Letters: City that’s alive doesn’t have to be full of cars

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Have your say

Most people see the merit of boosting footfall in the city centre and extending the period of that footfall into the evening. That has been the ostensible objective of the “Alive after Five” campaign.

However, contrary to the views expressed by Essential Edinburgh, there is no evidence that waiving of car-parking charges after 5pm is critical to whether people stay a bit longer in the city centre or not.

And given that waiving charges costs the city tens of thousands of pounds and runs contrary to the stated aim of making the city centre more people-focused, I am pleased that, last year, the city council agreed to modify Alive after Five in the future.

That proposal called on future schemes to be based on elements that are consistent with the city’s transport, air pollution and sustainable development aims – such as encouraging public transport use and walking and cycling.

It is critical that we don’t give out the mistaken message that “alive” city centres are those with more cars in them.

Gavin Corbett, Green spokesperson on the economy and councillor for Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart

Sacrifice of millions has gone unmarked

UNFORTUNATELY, May 8 passed with not a mention that it was the anniversary of VE Day.

Victory in Europe came after nearly six years of a fearful and vicious war in which 50 million people were killed in the defeat of the greatest threat to civilisation, the evil scourge of fascism that came to power in Germany, Italy and Japan.

It may seem that the non-recognition of May 8, the 68th anniversary of VE Day, doesn’t really matter too much, but the importance of remembering is the lesson to be learned by today’s and future generations to be on guard against a revival.

A Delahoy, Silverknowes Gardens, Edinburgh

Documents fall victim to cuts

THERE seems to be a sudden upsurge of interest in Mary Queen of Scots.

The Marie Stuart Society has called for a statue of the tragic Queen to be funded and erected and the National Museum of Scotland, with its visitor footfall gradually edging towards two million, is preparing a magnificent exhibition at Chambers Street to celebrate the life of a monarch who equally inspired hatred and enduring admiration.

Edinburgh is fortunate that the Scottish Catholic Heritage Collections Trust (aka The Blairs Museum Trust) has generously loaned the Blairs portrait of Queen Mary.

Normally located five miles out of Aberdeen in the tiny sacristy of the beautiful former Blairs College Chapel, the painting was originally left to the Scots College in France by Elizabeth Curle, one of the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting. At Curle’s death it went to the Scots College in Paris but at the time of the French Revolution it was rolled up and hidden up one of the college’s chimneys and so escaped destruction.

Ironically, some 25 letters written by Queen Mary, among the one million Historic Archives destined for Aberdeen University Library, are still deep in the bowels of Columba House, home of the Scottish Catholic Archives in Edinburgh’s Drummond Place. Because of staff shortages Columba House was closed to the public for the last many months and a particularly virulent mould has attacked a number of the antique documents, some dating from 1177 AD.

It is not clear how many documents have been affected nor how long they will take to be fully restored.

In the meantime, historians and researchers, many halfway through projects, degree courses or books, are left hanging in the air.

Michael T R B Turnbull, Orchard Court, Longniddry, East Lothian

Worried by question of care home funds

I AM an 82-year-old man on my own with a disease known as emphysema which makes it hard for me to breathe. I am at the stage where I can’t look after myself, so I will need to go into a care home soon.

Edinburgh City Council has sent me paperwork to the effect I will have to sell my house to pay for this care.

The Queen in her speech a few days ago stated that elderly people would not have to sell their home in order to enter a care home.

Please can you tell Edinburgh City Council that Her Majesty does not tell lies.

Name and address supplied

Visitors contribute millions to economy

Does Clark Cross really believe that welcoming overseas visitors to Scotland will result in thousands of referendum “Yes” voters changing to “No” voters (Letters, May 11)?

Does he not realise that visitors contribute millions of pounds to the Scottish economy?

Why on earth should the people of Scotland resent both the presence of visitors and the many benefits both financial and social that they bring to the country?

If he is referring to migrants, which was the original tack of his letter, then he should learn the difference between “migrants” and “visitors”.

If he is indeed aware of the distinction, which I believe he is, then by twisting the words of “Scottish Government spokesman”, he completely destroys his argument and contributes yet another negative – and erroneous – comment to an already overburdened debate.

In all debates there are positive and negative aspects but please let us at least have an honest one – from both sides of the house.

D McBain, Baberton Mains Row, Edinburgh