Readers' letters: Westward sprawl is destroying Edinburgh's green belt

Where Art I?, Edinburgh Sketcher - 22 August 2022Where Art I?, Edinburgh Sketcher - 22 August 2022
Where Art I?, Edinburgh Sketcher - 22 August 2022
Sale of surplus land providing much needed housing is a welcome example of how brownfield land is being converted for residential use in Cathcart, Glasgow.

In West Edinburgh, however, high quality former green belt land is being destroyed for housing.

We are seeing major office and housing expansion with the latest phase of Edinburgh Park, new housing estates at West Craigs near the Maybury and David Murray’s Garden District stretching to the west of the bypass.

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With further development at Bill Gammell’s West Town planned for 7000 units, a total of around 20,000 units could be built in former green belt land by 2030 in West Edinburgh.

This is projected to swell the population of the Capital to over 550,000 by 2028, an increase nearly four times the Scottish average within a decade. Edinburgh has not seen new development on this scale since the New Town in the 18th century. The worry for residents is how this will affect road, school and health infrastructure, given there is little evidence of such investment.

While many will question whether people will be able to afford houses starting from around £300,000 to over £1m, there will be further congestion, making the city a less desirable place to live.It’s not clear why the planners have chosen to destroy thousands of acres of good arable green belt land, given the hundreds of acres of wasteland within the bypass much closer to the city centre in South East Edinburgh.

There are also hundreds of units lying empty that could be retrofitted with green technology, largely absent from the new housing in West Edinburgh.

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Once again rich developers rule, with Edinburgh planners allowing greenfield over brownfield development as the city sprawls westwards.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh.

Truss economic plan is irresponsible

The Institute for Fiscal Studies had said that the UK can't afford huge tax cuts. They are unfeasible because spiraling inflation will push up the cost of government spending, leading to a lack of spare capacity for tax cuts.

The IFS claims that short-term borrowing to support families through the coming rise in energy bills is possible and preferable to permanent tax cuts.

Liz Truss economics seems quite irresponsible by comparison to Gordon Brown economics.

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The Rishi Sunak campaign says that this analysis drives a coach and horses through the Truss' plans, but sadly the die is cast and Truss seems to be heading for victory. Yet a quick, easily implemented plan is all we have time for, which is why the Keir Starmer plan has merit.

But what happens if the Johnsonians rallying round Truss go for a massive cost cutting package, as advocated by Jacob Rees-Mogg? It depends on the level of integrity which the Sunak team and supporters can muster.

With even a grain of integrity, Tories of that camp must consider joining the opposition if the government does not become one of national unity immediately.

After all, these Tories are in agreement with leading economists that the Truss plan is most likely to increase inflation while doing nothing for growth and productivity.

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Why would investors take risks promoting industrial development at this time, just because of new tax cuts?

A major recession and hyper-inflation is bearing down, creating weak demand. Reducing inflationary pressures is, therefore, the priority. Only neoliberal ideological zealots fail to see that.

Andrew Vass, Edinburgh.

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