New town is needed for Perth and Kinross

© DC Thomson
A protest against proposed development in Scone at Perth and Kinross Council headquarters, High Street, Perth.

Sir, – I, and I am sure many others, are in full agreement with the sentiments contained in the recent letters from Graham Watson of Scone and George Mailer of Auchterarder.

There is already the feeling that Perth, Scone, Kinross and others are fast becoming dormitory towns and villages or homes for the retired.

I would like to add one other point which always causes me some annoyance when I read it, and that is “the developer will make a substantial contribution towards the cost of much required educational or medical facilities” or words to that effect.

I am fairly sure that it is not the developer who makes the contribution in that it will be the first purchasers of the new houses as the cost of extra facilities will merely be added to, and included in, the purchase price. Developers are not known for their altruism as they exist to make profits.

For example, build 250 houses and add £1,000 to the real price and there you have £250,000 to contribute to the extra facilities.

It gets even better if you can get the contract to build the extra facility.

The building of a new town at Oudenarde with a proper infrastructure makes much more sense as it is close to the motorway system for the convenience of commuters.

It makes much more sense than the destruction of existing communities which is what is happening.

There must be areas of ground in the Gask region, again close to the motorway system, suitable for the development of a new town.

John D. Ridley.
Spoutwells Drive,


No plans to merge schools

Sir, – As the former convener of the children and families service in Dundee, I would like to support the comments of my successor regarding Braeview Academy and Craigie High School.

If the Labour councillors had bothered to check the capital plan they would know that the SNP administration has earmarked money to improve the secondary school estate and that has already been committed to upgrading Braeview and Craigie.

Indeed, one of my last interviews with The Courier before I stood down as convener was to confirm that the money would be spent on both of those schools.

While not wishing to reignite the whole Menzieshill debate, the notion that it was about money was proven to be nonsense and it stretches any councillor’s credibility to rehash proven falsehoods.

Just under a year ago I visited Braeview with Paul Clancy, who has subsequently become the director of the department, and met with the then acting head of Braeview.

We both confirmed to him that we would be looking to either make significant improvements to the school or rebuild on another site.

The head specifically asked us about merger and we both confirmed that was not on the table.

Prior to that I met with the parent council of Craigie High and advised them of the same.

Since then we have spent a significant amount of money on Craigie improving the building based on requests from the parent council.

What is most disappointing about the comments from Councillors Marra and Malone is that the Labour education spokesperson Councillor Georgia Cruickshank knows exactly what the council’s plans for the two schools are as she was kept in the loop when she was the Labour Party’s deputy spokesperson under Laurie Bidwell.

Councillor Stewart Hunter.
Dundee City Council.


Gaelic signs unnecessary

Sir, – I was driving in Wales and rounding a corner, came on a minor accident involving two cars.

I stopped to ask if help was needed and was told by one driver who was on holiday visiting Wales that he was distracted as he did not understand the road sign.

Tourists driving in Scotland would be even more confused.

There is nothing to be gained by spending money adding Gaelic names.

Garry Barnett.
The Garden House,
Campsie Hill,


Do not take Bible literally

Sir, – The Bible is often used as an infallible paper pope to oppose social reform, to restrict the rights of those whose God-given sexual orientation is “objectionable” in the 21st Century and to oppose the emancipation of slaves in the 19th Century.

Quakers have a noble history of compassion and were early supporters of both gay marriage and abolitionism but these issues have divided the Church of Scotland and the Free Kirk.

The church’s decision to respect “liberty of opinion in points which do not enter into the substance of the faith” enabled it to promote compassion over ideology whereas the Free Kirk’s inflexible, literalist stance caused awkward problems.

Perhaps the greatest of these occurred after its founding in 1843 when the Free Kirk received considerable funding from America’s slave-owning Southern Presbyterian churches.

This led to its condemnation by the famous former slave and anti- slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass, who toured Scotland in 1846 to demand the tainted money be sent back.

The fact is there are certain questions no biblical literalist can answer honestly.

This isn’t to say that they can’t answer these questions at all, but only that any answer they give either evades answering the question or ends up in semantic gymnastics.

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


Licence payers will be losers

Sir, – The revelations about the different pay levels of the male and female stars at the BBC make grim reading for the average licence payer.

The incomes of the female stars are, by any stretch of the imagination, exorbitant for what they do, and should at least be halved forthwith.

Their male counterparts should then be paid the same. Equality achieved. Any who aren’t happy, should be shown the door pronto. There would be no problem finding competent replacements.

But what we will probably see is those salaries being equalised up, thus perpetuating their cozy corrupt world to the detriment yet again of BBC licence payers.

Jim Shaw.
Hill Street,


Workers fund our pensions

Sir, – Eric Travers (July 21) suffers from a common misapprehension. The National Insurance contributions he pays do not go into a fund to pay him a pension. Rather, they pay the pensions of those who are current pensioners. When he gets his pension it will be funded by those working.

John Dorward.
89 Brechin Road,