READERS’ LETTERS: Cynicism over Fife town’s regeneration plans

© DC Thomson
General views of the notorious flats at Glenwood Centre in Glenrothes

Sir, – Whatever happened to the SNP local election manifesto commitment last spring to reopen Glenwood library?

I see that Planning Aid Scotland’s Julia Frost claims that new plans for the regeneration of the entire Glenwood complex would mean the building would be replaced by a ‘community hub’ with a book lending capability (Courier, January 6).

I don’t want to belittle the fine work her organisation has done in the last two years to at least provide some hope that the area can be renewed.

However, perhaps the new administration at Fife House – effectively a Labour/SNP coalition – could have made clear to her that a library facility (run, if necessary, by the council rather than the cultural trust) should have been included in the plans.

It might help convince the local community that the plans are more than a pipe dream.

For, make no mistake about it, there is still a lot of cynicism in the west of Glenrothes about council promises.

The closure of a primary school and a well-equipped and much used library in the space of two years has left a sour taste in the mouth.

Whilst Labour never hid its support for the closure of 16 libraries throughout Fife, the SNP did express serious concern about the impact on many parts of the region.

But it is not too late, councillors still have the opportunity to show some drive and uphold the promise to keep a library in the west of Glenrothes.

Bob Taylor.

24 Shiel Court,

Glenrothes.

 

Unpalatable solution needed

Sir, – Any national apology from a UK Government minister for restricted NHS services means a cross party resolution is urgently needed to solve a really major issue which has so far been kicked into long grass.

It may not be palatable for some people, but that solution must involve means tested (semi private) contributions to bring the UK in line with the best on offer in Europe.

Free at source is no longer viable.

Mr Hunt (health minister) is delusional in quoting meaningless statistics on doctor numbers and so on.

A crisis is a crisis, suffering is suffering – and death is irreversible.

Howard Davies.

2 Station Road,

Invergowrie.

 

Time to redraw GP contracts

Sir, – Once again we have the media and publicity seeking MSPs and MPs looking for scapegoats for the fact that A&E departments throughout Britain failed to reach ‘targets’ by a country mile over Christmas and new year when your sister paper the Sunday Post was reporting 45,000 people contacting NHS24 over a four-day period with the symptoms of Australian Flu.

How many of them, I wonder, went on to contact A&E at their nearest hospital because they didn’t like the advice (or lack of it) that they had received, while the dedicated staff at our hospitals were working flat out as they always do to handle the situation.

Where were our 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday GPs while this ‘crisis’ was going on?

Oh, I forgot they were on their four-day break over both weekends instead of having at least one or two in each practice providing cover to any patients needing treatment.

These GPs are, after all, members of the NHS – a service providing cover 24/7, 52 weeks a year.

It is time our governments were redrawing GP contracts to bring them in to the 24-hour-a-day world that the rest of us live in.

Maybe then we could actually ask: “Crisis, what crisis’?

Ian Allan.

5 Marchside Court,

Sauchie.

 

Populism on the rise in the US

Sir, – It appears that during the Golden Globe Awards, American television personality Oprah Winfrey, who is frequently polled the ‘greatest woman in US history’, all but declared her candidacy for President.

It underscores the extent to which populism – the genuflecting to celebrity and ratings while repudiating experience and expertise – has infected American civic life.

It is a worrying state of affairs.

The ideal Democratic candidate would be a deeply serious figure with a strong record of public service behind him/her.

Running a female black mimic of Trump would be a self-inflicted wound.

The fact this self-obsessed peddler of faux-empathy is even being considered says a lot about the state of the party.

Rev Dr John Cameron.

10 Howard Place,

St Andrews.

 

Councillors are out of touch

Sir, – I attended Angus council’s development standards meeting in Forfar to hear what their intentions were regarding the proposed demolition of the Damacre School to build affordable housing.

I listened closely to the spokesman for the objectors who gave an excellent presentation to the committee asking for more time to consult with the Brechin people before Damacre School was lost forever.

Only one councillor thought this proposal was worthy and tabled an amendment.

However, he could not get a seconder and his amendment fell.

Meanwhile, two Brechin councillors, who should have voted either yes or no, had absented themselves, apparently because they had spoken about the Damacre proposals before being elected.

After listening to the comments by the committee members, it was obvious that if speaking about the proposal before the meeting debarred you from voting, the chamber would have been empty.

One member actually read from an email that was received by one of the self-debarred members.

An almost nauseating comment was made by one councillor who, with passionate indignation, berated the objector’s spokesman and asked if he had never heard of the homeless problem in Angus.

She wondered if objectors were aware that people were having to sleep on the streets.

How out of touch can these councillors be?

They have taken hypocrisy to a new level for Angus Council.

For example, as previously reported in The Courier, the SNP administration in Angus built a homeless unit in Montrose – 10 bed-sits that cost us over £600,000.

Through sheer incompetence at officer level and no interest from the Montrose councillors, not one homeless person slept there for even one night over the many years it lay empty.

It was then sold to a property developer for £110,000 at a loss of half a million pounds.

Listening to these councillors cry crocodile tears for the homeless and using the plight of rough sleepers to reinforce their proposals for the Damacre School site is as cynical as they could possibly be.

When the SNP ran the administration, they knocked down the Queen’s Park housing scheme in Brechin despite spending over £600,000 renovating the flats only 18 months previously.

The Queens Park social housing scheme, like the Monifieth School site, now accommodates private housing.

The administration sold Monifieth School for loose change to a preferred developer but it could have gone a long way to solving Monifieth’s housing problem.

The buyer made a million and the waiting list for housing in Monifieth grew.

They also stopped an opportunity for 30 well-needed affordable houses in Montrose for miniscule cost purely for political reasons.

Do these councillors really care about the need for social housing and rough sleepers?

They should take a look at themselves in a mirror.

Then they would perhaps see themselves as others see them.

Robert Alexander.

39 Barry Road,

Carnoustie.

 

Simple solution to wall collapse

Sir, – I note that members of Dundee City Council are having a meeting regarding the collapsed retaining wall at Ellieslea road (Courier, January 8).

This meeting will apparently discuss ‘various solutions’.

There is only one solution acceptable and it involves restoring the wall to look exactly as it did before.

That is the meaning of listing and conservation areas.

There is no problem in terms of engineering to restoring the wall safely and quickly.

To do so the council merely need to consult the right experienced people and use local contractors to carry out the work.

Ron Soutar.

Camperdown Street,

Broughty Ferry.

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