Readers' letters

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

TRUE SENSE OF COMMUNITY

Dear Ed, — May I, on behalf of a very significant number of residents, thank all of the protesters for their tremendous effort of opposition to the Mainshill opencast site over the last seven months, which included some of the worst winter weather in a century.

From the outset, the scale of the fight to prevent the inevitable pollution associated with this operation was clear when, on a political level, only our current MP was prepared to provide token support in his stated objection to the plans.

All other politicians remained at arms' length, with the exceptions of one local politician and one former local politician.

Despite the concerns expressed by vast numbers of residents for the health and wellbeing of their families, especially those with young children, these concerns remain ignored.

The distribution of the Coal Health Study to residents, politicians, medical professions and landowners, highlighting the comparative unusually high incidence of disease and calling for thorough

independent investigations, although unchallenged, has been similarly ignored.

Instead both the coal company and the landowners have preferred to fulfil their pursuit of profit, as is the nature and priority with all private companies.

No one who lives in the Douglas Valley should be in any doubt that actions speak louder than words. Shareholder interests will always be paramount to both of these companies; you and your family will always be a secondary consideration.

The undue haste to exploit this particular site concurrently with four other operational coal sites within the area may best be explained by the increase in coal prices from $30/tonne in January 2000 to $219/tonne in July 2008 representing an asset value for Mainshill of $372.3 million the profits of which will be shared by the coal company and the landowner.

No doubt the request made by the local GP that Scottish Coal pay for Douglas cottage hospital to be fitted with double glazing to prevent dust ingress will be met but this will not protect patients who may wish to enjoy some time in the grounds of the hospital which until now have provided a fillip to many long term patients with its beautiful scenic setting.

Perhaps in time, when elections are due and the NHS once again becomes the priority for all would-be members of both parliaments, the focus will return to the health of the potential voters; promises will be made that no stone will be left unturned to discover the cause of the 60 per cent increase in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease incidence, 44 per cent increase in asthma and 250 per cent increase in cancer rates in the Douglasdale Practice Area since 2005.

In an age when communities are becoming increasingly fractured and

disparate and ''community'' needs are hijacked for the benefit of others, there are lessons to be learnt from Mainshill, none more so than the true community demonstrated by residents and protesters alike in common cause against this particular proposal and the detrimental effects it will bring to Douglas cottage hospital.

The commitment and belief in their cause and the respect for others shown by the protesters, who are in the main from our younger generation, was at times humbling and many local myths were

dispelled by the ability to endure extreme conditions, even drawing grudging admiration from opponents.

The time has surely come when decisions such as Mainshill should face more intense public scrutiny and such decisions should be made in the interest of society as a whole and not for the benefit of the

privileged few assisted by their sycophantic hangers-on as they scramble for the crumbs falling from the rich man's table. — Yours etc.,

ADAM LAWSON,

Ayr Road,

Douglas.

I'M ALREADY HERE!

Dear Ed, — I would like to comment on an article printed on the front page of the Carluke Gazette (Thursday, February 22) titled 'High Street depressing'.

Mr Mackie said: ''The introduction of a freezer shop or other specialist shop, like an ironmonger, dressmaker or music shop, would be a really good thing for Carluke town centre''.

I understand the article is focused on the High Street but the above quote mentions Carluke town centre which I believe my dressmaker's business, ''Candyfloss'' is very much a part of.

I am a trained dressmaker who has run her business in Carluke for over 20 years, attracting customers from all over central Scotland and further afield.

I agree with much that has been said in the article and believe more could be done to improve the centre of Carluke but as one of the businesses that was suggested we needed in Carluke, I was compelled to write this letter and believe it to be an oversight in the article. —

Yours etc.,

AUDREY LOGAN,

Candyfloss Dressmaker,

Kirkton Chambers,

Kirkton Street,

Carluke.

ADDING UP TO RISK

Dear Ed, — The proposed development of Rowhead Quarry site in Biggar again brings into question the planning policy of South Lanarkshire Council.

It is totally unbelievable the council has given permission considering the access via the Park, while the entrance/exit to Carnwath Road is a distinct hazard.

And with a potential 288 movements per day (36 houses x 2 cars x 4 journeys) there is the probability of a fatality either in the Park or at the entrance.

The disturbing point of this development being granted is that the chair of the Clydesdale committee I believe is a Biggar resident so must be aware of the potential for a serious accident, but still it received approval — WHY?

Here we have Burnbraes Park, which has now come back to life courtesy of the hard work put in by the Friends, being put at risk because of the additional traffic.

Yet the executive director of enterprise resources decides the developer does not require open space as they have the Park on their doorstep.

Surely then there must be a planning gain which should be spent on additional equipment? Or has that gone the same way as common sense in this decision?

It would be interesting to know how this application received approval — over to you Councillor Stewart. — Yours etc.,

TOM MITCHELL,

Hillview Street,

Symington.