Letters published on July 29, 2011

Planning gain?

Sir, - Some passing thoughts on ‘The Wallace Land’ proposed development at Burghmuir.

Has Mr Wallace bothered to take a walk along the High Street recently?

Had he done so he would have found 13 empty shop premises between the West Port and the Low Port and with the possible re-development at the bus station adding some more retail premises one can hardly say we are short of opportunities to indulge in retail therapy.

With Sainsbury’s and Aldi at one end of the town and Tesco at the other, and various convenience stores in between, it will be interesting to see whom he is proposing to occupy his ‘foodstore’.

Perhaps Linlithgow is to be the site of Scotland’s first Harrod’s or at least a Selfridges.

Much needed (their words) housing will include affordable units which will be distributed evenly throughout the site. I think not, they will be sited furthest away from the no doubt elegant entrance.

In return for this munificence there will be the usual sop of a planning gain, in this case a community park and a dance studio.

Are all parks by their nature not community parks and I would be very surprised if the various dancing schools and classes in the area had not already thought of a dance studio and discarded the idea.

How often have we seen the planning gain been quietly dropped during the progress of the construction.

What is happening at Bo’ness Dock?

I have a suggestion for the planners.

Give Wallace Land conditional planning permission for the development with the condition being that the four-way junction at Junction 3 at Champany be completed before any other work commences.

Then we will see if Wallace Land are still keen to be so generous towards St. Michael’s toun. - Yours etc.,

Jim Slavin,

Rosebank, Blackness

Fuel ire

Sir,– Fuel poverty (defined as spending more than 10 per cent of household income on gas and/or electricity bills) is a major hazard since around 2000 excess winter deaths occur each year in Scotland.

These deaths cannot be accounted for by seasonal fluctuations but can be attributed to the inadequately heated homes of vulnerable groups such as pensioners.

In West Lothian, according to the latest statistics, one in four households and 48 per cent of pensioners currently suffer from fuel poverty.

These grim figures are set to worsen as a result of steeply rising gas and electricity prices and cuts to the Winter Fuel Allowance and Fuel Poverty Initiative.

Measures such as an immediate cap on gas and electricity prices, more investment in renewable energy, a programme to build energy efficient council houses and taking power companies back into public ownership are required. – Yours etc.,


Main Street, Linlithgow Bridge

Links in chain

Sir, – In the Journal & Gazette on July 22, Mr Chris Crorie wrote asking for information on the Bo’ness Cycling Club.

A quick check of the index to local newspapers found half a dozen mentions of the club. I checked old issues of the Gazette which are held in the Local History Library in County Buildings and found that the Bo’ness Cycling Club was certainly in existence by 1932.

I looked at two or three of the articles but didn’t find any mention of Mr J. Crorie or the Crorie trophy. However the articles do shed light on the activities of the club – races ranging from 10 miles to a ‘100 mile tourist trail’.

They lost lots of members during the war but by 1951 again had some 18 members on their books and more in the services.

If you would like to see these or other old newspapers then visit the County Buildings. – Yours etc.,


Local History Librarian

Grave affair

Sir, – What has happened to the cemetery in Linlithgow?

It used to be a beautiful place to pass through but all I see is weeds between graves and pot holes filled with water

The flower beds have been taken away at the bottom end as well and they were gorgeous and well kept in their day.

Now all we see is a run-down place where it is an insult to the dearly departed buried there.

I hope whoever is responsible for the upkeep of the cemetery will take heed and do sothing to bring it back to its former glory without excuses about lack of funds and cutbacks.–Yours etc.,


Preston Road, Linlithgow


Sir,– I particularly like the Transition Linlithgow planting display in the High Street - a little bit of garden amid the paving and concrete. The plants look tasty and attractive. – Yours etc.,


Kettilstoun Mains, Linlithgow

Sell yourself

Sir, – The kids are off school, events and festivals are under way and the chime of ice cream vans heralds the arrival of the busiest period on the tourism calendar. At no other time is Scotland’s tourism industry more visible, or its importance more obvious.

With some stunning scenery, a range of top attractions and wonderful outdoor activities, it is little wonder that West Lothian proves so popular with visitors.

Right now, the region’s attractions and accommodation providers are welcoming scores of visitors, many from here at home.

Last year, Scottish residents holidaying in this country contributed £1 billion to our economy (a 13 per cent rise on 2009). This equates to an amazing 6.4 million visitor trips - a nine per cent rise on the year before.

Launched in March, VisitScotland’s new £3.5 million domestic marketing campaign, ‘Surprise Yourself’, has already reached more than 25 million people throughout the UK and Ireland.

The Surprise Yourself website offers a plethora of money-saving vouchers offering up to £100 off accommodation, up to 50 per cent off visitor attractions along with a host of great offers on food and drink throughout Scotland.

The beautifully shot television advertisements have proved a real hit, are there are plans afoot to film new scenes in different parts of Scotland in the autumn.

VisitScotland believes that tourism has a big role to play in steering the country out of recession. Independent research has already put the value of tourism at £11 billion to our economy. When we consider the fact the industry provides jobs for 270,000 people, its importance to the future success of Scotland becomes even more apparent.

I believe that the passion of the people throughout Scotland is our country’s biggest selling point. It’s up to you in your communities to sell the best assets of your area. After all, tourism is everybody’s business. – Yours etc.,


Chairman, VisitScotland

Sir,– I was recently asked by charities Leonard Cheshire Disability and Mencap to chair an independent review into how the personal mobility needs of people living in state-funded residential care are met.

As a lifelong campaigner for the rights of blind and disabled people, I was delighted to accept.

The proposed removal of mobility payments from people living in residential care through the welfare reform bill potentially has a significant impact on the lives of disabled people. It is therefore important that there is a public and comprehensive look at this issue.

Between now and October 10, I would like to hear from disabled people living in state-funded residential care and their families, care providers and local authorities.

By getting in touch you will help us comprehensively examine how people’s needs are currently met, how mobility support is currently funded, the requirements of providers and any concerns from parties involved in residential care.

We will publish the findings in the autumn enabling peers to consider the evidence and our recommendations as they debate the Welfare Reform Bill.

To find out more about the review and to submit evidence, visit: http://lowreview.org.uk <http://lowreview.org.uk/>–Yours etc.,


Sir,– I am writing to encourage you and your readers to give your unloved electricals a second chance by donating them to British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland Furniture and Electrical stores this month.

I’m a technology magpie and can’t resist a shiny new gadget - my home is full of electricals that work perfectly but have simply been upgraded! I’m hoping that your readers will join me and have a rummage in their homes for any unwanted hi-fi’s, DVD players, mp3 players and coffee makers – as long as they’re still working, BHF Scotland will find them a new home.

We’ve all got busy lives so to make it easy to donate, BHF Scotland has joined up with Currys and PC World stores to create over 1200 drop off points. If you’re like me and love a money saving venture, warm your heart and your wallet by donating – you’ll receive a 5 per cent voucher to spend in Currys and PC World as well as the chance to win £1000s worth of brand new prizes. For those larger electrical items lying around, you can even book a free collection.

All proceeds from the sale of your unwanted electricals will go towards fighting heart disease – last year BHF shops raised £26 million. Have a clear out today and turn your toaster into a lifesaver!

For more information and to locate your nearest drop off point visit bhf.org.uk/dropitin <http://www.bhf.org.uk/dropitin> or call 0844 412 5000.–Yours etc.,


Presenter on the Gadget Show