Letters: Royal High School is more than just annex

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AS SOMEONE born and bred in Edinburgh, I know my opinion of what happens to the city is of little importance, but having seen the proposals for the Royal High I took it upon myself to carry out a little survey of my own.

My target group was the tourists who flock to the city to see its heritage and the very people the development is aimed at.

I took with me a picture of the proposed development as shown in the Evening News and starting with Regent Road I made a point of talking to the groups of tourists who were actually taking photos of the old Royal High.

I spoke to a family from Japan and a group from Germany as well as a couple from London. I can only say the majority of people I spoke to were quite shocked by proposals.

The general opinion was of the old Royal High being a jewel in its own right and in a setting which most other cities would envy.

I moved down to the High Street where you can get some great views of Calton Hill. In the cemetery at the Canongate Kirk I spoke to a lovely couple from New York in their 70s who told me they had been to Edinburgh several times and said what brought them back was the “setting, history and architecture of the city”.

They went on to say New York had lost many interesting buildings in a relatively short space of time whereas Edinburgh had retained a lot of its uniqueness.

When I showed them the proposals they said it was inevitable that Edinburgh would follow other cities and think only of short-term profit rather than long-term gain, ie preserving a beautiful city. They also mentioned the St Andrew Square development, which had come as a bit of a shock to them.

My humble survey didn’t cost millions of pounds, only the price of a day ticket. My findings were mainly that the building needs a purpose again in its own right and not just as an annex to other buildings.

Once renovated, cleaned and floodlit and Calton Hill in general tidied and re-landscaped, the building would shine again in its setting as it did when built.

Jeremy Lewis, Durar Drive, Edinburgh

Concours was elegant but very expensive

Your article on the Concours of Elegance at Holyrood Palace made interesting reading (News, September 3) and on Sunday, I took my daughter and two grandsons to see the event for car lovers. But with the cost of almost £100 to gain entry it was absolutely scandalous and a wasted journey.

As a car enthusiast I might have paid £5 or £10 but £35 or £25 each was way over the limit.

W Gray, Oxgangs Avenue, Edinburgh

Prosthesis will save Greyfriars Bobby

I WAS sorry to see the latest attempt to dissuade tourists from rubbing the nose of Greyfriars Bobby was not a success.

I suggest that a black metal cap be designed to fit over the statue to resemble the wee dug’s proboscis. It would be cheap and easy to fit.

Stewart Wilson, Abbeyhill Crescent, Edinburgh

RAF strikes help save West from IS attacks

The RAF drone strike in Syria has triggered political accusations and demands for “independent scrutiny” (News, September 9).

Politicians have selective memories about the numerous Islamic State atrocities and choose to make political capital out of this incident and ignore that it is their sworn duty to preserve the lives and liberties of our people from hostile attacks.

Critics of these drone strikes in Syria, because they are in a country with which Britain is not technically at war, ignore the fact that IS has erased the border between Syria and Iraq and continues to murder, rape, torture and plan terrorist strikes against Western civilisation.

We must ignore the usual suspects, CND, Reprieve and Liberty, who use emotive words like “extra-judicial killing” and “a targeted assassination”.

Already the human rights lawyers are circling, claiming that the families of Islamic State terrorists killed by the RAF drone strike can sue the British Government for compensation.

Where will the apologists and the human rights lawyers hide when an IS bomb goes off in Britain?

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Housing must feature in Holyrood elections

The latest housing statistics for Scotland show encouraging signs of recovery in the number of new homes being completed over the last financial year, including a record number delivered by local authorities.

The Scottish Government has also committed itself to surpass its target of delivering 30,000 affordable homes over the current term of the Scottish Parliament, which is hugely welcome.

At the same time, the number of new homes being completed by housing associations is 45 per cent lower than it was in 2009-10 when completions by that sector reached a peak of more than 5500 units. Overall, we are building 9500 fewer homes a year than we were prior to the recession.

In the lead-up to next year’s Holyrood elections, we look forward to a stimulating debate with all parties about how we can deliver many more new homes to meet growing demand in Scotland in the years ahead, while recognising the considerable financial constraints we currently face.

Ashley Campbell, Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland, Princes Street, Edinburgh