Letters: Old school methods can teach us a lesson

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GOOD to see progress being made (at last) in the epic saga of a new Portobello High School (Evening News, January 10). I think that too many people in the area have been putting their own interests ahead of the most important issue at hand – the education of our children.

There is still an abundance of green space around Edinburgh which can be enjoyed by residents – and this will continue to be the case for many years to come.

I hope when construction starts of the replacement school, consideration will be given to materials and design that will allow not just a fit-for-purpose modern school with all the features we consider necessary for a 21st education, but one which will stand the test of time.

The current Porty High was built only 50 years ago and is well past its best, yet it is bounded by houses built decades before that which still have plenty of life left in them.

Similarly, there are schools still standing in Edinburgh which were put up more than a century ago which still stand strong.

These are, of course, design elements in those old buildings which are inappropriate for modern times.

But could we not have a look at the structure and design of those schools which have in many ways lasted so well, and marry them with architectural plans for the modern day so that we get the best of both worlds?

If you buy a new house as a young adult, you would rightly be disappointed to find it falling apart around you as you approach retirement age.

Since we as taxpayers are all funding new schools, we should expect the highest of standards to be factored into a building which will be fit for educating our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Kate Colquhoun, Northfield, Edinburgh

Tram project built slowly but safely

Regarding your article “Icons built faster than the trams” (News, January 9), you omitted to mention by far the most important statistic of all – that nobody was killed during the construction of the tram line or as far as I know there were no serious accidents. That is not the case for some of the other icons.

Eleven were killed in the construction of the Golden Gate bridge, while five were killed putting up the Empire State Building.

As your article, states more than 60 were killed during the construction of the Forth Bridge.

There were probably countless accidents as there are no details available. The stringent health and safety rules we have now did not apply then.

One death is more than all the years taken and money it cost to the families of the workers. On a lighter note, you comment on the respective times it takes the bus and tram to reach the city centre.

The difference is the time the tram takes (35 minutes) is guaranteed as it travels off road from the airport to Haymarket and then is given priority in the city.

The bus time (30 minutes) is not guaranteed as it has to travel through St Johns Road with its six sets of traffic lights in half a mile and is the most congested street in Edinburgh, particularly during the rush hour and of course it is not given priority in the city.

I contacted a senior member of the council regarding the frequency of the 100 airport bus, travelling from Maybury to Haymarket. Seven passed me in less than 30 minutes going west.

I got a swift reply saying the airlink service made a profit, but no comment on the frequency.

I always assumed the frequency was four to five a half hour, but if these times are to be maintained when the trams start there is no way the Airlink bus can make a profit.

George Ritchie, North Gyle Terrace, Edinburgh

Devil dog owner escaped lightly

It’s deeply sad that a sheep had its throat ripped apart by two “devil dogs” (Dog owner to keep sheep attack Staffie, Evening News, January 9).

A court heard that Neil Fairgrieve, the owner of the dogs, watched on as the defenceless sheep was attacked by one of his Staffordshire bull terriers.

A gamekeeper had witnessed the attack through a pair of binoculars and rushed to the scene, but sadly was unable to save the sheep, which had to be put down because it was so badly injured.

Fairgrieve should have had his dogs on a lead and under control. He denied to the gamekeeper that he had allowed his dogs to roam the moorland, but pleaded guilty at Haddington Sheriff Court.

No doubt Fairgrieve got off far too lightly and should have been caged as well as fined £200.

June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian

Oil operators know best over the future

I WAS interested in the letter from Alan McLay (January 7) on the mere £10 billion per annum revenue produced from the North Sea oil operators.

Having retired from the oil industry some years ago, it was interesting to read in latest BP newsletter that they and three major oil companies have invested £4.5bn in a project to attract oil from islands in the west of Scotland.

This will produce 120,000 barrels of oil per days for many years to come.

Maybe Colin Fox and Nicola Sturgeon have more faith in our oil companies’ capabilities to produce revenue than Mr McLay.

Wake up Scotland – don’t believe everything the ‘No’ campaign tells you.

K Pollard, Grange Loan, Edinburgh