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READERS’ LETTERS: Who’s listening to residents’ concerns over Cupar housing plans?

There are fears the Cupar North application will swamp health services.
The site of the proposed Cupar North development.

Sir, – There were positives and negatives from the Cupar North open event on Thursday February 3 in the Corn Exchange.

Positive in that Cupar Community Council, despite the lack of support from both Fife Council and Persimmon, managed to organise the drop-in event that attracted more than 350 members of the local community looking for information and advice.

Negative in that neither Fife Council nor Persimmon were in attendance.

I spoke to several people while I was there and each person had significant concerns – one lady was concerned about flooding and how the water and sewage was to be managed, others were worried about whether the local health and GP services could manage a potential increase in the Cupar population of around 30% or 3,000 people, and a number of parents with children at primary and secondary were concerned about the capacity of the current schools.

Most people were surprised – no, shocked – by the sheer scale of the development, a 30% increase in the size of the town, and a man from Kirklands Park was very concerned about the fields adjoining his back garden becoming a building site for the next 20-30 years.

Many, many questions that only Fife Council and/or Persimmon could answer but they refused to attend.

Just as disappointing as the non-attendance of Persimmon and Fife Council was the absence of Cupar’s three councillors.

Councillors are elected to represent the interests of the local community, and while I fully understand the difficulties a planning application presents to them in terms of commenting there was nothing to stop them from attending the drop-in and listening to what local people were saying – both the positives and the negatives.

How can a local councillor properly represent the mood of the local community if they are not in attendance to listen to what that community is saying?

So, a big thank you and well done to Cupar Community Council for organising the drop-in and being around to answer queries, and a great big raspberry to Fife Council, Persimmon and sadly Cupar’s three councillors for their non-attendance.

Bryan Poole. Carslogie Road, Cupar.

Tory MPs must act to preserve union

Sir, – While Raith Rovers eventually realised the error of their ways in signing David Goodwillie, the long-term damage to the club and the message signing him sent out to the wider public, at least they acted – but those who continue to support the prime minister completely fail to understand the damage he is doing to the possibility of reforming the union.

You actually feel for folk like Gordon Brown who has held the office of prime minister as well as being a well-known supporter of Raith Rovers FC and a unionist.

While the club he has long supported took action, many Tory MPs do not understand the long-term damage they are doing to the union.

It is that complete failure to understand the damage caused by this prime minister, believing the promises to reform Downing Street and the processes that led to us having what must be the most incompetent PM in my lifetime that will lead to the collapse of the union – not the actions of a political party whose reason for existing is to bring about Scottish independence.

Peter Ovenstone. Orchard Grove, Peterhead.

Scots must choose their government

Sir, – Victor Clements complains that “whatever devolved powers you give them (the SNP) will still want independence”.

That, of course, is true, and there is a reason why.

The saying “Power devolved is power retained” is attributed to the late Enoch Powell and, in the Scottish context, is proved true by the present UK Government which, with its retained powers, is chipping away at the already limited powers of devolution with the clear aim of emasculating them.

My main reason for voting for the SNP is because I want Scotland to have the government for which the people vote, not the one chosen by the people of England.

And the democratic deficit is greatly exaggerated by the fact that, almost invariably, England votes Conservative which the people of Scotland have not done since the 1950s.

Once Scotland’s destiny is in the hands of its people, I will accept its democratically-chosen party of government, whether it be right, left or indifferent.

But, getting back to the present, I wonder what percentage of the Scottish electorate are happy to be ruled, possibly in perpetuity, by the likes of Johnson, Rees-Mogg, Raab, Truss, Patel, and all their chums?

Les Mackay. Carmichael Gardens, Dundee.

Music helps to ease our difficult times

Sir, – Sadly there is an almost universal feeling of depression, mistrust and dismay across many aspects of life in Scotland.

How refreshing to see and listen to the quite outstanding talent of those who appeared in the Young Traditional Musician of 2022, broadcast on BBC Alba.

That such commitment and ability should flourish under present circumstances is quite wonderful to behold.

Music is an excellent means of bringing people together during difficult times.

How unfortunate that some local authorities wish to restrict access to tuition for financial reasons.

Ken Cameron. St Michaels Drive, Cupar.

Ignore ‘lie’ over pension payments after independence

Sir, – Jill Stephenson, not for the first time, writes a letter to The Courier and countless other newspapers which is factually incorrect.

On this occasion she berates Ian Blackford for correctly stating that the DWP or the UK Government would continue to pay pensions to pensioners in an independent Scotland.

Perhaps Jill, an alleged academic, should do her homework instead of continuing with the Better Together lie that pensions would cease from day one of independence.

The UK Government has a legal obligation to pay pensions to all who have paid into the system via their national insurance contributions. It matters not if pensioners live in an independent Scotland, France, Spain or indeed any other country.

The then UK minister of pensions, Steve Webb, told a Westminster committee those who had “accumulated rights” would be entitled to the money. In answer to a specific question if Scotland voted for independence would this still be the case, he said: “Yes, they have accumulated rights into the UK system, under the UK system rules.”

The minister continued: “Take a Scottish person who works all their life and then retires to France… they still have accumulated rights and have their pensions in respect of NI they have paid in when they were part of the United Kingdom.”

What we are seeing is Jill Stephenson and her colleagues in Scotland in the union panicking and regurgitating the same old lies to frighten pensioners.

Stephen Windsor. The Holdings, Kinfauns.

Gove’s ‘levelling up’ attempt to win votes

Sir, – I am reminded of the old proverb “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts” when hearing Michael Gove discussing “levelling up”.

The very fact that levelling up is required is surely evidence of a failure of successive Westminster governments, who have prioritised London and the South East at the expense of the rest of the UK.

This is nothing short of bribery in an attempt to win votes.

We here in Scotland will not be taken in by it, particularly as the amounts involved in the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) are nowhere near the levels that were previously provided by the EU Structural Funds (estimated to be £183 million), which it is replacing.

There has also been no consultation with the democratically elected devolved governments, showing total disrespect.

George Dickson. Lynedoch Road, Scone.

Sauce for the goose is also sauce for gander

Sir, – Boris Johnson thought it right and proper that Allegra Stratton should resign for joking about a Downing Street party she hadn’t been at, but does not think he should do likewise even though we now know he actually attended a number of parties which he assured us had not taken place.

This tells us all we need to know about the prime minister’s double standards.

As former Labour MP Dennis Skinner used to say: “When posh boys get in trouble, they sack the servants.”

Alan Woodcock. Osborne Place, Dundee.

SNP ‘authoritarian mentality’ warning

Sir, – Former SNP senior politician Jim Sillars has mounted yet another attack on Nicola Sturgeon, condemning her for running an “authoritarian” and “incompetent” government. He speaks of how new emergency powers will “rob society of its civil liberties and shows an “authoritarian mentality”.

He goes on to launch a fierce attack on Sturgeon’s record on a host of issues including ferries, vanity projects, failure in education, obsession with sex and gender.

The tenure of Ms Sturgeon has been woeful, dragging Scotland down and down. The Named Person Scheme, Hate Crime Bill, children lifestyle questionnaire, creation of a politically controlled police force are all examples of “authoritarian” control.

It is time that supporters of independence listened to Mr Sillars because he can see beyond the myth of independence today and it will be sorted out tomorrow.

And the response from a spokesman for Ms Sturgeon? The SNP government was focused on winning independence by delivering a referendum.

That really tells us all we need to know about how this administration has failed Scotland – certainly NOT focused on good governance.

Douglas Cowe. Alexander Avenue, Kingseat.

PM urged to act over the ‘Green zealots’

Sir, –In a BBC interview Ian Duncan Smith said: “I do think we need to sort out our oil and gas supplies especially since we sit on an island of oil and gas.”

If Boris Johnson wants to reassert his premiership he should face up to the Green zealots, promote offshore and onshore shale gas production and take back control of our energy supply, pricing and security.

Allan Sutherland. Willow Row, Stonehaven.

Double whammy on doors is ‘astounding’

Sir, – I am astounded at the sheer genius of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP government policy of cutting the bottom off 2,000 classroom doors and, in one master stroke, also creating 2,000 draught excluders for our freezing pensioners – it must be right up there with her “judge me on education” statement. Her supporters must be very proud.

Allan Thompson. Bearsden, Glasgow.

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