Sir, – I write in response to recent articles in this newspaper relating to what has been described as “an addition of 109 new bedrooms to the existing 40-room Premier Inn hotel on Riverside Drive”.
Do not be hoodwinked into thinking that this is merely an extension to the existing building. It could not be further from this.
The current hotel is to be demolished and a gigantic four-storey structure built in its place, obliterating ever more views of the river, the approach to RRS Discovery and, in my opinion, lessening the impact of the far superior forthcoming V&A building.
An architect’s impression of the hotel, as seen from Riverside Drive, was printed in The Courier last week and I implore you to print the proposed building as seen from the river.
It is nothing short of a modernist industrial factory. If you added a chimney stack it would resemble the recent flurry of biomass power stations that have appeared all over our country in recent years.
It is also jaw-dropping to compare the existing and proposed elevations, especially the south-west elevations of the building which give frightening scale to this proposed development.
I appreciate that the new hotel may not be any taller that the adjacent Care Commission building, but please do not use this design as a benchmark or guide to architectural beauty.
The proposed hotel may be regarded as “good design” for current general hotel building but surely not for this highly sensitive riverside site.
If this four-storey hotel, in its proposed form, receives approval from our council it will be a travesty and I shudder to think what lies in store for the development land surrounding the V&A.
Ian Milne. Craigiebarn Road, Dundee.
Legacy of Sir James Caird
Sir, – I write to draw to the attention of your readers and my fellow citizens of the City of Dundee to the significance of today’s date, March 9 2016.
It is 100 years ago today that late on a Thursday night in March 1916, Sir James Caird sadly and suddenly died at the age of 79 at his country home of Belmont Castle.
I for one, given my close awareness of the life and bounty of this prominent citizen, will take a moment today to reflect on his generous financial donations and material contributions to the physical and cultural well being of this city and of its citizens which continue to have a lasting impact and significance up to the present day. Hopefully this letter will stimulate others to follow suit.
Sir James’ benefactions over the latter part of his life totalled no less that £240,000, the largest part of which was the £100,000 given to build the Caird Hall in the heart of the city, one of the most impressive cultural venues in the UK.
Another large donation of £25,000 was given to buy park land on the northern fringe of the city which continues to provide both a popular and well-used 18-hole golf course and a nine-hole course on which many citizens, including myself, took their first swings on a fairway.
I have contacted the Lord Provost and asked if something can be done to mark the centenary of this event. I hear that some form of tribute will be made in the hall that bears his name.
Iain M. Luke. 4 St JohnswoodTerrace, Dundee.
Invest in Fife rail connection
Sir, – What an excellent suggestion from Dr Allen Armstrong that the £1 billion underspend from building the Queensferry Crossing be invested in improving the Fife rail network (March 7).
It is high time that some money was spent on rail services on the north side of the Forth, considering the amount being invested to the south of it.
There can be no doubt that the people living in the communities which would be served by a re-opened Levenmouth branch, Newburgh station or Forth rail link would benefit greatly from the resulting enhanced connectivity.
The case of St Andrews is somewhat different, though no less valid.
The town is primarily a destination, and an international one at that. St Andrews could be described as Scotland’s Oxbridge, Canterbury and Wimbledon all rolled into one and considering that just one of these factors could be said to justify a rail connection, the fact that St Andrews ticks all three boxes makes the case overwhelming.
Indeed, as it is likely that a St Andrews service would operate at a profit, it could help subsidise the other improvements, and a combination of the Forth rail link from Alloa to Dunfermline plus the link to St Andrews would make possible direct west-east rail travel all the way from Glasgow.
All in all, a billion pounds could go some way to making the Fife rail network fit for the requirements of the 21st century.
Jane Ann Liston. St Andrews Rail Link Campaign, 5 Whitehill Terrace, Largo Road, St Andrews.
Shining light on Middle East
Sir, – Well done The Courier for reporting the experience of Angus stonemason Alex Holmes in the West Bank with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).
He reports military force surrounding a village at dawn, demolitions of business premises and irrecoverable losses to already disadvantaged people.
Such activity is seldom reported in the Western press, but Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) witness and report on such events all the time.
I was an EA in 2009 and witnessed night raids on village homes and teenagers being dragged from their families, blindfolded, handcuffed, interrogated and often imprisoned without due process.
Worst of all are the house demolitions with little or no notice, often with the entire contents of the house within.
Is all this legal? In Israeli terms, sometimes. But the West Bank and Gaza are occupied territories and international law applies and, under international law, these activities are almost never legal.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2004 confirmed the illegality of Israeli settlements in occupied territory and of parts of the Israeli separation barrier. It ordered Israel to remove the illegal parts of the barrier.
Israel disregards the ICJ, international law and the UN and its resolutions despite its very existence arising from a UN resolution, a resolution which also promised a Palestinian state.
There has been a huge loss of life in Israel/Palestine since 1948, many Israelis, and very many more Palestinians and the loss of life continues today.
EAPPI upholds the legitimacy of Israel. It works for a peaceful end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, which is the policy of the UN and of almost every member state.
Fraser Ritchie. 1 Craigshannoch Road, Wormit.
Scotland not a one-party state
Sir, – David Cameron talks of Scotland becoming a one-party state.
Does he really have any idea of what a one party state is? Small wonder his views have so little influence in the world.
I suggests he visits North Korea, or has a closer look at his beloved China. Talk to some older people in Russia, and the states of Eastern Europe, or the people of Cuba, Mr Cameron.
They will tell you what a one party state is (well, the North Koreans won’t, they’re not allowed to).
When I get my ballot paper in a few weeks’ time it will have up to half a dozen names on it.
That is not how a one-party state conducts elections.
Laurie Richards. 100 Crail Road, Cellardyke.
Fallacy of climate change
Sir, – Douglas Robertson chides me for ignoring pro-climate change scientists (March 4).
These scientists are desperate to keep their research grants but are struggling to explain why there has been an 18 to 20-year “hiatus” in global warming.
Here are just a few of their excuses out of the 52 so far concocted.
Low solar activity, oceans ate global warming, volcanic aerosols, stratospheric water vapour, it’s not so unusual and no more than natural variability, we forgot to cherry-pick models in tune with natural variability, few El Ninos since 1999,the wrong type of El Ninos, climate is less sensitive to CO2 than thought, IPCC models are too complex, as soon as the sun, the weather and volcanoes allow, the world will start warming again.
This is why I am questioning the billions being spent by the UK on climate change measures to save a tiny fraction of the UK’s 1.3% of global emissions.
Clark Cross. 138 Springfield Road, Linlithgow.