Bid to demolish gas tower height of nonsense

I HAVE just read in the Evening News about landowner National Grid's aim to demolish the B-listed former industrial gasometer (£7 million repair bill set to bring down 106-year-old gas tower, June 18).

National Grid, who own the former Granton gasworks, are investing over 50 million in the area, building 3500 new homes on the former brownfield regeneration site and stand to make huge profits as part of the 1 billion Waterfront development within the Granton area.

The company make the point regarding the 2.2m it will cost to clean and decontaminate the land around the gas tower. However, even with the demolishing of the tower, the company will still have to spend the money decontaminating the land before they can build even more flats there.

As far as the monies spent on the repair of the old structure, surely 5m can be found between the company's vast profits and funding from various avenues such as Historic Scotland along with Edinburgh City Council, who are the other major landowners within the Granton brownfield site.

National Grid have said: "Key factors that will make this development a success is the determination of the developers and planners to integrate and enhance the existing community's heritage and expectations." With that statement, why are the company so determined to demolish a great piece of Edinburgh's industrial heritage? When National Grid demolished the previous two gasholders from the site, they gave assurances that the 106-year-old tower would be incorporated within the new development.

Why is the company putting forward the issue of the fiscal burden now? They knew many years ago that it would cost a large amount to save the tower. What has changed other than the idea of making even more profit from the land that the old tower sits upon?

With the vast amount of developments being built throughout Scotland's former industrial sites, there must be more done to protect the last remnants of the country's great industrial past.

Lawrence Dinse, Crewe Road North, Edinburgh

Not raising a glass to ID proposals

YOU report that another drinks industry group, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, is now demanding that taxpayers foot the bill for, and accept the imposition of, compulsory national identity cards (Stiff measure of alcohol laws may be too much to stomach, Evening News, June 18).

Perhaps this trade body has not noticed that the Home Office has spent the last five years trying to do exactly that; intending to force every citizen to register for a card that will cause every transaction to be recorded on a government database, at a cost of hundreds of pounds to each adult.

It is unfortunate that the SLTA appears to have such little regard for the privacy and wallets of their customers.

There is a better solution. Shopkeepers do not need to know the names, addresses or dates of birth of customers. It is sufficient to know only that someone is old enough to purchase alcohol.

For this limited purpose, simple proof-of-age cards are readily available, costing just a few pounds apiece.

There is no need for compulsion and there is no need for taxpayers to waste money that could be far better spent elsewhere.

Dr Geraint Bevan, Grovepark Gardens, Glasgow

Elementary solution to schools dilemma

I FULLY endorse the letter from Ms Georgie Northey (Evening News, June 18) on combining St John's Primary and Lismore Primary in a new building on the site of the existing Lismore Primary.

Having just looked at the present St John's School, along with the area of playgrounds and nursery annex, this would seem the obvious solution of combining the site with the present Portobello High School site which is next to it. This would solve the problems of the objections to building on Portobello Park with the school access directly off the busy Milton Road and also please the parents and children who are against closing Lismore Primary.

John M Tulloch, Duddingston Park South, Edinburgh

Why we should flag up heritage

CROSSING the Welcome Bridge recently between Thailand and Laos, fellow passengers were visibly excited as we moved from the Thai side to the Laos side. We knew we were in a different country because of the different flags which were flying as borders were crossed. People love going to new countries and we love being reminded that we are in another country by language, currency and flags.

It strikes me therefore as being faintly ridiculous that Scotland's No.1 tourist venue, Edinburgh Castle, has no St Andrew's Cross flying from its main mast.

I'm sure that if the Evening News asked the question, would you like to see the St Andrew's Cross flying from the Castle, they would get an overwhelming YES vote.

Can we do something about this in time for the Festival, when hundreds of thousands of visitors will pour into Edinburgh?

Brian Hill, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh

Criticism for the ERI is ill-founded

OVER the last few months, the ERI has had more than its fair share of criticism. I would like you to publish this letter to try and redress the balance.

Having just recently spent some time as a patient in the Royal Infirmary, I would like to make the following points.

1. Cleanliness – Both wards I was in were thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis by very cheery and diligent staff.

2. Food – An excellent choice of food which I found very good.

3. Nursing care – The standard of care from the consultants down through the grades to the nursing staff in the discharge lounge was excellent.

A special mention must go to the nurses in wards 106 and 107 who looked after me so well.

Thank you all very much.

George Alexander, Dudley Grove, Edinburgh

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