Letters to the Editor - February 9, 2011

What about the children?

I CAME to Bishopbriggs 41 years ago when I was 10 years old. At that time you had the usual organisations for children – Scouts, Brownies, etc.

There was also a putting green and tennis courts. I never got to see the cinema we had, that was removed some years earlier, but on the plus side Bishopbriggs Sports Centre (The Leisuredrome) would be opened five years later.

Today, 41 years on, we still have the same organisations, sadly we’ve lost the putting green and I can’t think of a single thing that’s been built in that time where kids can go to and enjoy themselves.

Meanwhile more retail units will be built, more housing developments will appear and tax receipts for the council will continue to rise.

Kids can’t play in the streets or on the grass, we are afraid of them hanging around street corners and they spend too much time in their rooms on Playstations and Xboxes.

The story that I’m telling will be familiar in other towns in East Dunbartonshire.

Now as Bishopbriggs town centre is to be redeveloped we have a chance to give the youngsters something new, but there are absolutely no plans to build anything for them – no ice rink, no cinema, no bowling alley, etc – zilch.

I find it hard to believe that so little has changed in all these years and it so it continues.

C. Girvan,

(via e-mail).

Tribute to local legend

Members of local history societies all over East Dunbartonshire have been deeply saddened by the death of ex-Provost Robin McSkimming.

His enthusiasm for the local history of the area was unbounded. In Milngavie he is remembered for his informative, guided walks around the centre of the town.

In Kirkintilloch it was fully appreciated that his comprehensive knowledge extended well beyond the bounds of the Milngavie/Bearsden area, so much so that in 2008 he was invited to be guest of honour at the 75th Anniversary Dinner of Kirkintilloch and District Society of Antiquaries.

In his native Bearsden he was convener of a local history group that carried out research into many aspects of local history. At the time of his death he was engaged on a history of Bearsden, a book which sadly might not now be published.

As an East Dunbartonshire councillor, and especially as Provost, he continued to display commitment to the local history of the area. Having a ‘friend in high places’ was a great inspiration to council staff charged with maintaining the council’s heritage and history collections.

He fully appreciated the value of community history, community memory and community identity in many different areas of the council’s work – and he understood the need to maintain the collections in a professional way.

His broad-based view of local history can be illustrated in many ways. It was his idea to promote Kirkintilloch as Scotland’s Canal Capital and indeed he had many friends in the Forth and Clyde Canal Society.

He was fully aware of the potential of the linear link between Kirkintilloch, Bishopbriggs and Bearsden, symbolised by both the canal and the Antonine Wall.

As Provost he tried to persuade ‘Time Team’ to carry out an excavation at Kirkintilloch, while at the same time he always appreciated an opportunity to show visitors around the magnificent Roman bath-house at Bearsden.

At a recent meeting of the Kirkintilloch Antiquaries Committee, held on January 27, warm tributes were paid to ex-Provost McSkimming and great sadness expressed at his death.

Much of the remainder of the meeting was taken up with plans for the Kirkintilloch 800 Commemoration this year. Bearsden man or not, Robin would have greatly enjoyed the commemoration of this milestone.

His presence will be sadly missed.

Don Martin,

Hon. Secretary,

Kirkintilloch and District Society of Antiquaries.

Town centre access road

With reference to the item in the Herald regarding proposals for the new Bishopbriggs town centre, one matter I would like to clarify is the access from the new complex to South Crosshill Road.

In one of the earlier plans I examined in May last year, which were prepared by the Woodhill Residents’ Group, it shows the access road to the proposed new supermarket to/from South Crosshill Road.

At present, this road during the morning rush hour and at other times, is VERY congested with long queues past the old high school.

With this proposed new road into Morrisons, the traffic build-up will be a nightmare, not only at rush hours, but most of the day.

Does East Dunbartonshire Council find this arrangement acceptable?

Iain Wilson,

(via e-mail).

Police station savings

Today two news items struck me as an example of a more general problem.

(1) Strathclyde Police propose to close Bishopbriggs Police Station between 7pm and 8am as a cost-saving measure. This will save the salary of a clerical assistant.

(2) Strathclyde Police propose to build a new £40million headquarters to replace the existing one, providing better office space for senior staff.

The general point is that all public services such as police, NHS and councils are presently required to make savings.

It would appear that all of these well-paid administrators think that the best way to do this is by firing front-line staff.

The gap between the highest and lowest paid in our society has become a disgrace.

Someone doing a good day’s work on minimum wage will make around £11,000 per year, while an administrator in the same organisation can be getting £120,000 per year – more than 10 times as much.

An alternative way of making savings which would also address the inequality above:

Suppose all staff earning over, say, £30,000 per year were to have a reduction in pay, starting at one per cent at the £30k level and rising in graduated steps to 10 per cent at the top of the organisation?

This system of gradual reduction would continue until those in the most senior jobs do not earn more than about five times those at the bottom of the ladder.

The savings made would not produce cuts in services and would not cause unemployment.

However, such a decision can only be made presently by some of the people who would lose most money. Have we become so cynical as to think that it is therefore impossible?

Margaret McNaughton,

(via e-mail).

WRVS stars

I WOULD like to thank the staff and volunteers from WRVS ‘Coffee Pot’ at Stobhill Hospital for the support and care they show to patients that pop in for a “wee cuppa”.

The cafe is being demolished in March and they don’t have a place at the new hospital. After a long fight with a 2,000-signature petition and support from local MSP Paul Martin, staff and patients, it’s very sad that it has all come to an end.

WRVS has just given a cheque from all units and projects in and around Glasgow to Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS for £1.3million at a presentation.

Best wishes and lots of thanks to everyone at the cafe.

Nurse C Gray.

Burial charges

I READ with interest the article on increased burial charges. I was cleaning out a cupboard and being a bit of a hoarder, I wasn’t surprised to find among old papers the receipt which my grandfather received from the parish council for one lair within the Old Aisle Cemetery.

The receipt was dated November 3, 1902, and was for the princely sum of £7 sterling. My grandfather’s occupation was quoted on the receipt as ‘Char Burner’ and I have no doubt that £7 was a considerable sum of money in 1902. I’ll leave it to the mathematicians to work out if £657 is today’s equivalent.

Isabel Hutton,

Gallowhill Road,

Kirkintilloch.

Campsie Black Watch concerns

REPLYING to the letter about Campsie Black Watch, Mr Marley was defending the under-19s football team about not putting defeats in the Herald. He says 98 per cent of the games they have won. That’s great, but what about the other two per cent? Scottish Cup, regional cups, etc? Are they still in this year’s Scottish Cup? It’s not been reported in the Herald that they aren’t.

Mr Marley’s comments about people being jealous at CBW is childish. Maybe local teams in Lennoxtown are jealous of them and you can understand why. No other team is allowed to play at Station Road, why not? As far as I know it’s a council park. Sure they don’t own the changing rooms as they belong to CBW, but other teams can change elsewhere in the local area.

The picture in last week’s edition showing both CBW clubs fighting on the park was nothing short of disgraceful. Doesn’t show CBW in a good light. Mr Marley’s and Mr Differ’s comments about them showing a will to win and being delighted with what they saw is embarrassing. Once again I would like to read reports of every result from their under-19s.

Tony Knox,

Kirkintilloch.