Readers’ letters

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Find out what our readers think of the stories making the Carluke and Lanark Gazette headlines.

Radio mental!

Dear Ed, – I read your articles regarding Lanark retailers setting up a new group to improve the prospects of the town’s businesses with interest.

I won’t be popular with my comments but I feel that the group will have quite a challenge.

Unfortunately, many or most of the retailers in the town are run and staffed by Lanarkians and are based in a town full of Lanarkians, who, from my experience, have an insular mentality that probably sets them back a few decades.

Consequently, in my opinion, it is the “Lanarkian mentality” that is probably the cause of the town failing to be a significant shopping and tourist attraction.

On that basis I would like to make two points, one to do with shopping in the town and the other to do with the town being a tourist stop.

As a member of the public and as a shopper who lives in a rural village and tries to use my most local town for shopping, I have often been quite frustrated at the poor service of Lanarkian-owned shops, as well as a lack of stock, yet I have been able to shop with comparative ease in other towns and more recently in larger retailers which are now based in the town.

Not so many years ago I tried to buy a DAB digital radio in the town. I was told by a senior member of staff at one store that they no longer sold DAB radios on the basis that there was a small area in Lanark that couldn’t get a signal.

I asked: “What about people who live in the rest of Lanark or even the people who live in the neighbouring towns and villages? Do we not count?” Is it a case that the only people who shop in Lanark are those who live in Lanark?

Fortunately there are now a few larger retailers based in the town – the ones who are apparently to blame for the High Street’s downturn – who have no apprehensions of selling DAB radios.

I later bought a DAB radio from the base of one of the world’s leading manufacturers of DAB radio products who just happened to be...in an industrial estate in Lanark! It’s a good job that the manufacturer did not have the same view as the local retailer.

Indeed, if it hadn’t been for the larger retailers coming to the town and selling products, I would have few reasons to shop in the town.

I would say that the presence of the larger retailers is probably saving the town. It’s up to locally owned retailers to offer goods and services that could complement what larger retailers are making available.

Going back to my other point on the town being a tourist stop, Lanark fails miserably. Despite the town’s phenomenal history, especially regarding that of William Wallace, I need to go to Stirling to find out what he did in Lanark.

Earlier this year one of my friends – who is also a radio presenter – brought his family to Lanark for the first time. It was April, so he took his family to the town’s museum, only to discover that it was shut.

Of course, his chances of that were quite high considering that the museum is open for only a small number of hours in the week. It’s a pity that Lanark’s volunteer base cannot muster enough energy, over and above the Lanimers, to celebrate its history, whilst the much smaller town of Biggar is able to sustain five museums, most of which are open for the entire tourist season.

When my friend took his children to the town’s parks, he found only empty spaces.

It’s a pity that the one place where he and his children could have spent quite a bit of time, at the Loch, is a half-hour walk from the town centre.

My friend did find an attraction for his children – an old fashioned sweetie shop! Needless to say he caught the next train home, while many of his Facebook friends gave him advice on the great many places around Lanark that he could have visisted – sadly none in Lanark. – Yours etc.,

ARTHUR GRAINGER,

St Charles Avenue,

Carstairs Junction.

It’s alien-ation

Dear Ed, – First and foremost I would like to thank the STAR spokesperson for confirming what a welcoming and open minded association it is!

Surely a most pleasant way to deal with the previous letter would have been the more diplomatic offering of a meeting to sort out any potential grievances and work together to improve Smyllum?

Suggesting someone who has strong views but is not a Lanarkian is an alien merely serves to confirm my previous statement of STAR members having “huge disdain” of people not of their elevated social standing.

I do, however, concede that my last letter was written in haste and frustration which affected the clarity of the points I was attempting to make.

When I wrote 30-50 adults, I meant the ages of the groups rather than the number of them. Obviously the idea of 30-50 of Smyllum’s residents being drunk or on un-prescribed medication is laughable – unless you live in Smyllum in which case it does actually make a lot of sense.

When I stated that I was not from the area, I have in fact lived here for 10 years which, while not deemed long enough to be considered local in a small village, is more than long enough to bear witness to the areas occurrences.

I was hopeful when the STAR group began, seeing it as a neighbourhood watch group with people liaising between the inhabitants and the police to promote a unified community.

But after attempting to attend one meeting, I was disavowed of the concept. Perhaps it was a slow week but it gave the distinct appearance of a curtain twitcher’s coffee morning.

As for my comment about the safety of attendance, it was not directed at the meeting place, which would obviously have to pass health and safety regulations to be used for the public – thanks again for the poor attempt at undermining my intelligence.

The comment was regarding the fact that by sheer snobbishness of the members they have made attendance impossible without singling the person attending out for strife from the methadone brigade.

I am aware of the group’s lack of powers but as a liaison between community and public figures, it is also lacking.

While I am sure the best biscuits are ordered, there is no sign of dog warden patrols, fining for dog mess, truancy officers or police breaking up loud parties. So what has STAR actually achieved? If members don’t believe a member of the community, what do they believe the reasons are for lack of members?

It has already been determined that I am an alien, so perhaps their enthusiasm for conspiracy theories and stargazing is clouding their judgement? – Yours etc.,

NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED.

Bid for business

Dear Ed, – I was delighted to read about the new Business Group being established in Lanark. I wish it every success.Only by standing united and with the support of our communities can towns like Lanark thrive.

I would suggest looking at the Business Improvement District (BID) Model which has a proven track record, both internationally and closer to home with towns such as Alloa, Bathgate and Falkirk engaging its use. More information can be found at www.bids-scotland.com – Yours etc.,

MARTYN GREENE,

Lindsaylands Road,

Biggar.