Letters to the editor

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Kirking need not be scrapped

Sir, – We refer to your article in the Journal and Gazette in April claiming there was a teachers’ rebellion which could see the Kirking of the Queen scrapped and that teachers were ‘more resistant to having to work out of hours on Fair activities’.

We feel that the article gave an unfair and one-sided view and severely misrepresented the outstanding work that is undertaken every year by teaching staff and volunteers across all schools in the Bo’ness cluster.

There is no teachers’ rebellion and the head teachers did NOT want to stop the Kirking of the Queen. Headteachers tabled options to the Fair committee in an attempt to explore sustainable solutions.

One of the options looked at how the organisation of the Kirking could be shared. Unfortunately this was rejected. We question whether there is increasing resistance as many teaching staff speak passionately about the pride and achievement of seeing their children coming together and thriving in the sense of community that only Bo’ness Fair can conjure.

We accept Jim Stewart’s comments that the real issues lie in a ‘funding crisis’ and feel that when this is allied to the increased time demands on teachers’ jobs then sustainable community alternatives do need to be looked at if the Kirking is to continue and would welcome dialogue with him if this is to be achieved.

The Bo’ness Fair is about more than a committee, teachers and individuals. It is about real community and team work. Most importantly it is about the children and long may that continue. – Yours etc.,

Bo’ness Cluster Parent Council

Marches was spectacular

Sir, – All of us on the Deacons’ Court are thrilled by the 
positive reaction of the townsfolk to what was another 
spectacular Riding of the Marches.

Every single individual who contributed in any way to the success of the day is to be heartily congratulated.

Special thanks, however, must be reserved for the public who turned out in such large numbers.

In their support of the Marches the public have yet again demonstrated the value which they place on the continued celebration of town’s heritage. – Yours etc.,

Provost Jim Carlin

Deacons’ Court

Linlithgow

Lack of respect for commuters

Sir, - It is incredible that Falkirk Council will not contribute a subsidy to retain the X19 bus from Bo’ness to Edinburgh.

Both SNP and Labour parties claimed to be fighting against austerity in the recent election.

I therefore would have expected strong support for local constituents in their campaign to retain the only direct bus to Edinburgh.

The alternative detour via Linlithgow means a 27 per cent increase in bus fares, greater if they take the train option.

It would mean someone on the living wage would be facing an increase of four per cent on the amount they pay as a percentage of their salary, taking bus fares to a staggering 22 per cent of salary.

Falkirk Council may have saved £116,000 but this is nothing compared to the devastation caused to the people who regularly use the service for work, study, social and medical appointments.

It is a grave concern that many people now are faced with the distress of having to move from their homes in Bo’ness and others have to give up their existing employment.

The ‘Save the X19’ campaigners have worked hard and Prentice Westwood are retaining one journey into Edinburgh at 7.30am and one returning at 5.30pm on a commercial basis.

This is not good enough for the majority of commuters.

Bo’ness is called a commuter town and people have moved here believing that they have public transport.

Falkirk Council have given no thought to the future for employment opportunity and study for young people as well as increased car usage on the roads. – Yours etc.,

Helen Jeffery

by email

Supermarket decision

Sir, - Despite numerous and detailed objections West Lothian Council has agreed to the planning application from Mactaggart and Mickel to build a 12,000 sq ft retail unit and parking on the former JET site on Edinburgh Road, Linlithgow.

I might surmise that even before the work starts there will be an application to increase the size of the retail unit.

Dave du Feu a keen cyclist states that the cricket club car park was rarely full.

When I pass there are very few spaces and sometimes there is an overflow into the sports centre area.

The suggestion that the 
Edinburgh Road site should become available for rail commuters was sensible especially with the huge housing development at Winchburgh Village. One of the selling points for these houses was the rail network to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

For a vibrant High Street we need adequate parking facilities.

One suggestion, if I may, is that the car park for the health centre is made available to the public at weekends. - Yours, etc.,

Clark Cross

138 Springfield Road

Linlithgow

Our thanks to donors

Sir, - We would like to thank everyone who helped with the blood donor session when we visited Linlithgow on Sunday, June 14, and Monday, June 15, 2015. A total of 431 volunteers offered to give blood and 369 donations were given. There were 27 new donors. We are grateful for your help. - Yours etc.,

Caroline Tutt,

Donor Services Office Manager