LETTERS: Heritage must fit in with real life living conditions

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Things wrong with Edinburgh listed by Michael Foreman (Letters, August 24) range from air quality to the car and, of course, the architecture of new buildings, since he came here in the mid 1950s. I fancy he protests too much.

Air quality has improved immeasurably – though it might not seem so to those who judge the issue only by recently introduced, very high standards stemming from EU legislation.

Cars and other motor vehicles are immeasurably cleaner and there is a steadily increasing precedence given to pedestrians and cyclists.

And then new buildings. Far from listed building status being ignored, there has been a huge increase in the number of listed buildings.

While much of that is good, some efforts to preserve buildings unchanged do not always help the living environment of people and the maintenance of these buildings.

The Odeon in Clerk Street is a case in point, where we have had 13 years of the local blight of a closed up listed building, in significant part because some have wanted to preserve unchanged a building which appears unviable.

Mr Foreman lauds the Cockburn Association. I fancy its comments would have carried more weight in recent planning decisions if they had shown an understanding that heritage sits as part of a range of issues to be considered in shaping a vibrant city.

Buildings and heritage are important, but so are real living conditions for people.

Cllr Cameron Rose, City Chambers, Edinburgh

Nomination a feather in cap of tram leaders

I see that Edinburgh Trams have been nominated in the rail operator of the year category at the National Transport Awards later this year.

Those nominated in this category have been short-listed on performance, reliability, passenger growth and customer satisfaction.

To be nominated for such a prestigious award after only 14 months in operation is testament to the hard work carried out by the tram team and others since the start of the project.

The Edinburgh public have taken the trams to their hearts with a 95% customer satisfaction rate.

As the trams go from strength to strength and future extensions are on the council’s agenda, the turnaround from public negativity to the trams to positive opinion in such a short period of time has been arguably the UK’s best transport achievement.

George Ritchie, North Gyle Terrace, Edinburgh

Current parking charge system is working well

The proposal to extend parking charges times in the city is disgraceful. The spaces are taken up by workers but most leave by 5.30pm, which allows residents when returning home to occupy the space they have paid for.

Most workers stay late in work to accommodate this procedure.

What annoys me is permit holders parking in parking meter bays, which stops people from visiting the centre of the city.

A Forrest , Bellevue Road, Edinburgh

Ofgem reforms should help Scots power bill

ALEX ORR (Letters, August 22), mentions some of the problems associated with the present complex system of electricity transmission charging.

Initially it was designed to be cost reflective. It was later modified to include various incentives, including one to help achieve the UK government’s carbon emission targets and to encourage new generation projects where there is a high demand.

The cost of electricity distribution decreases roughly as the population density increases. Since the population density in England is about seven times that of Scotland, we would expect that the cost of distribution in Scotland would be seven times higher, if we paid the actual cost. Fortunately we in Scotland pay less than the actual cost, which is largely due to the reasons above. Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) undertook Project TransmiT review which will result in changes being implemented in 2016. It is widely acknowledged that the present system is too complex and that reform is necessary.

One hopes that the reformed system will be better than the present one.

John Higinbotham, Bruntsfield Gardens, Edinburgh

Asian restaurants need to invest in their future

I’ve just read that many of Scotland’s Asian restaurants are closing down, including one of the country’s biggest Indian restaurant chains which is downsizing, due to a shortage of skilled chefs from India and Bangladesh caused by stricter government immigration policies.

I understand that come September 8 a summit will be organised by Foysol Choudhury, president of the Guild of Bangladeshi Restaurateurs, at an award-winning Leith Indian restaurant to discuss ways of addressing the problem, with invitations going out to First minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.

What I don’t understand about this drama is why work permit restrictions are allegedly causing the problem.

Asian restaurants have been in this country for decades, so have these culinary skills not been handed down to trainees/apprentices? If not, perhaps the Indian and Bangladeshi business community should be investing some of their profits in establishing an Asian cooking academy to train the chefs of the future.

I don’t hear of other indigenous restaurateurs like Italian, Greek or Chinese having immigration problems affecting their businesses.

Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Edinburgh