Letters

Duns ducks out for a waddle in the sun at Duns Estate.
Duns ducks out for a waddle in the sun at Duns Estate.

Part of a bigger agenda?

SIR, - I was absolutely dismayed to discover that an application for 2 x 110m wind turbines has been approved at Neuk Farm, Cockburnspath.

These enormous, industrial turbines are located less than a mile outside the conservation village of Cockburnpath (population of around 450) and will be highly visible from many parts of the village and the surrounding area. They will have a massive impact on the village, which is on the route of the Southern Upland Way and relies heavily on the tourist industry.

This is the second application made by this local farmer for turbines. The first one was refused. Had these turbines been of a size to service the farm I doubt anyone would have objected. However, at 110m these turbines are clearly going to net the farmer a vast personal income over the next 25 years.

The Berwickshire News reported on Febuary 18 that the farmer, Mr Findlay, has offered the community £1.25 million over 25 years, however, I doubt this will compensate for the loss of amenity the village and surroundings will experience, on a daily basis during this period, or compensate for the drop in property prices people will experience as a result of this development.

I understand this application was approved by the local review body. This review body was made up of five councillors, only one of whom is actually local, namely Jim Fullerton Con, of East Berwickshire, who voted against the proposal.

What is more concerning is, despite residing 40 miles plus from the site, these councillors declined to undertake a site visit to familiarise themselves with the area, prior to reaching their decision. It is therefore questionable how they could possibly have reached a competent decision without this information.

This is compounded by the fact that this application was also recommended for refusal by an experienced planning officer, in accordance with the Consolidated Local Plan. The main reasons given by the officer, for recommending refusal, were landscape and visual impacts, and impact on residential amenity. Why then did these councillors, who receive limited training in planning issues, and who did not competently undertake their review body duties, think they were qualified to go against the planning officers recommendations?

Perhaps it is part of a bigger agenda?

ALISON MACDONALD,

Oldhamstocks.

Vandalism of our countryside

SIR, - Last week’s planning decision by the Local Review Board to approve two huge wind turbines at Neuk Farm, right on top of the hill above Cockburnspath, has left me incredulous - and despairing of the calibre of those entrusted to make supposedly informed decisions on complex matters.

Have our councillors learned nothing from what has happened in the Lammermuir Hills?

The Neuk Farm decision ignores Scottish Borders Council’s local development plan, and it makes a complete mockery of the special landscape area status, painstakingly drawn up to ensure a balance of protection and appropriate development in the countryside.

Worse, these monstrous machines - at more than twice the height of most pylons - will pave the way for many more applications, and will come to be seen as the first boils in a plague of wind turbine developments down our beautiful Berwickshire coastline.

I doubt many folk would have minded a couple of farm-scale turbines set down off the top of the hill to help the applicant reduce his electricity bill.; as a hill farmer’s daughter, I have at least some understanding of just how hard hit the farming community has been in recent decades.

But that is no excuse for one generation - and just one sector of the rural community - to vandalise our cherished countryside for their own ends.

M. HUGHES,

Duns.

Wind turbines and tourism

SIR, - In the light of your front-page article (Berwickshire News, February 28) “Borders tourism potential should be highlighted at national level” I feel that an issue that affects tourism in the Borders area – the proliferation of wind turbines - should be addressed.

Wind farm developers often claim that wind farms have positive effects on tourism. Some cite Whitelee Wind Farm near Glasgow as becoming a member of the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions. The wind farm is NOT a member of the association but the nearby visitor centre is. The visitor centre applied (and presumable paid) to become a member.

As far as I am aware, no wind farm development in the Borders has an associated visitor centre. Even if there were to be a visitor centre it should be borne in mind that not all visitor centres are successful nor have they a long future.

The Gaia Centre at Delabole, Cornwall went bankrupt, both the Swaffham Eco-Centre and The Centre for Alternative Technology have encountered serious financial troubles and Cold Northcott visitor centre was forced to close.

Most of the wind farms claimed to be tourist attractions are in fact visitor centres, all in areas where tourists are seeking indoor occupation in bad weather. This is very true of Whitelee which is, according to their website “only 20 minutes from Central Glasgow”.

The Wales Tourist Board summed-this up perfectly “… there will only be a need for a very small number of wind farm visitor centres before this also reaches saturation point. The WTB believe that the case for wind farms as tourist attractions in their own right only has very limited appeal.”

When considering approving planning for large-scale wind farms perhaps the planners should consider the effects on tourism and the local economy. These developments often sound too good to be true – and if something sounds too good to be true it often costs a great deal more than envisaged.

HELEN M. PEARSON,

Drey Towers,

Hume.

Whitsome Ark is a welcoming venue

SIR, - 94 people filled Whitsome Village hall recently and enjoyed a quiz night full of fun and laughter, led by the irrepressible Peter Lerpiniere, aka Freddy Mercury!

Before we got down to the business of wracking our brains we had a tasty fish supper and were sustained throughout the evening with drinks from the bar. The event was run by the Hall Committee but the lead organiser was Danny Fleming who did a great job even though being under the weather.

Known locally as The Ark (because it floated us out of the doldrums) Whitsome Hall is fast gaining a reputation as a warm, welcoming and modern venue for all sorts of events. It has hosted birthday, christening and wedding parties, theatrical and music groups, regular sessions of ballet and tap dancing, Realistic Pilates, The Rainbow Ark Parents and Toddlers, photo, local history, book, short mat bowling and art clubs.

Whitsome welcomes anyone who wishes to join the above activities, from within the parish or not, and encourage people to contact our booking secretary on 07539 461448 or at secretary@whitsomeark.org.uk about any existing groups or if they wish to start a new one.

RICHARD WALTHEW,

Whitsome Hall Management Committee.

Help sought on history of Land Rover

SIR, - I’m looking for any information to help me trace the history of a vehicle I have recently aquired.

The vehicle in question is a Land Rover Series 1 86” in Bronze Green, manufactured in 1954. The vehicle carries the registration number of BSH 12, and was delivered from the Land Rover factory to Rossleigh Ltd in Edinburgh in 1954 and then registered in Berwickshire the same year. From here the trail thins out. I am thinking the Land Rover may have had a link with Aitchison and Sons Garage, Murray Street, Duns, which appears as a Land Rover dealer in the 1950’s and 60’s. The where abouts of the Land Rover in the next years is what I hope to discover.

Does anyone remember the vehicle or people who may have had a link to it or to Land Rover dealers in Duns around this time?

I know it is a long time scale but any information or ideas that may help me would be greatly appreciated. I would like anyone with any information to contact me on 07720458910 or email rumandreggae@btinternet.com
RUSSELL EMMERSON.

Spending to save

SIR, - A ‘Spending to Save’ approach by the Council is to be applauded but spending £5m on street lighting is perhaps the wrong target in these difficult times. Would £5m not be better spent in searching for an effective way of repairing potholes on our roads?

JOHN BARBOUR-SMITH,

Allanbank House,

Duns.

Peru Group grateful

SIR, - The Eyemouth High School Peru 2013 group would like to extend their gratitude to all those who supported their fundraising by attending the coffee morning at the Masons’ Hall, Eyemouth on Saturday, February 23. The event was a great success, raising £287.15. The next fundraiser is a Race Night on Friday, March 8, at the Tavern in Eyemouth.

EYEMOUTH HGIH SCHOOL PERI 2013

King Richard’s remains

SIR, - Concerning the recent furrore over the disposal of the remains of King Richard III, the historians seem to have either forgotten or ignored that, as Duke Of Gloucester, the future King Richard recaptured Berwick-upon-Tweed, routing the Scots in the process. Berwick has remained in English hands ever since. Would it not therefore be appropriate for King Richard’s remains to be entombed in Berwick?

C.W. ROSS,

Hoprig Park,

Cockburnspath.

Macmillan Cancer Support quiz night

SIR, - The above Committee would like to take this opportunity the thank the following people and various companies J.D. Clark and Allan, Pearsons of Duns, Olivers Transport, Euorpa Shipping Services, Hugo’s and Number 18 for helping to raise over £330 at our annual Quiz Night.

This year the quiz was held in the White Swan Hotel who very kindly donated the use of the venue and made an excellent supper (ingredients donated by Redpath Tyres and Border Baguettes). Jane Anderson, family and friends prepared yet another exceptional quiz. Quizmaster for the evening was Susan Swan who was as excellent as ever.

The overall winners were Tracy Knox and Co, second were Donald Stokes and Co and the booby prize (crossword book to help them improve for next year) went to Ian Watson and Co.

Without the donations from local business we would not have raised as much as we did. All monies raised in the Borders are utilsed for various functions at the Borders General Hospital.

JOYCE BLAIKIE,

Chairperson,

Macmillan Cancer Support.

Rotary Day

SIR, - May I through your paper thank the many kind and generous people who supported the Rotary Club of Eyemouth and District coffee morning on Saturday, February 9. We raised the sum of £340.93 which is being sent to Rotary’s own Charity Foundation.

The mission of The Rotary Foundation is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty. Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians around the world and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.

There was a super turnout and thank you to everyone who baked, gave raffle prizes and helped out on the day. The coffee morning was part of the world wide celebrations for Rotary Day on February 23.

It was nice to see so many people supporting the Rotary Club of Eyemouth and District.

JO PAWLEY,

Rotary Club of Eyemouth and District.

SOS Concert

SIR, - The members of the Burnmouth RNLI Branch would like to thank the Eyemouth Fishermen’s Choir and the Eyemouth Lifeboat Crew for once again providing us with a great evening at our SOS Concert. We would also like to thank all those who came along and supported us and to all who donated towards the raffle. It was a great night and the total raised was £398.75. Thank you one and all

MARGARET DRISCOLL,

Secretary.