Arran Banner letters – week 05

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Managed decline


Arran roads are indeed crumbling under NAC’s negligence but in his letter to Elma Murray, Jamie Greene confined himself to mainland road problems and made no specific mention of the perilous state of Arran roads. Of more concern is the complacency of Elma Murray’s management speak reply which implies that everything is ok.

She states:  ‘The council has an asset management approach for road maintenance and undertake condition assessments of all our roads on an annual basis. Condition information is entered into our Roads Asset Management System to determine a long term investment programme in road maintenance. This approach takes account of road condition, deterioration rates based on historical information for our road network and prioritisation criteria established to meet council priorities. It uses life cycle planning to allocate treatments efficiently making optimum use of the available budget.’

My translation of the above is a programme of managed decline, subject to criteria set by NAC by reference to budgets/other NAC priorities which as we know do not even include the provision of public toilets.

I first raised the roads issue with MSP Kenneth Gibson who acknowledged the historical neglect of Arran’s roads and said Arran roads budget was given an uplift to take account of this. I wonder if this still applies and if not what action NAC propose to address the continued decline of Arran’s roads relative to the mainland.

I recognise there is no magic money tree but I simply want whatever cash is available to be spent wisely not wasted on repairs which last a few weeks or months.  The main problems seem to be NAC skimping on the depth of tarmacadam and not being able to get hot material over to the island in optimal condition, neither of which will be solved by the recent introduction to the island of a small piece of hot tarmac recycling plant.


Jim Peacock

Whiting Bay

Cemetery neglect


Reading last week’s Banner I was very interested in Mr Currie’s letter ‘The state of our cemeteries’. I could not but agree with his comments, What is happening to our cemeteries? On attending a funeral in Kilmory the late Lady Jean Fforde was appalled at the number of fallen headstones around the church. The Lady very kindly telephoned me and offered to open Strabane Gardens for a day if we could get stewards to collect money which her Ladyship hoped would assist us to help raise a few fallen stones. Putting Lady Jeans suggestion forward at the next business meeting only one member agreed with this and the other members left me in no doubt that they considered that it was the responsibility of North Ayrshire Council to take care of our cemeteries.

There has been very little done since, apart from stickers being placed on damaged stones in need of repair. What happens to the stones with no living relatives? Are they to be left to disintegrate? Leaving our church yards looking uncared for.

I would suggest the council keep a supply of dry cement in stock to assist with the repair of these stones. As to ditches it appears they no longer require clearing. The late Mr Neil McLean and myself wrote, telephoned and asked repeatedly for our new cemetery to be drained properly before being opened, but it was never done properly and is now a disgrace.

Our cemeteries should be a place one can visit and spend time with our thoughts in peace. What is more helpful than to visit a church with old records and a cemetery with old headstones to obtain information about our past.

Can the council please do something about this upsetting and neglectful situation.


Edna Picken


Bad money


In the wake of the Presidents Club scandal I find it incredulous that those in charge at Great Ormond Street Hospital believe they can distinguish good money from bad.

I suggest they put two piles of £10 notes on a table and mark one good and the other bad. Them mix them all together and since they all look alike it will be impossible to put them back as they were. In other words there is no such thing as good and bad money. The important thing about money is the use it is put to not where it came from.


William W Scott

North Berwick

Just having a quick nap

Rory Cowan of Kildonan sent us this nice photo of his two dogs taking a close interest in a sleeping otter on the shore but they didn’t go too close.

Rory said: ‘I managed to get five pictures in total and the otter slumbered throughout. It did wake up after about 5 minutes and quickly resumed its fishing expedition.’ NO_B05otter01