Byre: flaw in the original business model

Sir, Mr Thomas Bryce’s claim (Courier letters, February 1), that “arty farty” shows and lack of live music shows are responsible for the sad decline of the Byre Theatre in St Andrew is ludicrous.

As someone who visited the old and new Byres, and a regular theatre goer, I always had a concern the theatre was too small to attract the type of sell-out populist shows which do well elsewhere.These touring productions were too expensive for St Andrews and I think this was a flaw in the original business model.As a St Andrews graduate, I would invite the university to step into the breach and offer to lease the venue.This would allow some breathing space for a new business plan to emerge, and give the university a huge PR boost.The university could easily absorb many aspects of the building and become key partners in a new organisation.Such would be the goodwill and added gravitas, that a new independent body would have a tremendous chance of flourishing.Andrew Gold.112 Seagate,Dundee.JHI should be congratulatedSir, I write in support of Ray Perman (Courier Thursday January 31) chairman of the James Hutton Institute. I was contracted to work with JHI for four years (the first two were when the organisation was still known as the Scottish Crop Research Institute), co-ordinating and marketing large international scientific conferences.The reasons for the merger with Macaulay Land Use Research Institute were born out of sound business sense. Mergers are the way of the world, both in the private and public sector. However, even with the best intentions, bringing two large organisations together, withdifferent cultures, operating systems and locations, was never going to be an easy task.My personal experience, as SCRI became JHI, was that no matter what the name, the science at the heart of the business would continue and the reputation of our Scottish scientists, is world class. Each conference brought scientists from almost every country in the world, here to Dundee. Collaborations and joint projects discussed at those conferences will have a profound impact on the science which needs to be brought to bear on the challenges facing us in feeding the world, tackling climate change and biodiversity issues.Those conferences, the largest of which saw almost 400 delegates staying in the city for several days, also brought a huge boost to our local economy. JHI should be congratulated for its contribution to Dundee’s reputation and regeneration.Anne Rendall.Vine MarketingCommunications,105 Byron Crescent,Dundee.One rule for Perth . . .Sir, Why is it that the council can find in excess of £400,000 to refurbish the South Inch in Perth when, for many years, Braidhaugh Park in Crieff has been prone to flooding? When asked, the council pleaded poverty and said costs were prohibitive.This issue has been raised by Gordon Banks MP and Roseanna Cunningham MSP, yet no remedy has been forthcoming in the past three years. Here, yet again, we have a clear case of double standards being applied. One rule for Perth, another for outlying areas.A great deal of revenue has been lost by the local rugby club using these facilities due to the cancellation of games because of flooding and training has also been badly hit. The council has even refused to upgrade the road and parking facilities, leaving it to the rugby club to upgrade an area used by members of the public to walk dogs and to gain access to the river for fishing.Alastair McLean.4 Fletcher Place,Crieff.That might explain itSir, Re your article, Trust calls for more dialogue (January 31). Perhaps the answer to the civic trust’s comments on the lack of dialogue on the Dundee Waterfront Project lies in the last sentence: “It (the board overseeing the project) meets in private and normally quarterly.” Is this only a “Dundee thing”?Alex Gouick.13 Westfield Place,Dundee.Should help our own firstSir, What a fine piece of comparative journalism in Friday’s Courier. Was it meant, or a just fantastic coincidence?There on the same page was our Prime Minister fresh from telling middle eastern counties how we will back them, no matter what the cost in millions, against the common enemy, whoever they may be. Libya, it seems, is to have all the training and aid it requires.The story beneath this was not so wonderful, a disabled grandfather who seemingly died after being more and more depressed at the thought of losing his job of 40 years at Remploy Springburn.It seems to me that maybe a little more attention and some of the millions destined for foreign lands could be used to prevent such tragedies to our own people first. But then again looking after the disabled and the lesser mortals of this world doesn’t make you an international statesman.Bill Duthie .25 St Fillans Road,Dundee.