Letters: Capital should play to its strengths to lure tourists

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It is a quaint idea to paint “Welcome to Edinburgh” in five-metre-high letters along 40 metres of Portobello Promenade (News, November 7), and while my initial reaction was one of dismay at the potential tackiness of it all, it is perhaps, on reflection, unlikely to detract from what is already a pretty run-down area.

It is a quaint idea to paint “Welcome to Edinburgh” in five-metre-high letters along 40 metres of Portobello Promenade (News, November 7), and while my initial reaction was one of dismay at the potential tackiness of it all, it is perhaps, on reflection, unlikely to detract from what is already a pretty run-down area.

Portobello Beach is a lovely stroll with beautiful views out to sea. However, it is not an attractive proposition to which tourists to Edinburgh should be directed.

To attract tourists, Edinburgh has to play to its strengths, not its weaknesses, and as a beach resort of any sort, Portobello is sadly lacking. It is a one-mile stretch of mismatched buildings and usage (retail, commercial and residential), too much of which appears to be poorly maintained.

What facilities there are for tourists are more often shabbily boarded up and closed, and even at the height of summer too many are open only on Saturdays and Sundays.

It is a pity that Portobello is this way. I would much prefer to see a well-thought-through strategy for its revival, inward investment and development to capitalise on its ideal location just a few miles from Edinburgh city centre. But until that happens, the idea of the welcome sign will add to its demise rather than enhance it.

Graeme Allan, Easter Warriston, Edinburgh

Give taxpayers a bigger say please

THE council’s privatisation proposals have suffered from a lack of public consultation from the start so I was glad to see the advert for a public debate tomorrow, but the council should book a bigger meeting venue now.

I tried to book a space by calling the dedicated phone number but it was constantly busy, indicating that others want to go.

I found out the meeting is to be held in a room with only 105 spaces, so I went to speak to a councillor today who reckons 50 of those spaces will be taken by councillors, employees and so on, leaving only 55 spaces for the public.

During the debate on Alternative Business Models at the recent meeting, the council packed the public gallery with employees forcing the public to view it remotely from another room. I hope they are not planning to exclude us again.

These proposals could lead to the biggest privatisation of council services in Scottish history and must be seriously and widely debated.

If the council can afford to take out full-page adverts for the meeting then they should pay the money to book a venue big enough so the public can attend the public debate.

Luke Henderson, Polwarth Crescent, Edinburgh

Minimum price for drink no help

MINIMUM prices for drink will do very little to change the problem of alcohol abuse, in fact it will only exacerbate the situation.

There are huge imports of alcohol from the Continent into the UK, so minimum pricing is not going to receive support from Europe.

In fact, this may well be a breach of fair trading rules.

As far as the consumption of alcohol is concerned, it is highly unlikely there will be any serious changes to the present trading levels, or the consumption of alcohol.

The minimum price may well encourage more smuggling of alcohol and tobacco from overseas, putting more pressure on our customs and excise department, which is already stretched to the limits, especially when there are possibilities of reducing the public services which guard our shores.

Chas Dennis, Niddrie Marischal Road, Edinburgh

Let’s wait to see truth about Ruth

NEW Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson hasn’t even been in the job for five minutes and already anti-Tory voters are saying she doesn’t stand a chance in Scotland because they haven’t forgotten the Thatcher years.

I am no fan of the Tories, but let me say this: before you rush to chastise her because of the Thatcher years, keep an open mind. Perhaps Miss Davidson is her own person and is nothing like Thatcher.

Let her show who she is and what she is worth in terms of policies before judging her.

Alan Lough, Dunbar