Letters: Rising house prices are not a sign of progress

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Your analysis of the implications for the housing market under independence (‘What effect on property?’ News, September 1) was of interest, but unfortunately cited a 6.8 per cent annual rise in house prices as a sign that the market is ‘on the up’ and implying that this is somehow good news.

Try telling that to the many thousands of people in Edinburgh and the Lothians who are forced to rent a home because they can’t afford to buy.

Above-inflation increases year after year simply make home ownership a more distant dream for such people, perpetuating and embedding inequality between the haves and the have-nots.

Whether we become independent or gain more powers, we need to recognise as a society that keeping housing as cheap and affordable as possible has the effect of freeing up money for savings, investments and other pursuits, such as living an enjoyable life.

It is true, of course, that compared to, say, the south east of England, Scottish homes are still relatively affordable, so let’s work together to develop the policies and tools to make sure we never find ourselves in such an extreme position.

If we’re really all committed to tackling inequality, then access to housing has plenty of scope for improvement.

Jim Orr, Independent councillor for Southside Newington

Edinburgh lacks integrated transport

By no stretch of the imagination will the new Edinburgh travel card be similar to the London Oyster Card (News, September 1).

When I lived in London, in pre-Oyster days, I had an annual travel pass which I could use on the underground, on buses and on the trains.

My first experience of the lack of ‘joined-up travel’ in Edinburgh was on a weekend visit when I discovered, as do many visitors, that a return ticket was only valid on the vehicles of the company from which it was purchased.

That experience cost me £5 for two £1 tickets as I also discovered the delights of ‘exact money only’.

When I returned to London I made a point of counting the number of bus companies operating along the Strand as I travelled from Liverpool Street Station to Regent Street on my way to work - I counted seven, though there may have been more. I still manage the same flexibility as I have a Visitor’s Oyster Card.

Now I live in this area, I feel totally frustrated by the blinkered attitude to travel, especially bus travel.

Lothian Buses is not the only bus company. First serve my village, though, sadly with a reduced service, and there are many other smaller companies providing travel into the centre.

When will Edinburgh grow up and provide a properly integrated travel service? The sun, moon and stars do not revolve round Lothian Buses.

Mrs Morag Burton, Dean Park, Newtongrange, Dalkeith

We need to look again at Craighouse plans

The third version of proposals for the unique Craighouse site goes before the council’s planning committee on September 3.

The two previous proposals were withdrawn after more than 2000 letters of objection were received.

Craighouse is a remarkable and special site. Action is needed to maintain the historic A-listed 16th and 19th century buildings and the community accepts this.

What they and we can’t accept is the developer’s insistence that they need to build more than 80 new homes to make renovating the existing buildings financially viable.

Their own figures show that renovation of the existing buildings alone would return a profit of over £1 million.

Of course, as the head of planning has noted previously, “Any proposed new development on the site would be contrary to the current development plan, because of the open space and landscape value designations on the site.”

There is an alternative proposal from local business people to secure a long-term, viable future for this much-loved site without the negative impacts on wildlife, woodland, local amenities and traffic, as well as the threat to drainage and flooding, which is already a problem in the area.

It is essential that this alternative proposal for the Craighouse site is given every consideration and that preserving and enhancing this unique site for this and future generations of our citizens is at the heart of the decision- making process.

Alison Johnstone MSP, Jim Eadie MSP, Scottish Parliament, Holyrood

Capital views do not reflect all of Scotland

It is fascinating listening to people in the capital city talk about the ‘certainty’ of a ‘No’ vote.

We live in a busy, vibrant and booming city. The rest of Scotland, Aberdeen excepted, does not. There are a large number of English people living and very welcome in Edinburgh - in spite of everything! The streets of Edinburgh are fine for seeking the views of tourists, business people and the middle class.

That does not represent the Scottish nation. Scotland is a country scarred by multiple deprivation, town centres ruined by Thatcher, people on benefits struggling to survive. My daughter will see her Disability Living Allowance slashed and we are ‘better together’?

Forget it - now’s the time to grab freedom with both hands and not rely on London handouts. I get embarrassed watching the apologist Alistair Darling defending Tory policies. He should get on what are allegedly very busy planes, trains and automobiles all leaving on 19/09 after the ‘Yes’ vote!

If the central belt turns out in sufficient numbers to vote, it is game over for the ‘No’ campaign. If turnout hits 83 per cent, then, as Winnie Ewing said, “Stop the world, Scotland is getting on”.

David Coutts, Cramond Road North, Edinburgh