Creche cuts won't work out for mums

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EDINBURGH Leisure's shock announcement of their intention to close six creches across the city tells us where our council's priorities are (Anger as cutbacks hit ports crèches, Evening News, March 6).

These creches are hugely important to the communities that they serve, providing first-class childcare while parents and carers can take an hour or so for a swim, gym or fitness class.

For many new mothers, in particular, they provide their only opportunity for a welcome break from the demands of a young baby. This opportunity for child-free time and exercise contributes to the well being of parents and without it many would struggle to get through the day.

The expected saving will contribute to a target figure of 300,000 – pennies compared with Edinburgh's spend on tourism and events for visitors to the city – over 500,000 for the Edinburgh International Festival, 800,000 for Winter Festivals and a massive 3million for renewal of the Tattoo Stands.

The Lib Dem/SNP council looks set to carry on where the Labour Party left off – by making the city a play park for the well-heeled tourist at the expense of those who live and work here. I am sure that there will be just as much protest at this decision as there was for the proposed closure of 22 schools last year. But council members may have forgotten one point – tourists don't get a vote.

Linda Somerville, Elgin Terrace, Edinburgh

Residents' welfare is most important

I HAVE read with interest the articles in the press relating to Cockenzie House Care Home.

In the mid-80s I managed a Lothian Region retirement home which, because of the financial situation at that time, was one of four small homes identified for closure. More recently my father, who was physically very frail and diagnosed with Alzheimer's, made the move from Yorkshire to live for four years in a local (very good) care home. So I can sympathise with the anxieties of residents and their families about the future.

However, I have read with great care the Care Commission reports from July 2005 to October 2007 relating to Cockenzie House and have noted the guidance and support that has been made available to the owner and manager to help them meet the national Care Standards for Care Homes for Older People.

These standards set out in detail the care and support that must be available to people when they face the difficult decision to move into a care home and the help they can expect as they adjust to this major change in their lives.

The many recommendations and requirements gave very clear guidance over a wide range of topics. I noted particularly those referring to staff training. I know how demanding the work of staff in care homes is and how much more stress we place staff under if they are not given the appropriate skills, knowledge and support.

It was as a result of non-compliance after a number of Care Commission visits allowing adequate time for progress to be made in meeting the requirements that Cockenzie House became subject to an enforcement order in 2007.

Now that the owner has decided to retire it does not seem to be helpful to apportion blame when it would seem much more important to secure for residents at the home the best possible outcome.

Gillian Colston, Bridge Street, Haddington

Tiny flat will tempt greedy landlords

THE bijou accommodation in Picardy Place being sold for offers over 55,000 from an original investment of 11,000 is expected to fetch as much as 80,000 (Tiny flat expected to make a massive profit, News, March 3).

This opens the door to unscrupulous property developers who to make money will subdivide future properties, making them smaller and smaller. This smells of 60s-type Rachmanism. Mr Branislav Sudjic should hold his head in shame, to let him away with this effrontery will be the start of many such cases.

James E Fraser, Cockburn Street, Edinburgh

Keep up the good roadworks, please

THE recently implemented traffic diversions in the city centre to allow for the tram construction works on Shandwick Place seem to be working extremely well, and the predictions made by some of "traffic chaos" do not seem to have materialised. Credit is due to Edinburgh City Council and TIE for the extensive planning put into these diversions.

In fact they seem to be working so well that if I had my way, I would leave the diversions in place permanently. The re-opening of the road between Queensferry Street and Charlotte Square at the West End – which was closed as part of Central Edinburgh Traffic Management in 2005 – is allowing buses to travel unimpeded by traffic lights allowing higher running speeds along this section.

In addition the re-opening of Frederick Street has taken around 24 buses per hour per direction off almost half of Princes Street resulting in less traffic noise and a more pleasant pedestrian environment on what is the main shopping street in the city.

Now please, leave it as it is.

Martin Gallagher, Stoneyflatts Crescent, South Queensferry

Lib Dems should live up to promises

IT was good to see the letter from Alison Johnstone (March 4). This reminded the Liberal Democrats of their less than sparkling performance on alternatives to single use plastic bags since they got into power at City Chambers.

I minimised my use of these plastic bags more than a decade ago and have become even more stringent in the past few years.

I campaign on the issue and give presentations to local community groups, but there is a limit to what I can do in my spare time. Politicians can do a lot more and it is no good them talking a good game in opposition if they then fail to match that talk when they get into power.

David Hansen, Clark Road, Inverkeithing, Fife