Leaders: ‘It can be win-win situation for everyone’

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FEW will argue with the city council’s aim to create 16,000 new affordable homes in Edinburgh in the next ten years.

There have been warnings for years that an ever-growing number of families are being priced out of the market as house prices and rents soared. The economic downturn has done little to help the situation, especially as housebuilding has ground to a halt.

The average council house in Edinburgh was last year said to attract around 140 bids whenever it becomes vacant, with the local authority waiting list stretching to 25,000 names.

The business case published today is an ambitious but laudable aim, especially as it would create an estimated 20,000 construction jobs in the process.

The elephant in the room is: where are these houses going to go?

No sites are being mentioned at the moment but there is clearly the potential for controversy if green belt land is considered.

A huge amount of new social housing may not be welcomed in certain areas as much as others, especially as this has been described today as the largest programme of housebuilding seen in the Capital since Wester Hailes in the 1970s.

Careful planning will be required as well as close consultation with communities to ensure building programmes are sympathetic and the right fit for each area, not a mistake which will have to be corrected in the decades to come. If the council gets it right then this blueprint can potentially be a win-win situation for everyone, allowing Edinburgh to grow, kick-starting building and providing badly needed homes. No-one would argue with that.

A Capital hero

Sir Chris Hoy’s retirement from competitive cycling is a fitting end to a career that has been marked by brilliance and modesty in equal measure. At 37, Sir Chris calculated that younger riders would have had a better chance at gold, even though he must have been so tempted to hang on for one last hurrah at Glasgow 2014. He was a team player to the end.

His medal-winning performances have brought great joy to Britain and particularly to Edinburgh where he was born and bred.

He should be a hero to our young generation. In an era when lack of talent and an attitude problem seem to be the pathway to celebrity, Sir Chris stands for the old-fashioned values of hard work and graciousness. A gold medal standard for us all.