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I missed out on council pothole payout

I missed out on council pothole payout

Sir, – I was interested to read your article (January 16), Councils losing pothole-repairs battle, which goes on to state that in 2014, Scottish councils paid out £1,400 per day over the previous five years in pothole compensation. That is rather a lot.

Last January I struck a large pothole. I thought little of it at the time as it was a fairly common experience, except that this one was much more severe than most.

I soon discovered that this mishap had caused damage to my car which cost £350 to repair. That is a hefty sum for an OAP.

I went to the council office in Kirriemuir where a charming lady told me that I certainly had cause for compensation and who gave me a reference number and the address to write to.

After several letters, I was referred to the council’s insurance company.

More letter writing followed and at the end of it all, I was told I was not entitled to compensation as the council did not know the pothole was there.

Patrick Newman. Rose Cottage, Cortachy, Kirriemuir.

Get involved in planning process

Sir, – On the subject of the former Waverley Hotel buildings on York Place, Perth, your correspondent Valerie MacLean asks: “How unattractive can the redevelopment plans be?”

I would urge her and all other residents who share my concerns for improving the visual amenity and architectural quality of our city centre to go and look at the detailed plans.

If they believe that anything is better than the fire-damaged, boarded-up and dilapidated buildings currently on site, then they may wish to support planning application 15/01992/FLL.

However, I hope that the people of Perth will have greater ambitions for our city than that.

The application seeks to demolish the category C-listed buildings comprising a pair of mid-19th century villas and a four-storey sandstone tenement.

I do not disagree with the case for demolition but the design quality of the replacement buildings could be so much better.

If, like me, people believe that a prominent site, on one of Perth’s main arterial routes, adjacent to the Church of the Nazerene and facing the AK Bell library merits something much better than an incongruous and featureless shed with a dominating monolithic metal profile sheet roof, then they should say so and no one could accuse them of nitpicking.

Cllr Peter Barrett. Perth City Centre Ward, Perth and Kinross Council.

Aberfeldy investment

Sir, – We write with reference to Tim Youngman’s letter, We should not halt progress in Glenfarg (January 19).

We are wondering when Mr Youngman last visited Aberfeldy?

The Station Hotel he mentioned is not, and never has been, a hardware store.

A few years ago, the building was refurbished to a very high standard and is now a thriving bar and hotel, renamed The Schiehallion.

For some time, a hardware store occupied the ground floor of the old Palace Hotel in the town.

Last year, this impressive building was beautifully restored and reinstated as a hotel, now renamed The Town House.

A smaller, but well-stocked hardware store is now housed in what was the original public bar.

We would like to congratulate the people involved in these projects and any others who have had the confidence to invest in our small town and wish them well in the future.

Rob and Sheena Menzies. Ashville, Burnside, Aberfeldy.

Real cause of council cuts

Sir, – The budgetary situation facing Dundee City Council is extremely serious, with £23 million of cuts forecast this coming year.

In his letter, Councillor Kevin Cordell (January 19) pins the blame wholly on Westminster but conveniently fails to mention that the very council committee report he quotes makes clear that, in the forthcoming 2016/17 financial year, the Scottish Budget as a result of the

Westminster spending review increases by £500m a 1.7% increase.

The reason in 2016/17 that the Dundee City Council budget and those of other local authorities are in such a serious situation is wholly down to the SNP Scottish Government, which, despite a 1.7% increase from Westminster, has decided to slash local government budgets

across Scotland by 3.5%, a massive cut in local services of £350m across Scottish local government.

The SNP makes much of its claims to be “anti-austerity”.

By its actions in slashing local government services, it is clear that the SNP’s anti-austerity claims are nothing but empty rhetoric.

Cllr Fraser Macpherson. West End Ward, Dundee City Council.

Scotland robbed of oil riches

Sir, – Your correspondent Martin Redfern of Edinburgh is not only brainwashed but is besotted by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Perhaps he should really think on where the austerity stems from and even consider why Scotland was once a rich nation before North Sea oil was US led and UK bled.

Calum Duncan. 16 Burn Street, Downfield.

Why surprise over new vote?

Sir, – As the Scottish electorate prepares to be bombarded during yet another election campaign, the media is already awash with what they see as the big issue, namely another referendum on independence.

The big question on the lips of the winners of that last contest seems to be when the next one will happen.

This is strange given that the last vote apparently ascertained the settled will of the people.

The SNP make no secret of their desire for Scottish independence so why the big mystery every time there is a debate?

Of course, there will be mention of independence in the 2016 manifesto, as there was for the General Election in May 2015, the last time the media fussed over the issue.

And no doubt the call for any future vote will hinge on certain ill treatment from our London rulers and the current opinion of the Scottish population.

So instead of fussing over having a second referendum, we should all really be more concerned with why the subject is still being discussed.

Richard Clark. Craigton, Monikie.

State should not support religion

Sir, – David Robertson (January 19) continues to misrepresent my arguments and the aims of The Scottish Secular Society. His claim that: “Mr Canning says he wants Christianity excluded from education”, is false, as I’ve said no such thing.

If Christianity is rightly included in state education as a study topic, it is not excluded.

If parents wish to go further and have their children taught that Christian beliefs are true, they have that right, but no international human rights’ charter obliges Scotland’s state schools to supply such teaching.

His claim that I want “atheism to be the default position and ethos of every school in Scotland” is false, as I’ve called only for state schools not to promote supernatural belief, which doesn’t amount to promoting non-belief.

A university or technical college is not atheist just because it doesn’t teach that God exists and it does not undermine Christianity merely by not doing the job of a church. Hindu children are not doomed to lose their beliefs by attending schools which do not promote them.

I do not ask that Mr Robertson’s faith be private: merely that what is taught as fact with state money be supported by evidence.

Robert Canning. Vice-chair of The Scottish Secular Society, 58a Broughton Street, Edinburgh.

Plenty of Hair Ice in Killin

Sir, – I admit to being rather surprised about the recent excitement over the discovery of Hair Ice (January 12) which is caused by a fungus called exidiopsis effusa. Where I live, I can almost guarantee that when we have frost we will find Hair Ice in numerous places.

Emma Paterson. Barncroft, Auchlyne, Killin.