Bins, peanuts, planning and more – Letters to the Editor for May 15, 2013

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READERS have their say on the issues which matter...

I KNOW East Dunbartonshire Council are trying to get us to do our bit for the planet by recycling our rubbish, but where are we supposed to put these bins? Outside my four-in-a-block flats we had 12 in total and then on Monday afternoon I arrived home to find another four. I opened one up only to find another food bin inside!

I am all for recycling, but this is ridiculous. Where are we supposed to store these unsightly things? As it is we have 16 different coloured bins sitting underneath our windows. If EDC are going to give us all these bins then could EDC not provide us with somewhere to store them correctly?

Kelly McCann,

(via e-mail)

In a recent issue you advised that the Gartconner parent ballot was carried out by the Save Gartconner group. On behalf of the Gartconner Parent Council I have been asked if you could correct this as the ballot was carried out by the Parent Council of Gartconner Primary School and Nursery Class.

David Bauld,

(via e-mail)

Like many others I was shocked to hear the news that my MP Jo Swinson was taken to Southern General Hospital after suffering a violent allergic reaction. Like everyone I wish her a speedy recovery.

This, however, shows the importance of having speedy access to accident and emergency, which still continues to be a major concern for those in her constituency who used to be served by Stobhill Hospital A&E.

Only a couple of months ago, we had a late night knock at the door to be asked to look after a friend’s children as they rushed off to hospital. Too late I forgot to remind them that there was no A&E at Stobhill and not only did they go to the wrong hospital, but they got lost on the way to Yorkhill.

This considerably delayed their journey for what could have been a serious injury. Fortunately, there was a speedy recovery much to everyone’s relief.

However, this incident confirms the importance of having simple-to-find A&E in local hospitals.

Mike Haseler,

Lenzie.

I respond to the letter by Alex Macintyre in the issue of May 8, which expresses concern about councillors not accepting planning officers’ recommendations.

A question arises whether the advice was based on properly conducted surveys or ‘consultations’ (which I fear are generally pretty farcical).

Whatever, it is important to realise that planning officers should be our servants and not our masters. To suggest they are ‘experts’ on essentially political decisions is not acceptable. I have no opinion on the decisions to which Mr Macintyre’s letter refers, relating to supermarkets in Bishopbriggs and Milngavie.

However, I do know that our ‘public servants’ are secure in their jobs and, being permanent, are subject to pressures from commercial concerns who want developments. On the other hand, our councillors have to represent the people who elect them and do what they think is wanted – otherwise they are voted out!

In the late 19th century Andrew Carnegie, one of Scotland’s greatest sons, paid many visits here, from the USA. He summed up what is still one of our country’s greatest problems regarding democracy, stating: “The great error of your country is that things are just upside down. You look to your officials to govern you instead of you governing them.”

In general nothing has changed here, but for once it is good to see that those we elect – councillor members of the Planning Committee – did not blindly accept a planning officer’s proposals.

Unlike councillors, our ‘public servants’ are protected and unaccountable and generally have considerable power over decision-making. If you are concerned that we are ruled too much by officialdom, then you are not alone: get in touch with Accountability Scotland (www.accountability scotland.org) which is fighting your cause.

Dr. J. Wallace Hinton,

Maple Avenue,

Milton of Campsie.

I was born and brought up in Paisley. Recently I was there and could not but admire the renovation work which has been carried out on the town hall located between Paisley Abbey and the River Cart. The hall has been closed for some time to allow that renovation to take place.

The people of Paisley can be proud of their magnificent building, which presents an excellent image of the town and what it represents. The hall, known as the George A Clark Town Hall, was officially opened in January 1882. Since then the many rooms of the town hall have provided accommodation for meetings, social events and entertainments. As a result it has played a full part in the life of Paisley.

Let us come nearer home to Kirkintilloch, where there is a different tale to tell. The town hall there stands derelict and now constitutes nothing but an eyesore in the middle of the town. It stands today as a mute indictment upon successive council administrations over the last 20/30 years, which by neglect and inaction, allowed this valuable and much-used asset to fall into a lamentable state of disrepair.

As a result the community has been deprived of a vital focal point for local activities. It is known that a group has been established and has been working diligently toward the situation where funding is secured to enable the town hall to be repaired, refurbished and re-opened. Their efforts are to be commended, but the realisation of their objectives has been difficult to achieve, particularly in view of the extremely poor condition of the building and as a result the substantial sums required to carry out necessary work.

There cannot be many towns of the size of Kirkintilloch in Scotland without a town hall.

There were, of course, plans for a new arts and culture centre as recently as 2003. We were promised a 300-350-seat theatre, exhibition space, bar and kitchen, a dance facility, room for workshops, committee/meeting rooms, dressing rooms, etc.

We were advised at one point that the new centre would be completed in 2006. Many drew some reassurance from the picture that, while we still lacked a town hall, by 2006 we would have a modern facility, which would meet the expectations of most people. Well, here we are today with the town hall still in poor and unusable condition and the promise of a new arts and culture centre unfulfilled and likely to remain so for some considerable time.

There may be all sorts of plans to improve the appearance, commercial activity, and the ambience of Kirkintilloch town centre. Let us hope that during these deliberations something positive, practical and realistic will emerge with regard to the future of the town hall.

Ian W. Thomson,

Lenzie.

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