Sir, – There has been a lot of controversy in recent weeks and months over Robertson Property’s plan to build a student hostel and hotel complex at Abbey Park in St Andrews.
The developer has shown existing residents all the consideration of a fox in a chicken coop, but the role of Fife Council planning department should not be forgotten.
Had the planners not insisted on Robertson building a budget hotel at Abbey Park after the developer had manifestly failed to interest any operator in the scheme over several years we would not have the current disastrous proposal including a totally-unscheduled student residence.
However, if the planners are still hell-bent on a hotel somewhere off Abbey Walk – despite emerging plans for at least three new hotels in the town – they should consider the old Burgh School which Fife Council originally sold to St Andrews University for a song.
Now the university is moving staff from there to Guardbridge it seems to have all the qualities for a hotel the Abbey Park site lacks.
There is direct access from the main road with plenty of scope for signage.
It is also an adaptable building full of character with the bonus of plenty of parking space.
It would surely represent a perfect development spec for Robertson.
One would imagine it could also present for planners in Fife to demonstrate how keen they really are on another hotel for the town.
Queen’s speech was ruined
Sir, – One of my annual highlights, the Queen’s Christmas Day Broadcast, was totally ruined for me this year by widespread advance publication of its contents.
Leaking details of the broadcast was once virtually a hanging offence but it seems that this is now actually a duty of palace officials.
Next year, it would be nice for Her Majesty’s remarks to come as a total surprise.
John Eoin Douglas,
7 Spey Terrace,
Majority are not represented
Sir, – I must say that I fully agree with the sentiments of Scottish journalist Alex Massie when he made reference to comments made in the House of Commons which apparently caused the SNP to retreat into their familiar place – “high dudgeon and whipped into a fury of frothing outrage” – as a result of criticism by a Tory MP.
It appears that he was referring to comments made by the leader of the SNP at Westminster, Ian Blackford, whose reply in Chamber indicated that ‘“the people of Scotland will reflect on the ignorance and arrogance which is shown by so-called Honourable Members in this House etc etc”.
So now who was Blackford purporting to represent?
Certainly not the majority of Scots voters who were unsupportive of the aims of his party, the SNP, at the time of the independence referendum, and more importantly are still opposed on an electoral basis since that political hiatus.
Also I am sure that many folks in Scotland will recall the accounts of Ian Blackford’s alleged foul behaviour toward his political opponent in Lochaber, the late Charles Kennedy MP at the time of the last general election.
So if anyone is in need of a review of his manners or diplomatic standards it is probably the Central Belt born MP for Lochaber and Skye, the aforesaid Ian Blackford.
Also I am sure that we also recall the day when he was expelled from the House of Commons on the orders of the Speaker for unruly behaviour.
One of the factors which we, the electorate of Scotland, may well be judged on is the behaviour of our representatives in Parliament.
Most of us have absolutely nothing in common with the Salmonds, Swinneys. Sturgeons or indeed Blackfords of the SNP.
We are Scots within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and wish so to remain.
Robert I G Scott,
Drone Dome’s single benefit
Sir, – The best news to come out of the Gatwick fiasco is confirmation that our army has already purchased six “Drone Dome” systems for £16 million from Israel.
This is a cutting-edge anti-drone system to cope with unmanned aerial vehicles.
Sussex police’s shambolic reaction included the use of outmoded technology which proved useless because the drone was either hacked or an advanced drone and in the end they were forced to bring in the army with its Israeli dome system.
It is the product of Rafael, the Israeli defence technology company, and designed to provide effective airspace defence against hostile drones used by terrorists to perform aerial attacks, collect intelligence, and other intimidating activities.
The greatest fear raised by the Gatwick drone – which it now appears may not even exist – was that the mayhem would encourage a resurgent al Qaeda to target UK airspace.
At least our airports now have access to the Israeli domes.
Rev Dr John Cameron,
10 Howard Place,
A view from across the seas
Sir, – In response to Ken Clark seeking a suggested alternative Scottish Government to that current (Courier Letters, December 24), I have to chip in that from far across the seas, reading all the Scottish newspapers, watching all the international news and studying the internet, the problem does not appear to be the government but the majority of the electoral population who insist on returning it on the promise only of ever greater and wider-reaching social benefits, condemnation of Westminster and louder and more resonant whoopees over independence.
This, of course, keeps them happy in their poverty and ignorance and the one-day promise of being able to do it all themselves with no one to blame but themselves.
101 Waikiki Road,
New South Wales.
Mother Nature calls the shots
Sir, – The eruption last week of the Anak Krakatau volcano in Indonesia and the resultant tsunami caused death and widespread destruction.
Worldwide 500 volcanoes have regularly erupted in the past.
Scientists acknowledge that volcanoes can affect weather and also the Earth’s climate.
Following the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines the fine ash and gases in the atmosphere blocked the sunlight and cooled temperatures by as much as 0.5C in some regions.
The eruption of Tambora Volcano in Indonesia in 1815 lowered global temperatures by 3C.
Mankind trying to control the climate is an expensive green pipe dream.
Mother Nature creates volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes and tornados and the additional emissions are far more than puny mankind can ever hope to save.
138 Springfield Road,
Brechin parking is shambolic
Sir, – I write in response to comments from your correspondent David Todd regarding parking arrangements in Brechin town centre (Courier Letters, December 18).
I would like to provide some support to those who are involved in trying to sort out the parking problems created by Angus Council.
My own experience in Brechin was one of total shock and disbelief.
I was charged with three different offences which I have subsequently discovered were totally unfounded.
The way my situation was handled was inept at best.
The warden who charged me was employed by an independent parking company based in Liverpool who was possibly paid by results.
Brechin town centre is going downhill rapidly with one of the main reason being the ridiculous parking arrangements in the town.
My wife who worked in Brechin in her early years and knows how vibrant the town was at that time, has vowed never to return to the town after our “parking incident”.
She described the situation we experienced as “very upsetting”.
J Duncan Moncur,
4 Elm Drive,