‘For the city, a note of caution is necessary’

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City officials’ upbeat assessment of the impact which the army’s radical reorganisation is likely to have on the Capital will surprise many people.

Yes, the opening of a so-called super barracks near Kirknewton, housing more than 1000 troops, has to be weighed against the effects of the closure of Redford and Dreghorn barracks and the nearby army headquarters at Craigiehall.

The council’s director of city development, Dave Anderson, quite rightly points out that the total number of army personnel based in the Capital is likely to rise by up to 500 from the current 1400 in the coming years, and that the existing accommodation for married soldiers and their families will remain in Oxgangs and Colinton. Both points are good news for the city.

Yet, from a purely Edinburgh point of view, a note of caution is necessary. The new barracks might sit within the city boundary, but there is no guarantee the soldiers based there will always head into the city to spend their money, rather than to shops and pubs close at hand in West Lothian. New ones may spring up there to grab the opportunity.

Also, a brief summary of the conclusions of Mr Anderson’s report might give the impression that the council is underestimating the impact on local shops and services in Colinton and Oxgangs.

They are still likely to be badly hit in the short to medium term by the departure of hundreds of soldiers.

The council, of course, has to take a city-wide view of all these changes and there are encouraging signs that their impact may not be as bad as some feared.

But our warning last month of the dangers for the local communities on the existing barracks’ doorsteps remains as valid as ever.

Transforming lives

everyone wants the best possible start in life for their kids – but it’s not always easy to achieve.

That’s especially true for many teenage mums who struggle to care for their babies while they are still growing up themselves.

But the intensive support offered by NHS Lothian’s pioneering family nurse partnership is producing dramatic results.

By intervening at the earliest possible stage, hundreds of lives are being transformed – those of the young mums and, most importantly, their babies.

There is no bigger challenge than sorting out the problems of the next generation, so it is heartening to see that we are leading the way in doing that here in the Capital.