Letters: Capital needs a master plan for future growth

Artist's impression of the  Royal High as a luxury hotel. Pic: Comp
Artist's impression of the Royal High as a luxury hotel. Pic: Comp
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I read with interest the article ‘Changing face of city’ (News, February 28) regarding the proposals for the former Royal High School.

On looking at the generated images it certainly brought home the scale of the development and what its visual impact would be on the Hill.

Having lived in Edinburgh all my life I’m very aware of how Calton Hill, its buildings and surroundings are important assets to the city.

While it is great to see our city move forward, recently in my opinion, there have been signs of the 50’s 60’s returning to Edinburgh regarding its lack of vision.

I’m referring to the recently agreed ‘any town’ development for the Caltongate and the destruction of a large area of St Andrew Square for what basically is going to be a shopping mall.

Residents and officials alike must remember what a unique and beautiful city Edinburgh is and this is what makes it such a popular place to live and visit.

I wonder if there is any scope for the council planners, heritage bodies and other interested parties to get together and see if it would be possible to draw up a master plan for Edinburgh, a plan which could go towards helping the city move forward while building in some guidance and procedures on how to protect the city’s identity for the future.

I know in reality this is a non-starter, but Edinburgh is a World Heritage site and as such it needs to have a clear vision for the future as well as being treated with respect.

Jeremy Lewis, Durar Drive, Edinburgh

Oil deficit would hit an independent Scotland

ALEX ORR, (Letters 25 February), makes an interesting claim that the dramatic fall in the price of oil would not have a significant impact on the finances of an independent Scotland.

Although the figures presented appear correct, their interpretation is rather misleading. In particular, an independent Scotland would inherit a proportion of the UK debt, which is about £1400 billion.

If we make the reasonable assumption that the inherited debt is calculated according to the ratio of the population of Scotland to that of the UK, which is 8.3%, then an independent Scotland would inherit a debt of £116 billion with higher borrowing costs than at present.

Thus an annual loss of £6 billion from oil revenues would make it extremely difficult indeed to reduce the debt and thus the deficit of an independent Scotland and also very difficult to maintain public services at their present level.

John Higinbotham, Bruntsfield Gardens, Edinburgh

Government needs to act over energy policy

After the winter, many of us are dreading getting our energy bills – and sadly many people have had to cut back on food or heating because of the cost. Yet we shouldn’t be paying this much

Report after report, most recently from the Competition and Markets Authority, shows that we are being over-charged by the corporate monopoly that is the Big Six energy companies – and the most vulnerable are paying the most.

With 68 per cent of the UK population supporting publicly-owned energy, it’s time we stopped propping up big energy companies. But will the next government be prepared to act?

Szabolcs Fricska, Home Street, Edinburgh

Will child abuse laws include the church?

Westminster responds to public reaction to horrific events - currently the plague of child abuse - like a dead frog wired to a torch battery: give it a headline and the knees begin to jerk.

Prime Minister David Cameron now demands a new law by which those who fail to act to protect children (including a failure to share information) can be prosecuted and jailed.

Will this include the priesthood - among those most likely, one would imagine, to receive the early confession of a paedophile - or will our religious establishments be given their usual opt outs?

One of the reasons that I am not a Christian is that I cannot accept Jimmy Savile and the like receiving absolution on their death beds and then rising to take their places among the saints.

It is time that every practice of every religion in Scotland was made subject to common law - no exceptions.

David Fiddimore, Calton Road, Edinburgh

Niddrie crossing failure puts us in danger

ON Monday, along with hundreds of other parents and school children, we were unable to use the pedestrian crossing at Niddrie Mains/Niddrie Marischal Road as a council notice told us it was not in operation.

This crossing is a main route to the Niddrie Mill and St Francis school campus as well as to the Hays post office which is used by many elderly people.

No notice of the crossing’s closure was given. No indication was given as to how long the crossing would be closed. No alternative pedestrian crossing arrangements were made. No temporary school crossing ‘lollipop person’ was on duty.

The council has callously created a major road safety hazard for our community’s most vulnerable from what was a safe and well used pedestrian crossing.

This is yet another example of the arrogant contempt the city council has towards our community and its residents. I doubt if it would happen in Morningside.

Lyndsay Martin, Secretary NIPS, Niddrie Marischal Crescent, Edinburgh