‘We cannot afford to even consider it’

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when it comes to stoking controversy, you can always depend on stories about the council and our local football teams. Put the two together and it’s a particularly explosive mix.

That’s why the News was swamped with comments when we reported last month that the council might work with Hearts to create a new community sport stadium.

A few approved, saying it could revitalise an area like Sighthill. But most thought the council giving away land or putting money into the project was a bonkers idea. Some took the proposal as a sure sign that City Chambers is tinged maroon.

The News has no view on such accusations of bias (both Hearts and Hibs fans routinely suggest we favour the other side . . . and they are equally wrong). But while the stadium plan was worth initial consideration we think Tom Buchanan is right to rule it out now.

Even in golden economic times it would have been fraught with problems to work with one city club but not the other. Right now, we simply can’t afford to even consider it.

This does leave a headache for Hearts. There are difficulties in staying at Tynecastle – which most fans still want – but it is now clear that redevelopment or a move elsewhere will depend on private funds.

Given the owner’s bizarre online comments yesterday – “there is no point in spending millions to watch someone else’s show” – there is increasing doubt about Vladimir Romanov’s desire to invest more.

Hearts fans rightly will have serious doubts about the future.

In short supply

It’s simply commonsense to make better use of empty store rooms above the shops on Princes Street by turning them into flats.

In fact, you have to wonder why more hasn’t been done before now to encourage it.

But for the vast majority who can’t afford, or don’t want to live in, a Princes Street penthouse there is a far more pressing problem – Edinburgh’s desperate shortage of family homes.

Building up to 4500 houses on green-belt land in Gilmerton and the west of Edinburgh is likely to provoke opposition. But the city desperately needs to provide more land for housebuilding – or see thousands more families priced out of living in the Capital.

It is hard to see better alternative sites. And, with an estimated 24,000 new homes needed in south-east Scotland within 20 years, the pressure to build on the green belt is not going to go away.