Letters: Setting planning record straight on Fruitmarket

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John McLellan seems to think there is an inconsistency between my criticism of the loss of green land in the Local Development Plan (LDP) and my observations about the Fruitmarket site at Chesser (‘Long haul for housing’, News, June 27).

He has misled your readers, so let me explain. Green oases are part of what makes Edinburgh special. While there may be cases where wider community benefit and views can justify use of a green site, in most cases we lose them at our peril.

So the city has to sweat brownfield sites as much as it can, in order to meet the urgent need for more affordable housing. Once bloated Scottish Government requirements are scaled back, it seems that existing sites (and better use of empty homes) can meet the city’s housing needs.

That applies to the Fruitmarket site, which has been empty and an eyesore for over a decade. It needs to be brought into use.

The Local Plan earmarks it as a housing-only site. That is why, in 2011, planning officers recommended refusal when a proposal for a Morrisons was put forward, only for planning committee to overturn that recommendation.

Subsequently, Morrisons pulled out, presumably because with ASDA across the road, a new Sainsbury round the corner at Longstone and another just along Gorgie Road, the area is already at saturation with retail.

But now we will get a retail park at Chesser, with knock-on effects for what remains of local shops in Gorgie and Slateford. There will be 114 new homes when the site could have had up to 300 homes and just as much affordable housing. That is why, to correct Mr McLellan, I backed the housing element, but not the retail element.

In other words, my critique of the Local Development Plan is precisely why I voted the way I did on the Fruitmarket site.

Nigel Bagshaw, Green councillor for Inverleith

EU-USA trade deal poses GM health fears

Chlorine-washed chickens (Letters, July 21)) on your plate ain’t even half of what’s going to happen with the EU-USA trade deal currently being ‘negotiated’.

Under the guise of ‘food safety’ GM foods, devised by American drug giants to gain Patents over our food (and therefore massive profits) are widespread in America.

Despite huge resistance and sensational suppression to hide the dangers of such artificial foods, they are being steam-rollered across the globe.

Prof Pusztai of Aberdeen (sacked when he revealed the unwanted results of his GM potatoes) and Prof Seralini of France, only recently, have shown that GM foods can produce cancerous tumours in rats.

Of course, their studies were attacked by huge vested interests.

In America there is a huge fight between the general population - who don’t want GM foods, wanting them all labelled - and the drug giants who do not want them labelled.

These massive vested interests recognise that labelling their GM products would be like ‘putting a skull and crossbones on our foods’.

If you are at all interested in your own or your children’s health, you have to keep uptodate with the dangers of GM foods. Contact GM Watch at editor@gmwatch.eu to get their free newsletters and become informed.

Something big money interests don’t want you to be!

Alan Hunter, Morningside, Edinburgh

Don’t exclude rest of the UK from Scotland

I am Welsh and my wife is Scottish. Our daughter, who has two children is married to a Scotsman and we all live in England. We are proud of our Welsh and Scottish roots and also proud to be British.

I hope your readers will understand why we consider the prospect of a ‘Yes’ vote in Scotland with some trepidation as we are concerned that if Scotland goes independent, we will feel that we will be treated as foreigners in what we have considered until now as our own country.

Interestingly, the recent education debate prompted by fears of Islamic fundamentalism has evoked a demand for a return to (if not the promotion of) ‘British values’ and there has been some discussion as to what these are. The consensus appears to be that these include democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech and tolerance of and respect for the views of those with whom you disagree.

Conversely, the abuse of JK Rowling for her support of the ‘Better Together’ campaign reveals a less attractive side of the nationalist campaign. Indeed, any argument over the economic impact of independence, if negative, is written off by independence supporters as bullying.

We would, therefore, urge those entitled to vote in the forthcoming referendum (which, for understandable reasons, we are not) to spare a thought for those of us who fear they are about to be excluded from participation in the affairs of a Scotland they love.

David T Morgan MBE TD, Cheyne Gardens, London

Better together for cost sharing papers

Gavin Fleming (Letters, 25 June) complains about his taxpayer’s money being spent on Better Together propaganda. Who does he think paid for the Scottish Government’s White Paper on Independence?

At least with the Better Together booklet the costs will be spread over all 65million population in the UK, whilst Scots alone will have to bear the costs of the White Paper.

Donald Lewis, Gifford, East Lothian