Letters: So when is a World Heritage Site not a site?

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I have followed, with interest, the correspondence regarding the proposed Caltongate development.

I must admit that, when I see an artist’s impression of any new development, I feel convinced that modern architecture consists of designing either a ‘box’ or a ‘cylinder’. On this occasion, the architects have designed a development where one elevation seems to consist of a box and a cylinder.

On reading the contribution by Frank Ross (News February 4) I am in agreement with some of what he says in that, “This development will create jobs, boost the economy and enhance the sense of community”.

Then I looked at artist’s impression alongside and I do, however, take issue with the proposed design. The creation of jobs could also be achieved if the architects had designed more aesthetically pleasing buildings. The design could easily have incorporated the hotel rooms, business premises, homes and a square.

A few years ago my wife and I visited Bath, also a World Heritage Site, where we took an open-top bus tour of the city. During the on-board commentary it was pointed out that, due to their World Heritage status, there were very strict constraints on new buildings. One of these being that any new building should have the facade in stone that matched the remainder of the area.

I did not note whether the building had to conform to a certain height and roof design, but it looked like it.

The interior could be as modern as the developer or customer required. These constraints were put in place to preserve the precious World Heritage Site status. Outside the perimeter the architects were allowed to design the more modern, glass, concrete and steel structures we are more accustomed to.

Maybe Edinburgh should define the perimeter of the World Heritage Site and impose stringent restrictions within this area.

I am not sure if these new buildings will put the World Heritage Site status at serious risk but I feel that, should it be lost, then it will be almost impossible to regain this precious status.

Colin J Oliver, by email

Yes to healthy hearts, no to vivisection

People who are considering contributing to the British Heart Foundation’s recent fundraising day Ramp Up The Red, deserve to know that their kind donations could be used to fund vivisection.

The BHF funds research on animals and the victims of this have included dogs, pigs and goats. Yet for all the suffering it causes, animal research offers little hope of advancing medical progress, since fundamental differences between species mean that the results cannot be reliably applied to humans.

There are numerous non-animal methods of conducting research into heart disease, including the use of ethically-derived human cells, computer modelling, microfluidics and high resolution scanning.

The BHF needs to focus solely on such techniques, which, unlike animal experiments, are directly relevant to humans.

For more information and to find out which charities fund animal experiments, visit www.victimsofcharity.org or contact Animal Aid (01732-364 546 or isobel@animalaid.co.uk)

Isobel Hutchinson, campaigner, Animal Aid

My birthright is to be Scots and independent

IN reply to Chas Dennis’ letter (‘Don’t give up our British citizenship birthright’, News, February 4) one thinks that our birthright was to be Scottish, not British as you infer.

The parliaments of Scotland and England were conjoined due to an act of almost treachery by the nobles and titled of this old nation of ours to suit their own needs - or should I say greed.

As for independence being tantamount to creating a Berlin wall, I have heard some truly remarkable statements in this great debate of ours but that takes a bit of beating.

I have on more than one occasion travelled from the Republic of Ireland to the North, which is under Westminster rule and all I saw at the border were cattle, sheep, rabbits, crows and squirrels.

These creatures, I assure you, were not there to prevent any movement of people searching for work, health or education.

Do not many eastern Europeans have free movement in this island, which the people who are saying it is a totally Scottish affair, shall curtail if they have a referendum to exit the EU?

It is these people who would relish a Berlin wall, not the welcoming Scots. My birthright is to be Scots, independent and equal - soon, I very much hope.

George Robertson, Magdalene Avenue, Edinburgh

It’s our right to choose life or otherwise

Condemning public support for assisted suicide, Mrs June Fleming (letters, 4 February), claims that life is a precious gift from her God, and that “he is the only one to decide when to give and take life, no-one else.”

Not too long ago a scratch on a rusty nail could kill. Was it God who stopped that or penicillin? Given her logic does Mrs Fleming thereby condemn her namesake, Sir Alexander Fleming, whose discovery has saved and is saving countless lives?

As one who watched both his parents wither away and die in terrible pain, I wonder if Mrs Fleming considers cancer to be a ‘precious gift’ from her God? If that is an example of ‘God’s love’, they are no God I would ever wish to follow.

Our lives are just that - ours. They are not the property of the state, far less of any religion. As such it should be our decision what to do with them, including ending them if quality of life is gone.

Leslie John Thomson, Moredunvale Green, Edinburgh