‘These figures confirm what we are saying’

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Today’s figures which show that the revenue from introducing £2 car parking charges at East Lothian beaches will be nothing like initial claims should spell the end of this ill-conceived idea.

The Evening News has already launched a campaign to halt the plans which have caused an outcry across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Almost as soon as council leader Willie Innes suggested that such a scheme could bring in £900,000 a year, alarm bells started to ring. Campaigners have pointed out that the figures just do not add up and today we have published hard evidence which appears to blow the whole idea out of the water.

Even if all East Lothian beach car parks were used to current capacity, today’s figures suggest the council would need to attract three times as many people to the beaches as they currently do.

When you account for the number of people who will be put off a trip to the East Lothian seaside by the prospect of having to pay, and the impact on local traffic, this appears completely unrealistic.

Business leaders and local people are rightly concerned.

Of course, once the principle of charging is established then it would be very easy to increase the charge in the future to allow the council to hit its predictions.

This is what we must guard against. As we have said before, £2 may not seem like a huge amount of money, but there will be no turning back once the fees are introduced.

Today’s figures only confirm what we have been saying all along – Keep Our Beaches Free and scrap this plan now.

Have you got talent?

Entries for this year’s Edinburgh’s Got Talent contest will open later this month and today we announce that Edward Reid – a semi-finalist on Britain’s Got Talent – will be the guest act for the final at the city’s Festival Theatre on October 26.

Some of those who enter will be hoping for a big break. But for others it will simply be a case of showcasing the talent that friends and family have always known they had.

EGT, now in its fourth year, is about celebrating the best of what the Capital has to offer. And for those who make it to the final ten, there is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take to the stage at the Festival Theatre in front of a huge audience.

Reid, a drama teacher, now has a loyal following and a show on at the Fringe. Not all will make it that far. But there is honour and a lot of fun to be had in trying.