Your picture of the week

Blue Tit on a branch
Blue Tit on a branch

This image of a Blue Tit on a branch was supplied by Borders photographer Curtis Welsh.

Please email photographs, with a brief caption, to southern-letters@jpimedia.co.uk

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

ACTING LIKE A FEUDAL LANDOWNER

Further to your article on Oxton residents’ objections to Scottish Borders Housing Association’s housing proposals (December 20), it should be noted that the original plans were for single-storey housing with a south-north aspect, but this somehow was changed into two-storey housing with an east-west aspect.

This means that the proposed houses, built on higher ground, would be towering over the bungalows in Justice Park and totally eliminate any privacy for the residents affected.

As well, the aspect chosen is not best suited to solar panels, which new-builds are expected to have. A southerly aspect, not a westerly one, gives maximum solar gain.

Building on the garage site is unacceptable to the residents because of the height and aspect which would result in serious privacy issues. It is unacceptable to garage tenants who will see the loss of their facility.

The revised plans reveal that the required housing mix was two three-bedroom houses, but the proposed housing mix is four three-bedroom houses. This indicates that SBHA intends to build more than required.

Another point is that of the Borders’ ageing population. Throughout the region multi-storey properties are being built everywhere, taking no cognisance of the mobility issues from which people suffer in later life, when climbing or descending stairs becomes difficult and even risky.

Demolishing garages to make way for houses seems to be the in-thing at SBHA.

In Melrose at St Dunstan’s Park, at Mossilee Road in Galashiels and now at Heriotfield, Oxton,

SBHA has stirred up a hornets’ nest of objections – yet seems prepared to ignore all residents’ concerns and press on with its plans like some feudal landowner.

William Loneskie

Oxton

A HUGE INFLUX OF UNSKILLED PEOPLE

When people are asked on TV by journalists why they voted to leave the European Union back in June 2016, they usually have many reasons.

Financial – giving hundreds of millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money to Brussels and having no say where and what it is spent on.

Democracy – the UK sends over a contingent of MEPs to a European Parliament where they are outvoted and more or less ignored. The UK has always been extremely under represented at Brussels.

I agree entirely with those people’s sentiments as I was an enthusiastic Leave voter myself.

I have spoken to fellow Leave voters and the vast majority of them voted to leave the EU (myself included) because of uncontrolled immigration.

Yes, dear readers, I have used the ‘I’ word. Now I can assure you that myself and these other people are not at all racist, small-minded or bigoted. Sadly, if you say you believe in controlled immigration you can run the risk of being branded a racist by certain sections of our society.

The UK, being a member of the EU, signed up to “freedom of movement”, meaning that if you are a citizen of a member state of the EU you can choose to live anywhere within the EU completely unhindered. Because of this we have seen a huge influx of unskilled people, from Eastern Europe in particular.

Some of these people do not have basic English or do not speak a word of English at all, they add pressure to our health service (increased waiting times to see a GP), local schools (increase in class sizes), social housing (longer waiting lists for social housing) and make it much harder for British people to get work (we have many, many hundreds of thousands of British people who are looking for and keen to gain employment). Many leading politicians and even members of the Cabinet at Westminster accept that having an open-door policy that accepts anyone from the EU is wrong.

I think immigration is a good thing, but it must be controlled. We cannot accept anyone just because they happen to be from an EU member state.

Leaving the EU will be good for the UK. We will have control of our borders which is the right of any sovereign nation.

Mark G. Kettrick

Galashiels

LANGHOLM’S WARTIME ROLE

We are revising Langholm’s Roll of Honour, which was published in 2005.

Langholm’s Roll of Honour profiles casualties and decoration recipients from Langholm in the First and Second World Wars. The book also details Langholm during the conflicts.

We would be delighted to hear from anyone with any further details about local service people, in either conflict, or information about Langholm in wartime. We would also like to hear from anyone who has any photos they would be happy to share in a revised edition.

If you may be able to assist, please get in touch via 07583 837788 or mccrackenlangholm@gmail.com

Alex and Timothy

McCracken

WORKPLACE BAKING BATTLES

Borders colleagues are wanted for a new workplace baking series.

Raise the Roof Productions is searching for teams of workmates to get involved in a new reality TV programme to be filmed and aired in 2019.

The series, with the working title ‘Flour Power’, will see colleagues pit their baking skills against one another to discover who can claim to be the Baking King or Queen of the office.

Teams of four people of all abilities are encouraged to sign up, with participants being filmed at home and in the office before a big bake sale decides the winner. One baker will walk away, having their cake and eating it, while the rest eat humble pie.

Cakes, pastries, breads; all bakes are encouraged, be they sweet or savoury.

Interested parties should contact bake@raisetheroofproductions.com for more information.

Michael Dart

(researcher)

Raise the Roof Productions

Pacific Quay

Glasgow

ANYONE FANCY BRANCHING OUT?

Have you some spare time to support the RAF Association’s Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders branch?

Have you an interest in getting involved in the running of the branch; and at the same time meet new people and learn new skills?

Have you experience that would help the branch in its specific objectives? – i.e. welfare, fund-raising, comradeship and charity trusteeship.

Even if you don’t currently have experience, support, including mentoring and training, will be provided. In addition, reasonable expenses are payable for authorised activities.

Currently, the branch committee consists of eight members (six male and two female) – this number is likely to reduce by the time of our AGM in February. As well as managing a branch of over 400 members, the committee are also deemed to be ‘charity trustees’.

Election to the branch committee is open to ordinary and associate members alike.

Most our business conducted online; however, face-to-face meetings are held quarterly (normally in Edinburgh), with further social events and optional fundraising events throughout the year.

The time commitment doesn’t have to be huge and you’d have the opportunity to make a real difference.

If you are interested or have any questions, please contact me.

Bob Bertram

(chairman; email

bertram.bob@gmail.com)

MONUMENTAL FUDGE IN POLAND

The 24th Climate Conference, COP24, in Poland ended earlier this month in what some would call a monumental fudge.

The deal agreed how to put the 2015 Paris agreement into action. So what have they been doing for the last three years?

However, the crucial point that the existing Paris commitments need to at least triple to cap the global warming increase below 2C was left out of the report and put off for future years. So much for urgency.

Turkey now wants to be counted as a developing nation rather than a developed one. The reason is that they want a slice of the $100bn a year climate fund exclusively for developing countries and financed by developed nations.

Developed countries have an open-ended commitment to pay a share of the $100bn every year from 2020. For how long – five years, 10 years, forever?

US president Donald Trump, on taking office, immediately stopped these payments, saying that the American people’s taxes would never be used.

China and India with 36% of global emissions? Oh, their emissions will increase until 2030.

Clark Cross

Linlithgow

LOOKING FOR AN INDYREF2 TRIGGER?

As the prospect of a second EU referendum inches ever closer, would Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP establishment get fully behind the campaign next time around?

The SNP leader, her MPs and MSPs were largely noticeable by their absence during the 2016 campaign.

Famously, the SNP spent merely £90,000 on its campaign to keep the UK in the EU, despite having a spending limit of £700,000 – so just 13%. Indeed the nationalist party spent less on the referendum than it did on a 2008 parliamentary by-election in Glenrothes.

These days, desperate for a precedent for indyref2, Ms Sturgeon is an enthusiastic advocate of a second EU referendum. If it takes place, she and every single member of the SNP establishment bar none better campaign tirelessly on the doorsteps, out on the streets and in the media on behalf of the UK to remain in the EU.

Otherwise, it may seem the result Ms Sturgeon secretly longs for is another UK leave vote, with Scotland voting to remain – which she’ll inevitably cite as an indyref2 trigger.

Martin Redfern

Edinburgh

SAVING THE ECONOMY BILLIONS

It is estimated that there are 6.8 million unpaid carers in the UK.

Experience has taught us that many of these people are incredibly devoted to their loved ones, and with an estimated 6,000 people taking on a caring responsibility everyday, it is understandable that many may not feel prepared to take on the role, or for the future.

That’s why I’d like to take a moment to reassure your readers that we are here to help.

It is also estimated that unpaid carers save the economy £13bn per year.

That’s why, as a charity, we are passionate to do all we can to support unpaid carers, working hard to provide a place where relationships can flourish and people can connect. A place where carers and their loved ones can come at the times when they need us the most and simply spend time together, in the company of our staff, volunteers and other carers and their loved ones. For so many of the people that we support, our breaks are so much more than just the opportunity to take some time away, they are a chance to feel part of the family.

I work for Revitalise, an amazing national charity that provides respite holidays for disabled people and carers at our three accessible respite holiday centres in Chigwell in Essex, Southampton and Southport.

Our centres are open to our guests all-year round, so there is always the chance to make new memories and friends while with us.

To find out more about Revitalise, our breaks, or ways that we may be able to support you, please visit www.revitalise.org.uk or call 0303 303 0145.

Stephanie Stone

Revitalise