Sir, – I notice Bill Bowman, a Conservative list MSP for North East Scotland, has become the latest politician to grab a headline by demanding abolition of parking charges at Ninewells Hospital (“New call for end to Ninewells charges”, (The Courier, July 10).
My advice to him is “Be careful what you wish for”.
When the decision was taken in the early 1960s to build a new hospital at Ninewells in the south-east extremity of Dundee, there were protests that the location was too far from the largest population centres in the city.
The response was to include the largest bus terminal in the city, with buses running to and from almost every part of Dundee.
Large car parks were also built, which were adequate when Ninewells was officially opened in 1974 but were soon overtaken by the expansion in car use.
If Mr Bowman wishes to see the pressure on parking at the hospital he should visit Ninewells Avenue or speak to residents in Glamis Drive and Menzieshill who experience the problems first hand – problems that certainly will not be eased by making Ninewells parking free.
Mr Bowman may be unaware Dundee is one of the few cities which does not have a park and ride scheme. This is purely due to space.
Dundee City has the smallest land area of any local authority in mainland Scotland.
If parking charges were abolished at Ninewells there would serious problems as the bus terminal could become a park and ride in all but name.
I understand Mr Bowman is a practising accountant. Has he really thought over what it would mean for NHS Tayside to lose a share of parking revenue on one hand, and need to employ, out of existing budgets, additional parking attendants to ensure that patients, staff and visitors can find space to park?
Parking charges must stay
Sir, – Regarding your front page story on the call for free parking at Ninewells (The Courier, July 10), I see another MSP looking for brownie points.
As a long-term out-patient I don’t agree with dropping parking charges, especially since they started charging for the disabled bays. The spaces practically emptied overnight, as it prevented people using the system illegally.
I know from experience trying to park there was horrendous, until the charge came in.
I was up at Perth Royal Infirmary recently and it took just under an hour to get parked; I was down at the Queen Margaret in Dunfermilne, same story.
Long-term kidney, cancer and other patients get issued with tickets for parking, and in most cases if you get a letter from the department you attend most charges are waived.
The parking charges don’t guarantee you a space, but they make it easier.
If you look about Ninewells you see a lot of empty spaces which I’m sure can be converted for staff only, getting their cars of the street and probably freeing up more spaces in the car parks for patients.
I think if you remove the charges of you’ll end up with a hospital with no room for patient parking.
34 Albert Crescent, Newport-on-Tay.
Free parking wouldn’t work
Sir, – Wouldn’t it be nice to have free parking at Ninewells Hospital?
But we should be careful what we wish for.
In many years of attending Ninewells as a patient and visitor I have always managed to find a car parking space, although sometimes I’ve had to go to the far end of the car park.
If parking were free, it would be impossible for a visitor to find a space because it would quickly be filled by those using it as a park and ride, Ninewells having an extraordinarily good bus service.
15 Morris Place,
Over-reaction to care home plan
Sir, – Your report concerning the opposition of some Anstruther people to the proposed rebuilding of Ladywalk Care Home – (“Campaigners spell out opposition over home”, The Courier, July 7) reminded me of a similar scare story some 30 years ago.
The then Fife Regional Council proposed converting part of The Folly and some waste ground at East Shore into car parking spaces to boost tourism.
Soon a petition appeared in local shops, a protest meeting was arranged and fears expressed that harbour views would be spoiled, Anstruther would become another Blackpool, and even that the tide might stop coming into the harbour!
Fortunately wiser counsel prevailed, the car parks were laid out and today they are very busy.
But so are the ice cream and chip shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants, the Scottish Fisheries Museum and the Lifeboat Station – all greatly benefitting the local economy.
One objector to the current Ladywalk Home proposals claims that Anstruther would be left with “almost no green space”. Yet your report makes clear that while Bankie Park could change shape, it would not lose any of its green space area, as it would gain exactly the same amount of land it would lose.
What is in danger here is not Bankie Park but Ladywalk House. A building that for nearly 40 years has provided loving care to our elderly and vulnerable senior citizens now needs modernisation.
Hysterical over-reaction without careful consideration of the replacement plans is not at all helpful.
W W Motion.
St Andrews Road,
R&A’s tented shopping mall
Sir, – I read with utter disgust in The Courier (“Links’ growth of golf for everyone”, July 4) that the current professional at Carnoustie is suggesting building a nine-hole golf course at the links.
Why not go the whole hog and give the R&A the whole town, then they could have a driving range along the High Street and a putting green at the War Memorial? After all, they have ruined the town with the farce that is the 147th Open.
It’s basically a tented shopping mall. Why not ask the locals what they think?
I keep hearing about the millions of pounds they bring to the town and the local community.
I hope, when the circus has gone, we will hear, especially from the Links Commitee, how much money The Open did generate in the area, and where it went .
Thomas G. Mitchell.
7 Links Ave,
What a big planning error
Sir, – As an ex- Dundonian I have looked forward to seeing the new waterfront correct the errors of the 60s, and have been proudly promoting Dundee.
I am now horrified to see Dundee’s iconic V&A has been dominated and hidden by an office tower. Why?
How could planners make such a mistake? Have they learned nothing?
Equal flowers for the Kingdom
Sir, – In Kinglassie, and in common with other forgotten villages in Fife, there is an absence of floral hanging baskets and planters which used to bring some colour into the community.
Now I realise that we are in times of austerity for local authorities and Fife is no exception. We have to accept this and recognise the many demands on scarce resources, and the appropriate distribution of these resources.
However we are not all playing on a level playing field and we need look no further than Glenrothes itself, which is virtually festooned with baskets and planters of all shapes and sizes and varieties, at a merry old cost to the taxpayer.
The old adage of “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” springs to mind.
If saving monies and constraint is paramount, then surely let there be equality throughout the Kingdom.
David L Thomson.
24 Laurence Park,