Sir, – Among all the praise for the new V&A there has, locally at least, been a lot of “yes but…”.
Yes, but why are they building that huge office block right alongside it?
Well, it is not just an office block: it will be a four star Marriott Hotel, as well as 99 apartments, presumably for sale, and maybe some office space.
Kengo Kuma has approved the building as an “appropriate backdrop”. I trust his judgement.
Yes, but why is there no parking?
Well, apart from the fact that Dundee city centre, by comparison with most other cities, is fairly well-off for parking, is it not about time that we cast off our car fetish?
Yes, but what about poverty and deprivation: could the money not have been better spent on alleviating this?
Well, it could have been spent on this, but it would have made little difference in the long term.
Dundee has a fairness commission which will be reporting in November on its “mission to tackle poverty and deprivation” and there is also now a new drug and alcohol commission so steps are being taken.
Yes, but what about jobs? Well, having the V&A is already dramatically increasing visitor numbers to the city, and we are seeing a huge number of new jobs in the hospitality sector as well as increased business in shops, pubs, taxis and so on.
Dundee has been a poor city for much of my 50 years here but has made huge progress in the last 20 years – with better still to come.
5 Carmichael Gardens, Dundee.
Putting on a great show
Sir, – Congratulations Dundee.
You provided a wonderful celebration atmosphere in the city for the opening of your new V&A museum.
Planting is a “cheap insult”
Sir, – It was a privilege and a pleasure to visit Dundee’s V&A design museum on its opening weekend and to see how much it meant to the first visitors through the doors.
The soaring architecture and the museum’s relationship to the river flowing by, glimpsed through rectangular and triangular windows was inspiring. The Ocean Liners Exhibition was a great place to spend time in.
I look forward to returning to see the Scottish Design galleries on a quieter day.
The only real disappointment was the planting around the base of the building.
This is a design museum.
The design element should therefore include the setting, the architecture, the relationship to Dundee as well as the content of the building and the views from it.
Good planting relates to and improves the building; poor planting has the opposite effect.
What is there now is not what I would expect of a world-class design museum.
I hope this planting is a stop gap, with the intention of doing the job properly when the landscaping of the proposed garden and urban beach is completed to the east of the museum.
Evaluating what is there now, the sea holly Eryngium is already dying off (they used a variety which is normally an annual or at best a biennial), coupled with some dismal grasses (there are many better ones to choose) and large numbers of Cornus alba, a favourite for mass planting in low maintenance schemes.
It is boring and derivative.
I can’t believe that Kengo Kuma, the building’s architect, is enthused by this sort of “finishing touch”.
As it stands, this planting is a cheap insult to the V&A.
I can easily envisage a creative plant combination that would enhance the architecture and make a design statement in its own right.
Scotland is blessed with many great garden designers.
One of the best, Michael Innes, lives just outside Cupar in Fife.
Why was he or someone of equal talent not engaged?
It is not too late to fix and it would not be expensive.
Come on V&A.
You did almost everything right.
Make it even more extraordinary.
Glendoick Garden Centre.
Greeting is not so great
Sir, – I travelled to Dundee on the bus and saw with interest the activity around the V&A.
This building is destined to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to wonder at the design and engineering genius of Scots.
Sadly, I arrived at the bus station and was met with the harsh reality.
I needed to spend a penny (30p actually) before heading off into town.
I discovered that the gents was stinking, with cubicles lacking paper.
I realised that I wasn’t desperate after all and decided to give it a miss, but not before discovering that the baby changing loo was missing its lock. To make matters worse I could find nobody to complain to nor request a refund from.
I wonder what foreign visitors will think about such awful facilities.
We Scots have gotten used to it but it doesn’t make it right.
20 Mid Street,
Park-and-ride is a requirement
Sir, – Dundee has been regenerated and it is good to see the pride the citizens have in their new waterfront.
Despite this, or maybe because of it, the one thing badly needed is a park-and-ride system.
Many towns, Perth for example, have successfully operated park-and-ride from relatively small areas in the city.
Operating a similar system in Dundee would help free the congestion in the city centre.
It would be especially helpful on occasions like the concerts in Slessor Gardens and would avoid the large traffic queues and delays with road closures during events which are likely to increase in the future.
I believe one of the reasons put forward against this is the space needed for car parking but there are large areas unused in the Technology Park in the west end and Caird Park in the north.
Operating a park-and-ride system would not only help commuters but attract day visitors reluctant to drive in a busy city centre.
55 Callander Drive,
All hail the hospital heroes
Sir, – I wish to agree with your correspondent who recently suggested that we should praise and not pillory Ninewells hospital.
Having spent a considerable time as an inpatient this year I have been truly humbled.
Almost without exception every member of staff – from porters to consultants – have shown genuine caring and concern for patient welfare.
And yet the overall image we are fed is of a hospital where money is more important than medicine.
I witnessed time and again the extra unpaid hours put in by nurses.
One young nurse sticks in mind.
She delivered takeaway food as an extra income to eke out her meagre salary.
It is time to give credit where due.
Ninewells staff have a pride in their vocation.
Quite rightly so.
Instead of focusing on the forecasts of doom from the bean counters we would do well to value what a wonderful service is on our very own doorstep.
3 Hillbank Terrace, Kirriemuir.
Second poll is clearly justified
Sir, – Correspondent Dr Charles Wardrop criticised me for having the audacity to ask for another referendum on Brexit.
I still think it is justified in light of everything that has happened since the last vote.
For example the security of our borders is now compromised on the Irish border.
As for undemocratic bureaucracy, we have one of the worst in this country with an aristocratic monarchical system which, according to the Republican Movement, costs us £350 million annually to maintain and protect.
There is also the unelected House of Lords, 825 of them on £48,000 each per annum.
America has three times our population and has only 100 members in their second house, two for each state.
There is a lot to think about – let’s be democratic about it, let the people decide.
93 Whyterose Terrace,