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Proposed office block makes no sense

The V&A and the proposed office block viewed from the south.
The V&A and the proposed office block viewed from the south.

Sir, – It appears once again Dundee City Council are flexing their dictatorial muscles, and again ‘tell’ us what is happening regarding the V&A Museum (December 13).

After pushing through an alteration to the previously announced site – which was partially on the water – to on land, and after accepting the increase in costs from £45 million to £80m, they now wish to ruin it all by blocking the view of the building itself.

Looking down Union Street, the V&A has become a familiar sight that would draw people to the waterfront; the building is interesting and complimented by the new rail station, with Discovery Point and the RRS Discovery between the two.

Now the V&A building is an established view in Dundee, and part of the city centre just as planned, we find the city council have collectively gone against the wishes of the population and are about to obliterate the view of the Kengo Kuma design, blocking it with an uninteresting, featureless office block.

The council says the new facility will bring jobs to Dundee and there are no other suitable sites for it. I think they said the same thing about the Technology Park, which remains almost empty to this day. The Caledonian House at the Greenmarket is almost empty, as is the Nethergate Business Centre.

An office block in the city centre will need staff, who will need parking spaces, and will create more peak time traffic.

Riverside Drive is already a bottleneck, as is Dock Street. Where is the intellegent future planning and thinking?

It seems Dundee City Council are to make the V&A viewable to the people of Fife, and from the Tay bridges.

The only people who will not have a realistic view are the people of Dundee.

Standing up close to a building is not the way to appreciate a landmark.

If the council’s executive director of city development Mike Galloway cannot see alternatives, apart from the most congested area, then perhaps he is missing the point of making the waterfront an attraction and linking it with the city centre.

The first and most important consideration is that traffic congestion causes pollution and discourages pedestrians.

That was the whole idea of pedestrianising our city centre.

In the 18th Century the city council of Dundee were known, sarcastically, as ‘The Right Ones’ because they did not listen to anyone outside of their cartel. It looks like this attitude prevails to this day, with a featureless office block hiding an attractive landmark.

Arthur G. Gall.
14D Pitalpin Court,


Livestock levy a lot of hot air

Sir, – Investor network FAIRR has produced a report entitled The Livestock Levy, warning of the meat industry’s harmful impacts on both human health and the environment.

The report further warns UK farmers to prepare for a new methane tax on cows.

Worldwide, the livestock industry is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Where do they get these people?

There are 1.4 billion cattle, 1bn sheep and 2bn pigs in the world.

There are 9.7 million cattle, 23m sheep and 4.2m pigs in the UK.

The FAIRR should take their report to Argentina, where I am sure they would get a warm welcome.

Clark Cross.
138 Springfield Road,


Reckless switch to renewables

Sir, – Our existing power sources, amounting to 323 TWh, are only just coping with the present cold spell, but are scheduled to be reduced to 107 TWh by 2035 by the planned closure of gas, coal and nuclear power stations, in favour of renewables.

Filling that gap with power from sunshine and wind does seem rather optimistic. Some would say downright reckless.

Malcolm Parkin.


The blame for police force cuts

Sir, – In his reply to me, Clark Cross (The Courier, December 9) challenges the £130 million savings claimed by the Scottish Government as a result of a unified Scottish police force.

He is, of course, entitled to his opinion. However, his other charges I will leave to the Scottish Police Federation chairperson, Calum Steele, to answer.

In his response on Twitter to Liberal Democrat MSP, Liam McArthur, Mr Steele said “there are many reasons the police face this ‘budget black hole’ but without any shadow of doubt two of the biggest sit squarely with the Lib Dems”.

“It was the Lib Dems who when in coalition government commenced the swingeing cuts to public expenditure.

“These cuts have put almost immeasurable financial stress on…public service.”

Mr Steele produced a graph showing “the sheer level of cuts to public expenditure… as a DIRECT consequence of… decisions of the 2011 coalition government”.

He dealt with the VAT issue by stating: “As recent events have shown VAT relief could have been delivered with the stroke of a political pen” and responded to the criticisms regarding the i6 IT system by saying: “The failure to deliver i6 was not a police failure but a PRIVATE SECTOR failure. The testimony to the benefits of PSoS are clearly demonstrated in the fact they had a watertight contract that recovered ALL the costs and then some.”

He also outlined the lamentable condition of the system inherited by the SNP, after years of under-investment. An all too familiar story.

Mr Steele rounded off the exchange with: “So yes by all means feel free not to be a fan of the police service of Scotland but at least be honest enough to realise that your own policies…necessitated its being built.”

This obviously applies, even more so, to the Lib Dem/Tory coalition partners.

Mr Cross can, of course dismiss this, as he did my original letter. It is entirely up to him.

Ken Clark.
335 King Street,
Broughty Ferry,


No to the EU Single Market

Sir, – I refer to your columnist Alex Bell’s opinion and comment (The Courier, December 7) in which he exhorts the SNP to stand up for continued membership of the EU Single Market.

Staying in the single market means continuation of the free movements of capital and people with all other 27 EU countries.

That means no immigration controls.

We don’t want it!

If Alex Bell paused for thought, he would realise that all 27 EU countries can grant citizenship to whomever they want, which means that their own immigrant populations can then gain a EU passport and take up residence in the UK.

Did he not read the scandal of the Romanian criminals in Govanhill?

Derek Farmer.
Knightsward Farm,


School’s report card fail

Sir, – Yet another dismal report about Scottish schools.

Statistics just released by the Scottish Government show a decline in pupil attainment during primary school.

Where figures for writing and numeracy, according to CfE benchmarks, stood at 77% and 83% respectively when pupils started primary school, by the end of their primary schooling these had fallen to 69% and 70%. These are averages. The figures from affluent districts are significantly higher, poorer districts significantly lower.

After 10 years of the SNP in power, the attainment gap between richer and poorer kids remains high and attainment declines during primary school.

Isn’t it time the Scottish Government came good on its pledge that, as John Swinney says: “Education is this government’s number one priority?”

From where I am standing, education comes far behind SNP attempts to undermine the UK Government and agitate for separation from the UK.

Jill Stephenson.
Glenlockhart Valley,


Missing the boat on energy

Sir, – Wholesale gas prices are soaring following a perfect storm of cold weather, closure of the Forties pipeline and an Austrian gas plant explosion.

How better things might have been if Holyrood had heeded the 2001 advice given by its first scientific adviser, the physicist Prof Wilson Sibbett, and developed our vast shale reserves.

Four years after the fracking breakthrough, he observed the US was piling in and the world’s energy market was about to change.

He also warned that until there was a quantum leap in electricity storage (which wouldn’t involve batteries!), betting the house on wind was plain daft – but Holyrood’s non-scientific dimwits knew better!

Rev Dr John Cameron.
10 Howard Place,
St Andrews.