Letters: St Leonard’s deserves better

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I strongly support Sheila Gilmore’s stout defence of her views on the proposed five-storey student housing block at the Homebase site in St Leonard’s Street.

I was proud to be a member of the city council which provided hundreds of council and housing association flats in the Pleasance and St Leonard’s area in the eighties and nineties.

This action preserved the area as a balanced community, a balance which is now in danger of being overwhelmed by over development of student housing.

This is not to be anti-student. Having come to Edinburgh many years ago as a student myself, I believe most students want to live in genuine mixed communities rather than student ghettos.

John McLellan’s unquestioning support (News, February 21) for whatever third rate development comes along in Edinburgh is unworthy of someone with such a distinguished journalistic career.

Robert Cairns, Harrietfield, Perth

Student housing is growing too fast

JOHN McLELLAN attacked Sheila Gilmore’s opinion that the Southside has too many purpose-built student flats in the area (News, February 21).

There are already quite a few at the Deaconess Hospital, Sciennes, Clerk Street and Buccleuch Street where the bowling green at Boroughloch used to be.

Now there are a proposed 240 at Lutton Court, 102 at Buccleuch Street and a five-storey at Homebase, also Chalmers Crescent and other areas across the city.

I hope to attend the bid for planning on March 12.

Perhaps the Evening News could let us know how many there would be in total, as the council do not seem to be aware that the area will be pushed past 60 per cent, which is against their policy.

E McNeill, Livingstone Place, Edinburgh

Historic part of the city is being damaged

I ENJOYED reading John McLellan’s dig at Sheila Gilmore, referring to building student accommodation on the Homebase site at St Leonards.

About 40 years ago the site was a thriving street with one of Edinburgh’s oldest pubs, the Castle O’Clouts, which was demolished by a couldn’t care less council and with no resistance from heritage groups, who have been very silent in resisting any obejections to replacing listed buildings in St Leonards.

Sheila is quite right, St Leonard’s Street has been damaged too many times.

Norman Liddle, St Leonard’s Street, Edinburgh

Holes in Standard Life’s quit threat

How do we account for the fact that Standard Life suggests it may leave Edinburgh in the event of a ‘Yes’ result a mere 24 hours after trumpeting a £75 million vote of confidence in the form of a shopping mall development in St Andrew Square? The two positions are incompatible. Can we have an assurance that they won’t just demolish the listed buildings then pull out, leaving the city with an unsightly hole in the ground for years to come. Mind you, given the modernist horror they’re proposing to put up, that might just be the least worst option!

David J Black, Edinburgh

Long wait for trams is a price worth paying

Now that full route testing of the trams has begun and with full passenger service to start in the spring, I note that Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow are considering a light rail service (they don’t call it trams) of their own.

These were the cities that were enjoying Edinburgh’s discomfort during the construction period, the endless road works, utility diversions, contractual dispute, congestion and the cost, but the city stuck it out despite all the criticism and will soon have the best integrated public transport system in Scotland and, outside of London. among the best in the UK.

That leads me to the old saying (updated for gender balance) that he or she who laughs last laughs best.

George Ritchie North Gyle Terrace Edinburgh

Miller threatens to take Paxman away!

When does a threat become a promise? The UK Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, speaking at Oxford said, “We have to think what the (independence referendum) vote is about. It’s about whether or not Scotland wants to remain part of the UK.

“If the vote is no, they don’t want to do that, then it’s a vote to leave the institutions of the UK, and the BBC is one of those institutions.”

So, if we vote to separate, she says, we lose the BBC... that’s really throwing the toys out of the pram, isn’t it!

I had an immediate vision of the good life without that venerable institution - EastEnders no more, the Dimbleby brothers no more... no more licence fees wasted on Britain’s got (no) talent or Jeremy Paxman.

No The Archers or Nicholas Parsons - and the broad, sunlit uplands of broadcasting beckoned for one glorious moment.

I imagined my pen hovering above the ‘Yes’ box in the autumn referendum, until I contemplated the probable reality of a weather forecast being delivered in 18th century Gaelic, with subtitles in English - for the hard-of-hearing, like me.

Back to the drawing board!

David Fiddimore, Nether Craigwell, Calton Road, Edinburgh