Letters: No evidence to back up park claims

Stephen Hawkins is opposed to building on the park. Picture: Dan Phillips
Stephen Hawkins is opposed to building on the park. Picture: Dan Phillips
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REGARDING the article on the consideration of the Portobello Park private bill (“Disputed Portobello 
 Park school site ‘is 99 per cent empty’”, News, October 10), the park usage figure was an unsubstantiated claim made by a keen supporter of building on the park and one where no evidence was provided as back up.

The usage of the park, especially when there is no comparison to similar parks, is an indicator of the lack of investment over the years.

Similarly, the reported statement that 70 per cent support is an overwhelming outcome is a much repeated exaggeration. What was made clear though is that many people have been led to believe that this contentious issue is summed up by the phrase “Are you for the school or not?” with no recognition of the alternative sites.

Last Wednesday, the parliamentary committee was taking evidence about the principle of a private bill being used to circumvent a legal ruling that will affect, as Edinburgh City Council admits, the whole of Scotland. The way the council failed to ensure it had the power to do what it wanted, and how it now looks to the Scottish Parliament to get it out of the mess it has created, should be the headline.

Stephen Hawkins, West Brighton Crescent, Edinburgh

Time to decide who’s right over clutter

Since my original letter was published on the October 9 (“City does a rubbish job of clearing up clutter”), there have been two subsequent letters in complete agreement with the issues I raised.

Allied to the general public opinion of the state Edinburgh is in, would Councillor Hinds, along with director of services for communities Mark Turley, have a rethink and arrange a meeting with me, so it could be determined once and for all who is actually accurate in there assessment of the situation? We both can’t be correct and it would give Cllr Hinds an opportunity to judge if the information she is receiving from council officials is accurate or, indeed, fabricated.

So, Cllr Hinds, are you prepared to do what you are elected to do, ie represent the people of Edinburgh, or do you insist on sticking your head in the sand? It is up to you.

David Black, Kenmure Avenue, Edinburgh

Pupils showed no manners on bus trip

On boarding a lower decker bus at 
the foot of Leith Walk which happened to be crowded mainly with school children on an outing to the Castle, my friend, who has a walking stick, and I, both in our seventies, proceeded to the end of the bus where a teacher stood up to give my friend a seat.

The noise was ear-splitting and not one child stood up to give an adult a seat. When they got off the bus most people passed a remark that they were glad they were not going any further due to the noise.

One passenger on the bus got it right when he said that if they learned no manners at home they certainly were not learning any at school.

Name & address supplied

We took the lead on pet blessing service

Your article on October 11 (“Church to host first ever sermon for pets”) was interesting but slightly inaccurate, in that churches like ours at Kelso North and Ednam in the Scottish Borders have been having services for the blessing of pets for a number of years, and we will be having such a service on October 20.

I can commend such services to any churches perhaps thinking of coming on board. They are very meaningful and fun. The first year we held such a service, Freddie the horse came along, but he remained outside for the service. At the end of the service, it had been a wise decision . . .

Reverend Tom McDonald, The Manse, 20 Forestfield, Kelso

Lack of consistency 
in secularist stance

I have read with interest recent correspondence concerning secularism in your columns. Secularism is, obviously, an ideology.

Is there not an inconsistency in the opinions of those who, in the interests of a ‘level playing field’, insist that this ideology be imposed on Scottish 
society?

Is that level playing field not better served by secularist chaplains taking their place in public forums, alongside representatives of other traditions, religious and otherwise?

Reverend Canon Dr Michael Fuller, Grosvenor Crescent, Edinburgh

Haymarket junction is on the right track

TAKING advantage of the fact the junction at Haymarket was now free from tram works (“Tram barrier removal ‘is the business’ say traders”, News, October 12), I decided to take a drive there on Saturday afternoon – and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.

There seems to be a better use of the space for the lanes of traffic, with the ‘stop’ lines further down Morrison Street than they were previously.

It was also pleasing to see the war memorial in such good condition, showing that despite the huge amounts of money and troubles endured with the tram project, there is still the desire to embrace the city’s history.

Of course, it’s easy to have a junction flowing well with just road traffic using it – it will be interesting to see how successful it proves once the trams start operating.

I’ve not been a supporter of the trams ever since the project was announced, but I’m delighted to see the city’s streets returning to some sort of normality for the first time in many years.

Now if we could just sort out the potholes . . .

Allan Davidson, Gogarloch Haugh, Edinburgh