YOUR report on the Dargavel Primary school scandal reports much on the consequences of a "blunder" but sadly no account of how the blunder occurred other than to say that this was a "gaffe" ("Taxpayers’ £160m bill after blunder over size of school", The Herald, May 19). The report, as does the political discussion, seems to revolve around who pays the cost of the remedy, the local authority, Holyrood or both.

There is nothing in this article or debate, like so many others of a similar nature, as to accountability. To understand that there must be transparency in the root-cause investigation as to how this "gaffe" came about. We have a situation where the taxpayer, local or national, is on the hook for £160 million, a local authority is looking towards gaining an extra 4,000 residences generating council tax receipts (around £5-6m per annum) and a developer is looking to and succeeding in minimising his costs of development and a landowner is maximising the value of his asset. Taxpayers – voters – want to know why this has come about?

Planning decisions by their nature affect to a very considerable degree the economic case for development and for land values. Wherever I see the word "gaffe" used in connection with a planning decision it often means that the developer or landowner receives enhanced value at the expense of the community. I never see accountability for the error, and I rarely see a serious and transparent root-cause investigation.

Gaffes do happen; when they do the taxpaying public have an expectation but sadly no right to ensure that they are properly, transparently, and thoroughly investigated, accountability assigned, results openly published and if necessary disciplinary action taken.

Politicians, those who represent the voters, just want to "move on", the voting public want answers and improvement, not woolly evasions and excuses followed by a return to business as usual. I can guess what will happen: the carpet will be lifted once again and the mess swept under, a metaphor for our body politic.

Gavin Findlay, Boghead.

A blunder long in the making

AS one of a handful of people who have been involved in the ROF Bishopton/Dargavel development since the early 2000s, I feel I must comment on the current deplorable situation which you highlight today. While it is indisputable that there has been a monumental “miscalculation” by Renfrewshire Council, I believe the real responsibility for the situation lies with previous incumbents of the planning and education departments of the council.

Planning, for allowing the continuous watering-down of the commitments placed on the developer to the detriment of the residents, new and old. Education for ignoring the input from residents and community council on the size of the school.

Unfortunately those whom I believe to be responsible for poor decisions have all moved on and will escape any retribution for their incompetencies, while the current officers have to clear up the mess left to them, and the population of Bishopton suffers.

John Mackintosh, Bishopton.

Sums still don't add up

AT school I scraped passes in O-level arithmetic, maths and statistics. I therefore make no great claim to computational competence. So when I read in your lead article today that Renfrewshire Council is facing a large bill to correct a previous error of building a primary school for 430 instead of 1,100 pupils I thought “oh dear”. Then I read that it is now reckoning on 1,500 pupils and so the solution is obvious: build more classrooms with a capacity of 800, giving a total of 1,230 places for the projected 1,500 pupils.

Am I missing something here? Or are they relying on pupil absence and "hot desking" to cope with the shortfall? Or perhaps it is just my arithmetic.

Alastair Clark, Stranraer.

Read more: Council left with £69m bill after too small school blunder

Don't deal with today's Labour

ALTHOUGH LibDem leader Sir Ed Davey is playing his cards close to his chest, Stephen Flynn has apparently indicated that there might be a possibility of supporting Labour without the promise of an immediate referendum ("Stephen Flynn hints at supporting Labour without Indyref2 deal", heraldscotland, May 19). That presumes of course that the SNP returns in significant numbers.

Mr Flynn may not recall the difficulties facing the late great Paddy Ashdown when he attempted negotiations with that ghoul Tony Blair who still keeps popping up on our screens. In the end Labour didn't need a coalition. But the current Labour Party is not even worthy of the name, refusing as it does to reverse legislation against protest, address the disaster of Brexit, tone down the rhetoric and grapple with the reality of those seeking refuge here and reverse the disastrous privatisations of rail, water and other public services, including the unacknowledged creeping privatisation of the health service.

It seems that Westminster politicians of all parties, cushioned as they are from the realities of their constituents' daily lives, are happy to spout execreta whilst their people swim in it.

Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh.

Worry over tax figures

I WAS shocked to read James Quinn (Letters, May 17) stating that 40 per cent of Scots who are of working age pay no income tax.

However, I suppose that it would depend precisely on how he defines "adults" and "working age".

If aged 18 is taken as being the starting point of both terms, then one would have to remember that there will be a fair proportion of the (say) 18-23 age group who will be in full-time study.

Then there will be another proportion of these adults who are working on a "cash in hand" basis in the so-called black economy. These people need to be investigated and made to pay the tax due by the HMRC.

Alternatively, and rather more worryingly perhaps, this means that some are in jobs which pay so poorly that the worker earns less than the £12,700 or so which constitutes the current tax-free allowance.

Christopher W Ide, Waterfoot.

Read more: EU would never treat Scotland as shabbily as the UK does

Crossrail would boost Prestwick

JANE Ann Liston's letter (May 18) prompted by your report on John Mason calling for the Glasgow Crossrail implementation (“MP calls for new station and rail line in Glasgow”, The Herald, May 16), makes a good case, again, for the creation of this link. She explains the benefits and they have always been clear to everyone who has an interest in improving public transport.

Perhaps Ms Liston and Mr Mason could add the benefits that would accrue to Prestwick Airport. A station was created at this airport a number of years ago, so if it was linked to the rest of Scotland via the freight line as described by Ms Liston and Mr Mason, would these additional arguments add to the reasons for the opening of this link?

Holiday airlines may add to the case, as many destinations from Scotland were routed to Manchester Airport,which has a direct rail service from Glasgow Central. I assume that this is still the case, but would Prestwick be more attractive to this sector?

Ian Gray, Croftamie.

HeraldScotland: Would Prestwick Airport be boosted by Glasgow Crossrail project?Would Prestwick Airport be boosted by Glasgow Crossrail project? (Image: PA)

• I WELL recall the proposals put forward by the late AK Sutherland and from Railfuture Scotland in and around 2011 and, indeed, in subsequent years. I myself made comment in your Letters Pages at the time.

Something could indeed be done if a willingness should ever come to pass to view this on a practical and feasibility level.

The line of route is that of the City of Glasgow Union Railway from Shields Junction to Bellgrove by crossing the Clyde in the 1870s whereby a passenger service ran, actual details somewhat sketchy, with an intermediate station at Gallowgate. Further to that it is known that through carriages were conveyed from Ayrshire stations for Edinburgh and reportedly on to Leith, accordingly detached/attached at Bellgrove for routing via Bathgate.

Later, when the Glasgow & South Western Railway was in charge it did not look favourably on these workings, concentrating their sphere of interest on services to and from St Enoch station.

The Shields Junction-Bellgrove service (by now extended to Springburn) was withdrawn and Gallowgate station closed in October 1902. The erstwhile through Edinburgh carriages succumbed earlier in 1899.

The grouping of 1923 and emergent London, Midland & Scottish Railway did not have them contemplate a restoration and it would appear not to have crossed the mind of British Railways post-1948. In the subsequent years to follow it has remained a link, and just that, for anything other than a timetabled passenger service.

Might the latest proposal engender the awakening of this viable route?

John Macnab, Falkirk.

DRS has cost the SNP dear

I NOTE Lorna Slater now says the Deposit Return scheme could be scrapped ("Slater warns bottle scheme could be halted by Westminster at end of month", The Herald, May 19), which is what the drinks industry has been warning for months.

It is illogical to force through this scheme for Scotland only when the UK's is to be launched next year and bottle drinks distribution is a UK-wide logistic operation.

This embarrassing coalition with the Green Party has cost the SNP dearly and this fiasco, badly handled by Lorna Slater, has undermined support for the SNP in Holyrood and amongst the grass roots.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.

First-class train service

THERE isn't much to smile about in the news these days, but Tom Gordon's take on Jenny Gilruth's decision to delay an eight-day shutdown for repairs between Christmas and New Year was a cracker ("Ross left steaming as First Minister defends paragon Gilruth in trainset rammy", The Herald, May 19).

Sitting at table 26 in my favourite coffee stop, I was smiling after the first paragraph. By the end of paragraph two, I was laughing out loud, much to the delight of the staff. The last sentence, "And besides, it was her trainset.", was the icing on the cake. Thank you, Tom.

Maureen McGarry-O'Hanlon, Balloch.

Clean-cut conundrum

IF our policemen are going to have to shave off their beards will this make them look even younger than I think they look today?

Keith Swinley, Ayr.