I have registered my objection to Edinburgh City Council putting forward a Private Bill to change the law and take away the status of Portobello Park as common good land.
I will probably fall out with a lot of friends and neighbours over this, but this park is for all people, for all time and not for the convenience of parents who will have children at the proposed new Portobello school for the five/six years of their secondary education.
The council has convinced parents that this is the only place to build a new school.
Had the council properly analysed the legality of building on Portobello Park and that they would be breaking the law to do so, they would have by now found an alternative site and the school would be built. The vast vacant site at Craigmillar/ Harewood/Niddrie could have been utilised for either the new Holyrood School, Portobello School, or both.
The new Holyrood could have been built anywhere. Children are bussed in from all over the city to Holyrood. Portobello could have been built on the site at Craigmillar/Harewood/Niddrie or on the Holyrood site where its current playing fields already exist.
It is perhaps worth remembering that the two Holyrood schools have already been built on greenbelt, the new one appearing to take over even more greenbelt than the last one. Now the council proposes to have the law changed to take away the common good land status at Portobello Park.
Irrespective of what this council says, this will create a precedent, and whilst the current council say they would not seek to utilise common good land in the future, another council of a different political persuasion could do so. Did our councillors ever consider building the new Boroughmuir school on either the Meadows or Bruntsfield Links?
I think not. But the next time a school or the council require to utilise land to build, the precedent has been set.
Citizens of Edinburgh, councillors, Scottish parliamentarians, stop this now. It might be your constituents’ common good land that is taken next.
I Archibald, Paisley Avenue, Edinburgh
Maths is something to be enjoyed
I read with frustration your article about parents struggling to understand their childrens’ maths homework (January 25).
As a retired maths teacher, I remember at parents’ evenings sometimes feeling like I was talking in a foreign language, and it frustrated me because basic mathematics is really very easy and shouldn’t be feared. In fact, dare I say it, once it is mastered it can be very enjoyable.
Mathematics is all around us, it is actually a natural phenomenon, a science that helps prove millions of theories and natural laws. It is a wonderful thing and should be enjoyed, certainly not feared, and definitely handed down to each new generation to help them better understand the world.
Veronica Noble, Morningside, Edinburgh
No one religion speaks for us all
Ian Swanson in his article discussing the idea of a Scottish constitution (News, January 24) rightly questions the continued appropriateness of the Church of Scotland being considered our national church.
He concludes however that with falling church attendance the answer should be to introduce more and different religions into the public sphere.
While the right to private religious belief must be protected, the notion that any one of them somehow speaks for us all is outdated. With the major religions continuing to promote unrepresentative moral attitudes the majority of Scots may well not wish the public presence of any sort of religion again to be enshrined in a new national constitution.
Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall drive
Drop in jobless youth welcome
The release of figures showing that the youth unemployment rate in Scotland has seen its largest annual decrease since 2006, falling by 23,000 over the last year, is most welcome.
These numbers highlight the fact that the national effort to reduce youth unemployment is working. However, we cannot get complacent.
The launch of the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, which aims to improve the readiness of young people for work, is another step forward, helping to embed a joined-up approach of the crucial links between Curriculum for Excellence, Post-16 education and jobs.
Heather Gray, director, The Prince’s Trust Scotland