Chains are popular and keep city centre thriving

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Opening a Wetherspoon’s pub on Victoria Street would spoil our magical city . . . that is according to Marion Williams, director of the Cockburn Association and apparent messiah on all things acceptable in Edinburgh.

Williams argues that to open a new £2 million superpub would be detrimental to the “beauty” of the street, saturating the city further with just another cheap pub.

Well I hate to be the one to break it to her, but something must move in to that property, which has sat empty since December 2008.

Of course, it could remain unoccupied, rotting away while Williams and others insist on waiting for some quirky developer to come along and “do something nice” with the property. Alternatively, the award-winning chain JD Wetherspoon could open a superpub, boosting the local economy through the creation of 70 jobs and providing an affordable pub and restaurant for the community.

However, this would mean another chain opening up in Edinburgh, which Bill Cowan – chairman of the Old Town community council – believes would damage the town’s reputation and deter tourists from visiting.

It must be remembered that if you walk to the top of Victoria Street, you are standing directly outside a Pizza Express. Take a few steps to your right and you are close enough to smell Nando’s. Chains are already here. And the locals love them.

There are many famous streets that are visited by tourists year after year, including Princes Street, the Royal Mile and George Street. Interestingly, the latter is home to two JD Wetherspoon pubs, The Standing Order and Alexander Graham Bell, both of which sit well with their surroundings, provide affordable food and drink and are hugely well-attended.

So will the proposed superpub taint Victoria Street’s appearance? No. Will it repel future tourists? Absolutely not. And will it lower the standards of clientele in the area? Not a chance. Let us think of the work it will provide for potential jobseekers. Let us welcome an affordable pub-restaurant in a considerably pricey city. And let us move forward with the times, embracing the change, and not being hindered by stuffy and out-dated views.

Calum Mackie, East Newington Place, Edinburgh

Public awareness is key in hogweed fight

I have been following the articles in the Evening News over the last few days regarding the issues and dangers of giant hogweed.

As a horticulturist with 18 years’ experience I can certainly verify that giant hogweed should be avoided at all costs, mainly due to the severe burns that this plant can cause.

City of Edinburgh Council tries its best to eradicate this plant, which mainly grows on riverbanks, wasteland and areas which are not well maintained, such as road verges. I have witnessed teams of men spraying the hogweed, usually kitted out in full rubber chemical protection gear due to the toxicity of the chemicals within the plant.

The public should educate themselves regarding hogweed and not always blame the council for every injury or scrape they sustain.

If you find this weed in your garden you should take advice from a professional on disposing of it safely. It is also illegal to knowingly allow the spread of hogweed, so you should not take cuttings or spread the seeds.

Mr Alastair Macintyre, Webster Place, Rosyth, Fife

Glad to see loss of tram advertising

Well, what can you say, the loss of perhaps £240,000 by not having trams with “wrap around” advertising (News, July 17). To me that’s a price worth paying to not have more “in your face” incipient advertising.

Sure I’m disappointed the tram isn’t in a sleek stainless steel, which I had hoped for. But unless the yearly income from ads on trams is £5m or above, it will not have my support.

So, Messrs JCDecaux please tell possible advertisers that many people, including myself, will not only boycott those actual advertisers, but actively urge other folks to do the same.

A message to poor, embattled Edinburgh council: stop digging yet another miserable hole for yourselves.

Graham Davidson, Edinburgh

Put cap on airport parking charges

The Edinburgh Evening News reports on calls for private-sector rent to be capped following an nine per cent rise over the past year (News, July 24) and quite rightly so, however what about Edinburgh Airport charges? Already the most expensive airport in the UK to park, they are about to increase the cost of picking anyone up from the airport from £2.90 to £3.50, an increase of 17 per cent.

Is it not about time the Scottish Government stepped in to stop this blatant rip-off?

George Fairgrieve, Stapeley Avenue, Edinburgh

SNP questions over costs are hypocritical

Sometimes political comments are difficult to comprehend. The new SNP Member of Parliament for Aberdeen North, Kirsty Blackman, is all “upcited” and demanding answers about the £5000 being spent on the new voting system at Westminster, yet a couple of years ago the former First Minister Alex Salmond described comments about the £50, 000 plus he spent on overseas jollies as “ridiculous frippery”. And that was followed by John Swinney, the SNP Finance Minister, “conveniently” writing off almost £400 million of unpaid poll tax.

Once again we see the 56 Club in the SNP glass house throwing stones.

Colin Cookson, Stenton, Glenrothes