Letters: What are traffic plans to deal with Porty Aldi?

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I was reading the article in the Evening News about Aldi (News, December 11).

Congratulations to vice convener, SNP councillor Sandy Howat and the planning committee for voting yes to Aldi supermarket. If he thinks Portobello’s retail is dying, then the rest of the shops will be closing soon.

Aldi will be selling meat, poultry, groceries, fruit and alcohol, which, if he hadn’t noticed, individual shops are already selling along Portobello High Street and Seafield Road East. Nearly every newsagent and grocery shop is licensed. Now Aldi will be selling cheap alcohol.

What has happened to preventing the over-provision of alcohol? And helping small businesses?

I welcome houses on the site but not the superstore. If we need more housing then why can’t we use all the space for that and forget the supermarket? If people wish to shop at Aldi then there is one close by at Musselburgh.

Have the councillors and planning committee not thought about the traffic problems we are already having at the Kings Road junction and Portobello High Street? Adding a supermarket with a car park at this location will bring the traffic into gridlock.

I am sure the public who live and work at this location would like to know what councillors intend to do about the traffic – not forgetting we also have a bus terminal at Seafield Road East, 100 yards or so from the planned Aldi.

Coming from Portobello High Street towards the junction at Kings Road (incidentally, which has five lanes towards Leith, City Bypass and town centre and is just a few yards from the Aldi site), it is very difficult to get into the right lane.

Arfan, Sarwar & Soraya Saleemi, Portobello.

Help is out there for lonely pensioners

I am writing in response to the article “Edinburgh’s pensioners are the loneliest in the country” (News, December 18).

Edinburgh’s mental health charity, Health in Mind, is working to address isolation and loneliness by helping people to enjoy life again.

Knowing we have places to go, people to see and having a good blether can help reduce our feelings of loneliness. As your article mentions, there are groups for older people to get involved with but it is not always that easy to go along to things by yourself. Community Connecting recognises this and we can provide support for people to attend local activities.

If you are feeling lonely and are over 65 years old, Community Connecting is a friendly service that can support you to find out what is going on in your local community; give you a phone on a regular basis to catch up; help you to spend time with and get to know like-minded people or offer you one-to-one support if you need a bit more help.

If you would like to find out more about getting support, or have time on your hands and are willing to share your hobby or interest with others – for example playing chess or dominos with someone in your community – then please get in touch with Alison or Julie on 0131-225 8508, e-mail us at alisonmcghee@health-in-mind.org.uk or juliedick@health-in-mind.or g.uk or write to us at Community Connecting at the address below.

Wendy Bates, Service Manager. Health in Mind, 40 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh EH2 4RT

Blame city’s budget black hole on trams

I must take issue with Mrs Flora Rutherford (Letters, December 22) when she blames the freeze on council tax for the black hole in the council budget.

I think she will find that the “toy train set” imposed on the citizens of Edinburgh via the branch offices of Westminster politicians has, and will have, a far greater impact on council budgetary issues, not just this year but for decades to come.

I must however agree with her concerning a party “who thinks it is in order for the law to be disobeyed and non-payers of poll tax not to be pursued”. She is no doubt referring to the Westminster government who passed this dreadful ruling a couple of decades ago. Thankfully the Scottish Government only adopted this policy recently when it became clear that the cost of continued pursuit would far exceed any sum collected.

D McBain, Edinburgh

Selfless cafe shows true Christmas spirit

I WOULD like to say how touched I was by the article on the Edinburgh cafe Social Bite (News, December 18) which is going to serve Christmas dinner to 400 homeless people.

The surge of support they got from the community is so heartwarming. But donating money is one thing, actually taking action and giving up your own Christmas Day for others is a very selfless and admirable thing.

Well done to cafe owner Josh Littlejohn and his band of helpers – you are wonderful human beings.

Brian Armstrong, Cramond, Edinburgh

Referendum needed over tram extension

I read with considerable dismay that our esteemed councillors have seen fit to vote expenditure of £400,000 on a study to consider the expansion of Edinburgh’s tram network down to Leith (News, December 5).

Given the fiasco over the construction and financing of the tram system to date it is to be hoped that any further expansion of the network will be the subject of a referendum of the council tax-paying citizens of Edinburgh for approval and can I also respectfully suggest that nothing should be done until the current public inquiry under the chairmanship of Lord Hardie has been completed and the findings published for all to see.

Andrew P Gray, Dublin Street, Edinburgh