Letters: Development Plan will deliver new homes now

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Have your say

John McLennan’s agenda piece (‘In Whose Back Yard’, News, June 13) is superficially attractive but contains a number of flaws.

Essentially his argument is that the City of Edinburgh Council should tear up its proposed Local Development Plan (LDP) in favour of one ‘big bang’ development - David Murray’s West Edinburgh Garden District.

The LDP has taken years of preparation, consultation with communities and detailed discussions at council level. While a lengthy approach, some of the proposed development sites identified in the LDP are ready to go, and badly needed new homes can, therefore, be built speedily.

If the council adopted his approach, the whole process would potentially have to start from scratch, leaving families with lengthy waits for a much-needed home.

His article raises the issue of transport difficulties in the west of the city. Yes, they exist, but to build 3500 homes solely in one area could undoubtedly exacerbate those problems.

He also suggests that the people of Cammo don’t want flats or indeed houses, where they have open views. While true, no doubt when the current Cammo homes were built the same argument would have applied. Indeed Scottish Natural Heritage in their assessment of what is proposed at Cammo, state “The proposal, if delivered, could provide a multi-functional green infrastructure with landscape, amenity and recreational benefits, connecting both through the site and beyond”.

And Architecture and Design Scotland’s assessment of the Cammo proposal welcomes “the establishment of a strong framework of masterplan and design code to guide development of this prominent gateway site for Edinburgh. It is encouraging that this has been influenced by an analysis of landscape and place.”

No doubt the West Edinburgh Garden District’s time will come, but what is needed are homes now. And that is particularly true of the 170 affordable houses that will be built as part of the Cammo development.

Hazel Sears, Halliday Fraser Munro Chartered Architects and Planning Consultants, Stanhope Place Edinburgh

Gender equality should be taught in schools

As William Hague convenes ministers from around the world at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, women in South Sudan are being tied up and raped as they try to seek safety from the conflict there.

Women in war zones are particularly vulnerable to abuse and violence – but the everyday attitudes that lead to these attacks are alive here in our own community. A UK poll revealed that nearly one in three girls (29%) has experienced unwanted sexual touching in our schools.

I am a supporter of CARE International UK whose work to engage men and boys to break cycles of violence and abuse – both during and after conflict – is already creating real, lasting change.

I urge readers to persuade William Hague to show political leadership and commit to ensuring that teaching on gender equality and ending violence against women is included on the national curriculum in schools in the UK and around the world.

Please visit www.careinternational.org.uk to join the campaign.

I Nicholson, India Street, Edinburgh

Scotland could not afford a bank bail-out

May I say to Mr Allan regarding his letter on the economics of bank bail-outs (News, June 16) that it has never been claimed that the bail-outs were funded out of Westminster capital.

Of course they borrowed heavily. The actual cost of purchasing the shares of RBS and Lloyds banking group was £76 billion. The rest was indemnifying against losses in providing liquidity support and guaranteeing wholesale borrowing by banks to strengthen liquidity. The total in 2008 came to about £850 billion.

Mr Allan claims that, just like Westminster had to borrow, an independent Scotland would be able to borrow in the event of a similar crisis. If Scotland had been independent when RBS and Lloyds had to be bailed out, who does Mr Allan think would lend a newly independent country with a population of 5.5million, £76 billion - a sum roughly equivalent to its annual GDP?

Donald Lewis, Beech Hill, Gifford,

East Lothian

Unionist politicians are Scotland’s shame

IT was more than a little ironic that the leaders of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Scottish Labour Party and the Scottish Conservatives chose to gather at the National Monument on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill to mark their joint support for more powers in the event of a ‘no’ vote (June 17).

Construction of what is known as ‘Edinburgh’s Disgrace’ began in 1826 as a memorial to those Scots who died during the Napoleonic Wars, but was left unfinished little more than three years later due to lack of funds.

And given the different approaches of these parties to more powers for the Scottish Parliament, the chances of any of these paltry offerings being delivered is equally as remote.

In the run-up to the 1979 referendum to establish a Scottish Assembly the Tories promised a stronger devolution offering, should this be rejected at the polls.

While a narrow majority of Scots voted for an Assembly, this was not enacted due to the infamous 40% rule and instead of an Assembly we got 18 years of Margaret Thatcher’s government.

We would be very foolish to rely on promises from unionist parties, who have been dragged to the table as the independence polls narrow, and nothing being offered can match the full economic, social and other key powers that independence brings.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh