Letters: Misinformation helps no one in planning debate

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For once I actually agree with Bruce Thompson, underhand tactics should have absolutely no place in the consideration of any planning application (Letters, April 27). How disappointing then, that underhand tactics seem to have been 
employed by Save Stockbridge under his chairmanship.

Firstly, proposals for Accies’ ground were attacked by Save Stockbridge on the basis that they were simply a Trojan horse to enable a Tesco supermarket to open in Stockbridge. Indeed, nearly all of the information produced by Bruce and his colleagues in the early stages had the Tesco logo emblazoned all over it. We haven’t heard so much of that since Tesco was linked to the new shop proposed at Hamilton Place (surprise?), so just how many residents signed the petition and objection thinking that they were opposing a supermarket?

Indeed, the entire campaign by Save Stockbridge has been on a tissue of misinformation. I have regularly heard from other residents and visitors that they have been told that the trees at Comely Bank will be removed, despite the fact that they are being protected and the tree specialist has advised that removing the wall will help create a better environment for the trees. This and many other tall tales too numerous to mention have been whipped up to deliberately 
misrepresent the proposals.

What we haven’t heard much about is the actual planning application, which is what this debate should be about. Planning policies support the retention of sports facilities and they support development in and near town centres. That is why the Scottish Government has appointed Malcolm Fraser to look at ways to help town and city centres thrive. The proposals will do just that.

Stockbridge has one of the lowest shop vacancy rates of any Scottish high street and we know that a range of quality retailers want into Stockbridge.

So Bruce, come on, drop the smears, innuendo and misinformation. For start, remove that misleading press release from your website that states the Accies proposals equate to five Scotmids, one of your “facts” that I have challenged at recent SICC meetings. Let’s get back to talking about planning policy, after all this is just a planning application and it deserves to be considered fairly on its merits.

Shaun Vigers, Comely Bank, Edinburgh

Scotland’s oil helps keep UK coffers full

Receipts from North Sea oil and gas have been vital in staving off a triple dip recession. So it beggars belief when the No campaign is 
reliant on gas and oil, no wonder they tell all these scare stories about what will happen if we get independence.

Yet it’s saved George Osborne’s face. Now you know why they want us to stay in the Union.

The latest figures from the office for National Statistics show an oil and gas boom is at a 30-year high, £11.5 billion is the 2012 figure, which is set to rise to £13.5bn this year. The estimated wholesale value is £1.5 trillion.

But Scotland is shackled within a declining UK that is gobbling up our black gold to fill a black hole in the UK treasury. The No campaign keep telling us if we vote Yes in the referendum Scotland would be broke. If that’s the case then England must be bankrupt anyway.

J Hill, Stenhouse Avenue, Edinburgh

Building work VAT cut would aid economy

Ed Milliband has been criticised for his admission that Labour proposals for a blanket cut in VAT would lead to a temporary increase in government borrowing. Any moves to cut VAT ought to be directly targeted at stimulating activity in those sectors of the economy that are struggling most – and the Treasury is currently losing millions in tax revenue as consumers opt to pay cash in hand to rogue traders.

This is one of the key challenges currently facing legitimate building firms the length and breadth of this country. With VAT at 20 per cent, many property owners are either choosing not to have building works done or else employing cowboys 
willing to “lose the VAT”.

As borne out by experience in France and on the Isle of Man, a targeted cut in VAT on building repairs and maintenance would stimulate construction activity and increase tax revenue. Rather than causing an increase in government borrowing, this policy would enable the Treasury to give an immediate stimulus to economic growth and bolster 
government coffers into the bargain.

Michael Levack, Executive Director, Scottish Building Federation, Crichton House, Crichton’s Close, Holyrood, Edinburgh

Who supervises men who fill in potholes?

In reference to the letter, Potholes more urgent than George Street, (News, April 26), I agree with CJR Fentiman.

Yes, the potholes in Corstorphine, Sighthill, Murrayburn require attention. The men fill holes, but don’t complete it properly. Who supervises their work? Where does the money go? Councillor Hinds should know.

Any other irate Edinburgh folk?

Joan Hercus, Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh

Illumination of deer signs is great decision

I was delighted to read that deer warning signs are to be illuminated on parts of the A1 between Musselburgh and the Borders (News, April 27).

Many young deer go roaming for new territory in the month of May and all too often they are knocked down and sadly killed through no fault of their own by speeding drivers.

Surely the new warning signs concerning these beautiful creatures will be most welcome by drivers, to 
prevent accidents from occurring on the roads.

June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian