Letters to the editor

TOWN CENTRES

We are turning visitors away

As a long time resident in the Scottish Borders Council Area I am more and more disgruntled at the shabby unkempt appearance of the approaches to many of the border towns.

The impression visitors must take away from here must be extremely poor.

In an area of outstanding natural beauty, it’s a shame the road surfaces and general unkempt verge edges, roundabouts and islands of long grass and weedy appearance spoil the overall joy of the place.

As a frequent traveller on the A7 between Selkirk, Galashiels and Melrose the roadside grass has hardly been cut, the Tweedbank roundabout and the Melrose BGH roundabout are so unkempt and shabby it’s sad to see.

The Queen is coming and the council are desperate to market this area as a tourist hotspot. I’m sorry but tourists are going to take away a poor impression of the Borders.

My issue doesn’t end with grass cutting; roadside trees and bushes are invading the roads now to such an extent that parts of the carriageways are overgrown by as much as a metre, (take a look at the bottom of the A707 at Linglie road as a prime example). With huge lorries on small roads, large branches are now being snapped, causing motorists to swerve to avoid them. This is caused by lack of maintenance.

I’m sick of seeing the decline in maintenance here and lowering of standards. Whilst I expect a reply to cover lack of funding from central government, or “we have to consider wildlife”, or cutbacks in staff, I’m old enough and wise enough to have thought of these things myself.

I’m asking the council for a copy of the maintenance schedule for the A7 and the A707 as a courtesy.

I want to see an improvement here, not apathy and “sorry that’s just the way it is”.

I hope the Queen doesn’t need to leave Tweedbank Rail Station because it’s pretty shabby on our roads.

Robert Wood

Selkirk

RAILWAY

Gaelicshiels next stop?

While in the vicinity of Tweedbank I decided to have a look at the new station. I was bemused to see that the sign for the station was in two languages – one of which I presumed was Gaelic. With around 1% of the Scottish population able to speak the language (most of whom live in the Outer Hebrides) I find this artificial Scottishness ludicrous. This is the Borders, not the Outer Hebrides. I hope that this is not to be a feature of all the station names heading to Edinburgh.

Joy D F Williamson

Pinnaclehill Park, Kelso

Multitude of ticket options

Your article last week was very informative but did not mention the ‘Plus Bus’ facility.

The train conductor can issue an Edinburgh all day ‘Plus Bus’ for £3, or £2 for senior railcard holders. This allows folk to travel on all different operators within the area from South Queensferry to Seaton Sands and is useful if travelling to the Western General Hospital or Edinburgh Zoo.

Likewise the on-train conductor can issue a multitude of tickets for stations beyond Waverley, remembering that a split ticket is cheaper if only the Border journey is at a peak time.

Colin C Maclean

Edinburgh

BUS SERVICE

Council do not care enough

I am a fit and active lady in my seventies with many friends in the eastern side of the Scottish Borders. I am resident in Hawick, having lived in Jedburgh most of my working life.

It is all very well advising people that they can travel from Jedburgh or Kelso to Galashiels and then onward to Hawick. Yes, that is possible, if investigation and planning had gone into whether bus journeys ran in conjunction with other routes.

I attended an important dinner in Jedburgh recently and to my horror I found that the last bus from Jedburgh to Hawick left at 5.45pm. I decided I would then have to take the Perryman’s 68 route to Galashiels and then the X95 to Hawick. So far so good I thought – but then discovered that there was no connection to Hawick until 10.30pm. I would have been stranded there in a deserted interchange for 1 hour and 45 minutes, with the exception of an attendant who was signing off at 10pm.

An employee of Born in the Borders (known to me) who was working late getting the cafeteria ready for the opening, and very kindly offered to take me home to Hawick (even though he lives in Ancrum). I arrived in Hawick at 9.20pm, instead of having to wait alone at the interchange and wait for the X95, and not arriving in Hawick until 11.15pm.

I think it is utterly disgusting that Scottish Borders Council is alienating areas of the Borders, instead of working for the benefit everyone in the Borders. It appears to me that they do not care about the hardship, distress and worry that this is causing so many people who do not have any other way to get about the Borders to enable them to not only visit friends and family, but also go for medical and dental appointments and to get to work.

As an afterthought, why do we need the X95 service to run every 30 minutes between Hawick and Edinburgh, and the even more ridiculous X62 Galashiels to Edinburgh via Peebles, while it appears the Council think that three journeys a day between Kelso and Hawick is adequate?

To Scottish Borders Council, I say shame on you, where is your conscience?

Helen McInroy

Ramsay Road, Hawick

TV

We can’t afford a Scottish Beeb

Nicola Sturgeon demands a new BBC TV channel and a further radio station for Scotland.

That’s in addition to BBC Alba and BBC Radio Scotland plus extensive Scottish regional programmes on other BBC channels.

Ms Sturgeon doesn’t come up with any suggestions about how the cash-strapped BBC is supposed to pay for all this. Would a licence fee increase across the UK be fair? Or perhaps just for Scotland? Hardly an SNP vote winner so that’s unlikely.

Ex-First Minister Alex Salmond has spent the last year teaching the SNP faithful to revile the BBC and, we’re told, successfully encouraging them en masse not to pay their licence fee – so it doesn’t look like they’ll be keen to contribute.

More half-baked plans from the SNP.

Martin Redfern

Edinburgh

rnib

Collecting support

I write to you from RNIB Scotland, the charity which supports people with sight loss.

We have been selected by Tesco to raise awareness and funds in their stores throughout the UK during September and I write to ask if your readers can help us with this.

We are scheduled to be at Tesco in Galashiels on September 18 and would be grateful if anyone could join us for two hours that day to help collect donations from the store customers.

Our advisers provide emotional and practical support to people living with sight loss and we have innovative solutions to the everyday problems faced by blind or partially-sighted people. At the moment we can only reach one in three of those who need us.

By donating two hours of their time, your readers can help us reach people at the time they need us most. To join our list of store collectors in your area, please contact Emma Baldry on 0131 652 3169 or email emma.baldry@rnib.org.uk. All travelling expenses will be reimbursed.

Elma Magowan

(regional fundraising
manager)

IMMIGRATION

Heading heaidn dmlsa

Let me try and explain to Clark Cross (letters, August 27) the difference between a refugee and migrant. A refugee is someone fleeing for their life, much like my grandmother and her two sons who fled mainland Europe and were given sanctuary in the UK in 1938 and so avoided death in the gas chambers.

A migrant is someone who moves voluntarily from one country to another to better themselves. Perhaps that is what Mr Cross’s family did many years ago. Very few British people can claim truly British ancestry. The UK is a very polyglot nation. Perhaps Mr Cross has family or friends who have migrated to improve their lot. A lot of Scots have migrated over the years.

He also does not seem to know that thousands upon thousands of fleeing refugees are being accepted and settled in Jordan and Turkey which are both Muslim countries. He also ignores the fact that many of the refugees are in fact Christians fleeing their home lands because of persecution.

But perhaps even more important is the fact that we are all human beings, whether Christian, Jew, Moslem, Sikh, Buddhist or an adherent to any one of the other great religions in the world or none. We should look after each other.

That is why I would I would be very happy to see many more refugees allowed into the UK. Germany is taking in more than 800,000. The U.K. less than 300. Does that make one proud to be British? I think not.

Norman Latimer

Bonchester Bridge

THANK YOU

Charity run 
for Dot Haig

Once again for the 13th year we are overwhelmed with the support that this event receives. We were blessed with a good day on Sunday which saw around 300 bikes take part in this year’s run, taking us from Denholm, Jedburgh, Kelso, Coldstream, Gifford, Carfraemill, Stow, Lauder, St Boswells, Selkirk and Hawick. Street collections took place in Jedburgh and Hawick. After the run there was an auction and a raffle held in Denholm Green and the total raised came to £2,000. These funds will be split equally between the MacMillan Centre & The Margaret Kerr Unit.

A HUGE thank you to all who helped make this such a special day, I hope that Dot and Steve would be very proud. See you all next year.

Wendy Oliver & 
Margaret Hislop