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Time for us to all work together on a new Porty High

YOUR story "Lawyers clear way to build on park" (Evening News, December 2) made welcome reading for the majority of the city who support a new Portobello High School on Portobello Park.

Whilst it came as no surprise given that there are already several schools in Scotland that are built on Common Good land, the news did put paid to the few locals that rather selfishly argued that the education of our young people was somehow against the common good.

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It has taken almost two years for the city council to source opinion from senior counsel in response to the opinion of Roy Martin QC as acquired by the Portobello Park Action Group in 2006. It is encouraging that the legal opinions from both sides of the debate appear to be consistent rather than contradictory.

PPAG sought to prove the land did have common good status and the council conceded the point by placing the land in the appropriate account. Both parties agree that if the council are to dispose of the land then it will be a matter for the court to decide, The council are moving forward on the basis that there will be no disposal. The matter is now resolved and with cross-party agreement.

Your article stated that the final legal hurdle to building the school has now been removed. We still need the money and we are pushing our politicians to get it. There is one other critical issue; planning and design. There is a strong incentive for the entire Portobello community to deliver an eco and environmentally friendly school that minimises the impact on its locale whilst maximising the opportunity for young people.

I'm far from alone in hoping that we can ALL work together to deliver a brilliant school.

Stephen McIntyre, Portobello High Street, Edinburgh

Let this Bird fly away from party

I LOOK back with some nostalgic affection to BBC Hogmanay parties of years past.

But this was before the advent of Jackie Bird taking over her seemingly endless monopoly as the party's host. Maybe a nice person to meet over drinks. However, an irritating on-screen persona to me (and, I know, to many others). Simply not someone in whose company I want to bring in a New Year!

So it's been Jools Holland in our house for many Hogmanays now. Entertaining enough, but BBC Scotland is badly at fault for not alternating the party host year upon year. It would bring a freshness to the occasion.

People like me would not be cut out. Or is this too much like common sense in our absurd, "star" presenter broadcasting culture?

James Coxson, Inverleith Row, Edinburgh

Holyrood scandals revealed by George

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IN response to Geoff Dickson's claim on December 5 regarding George Foulkes' use of Parliamentary questions, he should remember that it is the job of the opposition to hold governments to account.

Questions about stylists and hairdressers may have failed, but his questions on the misuse of Bute House, ministerial car travel and the SNP's relationship with their donors have an unearthed many a scandal.

Alison McKenzie, Duff Road, Edinburgh

Park and ride sites not properly used

PARK and ride facilities really needs a much fuller debate, which should focus on the issue of Lothian Buses and the service it offers the public from these facilities and which is poor in the extreme.

Since the sites are provided at no cost to the bus service it's not surprising they simply don't give a hoot about them, treating them as simply bus stops, a nice easy place to pick up a good few motorists forced to use the bus by the restrictive parking regime.

The current park and ride sites provided at taxpayers' expense are simply not being utilised in a meaningful way by Lothian Buses, which continues like some blinkered dinosaur to focus its service on Princes Street, which is madness and a great disservice to the city.

Increasingly those who choose to use their own car decide that the visits to the city or items they wish to buy are better done without or purchased elsewhere simply because of the trauma of parking or driving in the city.

John Byrn, Seventh Street, Newtongrange

Little logic used in making up rules

THERE must be something in posts of rulemaking authority that erodes logic in the holders. The Scottish parliament, for instance, seems intent on reducing the legal level of alcohol allowed to drivers.

The present limit was arrived at arbitrarily rather than scientifically, being based on a single measure of spirits (which before metrication was larger).This was presumably deemed safe, so has there been any further research to overthrow that judgment?

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Now Sport UK has joined the non-logic trend. They have just announced that funding in preparation for the 2012 Olympics will be apportioned to sports in proportion to their medal success rate in Beijing. Where is sense in reinforcing those sports which are already strongest under the current regime?

The priority should be to raise the standard across the board, and denying funds to weaker sports seems to me an inversion of reason. Any available money would in any case be better spent on improving sport at local level, not on a national ego trip like the Olympics.

Robert Dow, Ormiston Road, Tranent

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