Leader: ‘There must be meaningful safeguards’

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THERE are 24-hours-a-day supermarkets all over Edinburgh, a round-the-clock gym and even a casino where you can gamble the night and day away.

So the addition of a few McDonald’s staying open through the wee small hours is far from a revolution for the Capital.

But that is exactly the concern being raised by protesters who are objecting to the new licences being granted.

They worry that the city is being changed by stealth into one where anything goes, whatever hour of the day or night.

And it is a reasonable concern, especially for those living outside the city centre.

These days there is an expectation in a vibrant modern Capital that you will be able to grab a coffee and bite to eat even in the middle of the night. Whether we like it or not, it is an important part of what we offer many tourists, and the convenience is valued by the growing ranks of city shift workers.

Yet in residential areas there will be legitimate concerns about the litter, noise and antisocial behaviour which such late opening might attract.

The city council will have to weigh up these competing demands when it draws up its new policy on late- night opening later in the year.

The review is timely given the way society is changing.

When the new rules are drawn up, it makes sense to judge these applications on a case-by-case basis, but it is essential that meaningful safeguards are built in to protect residential neighbourhoods from unnecessary disturbance.

Set some goals

this is the time of year when we tend to over-indulge, eating and drinking far more than is good for us.

There is nothing wrong with a bit of a blow-out from time to time as long as we use our common sense.

But the importance of putting some of these bad habits behind us after the Bells ring in the New Year is dramatically highlighted by Dr David Farquharson.

NHS Lothian’s medical director warns that caes of diabetes are likely to rocket by 150 per cent in the region, to the point where one in ten of us has the condition.

The only answer is to adopt a healthier lifestyle, so what better time is there than now to sign up for a fitness class or vow to do a bit more walking next year.

The challenge, of course, is sticking to these resolutions but we’ve a much better chance of getting more active if we set ourselves some goals.