’s the whole community anyway.

“We need a big drive to get people involved but this doesn’t help. It does make you wonder why the rule was changed in the first place.”

East Renfrewshire Council said the scheme aims to improve how community councils operate.

A spokesperson added: “We continue to work closely with Barrhead Community Council and want to support them to attract new, active members who are representative of their neighbourhoods and Barrhead as a whole.

“In large community council areas, such as Barrhead, ensuring representation from across the area is vital to support local democracy.”

The public poll is being held today, from 10am to 2pm and 4pm to 8pm, at Auchenback Resource Centre, Aurs Drive, Barrhead.