Letters: City is taking steps towards new type of public realm

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Your article “Roads to Hell” (Evening News, April 11) featured a selection of interview comments by Professor Iain Docherty following his recent contributions to a public meeting on the “Future of local transport” organised by the Lothian cycle campaign, Spokes.

In his conclusion, Professor Docherty wrote that “public transport and active travel needs to be about supporting quality, productive places that people want to live in”, using the city of Nice as a prominent example.

Nowhere in the 59 slides he used on the night did he actually criticise Edinburgh’s roads, or call for greater investment in them.

His later criticisms concerned not just Edinburgh’s streets but streetscape – our public realm as a whole.

This is important as I was able to point out on the evening that the Capital coalition in Edinburgh City Council have recently begun to promote ambitious and appealing proposals for both the city centre (post tram project) and the Royal Mile.

This involves a much better balance, in terms of space, between the priorities of the people who use the city and the various vehicles on our streets.

Subject to a full consultation, we feel that such proposals would be a huge step in the right direction in terms of creating much the sort of attractive Continental-style public realm that Professor Docherty endorses.

Jim Orr, deputy transport leader and councillor for Southside Newington (SNP)

Backing SNP will be vote for peace

Using North Korea to make the case for the expensive proliferation of weapons of mass destruction on our waters, Unionists are trying to frighten people into dismissing the fact that Scotland could easily become a Trident-free country of peace. Even if North Korean missiles could – and they can’t – reach Scotland and even if North Korea wanted to attack Scotland – and it doesn’t – why on earth would anyone want to attack a peace-loving nation?

If Scotland keeps nuclear weapons this encourages others to do the same. Unionists and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, have one thing in common – they put the status of nuclear weapons before the well-being of the people.

Scotland would do better if it reinvested the Trident billions to fund new jobs in construction and the building of new homes, as I see it. A vote for independence is not just a vote to improve the Scottish economy, it is a vote for peace.

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh

Labour members’ sheer hypocrisy

It is sheer hypocrisy of Alistair Darling and Labour members of the No campaign to accept the £500,000 donation from Ian Taylor CEO of Vitol plc, which has a controversial track record in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Serbia and the Congo.

Labour MP John Mann called Mr Taylor’s earlier large donation to the Tories “dirty money” and Douglas Alexander questioned Mr Taylor’s private dinner with David Cameron which attracted accusations of cash for access.

Also, Mr Taylor doesn’t have a vote in the referendum and 60 per cent of all funding published by the No campaign comes from outside Scotland, but the Yes campaign previously said it would not accept donations over £500 from outside Scotland which is in line with the electoral commission’s guidelines for elections.

Mary Thomas, Watson Crescent, Edinburgh

Touching column on Attenborough

We were touched to read John Gibson’s moving column on Lord Richard Attenborough (News, April 8).

He spent 30 years of his life as president of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. He was so moved by the plight of children with the life-shortening, severely disabling Duchenne muscular dystrophy, comparing their childhoods to that of his own son Michael, that he put his heart and soul into finding a treatment.

Today, promising treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy are in clinical trial, and it is unlikely we could have achieved this without Lord Attenborough’s incredible fundraising efforts for early research which were supported by many people in Edinburgh.

Even now, Lord Attenborough and his family continue to help us change lives by backing young scientists through the Lord Attenborough Research Fellowship Fund.

Robert Meadowcroft, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, London