Leader: Pentlands parking charges

Have your say

The introduction of a parking charge for visitors to the Pentlands will be unpopular with many.

Over the years we have grown used to enjoying the beautiful hills and using their council-maintained car parks for free.

Now we are effectively being told that we have been spoiled and the time has come for visitors to start making a regular contribution.

Bearing in mind the annual £380,000 cost of running the regional park and the stringent cost-cutting being forced on the local councils who pay for it, we have no argument with the principle that park users should pay something towards the facilities.

What is the alternative? Continuing to rely on all council tax payers to entirely subsidise the leisure pursuits of the few?

That is not fair, especially at a time when school budgets, for instance, are being chopped.

Equally, £2 a day seems a reasonable charge, but only because the park is also offering the option of a £52 annual permit to regular visitors.

There are understandable concerns about opening the door to motorists being used as cash cows once again.

There is admittedly little to stop that happening, but that fear on its own is not reason enough to say no to any charge.

What appears to be unfair about the plans as they stand is that there is little provision for enforcement.

No-one expects park rangers to become full-time parking wardens, but surely some regime of daily checks is possible.

A set-up based on just 40 per cent of visitors paying is deeply flawed.

It simply means that the responsible minority who pay without question are the ones who will bear the burden, while everyone else enjoys a free ride.

Turbulent times

The factory doors may have closed at BlindCraft but the city must not forget the proud traditions that were built there.

For 218 years, the Capital played a pioneering role in helping blind and otherwise disabled people to help themselves, offering them work which they may have otherwise struggled to find.

It proved impossible to save the historic business but in closing it down the council recognised it had a duty of care to the disabled staff in particular. And that duty should not stop the minute these workers sign a temporary contract with another employer or start a college course.

The council must continue to do everything in its power to help these workers through these turbulent times.