Sir, – Having recently retired, we moved back to Dundee after an absence of 50 years.
We were thrilled to be back, as on the surface it looked a most regenerative city in which to do all the things that time now affords us.
However, we were shocked at how many empty shops there were in an around Reform Street, not a great image for tourists coming to the V&A.
Why can’t the council free up the heavy taxes on properties and let people rent these shops for a couple of years at a minimum price? Then, if they have made a profit, they can be charged on a profit-based percentage.
If people are put out of business due to unaffordability the likelihood is that they will have to claim benefits.
Surely reducing the taxes would keep shops open and people off of the benefit system.
I’m sure the town could benefit greatly from some artisan shops for people to browse and spend their money.
It’s all about productivity and no one wants to see endless rows of charity shops, so come on Dundee City Council – you’ve done a great job with the Waterfront, do something with the inner city.
Driving trade out of our towns
Sir, – What was most obvious to me watching TV reports of the fall of the House of Fraser was that most of their soon-to-be-closed stores are situated in pedestrianised streets with no parking.
I haven’t shopped in my local department store in more than 25 years, due to the impossibility of getting my car within several hundred yards of the front door.
Instead, I prefer to frequent out of town malls with a superfluity of free and convenient parking.
It must be nice for the green anti-car lobby to smugly walk and cycle past the shuttered shops of our high streets, the death of which are largely due to their blinkered efforts.
John Eoin Douglas.
Noise protests fall on deaf ears
Sir, – I wish John G Phimister more success than I have had in getting rid of background music on television shows (Courier letters, June 8).
For several years I have complained about it to the BBC and ITV both by telephoning and by emailing programme producers.
Without exception I receive a standard, anodyne, reply that it is “to enhance my viewing/listening experience”.
It does not and I wish that it would be stopped.
Brechin Road, Arbroath.
Put the foot down, DVLA
Sir. – I am required to submit an application to renew my driving licence to the DVLA every three years as I am over 70 years old.
When I applied for renewal at 76, the process lasted for 444 days, which includes time with the DVLA medical committee.
I am now processing a renewal at 79. In October last year the application form was submitted to the DVLA who, in late November, replied to say they were considering my application which would be referred to their medical committee due to a reference to motor neuron disease.
In December, a consultant neurologist received a questionnaire about my ability to drive. He confirmed to the DVLA in December that he saw no reason to refuse my application on medical grounds.
In late January this information was posted to my record.
When I enquired in April for an indication of when I might expect to receive a licence the reply, in May , was that the DVLA were now seeking a report from my GP.
He informed DVLA that he could see no reason to refuse my application, and my case has now been referred to the Scottish Driver Assessment Centre in Edinburgh.
It has a waiting list of 16 weeks, which means there is possibility that I might have a licence in October, thereby beating the record of 444 days by a narrow margin.
My first driving licence was issued in 1962. I have probably driven in excess of half a million miles, which includes driving in many European countries, the USA and Canada, without incurring any penalty points on my licence and without involvement in any road accident for which I was responsible.
The medical committee at the DVLA have a public duty to protect people. I just wish they could be less inefficient in dealing with applications.
Waste of time and money
Sir, – It is seldom I write letters of complaint but in this situation I do so and the nature of my complaint is directed at Perth and Kinross Council.
On Tuesday May 29 my wife went to Pullar House, Perth, where she paid the sum of £30 to have waste uplifted. The waste was contained in black liner bags so there would be no smell in the hot weather.
She was given two receipts and told the waste would be lifted on Tuesday June 5. On the appointed day we waited and waited, but nothing.
At 3pm, my wife phoned the council. “Oh yes,” said the lady. “You are on the list, the men work to 5pm.”
Alas 5pm came but the men did not.
If there was a reason why our waste could not be lifted, why did we not get a phone call to say so?
We were given an assurance that our waste would be lifted on the appointed day when we paid, and a reassurance that they would come when we called at 3pm.
When paying money you expect to receive a service, or at the very least an explanation for why that service cannot be provided.
Perth and Kinross Council would do well to remember this.
Fracking claim is a lot of hot air
Sir, – Clark Cross says fracking is better for the environment, and safer for people’s health, than solar PV panels (Courier letters, June 8).
We would have to have really good regulations for fracking, and for the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations not to apply to PV panels (they do), for that to be anywhere close to the truth.
Even then, the intent appears to be for gas from fracking to be burnt, and the emissions released to the atmosphere.
We know this is not safe. Indeed, the UK Government’s own official advisers have stated the regulations for fracking are not adequate in relation to the release of greenhouse gases.
The science on this is clear, and we are signed up to international agreements. We have to reduce our total emissions effectively to zero, and the sooner the better.
Politicians, and the media, do not seem to have caught up with what we have to do to get there. (A recent example of this would be Heathrow.) Clark Cross, it appears, may never catch up.
Time to ask the public again
Sir, – Brexit has all the hallmarks of the poll tax.
For long a pet project of Tory backwoodsmen the latter proved to be a disaster in practice. To save itself 30 years ago, the party was forced to throw its iconic leader under a bus.
The fact is there are no quick and easy trade deals to compensate for the loss of trade with the EU’s 27 members and the 61 countries with which it has deals constituting together some 45% of the world’s nations.
Inward investment is plummeting as the disaster unfolds.
Our economy depends on the single market and the customs union’s frictionless trade and that will mean accepting the EU’s regulations.
In a democracy the people must be allowed to vote again. For this life-long Tory voter if salvation requires throwing the party under a bus this time, it’s a necessary sacrifice.
Rev Dr John Cameron.
10 Howard Place,