‘B&Bs should not be forced out of market’

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YOU may think the news of three new hotels opening in Edinburgh has little interest for city residents – those who live here already are unlikely to ever set foot through the doors after all.

But the announcement of the new Ibis hotels today is indicative of more than just another few places for weary travellers to lay their heads.

Hotels opening are a barometer of economic activity and it is a real sign of confidence in the city which should cheer us all.

Today’s news comes just a week after the Evening News reported plans for a 120-room hotel at the Crewe Toll roundabout and on the back of several other hotel openings in the past year.

The pressure on hotel space in the city has long been an issue, with warnings before the economic crash that four out of five hotel rooms were booked up at any one time. Deloitte ranked the city 19th on the list of the world’s busiest hotels in 2008.

The fact that new developments continued during the recession and that more are now coming on stream means that the city is well-
positioned to take full advantage of the recovery.

While welcoming the investment, however, we also need to sound a note of caution, especially in a fragile economy.

New hotels are great but we must also retain the excellent selection of independent guest houses and B&Bs. These are the businesses which have been catering for visitors for generations and helped to build the Capital’s reputation for hospitality.

The last thing we want is to see them being forced out of the market place by the big chains.

There is room for everyone in Edinburgh – and hopefully more than enough rooms for all the big-
spending visitors.

Drug strategy

ANY parent would be horrified to find a bottle of methadone lying in the park where their children were playing.

Sadly, though, no-one will be shocked by the discovery made by mum-of-two Amanda Hughes in an East Lothian park.

And that is a sign of just how widespread drug abuse is within our communities.

We are dealing with a deeply ingrained problem – one that is never going to be solved without some fresh thinking.

No-one wants to see anything other than tougher punishments for those who spread misery by dealing in drugs.

But we should not be afraid of the debate we report on this page. There is nothing wrong with radical thinking, as long as it can provide the evidence that shows it will get 
results.