WHILST I personally had long ago come to the conclusion that Portobello Park was the best site on which to build a new Portobello High School with playing fields (and a site which would also allow for any future re-build), I can well understand why its status as common good land has resulted in such a course of action being ruled illegal by the Court of Session.
There can, of course, be no better “common good” than providing a new high school for a vibrant local community – so perhaps the Scottish Parliament should be looking not so much to “trump” (News, September 14) the considered decision of our judges but rather to provide local communities with the option of a referendum when questions of using common good land for purposes not originally envisaged arise.
That said, I also believe that a high school should, as far as is possible, be in the heart of the community whose name it carries. It is therefore disappointing to see the News does not rate the chances of the option of building a new high school on the former ScottishPower site at the western end of Portobello High Street. I am certain that a school could fit in here – with playing fields immediately adjacent on the site of the council depot off Fishwives’ Causeway.
An agreement could also surely be reached with Powerleague across the High Street to allow use of the all-weather pitches and other facilities there.
Lawrence Marshall, King’s Road, Portobello, Edinburgh
What’s first, land or school pupils?
In respect of the various sites suggested, a lot of people appear to be more interested in grass land than the pupils themselves, so how about building the necessary school on Portobello Park, then when completed flatten the old school and throw some grass seed on the land, then everybody should be happy, shouldn’t they?
David Smith, Carrick Knowe Road, Edinburgh
Get real about the tram project
What planet is Gordon Drummond on (News, September 17)? The tram work has caused no end of problems.
Perhaps he is not aware that we have one of the best bus services in Europe. No, I don’t suppose he does – I wonder when he last travelled by bus?
Linda Wood, Findlay Gardens, Edinburgh
Creative thinking needed for homes
Edinburgh City Council is to be commended for once again thinking creatively about stimulating more housing in the city (News, September 14).
However, the particular issue of providing family housing is more difficult than simply handing over failed urban sites.
Successive plans have ignored the evidence of the demand for family housing in and close to Edinburgh, and families have been pushed out to surrounding council areas as far away as Fife and Falkirk with predictable consequences for commuter traffic.
Land such as the Waterfront did not work as family housing. The land values were too high and drove high-density housing, and the values have yet to fall far enough to make family housing viable.
Simply deferring payment of the land value will not be enough, especially if the council continues to ask developers to pay for all manner of infrastructure and community facilities. Family housing is much more likely to be viable in suburban/edge of town locations.
For proof, look at the rate at which Kirkliston is developing, because it is the closest site to the city where detached family housing is available.
Edinburgh has aspirations to be a modern successful European city. The question it must ask is, where is the workforce of tomorrow going to live?
Brownfield urban sites are far from the whole solution to meeting the demand for housing. The council needs to be more realistic as well as more creative if it is to succeed.
Blair Melville, Homes for Scotland, Edinburgh
Take these with .. er .. some water
I HAD to laugh at Dr Eames’s claims about homeopathic medicines (Keep taking the tablets, News, September 17).
Of course the homeopathic service has a “safety record second to none” and produces no harm. That’s because the so-called medicines have no effect. What would one expect from water?
Steuart Campbell, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh