Arran Banner letters – week 18

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Pothole woes are nationwide

Sir,

I had a (mostly) successful five hour back operation eight years ago so I read with interest and empathy chronic back sufferer Peter Finlay’s long letter in the April 21 Banner regarding potholes.

This I read while en route to the beautiful city of Lincoln via foot – ferry – train – bus – flight – taxi.

At Glasgow Airport, I picked-up free copies of some newspapers that I would never purchase and found the below post by Mathew Parris in The Times interesting and pertinent to Arran/Scotland’s dire road conditions. One would think that England with higher council taxes and alarming crime rates due to savage police cuts along with a reeling, inadequately funded NHS would at least keep their roads in better condition than Scotland – but perhaps not: ‘Throughout history rings the cry “It’s when it happens to you …” Austerity often doesn’t “happen” to people like me (and many of you) as fast, as often or as painfully as it does to millions of others. But potholes we Times readers see. When in our own lives our nearside front tyre is shredded, the ruddy pothole represents a momentary twitching-back of one tiny corner of a great curtain, behind which lie, no, not potholes, but a million anxious human stories, caused in part by cuts in public spending.

‘And, no, I’m not going to decry cutting public spending. Much of it had to happen. But I’m making two points. First, the exercise cannot be without limit. Second, the time-lag between the cut and the pain can be so long that by the time you feel the pain the cut may have gone much deeper than you noticed. We need to wake up to that.

‘So back, without apology, to potholes. Thanks to another of these, a friend in Lincolnshire has just broken his neck, though not fatally, thank heaven. Potholes matter in themselves. But they are a parable for others that matter even more.

‘Over roughly the last decade (my figures don’t cover 2017) spending on roads by councils has fallen by about a fifth. Serious injuries to cyclists have trebled, while cyclists’ numbers have increased by a fraction of that. According to the RAC, the number of cars needing roadside assistance after hitting potholes has almost doubled since January.

‘According to the Asphalt Industry Alliance there are 24,000 miles of roads urgently awaiting repair in England & Wales. On present trends a road is resurfaced every 78 years and it would now take 14 years, and more than £9 billion, to return the network to a “steady state”. Our roads have been crumbling.

‘Roads spending has just started to rise, albeit gently. Late in the day, local and central government politicians have woken up to what’s happening.

‘The trouble is, it’s already happened. Voters in their millions, including Times readers in huge numbers, are telling them so. Just as my little argument with Mawstone Lane was a parable for a wider problem with potholes nationwide, so potholes nationwide are a parable for a problem far wider than that. We may be deceived by the fact that you can get away for years, but not for ever, with pushing a problem to one side.’

Yours,

Alex Holmes

Brodick

Road closures

Sir,

I am astonished at the lack of communication regarding the possible road closures and disruption to traffic during the resurfacing of many of the island’s roads. As I require to commute daily from Corrie to Whiting Bay, I made enquiries at the pier, then the bus station offices for information. Neither knew any details of road closures and I was told that even the police had not been informed. Making the assumption that the road will be open to allow the bus to connect with the ferries is all very well, but travelling out with these times makes it a bit of a lottery.

Some details please?

Yours,

Fiona Reiss

Corrie

On contemplating Brodick beach

Sir,

The rain on Arran erodes the land

and washes it down to the sea.

It reaches there and ends as sand

and tumbles around the coast as free

to go where the currents decide.

Sometimes it piles up high as dunes

a source of wonder and of pride

and others as with the cast of runes

the sand just goes as with the tide.

There almost appears little rhyme nor reason

why the laid down sand just goes away

It seems to happen during winter’s season

But when it goes once it will never stay.

So if people now lay lots of sand

with no protection not even a groyne

What do they expect when all the land

is again exposed, with many a coin

it has costed, the sandbags shining white again

their efforts laid bare for all to see.

The movement of tides is not a friend

to those who ignore hydrology.

So Brodick beach has gone once more

and without some thought, it will stay that way

Lost it seems and beyond man’s power

Perhaps an expert has something to say?

Yours,

Kenny Walker

Dumblane

Roadside samaritan

Sir,

I would like to thank the young man who helped me back on to the road when my car had rolled forward, almost into a ditch, at North Sannox.

I was in despair and he calmly directed me back from the deep ditch but refused to accept anything but my gratitude.

Thank you sir for helping a frantic elderly lady with patience and courtesy, I will remember to leave my car in gear in future!

Yours,

Gillian Miller

Newton Mearns

Spring Fair

Sir,

On behalf of the pupils, staff and parents of Pirnmill Primary School and early years class we would like to say a huge thank to everyone who helped, in whatever way, to make this year’s Spring Fair such a success.

Thanks also to those of you who came along on the day to enjoy the soup, sandwiches, entertainment and outside activities.  The sun also put in an appearance, that always helps!

We raised the grand total of £836.38 for the school fund. Thank you all for your continued support, it is very much appreciated.

Yours,

Alison Cambell

Pirnmill Primary School