Congratulations to Bill Jamieson for his article on roadside resting places and for promoting a competition for new ideas and designs (Perspective, 21 November).
No marks, however, for having overlooked the considerable achievements made in the 1970s and 1980s under the Countryside Scotland Act to provide well-designed roadside facilities throughout Scotland.
This was a collaborative effort between the Countryside Commission for Scotland, which made financial contributions of up to 75 per cent of costs, the local authorities, which carried out the work, and private land-owners who provided the neighbouring land. Believe me, our commissioners – who had a range of skills and experience – did not agree to a grant unless the new facility was well designed and that it provided exactly the benefits that Mr Jamieson is now looking for in the new competition.
It is simply not true that in the past Scotland has been let down by a “thoughtless and uninspiring approach” or that these Countryside Act lay-bys were an “afterthought, grudgingly conceded and poorly executed”.
Alas, I do not now travel around much of Scotland as I did in former times but where I suspect that Mr Jamieson has hit the spot is that too many of these facilities have been “left to rot and decay” and so deteriorating to a “rough parking area with a waste bin that needs to be emptied and a dank concrete cludgie, not always open”.
Maintenance always was a problem, exacerbated by increasingly tight budgets and the disgusting habits of littering visitors to the countryside.
So hooray for the new initiative, but please don’t deny the past; such projects have all been done before.