Your reports on the Local Government Ombudsman’s severe criticisms of the City of Edinburgh Council (News, January 6 and 8) are welcomed by the communities of Stockbridge, Comely Bank and Inverleith.
The Edinburgh Academicals Rugby Club’s proposals for a retail development fronting Comely Bank Road, with a stadium to accommodate 5000 people (2500 seated) at their Raeburn Place Ground, has been vigorously opposed by many local residents and traders and by the Stockbridge & Inverleith Community Council.
Edinburgh council’s planning officials’ failure to require the applicants to submit a full ‘Transport Assessment’ before recommending approval to the Development Control Sub-Committee was a serious breach of proper process.
Instead of a professionally prepared assessment, officials gave a number of unsupported assertions and meaningless assurances to the committee. These included one that “there will be no adverse impact in terms of parking or traffic levels associated with this development” and another that spectators would “be strongly encouraged to travel by public transport” a commitment which would be secured “by legal agreement”.
Unsurprisingly, no such legal agreement - which would in any case have been meaningless - has been concluded.
The city council has been required by the Ombudsman to apologise for this failure and to give assurance that they ‘will not do it again’. It must be made clear, both to the council and to the applicants, that this is not, in any sense, an adequate remedy.
A proper assessment should now be prepared and ‘Save Stockbridge’ will do all it can to see that a reputable traffic and transport consultant is instructed.
If the findings show that the impact of this development on traffic and parking would be significant, the council should revoke the consent and accept the consequences of its own failure. The community is entitled to expect no less.
Dr James Simpson OBE, FRIAS, Raeburn Place, Edinburgh
Lib Dems duck out of council traffic debate
As my colleague Councillor Lesley Hinds noted (‘Reduced speed limit will add to pedestrian safety’, Letters, January 13) there will always be opposition to far reaching proposals.
In a democracy debate is a good thing. What is sorely disappointing is the failure of the Liberal Democrats to appear at the Transport Committee to have their say and vote on such an important issue as the roll out of 20mph. Evidenced by their similar failure to take their place on the Planning Committee, one can only deduce the Liberal Democrats are shying away from taking decisions and representing their constituents.
Councillor Cammy Day, Parliamentary Candidate, Edinburgh West
Have a competition to find Scottish anthem
while we dolefully warble on ad nauseam with a singular lack of inspiration or spirit about wee bit hills and glens, the French and the Welsh, to mention but two, have chosen stirring anthems to represent their country.
The fact that we are proud inheritors of all the benefits of the Scottish Enlightenment, a movement far ahead of its time, seems to have successfully eluded most people in their choice of FOS for a national anthem.
We can boast proudly of literati and musicians, for example Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott and many others far too numerous to quote. The worldwide fame and longevity of The Edinburgh Festival is surely testament to our capacity for hosting the very best of music and drama.
It is my understanding that the vast majority of Scots chose to remain in the United Kingdom last September and the number would have been significantly greater had the Scottish diaspora been included in the vote.
Therefore to sing about sending the English homeward to think again is somewhat outdated, to say the very least, and quite unacceptable and intolerant.
I have always felt that the Scots were a dignified, well educated, literate race. Surely the way forward to choose a national anthem to do justice to our beloved country is to launch a national competition for the music and verse to be heard in public, upon which we can all adjudicate.
Elma J Crighton, Madderty, Perthshire
Flower of Scotland has no pride in nation
Like Ken Morton (Letters, January 15) I was horrified to hear of proposals to make the dreadful Flower of Scotland our official national anthem.
Musically it is a rhythmically strangulated dirge. The only vaguely classy bit is the folky full note drop in ‘Tae think again’, but this is usually smoothed into a semi-tone on the terraces.
The lyric reflects the worst of the Scottish mentality: ‘We can still rise now’ . . . why? ‘To stand against them.’ Really, can we not get over a medieval battle with the English already?
It is the gauche romanticising of the underdog; it prescribes an identity based on enmity and it says nothing to me about the home nation of which I am proud.
Neil Barber, Saughton Hall Drive, Edinburgh
Encourage motorsists with positive message
transport convener Lesley Hinds should know that the key to safety is observation and reaction.
Perhaps the council installing signs telling the public how many accident-free days a month are achieved by good behaviour would be better than confused speed limits. This scheme is used in many factories throughout the country to encourage staff.
CJR Fentiman, Polwarth Gardens, Edinburgh