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Missing gritters make road doubly dangerous
Sir,
The String Road, especially towards the summit, is probably the most dangerous stretch of road in snowy conditions on Arran.
Snow had been forecast, and that was the situation at 8.30am on March 21. The road surface was treacherous and extremely dangerous to vehicles. There was a line of vehicles stuck for an hour and a lorry had to deliberately steer into the verge to arrest an uncontrollable slide. In all of this, the gritter was conspicuous by its absence.
On January 12, in similar conditions at the same time of day, a car slid off the road and only a fence prevented it from overturning, a car slid into a bridge, a car had to steer into the verge to arrest an uncontrollable slide and a school bus full of children had to inch its way downhill. The gritter was conspicuous by its absence.
This scenario has occurred many times before. The gritter was conspicuous by its absence.
Having communicated my concerns to NAC roads department in Irvine, giving a full account of the perils inherent in this situation, the response is startling and alarming. Leaving the vehicles, including a bus full of schoolchildren, totally exposed to considerable danger on the road at this time of day is not what I would consider ‘taking reasonable steps to keep traffic moving’. Make no mistake, this is a deliberate decision by NAC roads department not to protect this route at this time.
As parents send their children to school, as motorists set off on this route, it is only reasonable to expect that the local authority would have some sense of responsibility for their safety. Apparently not!
Yours,
J Stewart,
Blackwaterfoot.

Priority must be to reduce ferry cancellations
Sir,
While welcoming the news that Peel Ports plan to make a significant investment to improve Ardrossan harbour, I agree with John Cruickshank, in his letter in last week’s Banner, that the priority should be to ensure a reduction in ferry cancellations attributed to adverse weather conditions.
I have read that the cost of an extended breakwater to the south is considered prohibitive, but do not know if a reliable estimate of the length, situation and cost of such a structure has been obtained. Clearly there are wind strengths which prevent sailings from any port, but I hope I am not naïve in presuming that the Government report comparing the two harbour options will have included an analysis of the wind strengths and directions which led to cancellations at Ardrossan which could have been avoided by greater protection of the harbour entrance.
Dredging of the inner harbour may be another option which would allow greater manoeuvrability and more berthing options. A detailed survey of the harbour area may be required, together with input from CalMac masters familiar with the harbour to decide if dredging could have a beneficial effect. In my view these options should be considered before embarking on cosmetic alterations to shore structures which function perfectly well at present.
Yours,
Iain Glen,
Blackwaterfoot.

Arran residents must work together
Sir,
I agree with Neil Arthur, in his letter to the Banner last week, that it can be hard to know who speaks for Arran.
As he said there are lots of groups tackling a range of issues and on the face of it they can appear unrepresentative yet claim to be the voice of Arran. However, these groups are tackling important issues and are formed by people who have a passion for the topics they are working on.
I strongly believe that people must continue to be encouraged to get together to fight for what they believe in, and to work on issues important to their communities. But to prevent these groups from appearing elitist and unrepresentative they need to be more open about how they work, what they aim to do and what they plan to achieve
My election platform is based on a pledge that I will work to develop an inclusive and joined up approach to local government. Councillors are elected to represent the views of all of the people in their area, and make decisions based on a broad range of views and opinions. An effective councillor takes account of all action and pressure groups, ensures that alternative opinions are considered, and develops a co-ordinated approach that really can claim to speak for Arran.
Yours,
Timothy Billings,
Conservative and
Unionist Candidate,
Ardrossan and Arran.

Thanks from a cyclist after accident
Sir,
On April 11 I came off my bike while descending the Bougillie.
While not badly hurt I was appreciative of all the motorists who stopped to offer assistance.
I would particularly like to thank Dr Hogg who kindly came to my aid and the taxi driver who transported me and my bike down to Lochranza surgery where my injuries were treated.
I look forward to returning for future cycling challenges on Arran.
Yours,
Sally Leslie,
Ayr.

Does everyone know flower show is gone?
Sir,
I am concerned that some regulars to the Ayr Flower Show may not be aware of the fact that this show is discontinued.
Over a period of many years the Arran Horticultural Society has run a coach to and from Ayr, and so many have enjoyed the trip.
We are, however, continuing to run a coach to and from the Scottish Garden Show at Ingliston – this year on June 2. Coach tickets will be available during May at the Book and Card Centre in Brodick.
We are delighted that there were so many favourable comments from the general public following our spring show on March 25.
We ourselves felt that the standard of entries was very high, and as usual the schools/nurseries added so much to the display.
Yours,
John Sillars,
President,
Arran Horticultural
Society.

Closing island’s public toilets makes no sense
Sir,
I am not privy to the amount of money North Ayrshire Council has available or whether or not it spends it wisely.
I’d imagine that depends on your priorities.
However, I would suggest that in a modern western economy where there is an area heavily dependant on tourism, including day trippers, not to have access to public toilets is utter nonsense.
What perhaps is an even greater nonsense is that VisitArran, VisitScotland, the local councillor, MSP and MP are not screaming from the rooftops and actively seeking funding to provide the facilities.
It seems that more and more politicians are so intent on keeping their jobs they are neglecting to do their jobs.
Yours,
Marc G Head,
Whiting Bay.

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