Letters: Lib Dems fail the test over replacement high school

James Gillespie's is to be replaced
James Gillespie's is to be replaced
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The planning committee at Edinburgh City Council will shortly be considering the proposals for the new James Gillespie’s High School.

A number of meetings have been held with local residents to explore the issues that the new build presents.

Having reviewed the paper-work I find it curious that one of the most significant discussions that took place (at a meeting in the high school on May 12) has not been formally recorded. At that meeting a vote was held to determine who was in favour of the proposal, particularly that element that sees the main linear building stretch along the length of Lauderdale Street. Most of those present voted against this.

However, we arrived at the next meeting to hear the architect make it clear that the proposal to have the linear building run the length of Lauderdale Street would remain.

At the same meeting I pointed out that an independent report undertaken in 2007 showed that the walls of the present school building were sound and that reconditioning the existing structure would be a viable option bringing a further 25 years life to the school as it stands. Such an option would save the taxpayer millions of pounds, but nobody seems to be interested.

Education convener Marilyne MacLaren has recently boasted in her party’s newsletter about securing the new high school for the community, aiming to score points over Labour in the process. The costs and the impact on local residents don’t seem to concern her.

This is an example of why the Lib Dems are a busted flush both locally and nationally.

David Catto, Lauderdale Street, Edinburgh

Reinvest funds in a lasting legacy

IN evidence submitted to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee this week, the Royal Society of Edinburgh is entirely right – given the huge financial pressures we now face – to urge the Scottish Government to re-assess its spending priorities more fundamentally.

Restructuring Scottish Water would free up a substantial sum of money which I would argue should be reinvested in priority areas of capital investment.

The Scottish Government has earmarked direct loans to Scottish Water worth £440 million over the next three years.

Re-investing this money to bolster the Government’s capital budget would support skills, jobs and capacity in Scotland’s important construction industry, while creating a lasting legacy in the shape of the core infrastructure our economy needs for future growth.

Michael Levack, Chief Executive, Scottish Building Federation, Edinburgh

Take blinkers off with poll options

THE furore which there seems to be around the Scottish Government’s proposal for a multi-option referendum on our nation’s future is surprising, especially given the international precedents for this.

Multi-option referendums on constitutional change have been undertaken in a number of places. The establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1997 was itself based on a referendum containing three options.

Most political questions are multi-optional and, as is the case in Scotland, when there are a number of constitutional arrangements to choose from we should not be so blinkered as to close these down.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

City can’t match foreign markets

EDINBURGH has the potential to be a leading tourist destination during the Christmas and New Year period.

However, I am considering a trip to a European Christmas market such as those in Frankfurt or Vienna. The markets on the continent are far superior to anything held in Edinburgh.

If someone had the vision to put on a market to rival the European ones then Edinburgh could turn Christmas into a very profitable event.

European markets often have 400-500 wooden chalets in one location and often more than one in a city. Imagine the whole of the top walk and the hard standing area in West Princes Street Garden covered with chalets. That would be my kind of market.

Alastair Macintyre, Webster Place, Rosyth