Leaders: ‘We should all be grateful for this gift’

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THE landscape of Edinburgh would look very different today were it not for some great acts of philanthropy.

The bandstand in Princes Street Gardens took its name from whisky magnate William Henry Ross because it was his gift to the Capital.

And his namesake, the Victorian gunmaker Daniel Ross, bought and delivered the nearby fountain to Edinburgh after admiring it at the Great Exhibition of London in 1862.

The ski slope at Hillend was built thanks to inventor George Boyd 
Anderson, who wanted to introduce city children to the joys of winter sports, while aristocrat Archibald Primrose presented the city with the building for its Writers Museum off the Royal Mile. The list is endless.

Glasgow may be eternally grateful to Sir William Burrell for the gift of his incredible collection, but Edinburgh is dotted with great gifts of its own.

Today, former American business leader Debra Stonecipher opens a new chapter in this noble tradition.

After painstakingly restoring historic Moubray House she will hand it over to Historic Scotland as a gift to the city and its people.

The visitor centre which it will 
become promises be a fascinating addition to the attractions of the Royal Mile.

Despite its great history, there are few buildings on the Mile where you can chart 500 years of its unfolding story.

We should all be grateful for this fantastic act of generosity which will open up a whole new corner of the Capital for generations to come.

What a wonderful tribute to her grandmother who loved Edinburgh.

Good planning

On the face of it, limiting the rights of councillors to make representations on a planning application seems crazy. After all, they are elected to represent their constituents on matters of concern.

But yesterday Edinburgh City Council rubber stamped rules in the Scottish Government’s Code of Conduct that prevent councillors making a case unless other interested parties are given the opportunity to speak. The council had little choice.

In the majority of cases, a councillor will accurately reflect the community view.

But some local planning rows divide communities. If your councillor backs your point of view that can have a powerful effect on the final committee decision. But what if they disagree with your side? The new rules, while detailed, ensure that all parties will be allowed an equal hearing.