Letters to the editor

From our edition of April 10, 2013

Move with the times

Sir, – I am writing to voice my opinion on the recent articles regarding new shops for Kilsyth.

Kilsyth Community Council need to understand that, yes, it would be ideal if Kilsyth shoppers did all of their shopping in the Main Street. However, in reality, the Community Council need to get it into their heads that the people of Kilsyth do shop outwith the town i.e. Tesco, Greggs, Iceland and Home Bargains. We have to move with the times with regard to bringing new shops, jobs and new customers into the town. With regards to the Main Street, yes, years ago it was a pleasure to shop there, but, it’s not a place you would want to shop in now unless you had no other option to do so, as they have very few good shops left.

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We should look at towns who have moved with the times i.e. Bonnybridge. They have recently added a few new shops outwith their Main Street. They now have a Greggs and a Tesco Express which, I am sure have brought more custom to the town. – Yours etc.,


via e-mail

School finance explained

Sir, – I refer to the letter entitled “Rethink Needed”, written by Councillor Tom Johnston.

It is apparent from the contents of the letter that Tom is clearly incapable of understanding decisions which are made at the various committees of the council. As a result of the Budget agreed by North Lanarkshire Council on February 14, specific authorisation was given to source an additional £100 million through Prudential Borrowing for new school build, thus creating a dedicated budget of £173 million for upgrading schools. This was subsequently reported at various committees, including Learning and Leisure, Policy and Resources, and Schools and Centres 21, at all of which there is SNP representation. At these committees, it was explicitly stated that the priorities for new school build, over the next three years, are the construction of two new schools in Cumbernauld and one in Wishaw. As such, there is more than sufficient finance to develop the new build at Greenfaulds High School, with part contribution from Scottish Futures Trust, and a new school on the site of the existing Cumbernauld High funded exclusively from the monies sourced by the Council.

This has been highlighted, not only at various council meetings but also at meetings with the respective parent councils.

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Tom’s comment: “We still await even a provisional mention of cash for the new school”, is a clear indication that Tom is either incapable of assimilating basic information, no matter how often it is repeated, or is merely indulging in petty political point scoring.

Thus, for the avoidance of any doubt, can I advise all of your readers that all of the monies required for two replacement schools in Cumbernauld have been fully secured and that North Lanarkshire Council has a track record of building new schools to the highest specification, with excellent learning, teaching and leisure facilities. This can be evidenced by visiting any of the new builds which have recently been opened at Calderhead in Shotts, Caldervale in Airdrie and St Ambrose in Coatbridge.

As a ccouncil, we are determined to build a brand new school on the site of the existing Cumbernauld High; the money, despite what Tom claims, is in place. The only potential barrier is the unwarranted, unnecessary and overtly politicised intervention by Mike Russell, Cabinet Secretary, aided and abetted by the constituency MSP, Jamie Hepburn. – Yours etc.,


Convener of Learning and
Leisure Services

More shoppers needed

Sir, – With regard to your front page article on April 3, concerning the possibility of a new shop being built beside Lidl, I am the person who is in support of this new build on the North Lanarkshire Council website whose comment was quoted by yourselves. I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before the Community Council and perhaps even our local councillors decide to object to any kind of progress within Kilsyth.

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This town desperately needs people coming here to shop rather than travel to Cumbernauld or Bishopbriggs. The standard war cry is anyone wants to start a business in Kilsyth then it has to be in the Main Street. The Main Street is simply not up to the standards people expect for shopping. The street is often dirty with dog dirt and rubbish, smells emit from drains and the lighting is pretty poor. Access for loading may be an issue too. There is a very poor choice of shops with ill-matched signage and access is a real issue. Spending a fortune on making the Main Street pedestrian only was just a nail in the coffin. Prospective shop owners only have to take a look at the Main Street on a winter’s day with they would run a mile. Open the Main Street up to cars, brighten the place up with proper lighting, have shop fronts that complement one another and the street and keep it clean and tidy. Rather than object to new builds, work with them - ask them to promote the area and what it has to offer.

Kilsyth is in dire need of shops that offer variety in goods, choice and price that are easily accessible. Bring people into the town and then tell them what else is here rather than prevent any reason for them to come here in the first place. – Yours etc.,


via e-mail

Don’t stay in the past

Sir, – I love my town of Kilsyth and my family have lived here for generations, but it is obvious that our town centre is dying a bit more each day. We need to bring some life into the retail market in order to attract people from surrounding areas of Banton, Queenzieburn, Croy and Twechar.

Objections to developments at the Police Station and Lidl will do nothing to inject new life into the Main Street.

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There are family businesses with charm and character on the Main Street and these businesses could benefit from new customers who might well recognise the value of existing shops as well as Home Bargains, Tesco and Greggs.

We need to take the risk. We cannot stay in the past! – Yours etc.,


67 Castlehill View


Back the shops

Sir, – I feel the Community Council is a very small narrow minded part of the Kilsyth Community. They seem to think blocking all shops not in the Main Street will encourage retailers to move there, but they are so wrong.

The type of retailers the residents want ie Tesco, Iceland want easier access to car parks, bigger more modern shops, which the police station site would have brought. This would not have killed the Main Street but rather given the people of Kilsyth a choice. Something the community council wish to deny us by rejecting these opportunities. They will eventually kill the Main Street themselves as more and more people leave the town to do their shopping as they have no choice here.

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They are such hypocrites as they backed the Lidl stores application so they would get a notice board which they never use. This shop more than anything has split the Main Street yet was good for the residents which is exactly what Home Bargains will do as well.

How can they have supported Lidl but refuse everything else? They are not elected and I think their usefulness is long past. These decisions should be taken by councillors that are answerable to their constituents and we should not listen or cater to the views of this dinosaur which in future should be ignored as it has outlived its usefulness which has been proven by how out of touch their opinions are compared to the population at large. – Yours etc.,


Commitment needed, not just talk

Sir, – I feel I must respond to the comments by our local MP, Gregg McClymont, on issues pertaining to public sector workers in my capacity as Secretary of the Cumbernauld & Kilsyth Trades Council. It is welcome that Gregg offers his support for the 1,200 PCS members in the tax office in their current dispute on pay, pensions, privatisation, working terms and conditions etc. My comments to Gregg should be viewed in the fraternal manner in which we have discussed these and other issues in the past. Firstly on pensions it is necessary to state that PCS members rejected the Labour Party proposals. Yes there was discussion but it is fair to say PCS would not accept the detrimental changes to members pensions as set out by Labour.

On jobs again PCS welcome Greggs concerns but who wouldn’t in view of the current economic position. Everyone says they are in favour of creating jobs but it is as much about what types of jobs, rates of pay, working conditions etc., that matters. Labour presents itself as an alternative however during the 2010 election Alastair Darling the chancellor of exchequer at the time stated that if elected they would implement cuts worse than Thatcher. Indeed it was Gordon Brown in 2004 in the House of Commons who announced the Labour Governments intention to slash 100,000 civil service jobs to the sight of Labour MP`s waving order papers and gleefully rejoicing because the Tories were apparently going to announce job cuts of ‘only’ 70,000. Yes it is good to talk and the trade union movement will discuss with elected representatives in Westminster, Holyrood and at council level wherever it is necessary to defend jobs and services. However it is wrong for Gregg and the Labour Party to present itself as being something different whilst its official policy is not to reverse any of the Tory cuts if elected and also whilst implementing those very cuts at present through councils across the land. PCS has an alternative strategy based on collecting the billions of pounds that go uncollected and evaded; of boosting employment in HMRC and the other government departments; of retaining enquiry centres and the skilled services of a workforce which serve and assist taxpayers and the public alike.

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What is required from Gregg and other elected politicians is not just to say that they are willing to talk on issues. What is required today is a commitment from politicians to give a lead. To say that they do not accept the job cuts and destruction of our local services, welfare state etc but provide the confidence for workers and ordinary people to stand up and fight. That may be a step too far for Gregg and the Labour Party, but it is a debate that is required. – Yours etc.,


Cumbernauld & Kilsyth Trades Council Secretary

Cumbernauld & Kilsyth Defend Public Sector Jobs & Services Campaign

Singing the Blues

Sir, – Thanks for the tickets to the Blues Brother concert in the Kings Theatre last night. Myself and my husband went to the opening night.

Jake and Elwood and The Bluettes (three girl backing group) where a great mixture of vocal talent, great harmonies and music you couldn’t help but sing and dance along.

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Jake’s performance of “Hey Bartender” and “A Little Help from my Friends”, Elwood’s performance of “Rawhide” “Stand By Your Man” and “Under the Boardwalk” brought smiles to the varied age audience, some even dressed in “Blues Brother Hats”. The Bluettes gave some excellent dance routines and their “Respect” had every lady on their feet. The six piece band helped the show along and everyone was on their feet for Gimme Some Loving, Soul Man and Everybody Needs Somebody – a great night to dance and sing away the winter “Blues”.

Thanks for the opportunity to enter the competition. – Yours etc.,


135 Maclehose Road



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