Letters: modernisers have no place in Old Town

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Have your say

WHAT a pity the city’s planning department has given the go-ahead for the “SoCo” development (News, December 22).

When fire ripped through the Old Town it brought a sad end to much-loved features of the landscape, such as La Belle Angele.

However, it also created an opportunity to build something new that we can be proud of, and something that would not look out of place in the World Heritage Site.

But what we have been offered instead is an ugly edifice that will stick out among its older neighbours like a blackened tooth marring an otherwise pleasing smile.

Does Edinburgh really need a 259-bedroom hotel? And would an area which is already often the scene of rowdy behaviour at night benefit from yet more pubs and clubs?

What attracts so many visitors to Edinburgh is its traditional look, not the ugly modern architecture which is a blight on so many cities around the world. Please keep modernist meddlers out of the Old Town.

William Marshall, Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh

School’s future raises questions

IF the council was confident of its legal right to build the new Portobello High School on the park it would be dispensing with delay tactics. Portobello Park Action Group asked the council to resolve the issue jointly in court two years ago and surprisingly the council elected not to take this route.

I would have thought that the council should have a robust process for building on common good land. It has certainly seized every opportunity it can to do so.

Has it simply relied on the complacency of the public in the past and now is in the unusual position of facing a legal challenge on it from a group with the determination and fundraising capability to actually be in a position to stand up to the council?

Is a public park the best place to build a school? The footprint of the new school fits in the existing site and research suggests that decamping children during a rebuild, can actually see an improvement in exam results.

So who benefits from building the school on the park?

Certainly the council will benefit from the sale of the existing site but as I understand it, the budget is there to build a new school, so there is no reason to believe the children of Portobello will not get one.

It seems to me this debate is not school or no school, it’s park or no park.

J Peters, Duddingston Crescent, Edinburgh

All aboard the happy bus home

A NUMBER of Lothian buses bear the legend “After a good night out, we’ll take you home” on their sides.

This conjures up a picture of batches of merry bus drivers bounding aboard their double deckers full of good cheer, humming the odd carol and perhaps allowing passengers to travel free in the spirit of Christmas.

As this happens, one can envisage the sober passengers on the lower decks nervously checking out the exits.

All this is, of course, precisely the opposite of what the message, and the bus, is intended to convey.

May I suggest a rewrite of the slogan thus: “After a night out, you’ll be safe with us.” It puts the onus of having the night out squarely where it belongs – on the passengers.

Roderick MacFarquhar, Viewforth Gardens, Edinburgh

Glad we stayed out of euro-land

A REPORT from the Economic and Social Research Institute indicating that Ireland will see 75,000 people leaving its shores next year in search of work is truly devastating.

That is catastrophic for a country that has an official unemployment rate of 15 per cent, double that of Britain.

With VAT set to rise in Ireland to 23 per cent, there is every likelihood of the four years of recession turning into a depression.

For as long as Ireland retains membership of the euro there is no way out.

The European Union is already dictating the terms of the Irish budgets and it looks like there will have to be another IMF-EU bailout. Thank goodness we never joined the euro here in Scotland, despite Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond backing membership.

M Smythe, Dalry Road, Edinburgh