Letters: City housing veto calls Holyrood to account

Ian Murray MP joined residents at the Midmar Paddock in south Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow

Ian Murray MP joined residents at the Midmar Paddock in south Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow

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I believe that it is time for the Scottish Government to make clear its policy of green belt development.

My own concern is the area of Edinburgh South, where the Scottish Government has recently overruled a refusal by Edinburgh council of planning permission for 600-650 new homes at Gilmerton Station Road, currently an area of fields on the edge of Gilmerton.

Already houses have been built in the neighbouring Burdiehouse Road area and there is a danger that, with the loss of green belt land near Gilmerton, there will soon be little left between Gilmerton/Burdiehouse and the city by-pass.

The area around Drum Street in Gilmerton village suffers from regular congestion and any more development will only exacerbate this.

The Scottish Government’s policy for 32,000 new homes to be built in Edinburgh by 2024 does not seem to take into account whether there is room for them, which has in turn led to a Local Development Plan (LDP) that threatens valuable green belt areas around Edinburgh.

The SNP MSP and MP for Edinburgh West have made their views known about the Edinburgh council LDP and been successful in the rejection of the Cammo development. However, as far as I can see in South Edinburgh, only Labour’s Ian Murray has been active, with the MSP remaining silent on the issue.

A conspiracy theorist could have hours of fun with a Scottish Government’s rejection of a development in an affluent, SNP-held area and the go-ahead of a development in the more working class, Labour-held area.

Paul Lewis, Guardwell Crescent, Edinburgh

Has Labour pressed self-destruct button?

Those who recommend a move to the right to resurrect the fortunes of the Labour Party have got their navigation 100 per cent wrong.

Blair and his successors have already lurched so far to the right as to be on the brink of extinction in Scotland.

When Miliband made it all too clear that he would not entertain any kind of an arrangement, formal or informal, with the SNP, even if it meant opening the door of Downing Street for Cameron, it was not only the plot he lost. He lost Scotland and perhaps has lost it forever.

Next year we have Holyrood and the following year the council elections. Both of those are coming too soon for Labour, especially with the paucity of talent in their ranks.

Whereas Labour enjoyed 41 offices in Scotland, maintenance and staff paid for by Westminster, they now have one, as against the SNP’s 56. This huge turnaround represents a collapse, not only in finance but in profile, which appears insurmountable.

Is there an escape route? Well maybe, if they pick up on their original key policies of redistribution of wealth downwards and, dare I write it, Home Rule for Scotland. Otherwise it looks like oblivion.

Joseph G Miller, Gardeners Street, Dunfermline

Legal liability system works well as it is

Compensation lawyer Brenda Mitchell might well want a no fault system of presumed liability in favour of cyclists, but this would be unfair to other road users without a system of registration and insurance for cyclists (Letters, June 20).

Cycle users should not be given enhanced legal privileges of road use without having the responsibilities too. The heightened insurance premiums which such a presumed liability system would cause for car drivers would be objectionable to most people.

Continental systems (eg in France) of cycle injury compensation tend to come with a set tariff of compensation awards for pain and suffering, so as to let the insurance companies assess their cost risks in advance, and I suspect that Ms Mitchell would not like this part of the continental approach to compensation to be introduced for a moment!

Leave well alone is my advice to all. The present Scots and UK legal liability systems work perfectly well without bowing down to yet another demand from what many see as the noisy, personal injury lawyer lobby .

Angus Logan WS, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh

Law change would aid road risk takers

I read with interest Brenda Mitchell’s letter regarding ‘vulnerable’ road users and presumed liability. While I accept that more needs to be done by all to be more aware of other road users, I think those most vulnerable need to be protected from themselves.

Two instances only last week highlight this need to me. I was sitting on a bus turning left when a cyclist, in all the proper clothing, could have cuddled me, so close was he to the vehicle as he undertook. Fortunately, he realised that he wasn’t going to win the battle with a bus and broke so violently that he almost fell into the path of a pedestrian.

The second was a lady walking beside me as we sought to cross. As we both looked at the car that was turning into the street from Elm Row, I stopped but this lady clearly took the view that the car would not dare run her down and boldly strode into his path despite the warning hoot from his horn, causing him to brake violently.

Sadly these are not isolated incidents and until Brenda can prove to me that the attitudes described have been overcome, I don’t agree with her insistence that changing the law will improve the situation.

Indeed I suspect that it will make matters worse as it would embolden this group to take more risks knowing that they would likely be compensated for their thoughtlessness.

David Johnson, address supplied, Edinburgh