LETTERS: Street repairs targeting wrong problem areas

Have your say

Your feature on the awful state of so many pavements and roads in the Capital tells only half the story (‘City’s streets are going to crack and ruin’, News, July 14).

The reality is that the council has done a terrific job of renewing pavements in areas where no-one would notice, and totally neglecting streets right in the centre of town where everyone can see, including our thousands of tourists.

Almost all of Stockbridge has been renewed over the last few years, including genteel backwaters such as Saxe-Coburg Square. Last year it was the turn of East Claremont Street, this year of Drumsheugh Gardens.

This is where the £20m the council quotes as its spend on repairs has gone.

Meanwhile, the condition of Frederick Street’s pavements is pitiful, and Hanover Street is little better. The list could go on.

Can anyone explain this way of 
carrying on ?

David Ellwood, St Stephen Street, Edinburgh

Mhairi’s maiden speech misses some big points

It was somewhat ironic to hear the maiden speech from SNP MP Mhairi Black in the House of Commons, lambasting welfare cuts, on the day that the price of oil fell to $56 on the back of the Iran deal – exactly half the figure it was on the day of the referendum.

Nowhere in her speech did Ms Black mention the cuts that would be needed to welfare spending, schools or hospitals to balance the books in an independent Scotland.

Nor did she mention the rather inconvenient fact that her party supports George Osborne’s corporation tax cuts, supports keeping ‘income tax parity’ with Osborne, and supports his benefit cap.

As maiden speeches go, what wasn’t said was far more important than what was said.

Michelle Smyth, Dalry Road, Edinburgh

Outdoor learning plays key role in education

I enjoyed your feature on the Outdoor Nursery Edinburgh (‘Life lessons in the great outdoors’, News, July 15).

Any parent or teacher will know that outdoor learning is a key part of development. It is why I was so pleased that both my sons have been able to take part in Forest Schools at Craiglockhart Primary and why schools are increasingly turning to outdoor learning both in their own local areas and in using the council’s outdoor centres at Lagganlia in the Cairngorms and Benmore in Cowal.

As council budgets tighten over the next five years, it is essential that outdoor education is not only protected but enhanced.

In my own neighbourhood we have fantastic outdoor spaces, from the canal to Water of Leith to the twin Craiglockhart hills and woods.

There is barely a nursery or school in Edinburgh which does not have its own unique hinterland to explore, providing learning today and nurturing the future custodians of these precious green spaces tomorrow.

Edinburgh is a great place to be outside, whatever the weather, so let’s get outside and experience it!

Gavin Corbett, Green councillor for Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart, spokesman on economy and finance, and member of education, children and families committee

Working out impact of house sales tax

The latest house price figures from Your Move/Acadata suggests that there has been a significant increase in selling prices across the board, despite the dip in activity due to the introduction of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT).

ESPC recorded a similar rise in property prices in Edinburgh during May, which these figures are relating to. However, it would appear the current market has changed somewhat, suggesting that the true impact of LBTT hasn’t yet been felt.

ESPC’s latest house price report to the end of June reveals that for East Central Scotland, average prices have actually dipped 0.5 per cent – the first recorded decrease in average selling price for this region since December 2012.

From our analysis, this could possibly be attributed to the surge in higher-priced properties being brought to market at the start of the year, in anticipation of the introduction of LBTT.

We are now seeing fewer properties over £300,000 being sold, therefore driving down average prices.

Despite this, there are still some areas which have increased this month, for example Dunfermline, where prices between April and June this year have risen 12.6 per cent.

Overall, when comparing the property prices for the first six months of 2015 with the first six months of 2014 for East Central Scotland, we are reporting an increase of nine per cent, painting the picture that while conditions are still more favourable to the seller, it remains a promising time to engage in the market and it will be interesting to see how any fluctuations due to LBTT are balanced in the coming months.

Paul Hilton, chief executive, ESPC, Edinburgh

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