LETTERS: Public consultations are becoming pile of cobbles

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Brighton Place is the main route into Portobello from the south and is the only road with a cobbled surface in Portobello and is in a dreadful condition, due for renewal.

A public consultation was carried out some months ago with three alternatives 1) A coating of tarmac on top of existing cobbles. 2) A complete renewal of the roadway with an asphalt-type surface. 3) A complete renewal in stone setts (cobbles).

Alternative 1) was rejected. 2) received the majority vote. 3) received the second highest vote but was rejected on the grounds of being the most expensive at over £1million and having the longest time scale of over a year.

In addition to this the City of Edinburgh Council later stated that due to the current financial position, the only areas that could justify renewal with stone setts would be in the Royal Mile and some parts of the New Town.

A recent statement in a local councillor’s newsletter stated that it was 99.9% likely that stone setts would be the material used when the road is renewed.

On querying this change the reply was a) A consultation is not a referendum so has no legal rights. b) Other groups could have different opinions. c) The city council has a planning policy on streetscape which dictates what materials should be used and finally d) It would probably have been better if the consultarion was never carried out!

I would suggest to others thinking of carrying out a public consultation to think again if you will be wasting your time.

John M Tulloch, Duddingston Park South, Edinburgh

Edinburgh is lagging behind in City Deal bid

I was disappointed by the coverage of the £1 billion City Deal bid for the Edinburgh city region. Like the draft prospectus put forward by the six councils, there is little new, simply more slickly packaged.

That matters because city deals are already well-advanced. Edinburgh is fourth in line in Scotland behind Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness, but there are many other city deals elsewhere in the UK, all ahead of the game.

So the Edinburgh city region has to offer something different to stand out in a crowded field. It is not enough to pledge increased tax returns on the back of increased economic activity (the core premise of city deals).

Nor is it sufficient to talk about the ‘knowledge economy’ or to aspire to reduce inequality, critical though that is.

At the heart of a new kind of city deal, one that is genuinely pioneering, is a question of what kind of economic growth we want.

Is it business as usual – sucking in imports, squandering precious resources, lavishly rewarding chief executives and company boards?

Or is it towards a sustainable economy – reducing traffic strains, increasing energy resilience, harnessing local markets and produce in areas such as food, investing in the breathable public spaces that characterise the best of our competitors?

If Edinburgh and its five council partners can present a sustainable city deal, that would be truly distinctive, truly worth getting behind. Anything less and we are just last in a long line.

Gavin Corbett, Green Councillor for Fountainbridge - Craiglockhart

Burma Star veterans are sadly dwindling

What an excellent Service organised by the RBLS and conducted by the Reverends Dr Campbell amd Gardner at the Canongate Church on August 15. What a shame that there only appeared to be three or four Burma Star holders present. It shows that we are fading away.

Stuart Guild, Past Vice-Chairman of disbanded Edinburgh Branch Burma Star Association

Heretics hand over to a new generation

FORTY five years since first taking to the stage, today could be your last chance to meet the original Heretics as they hand over to a new generation of writers and musicians.

Committed to promoting the poetry and music of Scotland’s living tradition, The Heretics first appeared in 1970. They gave an early platform to future household names including Billy Connolly, Aly Bain and Liz Lochhead.

Following two sell-out performances, a third and final event takes place at the Saltire Society’s Edinburgh Old Town Headquarters tonight.

It will be an opportunity to see the original Heretics hand over the baton to a new generation of talent as the New Heretics, led by novelist and songwriter Peter Burnett and writer Craig Gibson, take to the stage.

The Saltire Society is proud to have brought about this historic revival.

I feel sure the New Heretics will honour that same spirit by helping today’s emerging Scottish artists to find an audience and become the stars of tomorrow.

Visit www.saltiresociety.org.uk to reserve your tickets.

Jim Tough, Executive Director, The Saltire Society, High Street, Edinburgh

So are house-breaking figures up or down?

While delighted to hear about the significant decline in Lothian housebreaking in the first half of this year, I’m struggling to balance the statistics against the claims of Ian Murray MP, when he claimed that there had been a “...23 per cent jump in [Edinburgh] house-breaking over the past 11 months”, (News, July 16).

It would be difficult not to draw the conclusion that either Mr Murray or the Police have their facts wrong.

Grant Cullen, Craigleith Hill Gardens, Edinburgh