Threat to local democracy in East Lothian
SIR, - The threat to local democracy within the planning system continues in East Lothian as Reporters appointed by Scottish Ministers overturn further decisions made by East Lothian planning committee members who have listened to the public they represent and believe that are acting in the interests of the community they serve.
In the last couple of years within Dunbar and East Linton Ward alone Reporters have given way to plans for the Viridor Incinerator, the out of town Garden Centre (whose effect on the town centre traders remains unknown) and now to two controversial wind turbines at Woodhall and Ferneylea. The Ferneylea application saw a vast turnout at the meeting of concerned residents.
The turbine decisions are concerning as they seem to ignore the Landscape Capacity Study for the Lammermuirs which had been commissioned by East Lothian Council as planning committee councillors felt they needed more guidance in making decisions on where turbines might be built without detriment to the valuable landscape and genius loci (spirit of place) of the area. These two decisions were made by the
committee after the Capacity Study was published.
I know the two landscape architects who drew up the Capacity Study, Alison Grant and Carol Anderson, as they used to work for my husband at the Forestry Commission. The study was many months in its development and was seen as a useful tool for making future decisions on turbines – where they might and where they definitely should not be sited. Thus it is concerning if Reporters choose to overturn decisions that used the new guidance – a worrying precedent for the manner in which future applications and appeals might be handled.
The Reporters are planners who do not have to live alongside the outcome of their decisions for years to come – unlike the residents of the communities affected. One wonders how they are chosen for each appeal and also if locally made democratic decisions and the views of local people are being similarly trodden on in other parts of Scotland.
It seems time for a review of the system.
Birthday donations thanks
SIR,- May I through your paper, thank everyone who gave so generously on the occasion of Tommy Thompson’s 90th birthday and Barbara Geddes’ 70th birthday. The amount of donations received for the the Blind and RNLI amounted to £486. A special thank you goes to Helen and James for everything. Thanks again everyone.
25 Swan Court,
Coldstream Pipe Band relay march success
SIR, - Coldstream Pipe Band received a warm welcome all over the town on Saturday. They played in relays covering most of Coldstream in 3.5 hours.
At an approximate count (still sponsor sheets to come in) we raised over £1200. This will allow us to replace about eight jackets. So a very big thankyou to all those who contributed and a big thank you to Lauren at the Castle Hotel for providing much needed refreshments at the end.
Coldstream Pipe Band.
Fun day for Katie-Lou
SIR, - I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped to make the Emergency Services Fun Day for Katie-Lou a huge success.
To all those who donated money, raffle prizes and meals for two a massive thank you.
To everybody who came on the day and helped to raise over £5000, a heartfelt thank you. Also to everyone who sponsored the coastguard and RNLI rafts and to all the emergency services who took part to make it a great day, many thanks.
Further information can be found at www.careforkatielou.co.uk.
Coffee morning thanks
SIR,- We had a charity coffee morning for the Kilimanjaro 2013 trek on Saturday, October 13.
The trek is to raise money for children and young people cancer.
I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who attended the ‘It’s good 2 give’ morning in Berwick Guild Hall.
Due to the good attendance we raised £465.
Appeal for RBLS members at Duns
SIR, - Hardly a day goes by without news on the radio and TV of our servicemen and women being injured in Afghanistan.
They are returning to the UK with injuries that might well have killed them 50 years ago, and face a future that is far different from what they would have planned or wished.
They need and deserve our help, and that is the reason for the existance of the Royal British Legion Scotland.
That is why I am appealing to the people of Duns to join the Duns Branch of RBLS, in spite of the fact that the club has closed its doors.
The Branch has always been the main part of the Legion, and should continue to remain so. But it cannot do so without the support of its members. I urge all current members and any other interested parties to join after November 1 at the RBLS premises on Langtongate, where either Tommy Dunse or I will accept joining fees. The motto of the RBLS is “Service Before Self” - let us bear this in mind, and do our utmost to help.
Duns Branch Chairman.
SIR, - Many thanks to all who attended the Soup and Pudding Lunch on Saturday, October 27, making it a great success and enjoyable occasion. For everyone who supported by helping, attending or donating - a big thank you! The sum of £439.60 was raised, a tremendous effort by all concerned.
Duns Parish Church Guild.
Party Political Broadcast?
SIR, - There now follows a Party Political Broadcast on behalf of the Scottish National Party - or so it would seem whenever we read Richard Walthew’s missives in the letter columns of your newspaper.
In his letter (October 25) he writes about the occasional complaint made by some of your correspondents over the perceived lack of interest in east Berwickshire by Scottish Borders Council.
He then goes on to say that some of these people probably vote for Westminster candidates. I am not sure what that has got to do with it.
I am sure these same people vote for councillors to represent them at local level and also for members of the Scottish Parliament at another level.
In the first place most complainants would take their concerns directly to the council. They may then involve their representatives in the Scottish Parliament and then possibly their Westminster representative.
Mr Walthew also mentions that the nearer government is to the people the greater the democracy but there does not seem much evidence of this when you have the Scottish Government wagging a finger at Scottish Borders Council and telling them that they are being naughty boys for having opinions about wind farm applications which differ from its own.
I have no doubt that there are some things which are probably best devolved to Scotland but equally I am convinced that there are many things we can do better as part of a United Kingdom. Defence is one such thing.
It is a little farcical for the Nationalists to have now agreed that an independent Scotland should seek to shelter under the NATO umbrella so long as that organisation accepts that Scotland can rid itself of nuclear weapons. So boys we’ll look to you for protection from your nuclear deterrent but we don’t want any of your nasty weapons here.
This is now beginning to sound like a Party Political Broadcast by the United Kingdom Party so I had better stop. Would Mr. Walthew please stop also?