Letters: Alarm bells are ringing at lack of emergency access

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Now that the Shandwick Place utility works are in full swing (at least on some days), I expect we will soon get depressing news of further damage to West End businesses.

As is evident to any shopper, the council’s promotion of the West End as a “village” is galling as the area is fast becoming a ghost town. As with Leith Walk, lost businesses and jobs will be a price worth paying in the eyes of an administration that has failed magnificently in its pursuit of a folly.

However, of immediate concern, which I trust the council will be quick to respond to, is the apparent lack of access to Shandwick Place for emergency vehicles.

When time is critical, how would fire appliances, for example, reach these buildings? Run down the steel fencing and navigate a building site full of maintenance vehicles? At least Princes Street has an “emergency lane”.

Perhaps we can also be reassured by appropriate authorities that the increasing use of emergency vehicle sirens in central Edinburgh is not indicative of diminishing response times? The potentially disastrous consequences of delays attributable to tram works would surely be a price too much to pay even for this council.

Dr Dennis Connolly, Grosvenor Crescent

Double standards in deli petition

The letter from Dr Mairianna Clyde (Letters, February 10) is puzzling. She says that there is a petition signed by “thousands” objecting to Sainsbury’s taking over the Peckham store in Bruntsfield Place. The objection is not spelled out.

When the Co-op took over an existing grocery business in Bruntsfield Place, there was no petition opposing this move. The Co-op was, in turn, taken over by Costcutter – again, no petition.

Neither of these are independent stores. Neither is Peckham’s – again, no petition when it opened.

Sainsbury’s is not ousting any other type of business in the area and it is keeping on the staff, so where is the problem?

Regarding the petition, as a Bruntsfield resident I have not been approached for an opinion or seen anyone else being asked for a signature. Are the “thousands” all from the Bruntsfield area? Bruntsfield is, as she says, a unique shopping environment which I am pleased to support, but it does not supply everything I need.

Perhaps Dr Clyde can explain exactly what the objection to Sainsbury’s is and if the people signing her petition understand what is involved

B Crawford, Bruntsfield

Train service plan is on right track

THE move to increase the number of inter-city trains serving Edinburgh Park station is to be welcomed (News, February 13).

Given how busy the number 22 bus service is at rush hour, as well as the traffic congestion at the Gogar roundabout, it makes sense to look at alternative ways to improve access to the Gyle and Edinburgh Park area, and a direct service for commuters is certainly a step in the right direction.

As someone who drives into work each day, I would gladly let the train take the strain if it meant not having to go all the way into Haymarket and then travel back out to the west of the city.

The station is not being utilised as well as it could be at the moment with a variety of services. Hopefully this is the first step towards a proper, integrated transport network for Edinburgh and the central belt with the passengers’ needs the driving force.

James Henry, Falkirk

City was fighting a loo-sing battle

NO wonder pub and shop owners told the city council where to go with its attempt to introduce a “community toilets” scheme (News, February 11).

Who in their right mind would want coachloads of tourists, drunks or whoever else clogging up their premises with no benefit of actual custom to follow? Our esteemed leaders are really extracting the urine.

I accept that we need to find significant savings across a range of services, but not providing public toilets would have been ridiculous. Instead of trawling around a number of pubs or shops to find a member of the scheme, many of those needing the loo would find a quiet corner to go in, leaving the city a dirty, stinking mess.

Alexander Turnbull, Lanark Road