Heartfelt plea on schools, concerns on bedroom tax and horse dung – Letters to the Editor!

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READERS have their say on the issues which matter – first published on March 20, 2013...

I REFER to the recently published consultation findings of the PSIP informal consultation.

It is clear to see that there is great opposition to these proposals and it will be interesting to see what proposals the council finally present.

The comments have been very interesting to read to gauge the views of residents.

There are several comments relating to the savings that the council must make in these times that we find ourselves in, however, not enough information has been presented to actually show that any savings will be achieved at all if these new build schools proceed.

With the amount of borrowing required and the savings through mergers being used to pay the interest, it is likely that savings will not be seen for many years, by which time the schools will probably need rebuilt again!

Perhaps if I am incorrect then the council will come forward and present the figures to show how the savings will be accomplished.

There have been numerous comments about merging denominational and non-denominational schools together and tackling the divide which still prevails in the West of Scotland. Yet it seems that the council are the ones who are most adverse to this proposal.

Many comments from the consultation suggest a merger of St Agatha’s and Gartconner. I don’t know whether the majority of parents or residents would want this or not, but these two schools have a unique relationship thanks to the hard work of the staff of both schools and it would be shame to see it thrown away without consideration.

I just hope that should any proposals be taken forward that the information presented to the councillors by council officers is accurate.

I think the council can do without any further negative headlines or apologising over incorrect information being given to parents. Let the process be sound please EDC!

Lynne Bauld,

Save Gartconner.

EAST Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson states that there are 600 empty bedrooms in the homes of people in East Dunbartonshire who claim housing benefit.

So what solution does she suggest – that these households take in lodgers? Or that all of these people move to smaller houses – where and at what cost? And that these rooms are not needed for other purposes such as visiting children following a family breakup, or to provide space needed for disabled adults?

The Westminster Government, under pressure, has been forced to backtrack and make last minute changes to avoid penalising disabled children and members of the armed forces.

They should recognise that this tax is unworkable, will cause real hardship, will put huge additional pressure on council finances and should be scrapped as a matter of urgency.

Councillor Anne McNair,

East Dunbartonshire Council.

FOLLOWING your report last week regarding speeding problems in which you highlighted a number of speeding hotspots, I have to say it’s much more of a speeding culture that so many drivers are part of.

Speed warning signs and illuminated speed indicators are just part of the driving scenery to so many.

The illuminated signs on Campsie Road for example are lit up most of the time as drivers speed to and from Lennoxtown and local drivers are no different. More needs to be done including speed cameras and presence of radar in police vehicles, as well as road safety issues.

Traffic noise is just one complication of excess speed. Reducing speed by just 6 mph reduces traffic noise pollution by 40 per cent.

One good news item though comes after my small campaign with one of the large haulage firms (Russell) who regularly use Campsie Road to and from Highland Spring in Lennoxtown.

After a lone Twitter campaign (#rumblinartic) Russell agreed to reduce their speed to “below the 30mph limit” when passing through small villages such as Milton of Campsie.

They have done this and continue to monitor their drivers, ensuring they comply with this self-imposed bit of good practice in response to my brief campaign.

The resulting improvement in safety and traffic noise has been very noticeable, so well done Russell Group.

Now it’s up to other road users to follow suit.

How many seconds do you need to shave off your journey time? Over a distance of one mile, how many seconds will you add to your journey time? Not many, but you could improve safety and reduce noise pollution, and maybe avoid fines and penalty points.

Ah but that would mean the police would need to catch you! Ah well that’s a no then?

Andy Lowndes,

Baldoran Drive,

Milton of Campsie.

I AM writing with regard to the PSIP and Campsie Community Council.

There may be some amongst your readership who will be aware that ‘Save Lennoxtown Primary School’ group have approached the community council in an effort to secure their support.

After all, both Milngavie and Bearsden community councils have been supportive in local campaigns so it did not seem unreasonable to anticipate similar showings of solidarity from our representatives in Campsie.

However, after two letters which I have written to Campsie Community Council, we are yet to receive any offers of support or encouragement.

Indeed, during the most recent meeting of this group, my most recent letter containing a request for a meeting between the campaign group and the community council was not even discussed, though the secretary, Mrs Dempsey, did state that Councillor John Dempsey was ‘working hard behind the scenes’ to save the school; though unlike others he ‘was not shouting about it.’

Now as to why she chose to address the meeting in this way, I can only speculate.

What I can tell you is that when I emailed councillor John Dempsey in order to congratulate him on his hard work, I received a reply stating that he had met with parents etc ‘and all this will help me to make an informed decision when the recommendations come before the Council.’

Now, unless I am very much mistaken, Councillor John Dempsey is, by his own admission, very much sitting on the school fence.

Perhaps his wife, or another member of Campsie Community Council would like to clarify what she, the secretary, was referring to when she extolled the virtues of his good works on behalf of our Primary School,

Nick Gall,

Cumroch Road,

Lennoxtown.

DEAR Mrs Geekie and the rest of the council members, my name is Rachael Cooke.

In this letter I would like to make some points about the school closures.

Firstly, it would affect my sister so much because she is only in P2, also I would like to bring to your attention that I went to nursery and then primary school at Gartconner.

It would give me great satisfaction if I could see my little sister develop there.

In Gartconner Primary the teachers and the pupils all know your name and the janitor is not only a janitor he is a friend. But if this was a school of six hundred this would not be the reality.

PLEASE VOTE AGAINST SCHOOL CLOSURES!!!!!!!!!

Rachael Cooke,

P7 Gartconner.

To Mrs Geekie and the council. I don’t want my school shut down becase I have reasons.

1. I love my school 2. I will miss my school 3. I love my tetshers and doing my work. 4. I feel safe and happy in Gartconner. 5.Everyon knows me and looks after me.

Abbi Cooke,

P2 Gartconner.

I WAS genuinely surprised not to see any comment on the letters’ page recently regarding the article entitled ‘Scoop the poop or face a hefty fine’, to which Councillor Ashay Ghai appended his name.

It is little wonder that so few have any real confidence in the council if all that they appear able – or willing – to do is to re-state what has been said before, namely that we as a community do not approve of dog owners allowing their dogs to foul the pathways of EDC, that there should be more responsibility shown and that hefty fines should be seen to be getting issued.

The Herald should challenge these types of statement much more vigorously.

An increase from one to 10 fines issued, as reported in the article, is hardly a staggering statistic, given that complaints are up on last year by 51.

Essentially EDC want the public to do its job more cheaply by asking neighbours to spy on neighbours who own dogs, encouraging us to peer out of windows early morning and late at night (when most dogs are walked) or perhaps expecting us to lurk behind bushes in parks and nature areas, armed with camera and notebook – and maybe even dog-poo bags!

It’s really quite invidious. By the fact that our council does not react strongly to reports of young children “putting their foot in it” – referring to the ads on bus shelters – indicates that no-one in the current administration is in any real way concerned for our general health and well-being, especially that of our children. But look, these comments can most surely equally apply to the proposed primary school mergers which illustrate the same point. Wouldn’t you agree?

S. Klimowicz,

Muirside Avenue,

Kirkintilloch.

AS spring has begun and the children are able to get outside again to play, I would just like to appeal to some of the residents of Bishopbriggs who – let’s say – are not particularly friendly or understanding to the playful ways of our children.

To these residents then I would simply say: if a ball lands in your garden then please, please can you return it or at least allow the child access to retrieve it themselves.

Do you honestly think children do this on purpose? Of course not! They don’t want them in your garden just as much as you don’t.

Sometimes when your own children have grown up and no longer ‘play outside’ you may forget how much enjoyment children get from this.

This keeps them active and healthy, and should be encouraged – especially nowadays in a world of all things electronic where exercising of the ‘thumbs’ can be prevalent.

Also please remember that the children of today will be the teenagers of tomorrow, who will be able to dispense help with laptops and mobile phones, etc, to the elder generations, if required to do so.

So come on, less of the petty behaviour and more of the community spirit – after all we were all children at one point. Please allow them to play!

C. Johnston,

Bishopbriggs.

I HAVE to hand it to Gordon Currie. To clear up the school values or disposal values problem, he comes out with the highest quality gobbledegook you have read.

He states: “If the use of the word valuation has caused any misunderstanding, I can clarify by saying the numbers in question are early estimates and not final values.”

A valuation is an estimate of what price you hope to achieve, a final value is what you achieve when the sale is concluded, Gordon.

That is why Councillor Gotts, who is in charge of education, cannot speak on such matters; it is hard to grasp and best to hide when you are trying to deliver this fiasco.

Now that Gordon has admitted that it’s an 
internal estimate/valuation and not from an independent commercial valuer or surveyor, well done.

We all now wonder who actually came to the conclusion of the school values, subject to consequent fluctuations; and will be concluded by the sale of school sites?

I can speak gobbledegook as well, Gordon!

Who made the school values up that you presented to the council chamber, Gordon?

Niall Campbell,

Craigmaddie Gardens,

Torrance.

FOUR lots of dung on our newly-tarmaced canal path. When asked to dismount and kick the dung onto the grass verge, the answer is always ‘if we dismount, we cannot get back on the horse’. Local stables please note – if riders cannot get back on their horses, they are obviously riding too big a horse!

The British Horse Society leaflet states: “Dung must be kicked onto the verge.”

Dung is just as disgusting as dog poo. Children get it on their cycle wheels, or mums on their pram wheels. If dung is not cleared away, horse riders are not welcome on the Scottish canal paths. Horse shoes also damage tarmac paths.

Penelope E.A. Sinclair,

Southbank Drive,

Kirkintilloch.

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