Madam, – A large number of Perthshire folk are appalled the present administration intends to reduce the Kirkin’ of the Council which dates back hundreds of years, to a once-in-five-years event.
Perth is a city with an ancient heritage.
There is no doubt that this played a major part in former Provost John Hulbert’s sterling effort to have city status re-instated to the great benefit of the community.
Our immediate past provost Liz Grant did much to increase this spectacle which, when properly announced in advance, brings hundreds of townsfolk and visitors to the streets.
She invited dignitaries from other cities, and important local office- bearers, such as the principal of the UHI Perth, and the sheriff principal, both robed, to join in.
Properly presented, this like other festivals and parades in other cities, stimulates tourism.
It was also a day for honouring local people and encouraging the youth of the area to join, either in the parade or in the church and at the later reception.
This was seen as a reward for their achievements and a chance to meet dignitaries and other members of the community.
All this good work is being thrown away by the present administration. Why?
They have said it is budgetary.
It is laughable the cost of a cup of tea and a piece of shortbread is beyond the means of a council that can spend millions in huge projects such as the refurbishment of Perth Theatre, on what must have been the most dubious of business plans.
The perpetuation of such events is just what city funding should cover.
If I am wrong, I now make the offer to fund the cost of the reception by public or crowd funding, which failing out of my own pocket.
But no. The answer is surely that our elected representatives cannot be bothered to turn out once a year in their own time.
Spending our money elsewhere takes much less effort but on this occasion they have made yet another serious error of judgment.
If the hundred or so people I have spoken to recently are a barometer, I think they will find the voters who put them where they are, will not be bothered to vote them back into power.
Although many have not in the past supported an SNP administration, it appears they might better promote the interests of the Big County.
Maybe there is a history of Tories not being for turning, but I urge this administration to consider doing so.
Alastair H Anderson.
Bellwood Park, Perth.
Madam, – No-one should condone the killing of pregnant animals or pretend the current arrangements for dealing with beavers are working (Ecologist slams ‘callous’ killing of pregnant beaver, Courier, May 16)
On Tayside, beaver numbers have increased from a few escapees 20 years ago to over 450, despite them never having had legal protection and a proportion of animals always being culled.
What this suggests is while some people may be hostile towards beavers, the majority of farmers and landowners are taking a more proportionate response.
The recent spate of beaver culling has been caused by the decision by Roseanna Cunningham MSP to give them full EU protection.
It is not now farmers who are deciding whether they should retain beavers or not on their land, but the government. The “protection” is totally counter productive.
The only reason we have it is that conservation groups are trying to maximize their own position and influence, and the beavers are the football in the middle.
Lethal control is possible under authorisation, but, almost certainly, the dead beavers recovered have been culled without permission.
The current legislation is driving activity underground. We know this happens in Europe as well, and should not be surprised by it.
The answer is to remove the EU legislation and replace it with a system of authorisations more akin to the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996, which provides for seasons and helps ensure welfare of the animals, but allows the flexibility needed to deal with situations when these arise.
Farmers would then make decisions on the merits of the situation, and government agency staff could be better employed in establishing core populations in other parts of the country.
At the moment, resource is being sucked up administering a process that is not achieving very much at all, beyond fuelling the cruelty that we currently see.
Native Woodland Advice,
Committee must stay strong
Madam, – North East Planning Committee’s brave decision, to ignore officers’ advice and refuse planning permission for the development of 96 Hepburn Gardens in St Andrews has been vindicated by the Reporter’s recent decision to dismiss the appeal lodged by CAF Properties.
This should encourage the committee to also refuse planning permission for the proposed development of a hotel, student accommodation, road widening and tree felling at Abbey Park, St Andrews.
The grounds for this are already set out most eloquently in the Reporter’s Hepburn Gardens appeal decision letter.
Should they require further evidence they need look no further than the two previous appeal decisions which refused planning permission for the proposed widening of Abbey Park Avenue and the relocation of a listed gate pier.
Professor M P Collins.
13 Orchard Row,
Abbey Park Avenue,
Getting away with murder
Madam, – The Foreign Secretary says Russia vainly thought they had got away with the atrocities committed in Salisbury.
Two agents of the Russian government entered Britain equipped with enough poison to kill thousands of people, attempted to kill two Russian citizens, killed an innocent British woman, then calmly went home for their tea.
Apart from a few diplomatic expulsions, no one has been brought to book for these crimes.
That looks to me as though Russia did indeed get away with murder.
51 Airlie Street,
Shameful blot on UK’s record
Madam, – Amid the furore of Brexit and the European Parliamentary elections, a shameful blot on Britain’s colonial’s past was highlighted with the UN passing a resolution demanding the UK return control of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius.
In the non-binding vote in the General Assembly in New York, 116 states voted to return the islands and only six against.
Shamefully, the UK is standing by an earlier commitment to hand over control of the islands only when they are no longer needed for defence purposes.
At a time when the UK is looking to forge a positive impression on the world stage given the ongoing debacle that is Brexit, this situation is clearly not quite the image our leaders are trying to project just now.
Flat 3, 2 Marchmont Road,