Letters: Ditch village mentality and board tram to the future

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Now that the cost of the tram project is back in the news, let’s put the price in perspective relative to other rail projects in the UK.

In London, a rail link between Heathrow and Gatwick (Heathwick) is proposed at a cost of £5 billion. Crossrail is estimated to cost £16bn.

Extensions to the Croydon tram link, Docklands Light Railway and the Underground brings the total cost to around £25bn at today’s prices. That’s £5bn less than the entire Scottish budget.

Newcastle’s Metro and the tram systems in Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield are all spending millions in extensions and upgrades.

I accept that the Edinburgh project has been badly handled, but light rail projects don’t come cheap and until this city rids itself of its village mentality and provincial outlook, it will fall behind other cities’ transport systems in the years ahead.

With an increasing population, a modern integrated public transport is essential in Edinburgh as the buses won’t be able to cope.

George Ritchie, North Gyle Terrace, Edinburgh

Question over council expertise

IF Councillor Mackenzie recognises that he has neither the technical nor legal expertise for the trams project then why do he and his Lib Dem group on the council think that things will be better with the massive outsourcing of council services via their “Alternative Business Models” programme?

Given the breadth of services being privatised, is there a councillor out there with the required expertise in the diverse fields of parks maintenance, human resources, fleet maintenance, refuse collection and all the legal skills required?

It is one thing to end in court with contractors while no trams run along Princes Street, but it is altogether another if our bins do not get emptied.

Luke Henderson, Polwarth Crescent, Edinburgh

Builders from old school did better

REGARDING the new Portobello school, all the protagonists agree that a new building is necessary.

For 25 years I lived close to the present Portobello High School and my children were educated in it.

Within a year of its opening in 1964 the cladding started to fall off, and serious faults have occurred ever since.

The building is less than 50 years old, yet many city schools are more than 100 years old and still robust.

I hope the 1964 architects and builders are not entrusted with the new school, but we are still saddled with an inept council.

DR Watt, Bellevue Place, Edinburgh

Changes better for our patients

I AM writing to respond to your article “City cancer ward faces cutbacks” (News, September 12) and subsequent letters which have since appeared.

I would like to clarify for your readers, Ward 6 at the Western General will not be closed at the weekends. We have been redesigning our oncology service to enhance the care we are able to offer our patients.

Improvements have led to a reduction in the length of stay for many patients, and an increase in the number of patients who can be treated without the need for an overnight stay.

These changes mean we are able to manage the same volume of patients in Ward 6 over five rather than seven days.

This does not mean that we will see fewer patients, nor does it mean that those who are there over the weekend will be dispersed to other parts of the hospital.

It simply means that routine surgery will be planned Monday to Friday. Those patients who do need to stay over the weekend will remain on the ward and will still be looked after by the staff on Ward 6.

Jackie Sansbury, chief operating officer, NHS Lothian

Get on your bike and off the Prom

I AM disgusted at the lifting of the cycling ban on Portobello Promenade. A bike is a vehicle – keep them on the road.

Colin Smail, Viewforth Gardens, Bruntsfield