WHEN my children were young I used to read them a book about Burglar Bill, who used to break into neighbouring houses, see what he wanted, put it in his sack and say “I’ll have that!”
Sadly this image came to mind when EICC recently slipped in a proposal to build a hotel on the India Quay site at Fountainbridge.
The effort by local people and the council over the past five years to develop a plan that has broad approval – mixed tenure, more affordable housing, space for high tech start up and carbon saving district heating – is suddenly thrown into jeopardy because EICC’s plans to build a 300-bed hotel in Dewar Place have collapsed.
They’ve looked nearby and thought “We’ll have that!” and furthermore they are suggesting taking over all of the plot E2 marked for ‘mixed use, some residential and start up space’ and building a 400-bed hotel!
This proposal gives scant regard for of all the work that has gone on in respect of Fountainbridge, no recognition of existing plans and has not been allowed to be discussed fully, as due to ‘confidential commercial information’ it has been placed on the B agenda of committee meetings away from public discourse. For a company owned ultimately by the council, this seems an odd way to behave.
Conversely Vastint, who are developing the site to the east of India Quay, consulted with the community, listened and changed many details including lowering the height of the canal frontage.
They have just got permission to build a hotel on the Fountainbridge side, away from the canal which, given their positive vision for the whole development, the community has eventually accepted. This will be in addition to Hampton by Hilton, and four or five other hotels in the immediate vicinity.
EICC is a successful and well respected venture and they may well wish to break into the hotel business, but to try to break into the agreed plans for the Fountainbridge site and pick a bit they fancy to plonk another large hotel down is not consistent with their team values of ‘meaningful collaborations’ and ‘great communicators’ and an arrogant disregard for local democracy.
If this goes on, there will soon be nothing for tourists and visitors to look at except themselves.
Jane Jones, Gilmore Place, Edinburgh.
Tourist tax can pay for bin lorries we need
So Edinburgh council doesn’t have enough lorries to empty the city’s overflowing bins, as a consequence of – as Cllr Scott Arthur points out – Scottish government cuts. (News, 23 June).
Time to introduce a tourist tax and buy some more bin lorries?
Martin Redfern, Woodcroft Road, Edinburgh.
Missing air weapons still a public danger
Police Scotland have declared a two-week firearms amnesty in a bid to keep guns out of criminal hands.
Anyone holding a firearm or ammunition without a valid certificate can take it to one of 43 police stations until 1 July with no questions asked.
They will also be able to hand in air weapons.
Can I remind the public that with great fanfare the Scottish government introduced from 31 December 2016 the licensing of air weapons saying that there were 500,000 weapons in circulation.
Figures show that 21,404 weapons were surrendered and 17,332 licences issued. Where are the other 461,264 air weapons?
Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow.
Sun still shines on Leith for footie fans
The Proclaimers’ Sunshine on Leith has been chosen in a worldwide BBC poll as football fans’ favourite anthem of all time.
Till my dying day I will remember standing on the slopes of Hampden with my grandson and son-in-law in June 2016 when 20,000-plus Hibs fans rendered it a classic. Every time I hear it, I shiver a little and the hairs on my neck rise.
How different and deeply emotional and sweet in contrast to hate-filled ditties about being ‘up to the knees’ in the blood of people you do not like.
Alexander McKay, New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh.
Recycling relies on regular waste service
I read with interest your article in the Edinburgh Evening News of 20 June wherein transport convener Cllr Lesley Macinnes encourages us to recycle and claim that it is easy to do so.
This is an astonishing claim, as the communal recycling bins near me have not been emptied for three weeks and this is a regular occurrence.
My hall now has four large bags of paper which are fated to end up in the landfill bins. I would be grateful if she could reassure me that I will no longer have this problem.
It is a matter of concern that tenement owners pay the same council tax as individual households but receive a much reduced service, essentially subsidising those properties.
James Darroch, Montagu Terrace, Edinburgh.
Who gets to live in Social Bite Village?
The new Social Bite Village looks great and apparently it is ready to be occupied.
I’ve seen nothing about how they are going to choose exactly which homeless individuals deserve to be homed in these units. How are they going to do it?
Will homeless people with dogs (I know one with a dog he’s had for 14 years) be excluded? I hope not.
Joyce Watson, Longstone Road, Edinburgh.