Readers’ letters

Find out what our readers think of the stories making the Gazette headlines.

STAR hits back

Dear Ed, I feel obliged to reply on behalf of Smyllum Tenants and Residents to the letter in the Gazette (Aug 22) entitled “Condemn Adults”.

In this letter the author explains she is a single mum and not from this area which is more than evident by the views she has expressed.

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To rubbish STAR by stating we are struggling to achieve our goals and that members view others with “huge disdain” is quite frankly ludicrous.

This lady is unknown to the members of STAR and has never made any attempt to join our open meetings and had she done so she would be made well aware STAR has no judicial powers to stop drug/alcohol misuse or any other anti social behaviours.

Her perceived view that STAR has lack of support to “normal” residents is quite insulting. Members of STAR work on a voluntary basis, giving up much of their free time representing all who live within Smyllum in an attempt to make it a better place.

It is also absurd to suggest that our meeting place is unsafe and I don’t think that the police, community wardens and elected councillors who frequently attend would agree.

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This lady is correct in her observations of the consumption of alcohol in public places when the sun is shining. She does go on to add that this occurs every sunny day but I am sure readers would agree this is a fairly infrequent event.

She is also correct that these events go on too long and for the most part are undetected by the police. However, to suggest that 30 to 50 adults are the main culprits in this over indulgence is clearly not the case.

The author of the letter also made reference to the children and teenagers who blight our doorsteps but is she aware that quite a high percentage of individuals who wreak havoc within Smyllum don’t even reside here?

To some, Smyllum is a playground, where they can play away from home having no respect for others and probably won’t get caught.

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So single mum who is not from this area, may I respectfully suggest that the next time your craft should land in Smyllum, and should it land on the first Thursday of the month, please feel free to attend our STAR meeting where you will, contrary to belief, be made most welcome.

Failing this do us all a favour and beam up the 30 to 50 adults along with all the feral children and teenagers and take them all to a better place. And please don’t forget the misbehaved dogs. – Yours etc.,



Smyllum Tenants and Residents.

History’s woolly

Dear Ed, – I was at the Scottish Parliament on Friday, August 24, to hear two discussions – one about John Balliol and the other about William Wallace’s role in Europe.

The discussion about William Wallace was of particular interest as Lanark was frequently mentioned.

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What is often forgotten is that Lanark was one of the most important towns in Southern Scotland during the Middle Ages, becoming in the late fourteenth century one of the council of Four Burghs. In this role Lanark kept the Standard Weights for the whole of Scotland till 1707.

Lanark was not chosen arbitrarily for being the starting off point for Wallace’s uprising. Lanark was an international trading town in 1297. Wool was the mainstay of Lanark’s economy and widely traded.

Lanark and District Archaeological Society over the past 35 years has found pottery imported from England, France, Germany and Flanders as well as Flemish and English coins. Much of the high quality wool came from the monastic estates of the abbey of Kelso and its daughter home the Prior of Lesmahagow.

On May 3, 1297 Wallace started the revolt against English rule in Lanark over the imposition of a wool tax called the Prest. This tax was levied in all the areas under English domination to pay for Edward I’s war in Flanders against France. Needless to say it was greeted with little enthusiasm by the farming community and Scottish merchants.

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Therefore, it was no surprise that Lanark was selected to be the centre for the uprising.

This is the real story of the Scottish Spring of 1297, unfortunately somewhat removed from the nice romantic story of Marion Braidfute and William Wallace.

Finally, I would recommend a visit to the Scottish Parliament to see the letter to Lubeck about Scotland being ready to trade with Europe and Wallace’s pass from Philip IV of France to see the Pope. – Yours etc.,



Third time lucky

Dear Ed, – It is nice to see that Lanark is trying to revive its business group.

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I agree with Alistair Brooks that the town needs a unified voice; an organisation to promote town and trade.

The former business group did a lot to promote Lanark, establishing both the town’s Christmas Market and Scotland’s Festival of History (formerly Lanark Mediaeval Fair). These events annually attracted thousands of visitors and, according to independent studies for the local authority, brought much needed hundreds of thousands of pounds to the local economy.

When Lanark Business Group folded no-one showed any interest in continuing them so they ultimately passed to other “ownership”, and Scotland’s Festival of History has now moved to Chatelherault.

However, I have to take issue with one inaccuracy. According to Mr Brooks “The last business group broke up with a lot of bickering”. That is untrue as anyone actively involved with the group towards the end will tell you. Mr Brooks had let his membership lapse and so was not involved in the final year.

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The business group folded because of the apathy of local businesses – with no-one bothering to turn up to the last few meetings except four business people who had been left to run it for a year.

When they stood down literally no-one else within the business community showed an interest in taking over the reins – so the group folded.

Lanark Business Group was a re-incarnation of Lanark Merchants, a group which had earlier gone the same way, again when no-one showed any interest in running it.

Hopefully this time it will be third time lucky and Mr Brooks will be able to set up, and run, a successful local organisation. – Yours etc.,


Former vice chairman,

Lanark Business Group.

Park is not a joy

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Dear Ed, – Having had a day out with my granddaughter recently at Biggar Park, I felt I must put forth my experience.

Gone is the lovely park I remember – in its place is a dirty mess! Stagnant water, overgrown bankings, over-flowing litter bins and swan dirt covering the footpath.

As for the caravan park, time warp springs to mind! Most of the caravans are absolutely filthy with dirty awnings and overgrown grass and weeds.

They look like they were abandoned years ago!

On the plus side, some owners obviously do take pride in their caravans and have clean, tidy sites, a joy to behold. Sadly these are in the minority.

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We decided to have lunch in the cafe but it seemed everything was a bother for the staff, so we got an ice-cream and ate it outside instead.

Surely it would be in everyone’s interest to get this area cleaned up. – Yours etc.,


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