Letters: City should not subsidise private firm in docks plan

I read that the city is raising £84 million through TIF (tax incremental financing scheme), which essentially is a scheme to borrow money on the guarantee that future business rates income will be used to pay for the loan (Docks revamp 'at risk' if tram line incomplete, News, November 1).

The money is to be used, among other things, to pay for new lock gates in Leith docks. The lock gates are owned and maintained by the Forth Ports Authority, which is a private company.

Why is the council subsidising the FPA to do work that it would have to do anyway to keep the docks in operation?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This is the same FPA which is not prepared to put up the money for the tram that it indicated it would do when the project was first mooted.

Donald McBride, Craigleith Hill Crescent, Edinburgh

Defence treaty does not fill gap

THE treaty signed between the UK and France on conventional military co-operation is logical in the current economic climate, but it should not be used as a substitute for military capability.

This sort of co-operation is not unusual or new amongst many other countries and France and Germany and the Scandinavian countries have a long history of working together successfully. Of course, the "Auld Alliance" between Scotland and France is an even older example of such co- operation.

But what this agreement does not fill is the gap which has been created by the decisions in the strategic defence review to scrap Nimrod, and which has left the UK without its vital maritime reconnaissance fleet.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Schools groups should be proud

THE dilemma of where to put the new high school for Portobello created divergent groups in the community.

Portobello Park Action Group (PPAG) continued to promote alternative local parks, such as The Jewel or Bingham Park for the High School and Figgate Park for St John's. Portobello For New Schools (PFANS) campaigned for a school on Portobello Park and Golf Course. At first glance it would appear that both groups lost out; independent consultants deemed the parks favoured by PPAG as unviable and the council chose to protect Portobello Golf Course meaning PFANS had to compromise itsdesires.

But there are reasons why both groups should be pleased and proud of their campaigns.

PPAG's efforts mean there will be no housing on Portobello Park or Golf Course; the height of the new school buildings will be lower than the existing tree line, so views will be protected. The park will undergo a makeover to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds, the landscaping plan includes a smaller park area and improvement of the Millennium planting.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

PFANS campaign fell some way short of aspirations, but helping secure a 41.5 million investment in extremely tough times has got to do down as an achievement to be proud of.

Stephen McIntyre, Portobello High Street

Nothing concrete to build on now

THIS week's latest survey from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (Cips) confirms recent warnings from the Scottish Building Federation that the rise in construction output witnessed in the early part of this year was never going to last.

It is true that we have previously seen limited signs of recovery in the building sector, led by the residual benefits of public capital investment accelerated into the 2009/10 Scottish budget.

But it is worth noting that, throughout that period, private commercial construction and private housebuilding have continued to struggle.

Showing the weakest performance for eight months, the newest figures from Cips suggest that, unless something is done to maintain public investment, the odds on a double dip recession in Scottish construction are now looking considerably shorter.

Michael Levack, chief executive, Scottish Building Federation