Letters to the Editor - July 6, 2011

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

Town hall in a sad state

“SAD” was Moira Anderson’s verdict on our dilapidated town hall.

It is a judgement shared by many people in Kirkintilloch who still remember it as a focus of celebrations in Kirky.

Recently we were celebrating the granting of the Barony Burgh charter to Kirkintilloch 800 years ago. Proud Kirkintilloch people raised the funds to build the town hall over 100 years ago.

Many local arts organisations are to be congratulated on their efforts to bring entertainment to the ‘800’ occasion, but how much better it would have been if it could have included our town hall.

Many people standing where I was could not hear Kirkintilloch Male Voice Choir, who they had come to support, and they drifted away.

I wonder if the replacement arts centre, which was promised when the town hall was closed will ever become a reality. Hopefully not the 700 years it took from gaining the charter to the first one.

The money it would cost would be more usefully spent on renewing our town hall in its present excellent position.

It was wonderful that so many arts organisations turned out to celebrate the 800th anniversary but, when I saw people who had come to enjoy the event moving away, I thought what a difference the town hall could have made.

Maureen Marr,

Lenzie.

Praise for volunteers

IT was so disappointing not to see some letter or mention of thanks from the council to all the 3000+ volunteer litter-pickers which formed a front-page article in the Herald two weeks ago.

Perhaps council leaders, especially those with cleansing and environmental remits, simply take such volunteers for granted, given that they must be saving the council quite a bit of money?

Not to mention British Waterways, who in the past have been drastically slow to accept that towpaths need to be maintained regularly to maximise our beautiful canal walks.

It says a lot for local people that some are prepared and willing to pick up someone else’s litter.

I have to say, though, that I’d draw the line at cleaning up after others’ dogs, something which all responsible dog owners find totally unacceptable, but which the council singularly fails to tackle effectively. Litter is, in the view of some, “not my problem”, and yet the volunteers have ably demonstrated that it’s OK to make it your problem – and do something about it.

Litter is dropped usually by the same people who sadly have missed out on good role-modelling by the parent or effective education at school.

Therein lies the answer to litter – but in the meantime, the community will always need the volunteer. Well done to all of you.

S.Klimowicz,

Muirside Avenue,

Kirkintilloch.

Campsie View plans

I write in response to the front page article in last week’s paper expressing health fears over the planning application for new homes to be built in Campsie View, Kirkintilloch.

I would like to reiterate that planning consent was previously granted for this site back in November 2008 following a 2007 planning application and that, as with the current proposal, planning conditions require the submission of a scheme to deal with any contamination on site.

This scheme is required to be submitted in writing to the planning authority prior to any work starting on site and is standard practice for any site which has previously been subject to development such as this former quarry.

I can also confirm that the Ground Investigation Report from the archive file, produced by the developers in 2007, and a further report from 2011 containing details of all site conditions, confirm that no contaminations have been found within the site which cannot be dealt with through remediation measures highlighted within the case report and which would be addressed through the fulfilment of conditions.

Both documents are available to the public and can be inspected upon request in the usual way through the Planning Office in William Patrick Library in Kirkintilloch or at the Grange office in Milngavie where an environmental health officer is also available and can offer further information on the reports.

Thomas Glen,

Head of Development and Enterprise.

G66+ street celebration

ON behalf of the committee of G66+ Live I would like to express our thanks to everyone who helped to make the Kirkintilloch 800 Street Celebration really special.

The quality of the entertainment on the night was excellent. We are really fortunate to have so many fantastic performers, dancers, musicians, artists, cyclists, skaters and BMXers in, and around, the G66 postcode area.

And they all came along and took part, giving their time freely. Thanks also go to Kirkintilloch & District Society of Antiquaries for helping us to highlight the historical context of the night in such a creative way by informing Roadsworth’s street art.

The Antiquaries also worked with Myra Scott of Kirkintilloch Players who wrote and produced the sensational Street Theatre especially for the event. In addition, we were delighted to showcase the musical compositions by John Hinton marking Kirkintilloch 800 during the Welcome Reception.

Thank you, again, to all of our sponsors and to Awards for All for making the event possible. And thank you to East Dunbartonshire Council and Strathclyde Police for all their guidance and support.

Moira Anderson OBE was a very popular guest and many people enjoyed reminiscing with her about life in Kirkintilloch. I would like to thank Moira and her husband for taking time out of their busy schedule to join us.

And, most important of all, thank you to everyone for coming along and taking part; creating a buzz and a happy atmosphere down the street – a great way to celebrate Kirkintilloch 800 with “A Guid Turnoot for Kirkintilloch”.

Susan Murray,

Chair, G66+ Live.

Gala thanks

I WOULD like to thank the following for their contribution to this year’s Kirkintilloch Gala:

The Gala Queen, her attendants, staff and parents of Lairdsland Primary School, St David’s Memorial Park Church, Kelvin Brass, the ACTS Group, St Andrew’s Ambulance Association, Strathclyde Police, East Dunbartonshire Council, Billy Poynton, Rosebank School of Dancing, Tantra, Pro Bowl, Co-operative Funeral Care, AMK Van Hire, The Regent Centre, Tesco, Kenwil, 1st Kirkintilloch Scouts, Kirkintilloch High School, Gramme Kidd and the Olympians.

I would also like to thank all members of the community council who gave of their time, talents and commitment in organising this year’s Gala.

Fraser McKay, Chair,

Kirkintilloch Community Council.

Jubilee joy

COULD I please take this opportunity to thank the Herald and all the readers who voted and supported our project. I am delighted to advise you that we were successful, although most of you will already have seen the results on STV News.

Winning this competition means that we can have state-of-the-art public address, lighting, projection equipment and seating in the hall.

This combined with the funding support from Kelvin Valley Leader for a lift and toilet for people with a disability, as well as the Dulux Colouring the Community competition we won earlier (allowing us to redecorate), means we have a venue which will be pleasant to be in and worthy of the people of the area.

The hall is available to all for clubs, meetings, parties, fundraising events, weddings, and for any purpose for which someone might need a large hall. The hall will only survive if people use it.

Watch out for future events and activities built on the success of this bid. In particular we hope to run a community cinema, which should start towards the end of the summer.

My thanks once again to everyone who has helped demonstrate that concerted community action will succeed.

Tommy Starrs,

Chairperson, Campsie Memorial Hall Trust.

Concerns for schools

AT a meeting of the Parent Council Forum at Tom Johnston House on June 20, as chair of Baldernock School Parent Council I welcomed MSP Mike Russell’s Moratorium on Rural Schools letter as Baldernock is one of three rural primary Schools in East Dunbartonshire.

I was then informed by the convener and officers of East Dunbartonshire Council that Baldernock Primary was not a rural school and was told that it may be based in a rural setting and how lovely the location was, but it was not rural.

What Councillor Walker and the officers of the council would admit to was the fact that Baldernock Primary is an accessible rural school.

This is a very interesting point.

There are no rural schools in Scotland according to the mindset of the education department of EDC.

If the education department and in particular the convener of education, Councillor Walker, were to access the Scottish Government website and see the Guidance for Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 and Section 14 which states: “In the Consultation Paper on the Bill, the Scottish Ministers indicated their intention to define which schools are rural schools by reference to the three rural area categories contained (out of the eight area categories) in the Scottish Government’s well-established “Urban/Rural Classification”; these are “Accessible Rural”, “Remote Rural” and “Very Remote Rural”.

I would also like to add that Councillor Walker has denied at a meeting of Baldernock Parent Council that the school was rural and also at Baldernock Community Council she denied that a Portakabin that houses a classroom was condemned. May I remind Councillor Walker that the report used by the council in an attempt to close Baldernock highlighted the fact the Portakabin was condemned in the 2009 HMIE report on the meeting of June 3, 2010, at Tom Johnston House. The leader of the council has also denied there are any rural schools in EDC.

This is why I asked MSP Fiona McLeod to raise a question in the Scottish Parliament to find out if Baldernock Primary is a rural school as intended by the Government’s moratorium of rural schools.

This will afford rural schools such as Baldernock, Torrance and Twechar more protection from closure by EDC.

Also at the June 20 meeting I mentioned that as Baldernock is a small rural school it receives around a £110,700 subsidy from the Scottish Government. If Baldernock was not a rural school then it would not receive that grant.

The Scottish Government recognises rural schools cost more to operate and therefore subsidises local authorities.

Now that members of the Parent Council Forum have raised the contentious issue of school closures under saving money they should take into account that no party will commit political suicide by announcing what schools are going to close before the local council elections next year.

The Moratorium on Rural Schools letter was used as an excuse to stall proceedings and will not affect urban classified schools; and so a review of primary schools could go ahead right now.

Niall Campbell,

(via-email).