Parking worker proved a hero in my hour of need

I GENERALLY hate parking attendants as much as the next person, particularly these days when Edinburgh is so congested and impossible to park in.

However, one deserves a break from all of us angry drivers: A man called John (number 1089), who rescued me when I was stuck in a bus lane on Melville Street in the West End because of a flat tyre.

With a sick toddler in the back seat I was unable to do much other than sit there, try to keep her warm and happy, and wait for the rescue truck to turn up. Meanwhile, I was getting shouted at by every single bus that passed – their drivers seemingly blind to the obvious flat tyre and under the impression that it is OK to shout at someone they think is in "their" lane.

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When John the parking attendant came dashing toward me I assumed he too would give me a hard time – and probably a ticket – but not so.

He leaned in. "Do you need some help with that flat?'' he asked. He got started on the job and confessed that he does the dreaded job to "pay the rent'' but is a huge classic car enthusiast and would far prefer tinkering with cars all day – even if only changing a tyre for me!

He had everything under control in no time – and I was off home with my sick daughter. He not only fixed my wheel, he cheered me up no end – not least in light of those furious bus drivers who had been so intimidating while I sat there impotently. Thanks John!

R Burnett, Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Planning decision's a complex matter

DAVID FIDDIMORE (City needs to make up mind on hotels, letters March 24) suggests the decisions on Caltongate and the recent Craigmillar Park proposals come down to whether or not the council wants more hotels.

Taking a decision on a planning application is rather more complex and in both these cases there were many other factors.

For example, an application requires matching up to the framework of the Lothian Structure Plan and the Edinburgh City Local Plan. In the case of Caltongate there was also a longstanding development brief agreed by an earlier Planning Committee. Other considerations include how the proposals will affect the local community or the perceived city needs as a whole.

So the blocking of views of Arthur's Seat was only one of many considerations cited in the discussions of the Planning Committee.

It may be of interest to Mr Fiddimore that as a member of the Planning Committee, after consideration of the various issues, I chose to vote in favour of both the Caltongate proposals and the hotel in Craigmillar Park. Of course, in respect of the Craigmillar Park proposals I was in a minority on the committee and the application was refused.

Cameron Rose, Conservative Councillor, Southside/Newington

No gold for Gordon over the Olympics

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LIKE Sophie L Anderson (letters, March 26), I too will be imposing a living room TV ban on this year's Olympic Games due to China's human rights record.

I was no fan of Margaret Thatcher, but she did at least try to persuade UK athletes to boycott the Moscow Games when she was PM.

Perhaps our current PM Gordon Brown sees the Olympics as a chance to impose his view of Britishness on the rest of us, or maybe he views the prospect of an independent Tibet as a dangerous precedent that might take off in his own backyard.

Who says sport and politics don't mix?

Gavin Fleming, Webster's Land, Grassmarket, Edinburgh

Fly with the crows and get shot down

COUNCIL leader Jenny Dawe says the launch by First Minister Alex Salmond of the Scottish Government/Cosla Early Years Strategy was "marred" by a handful of protesters against Edinburgh Leisure's efficiency savings.

Is this the same Alex Salmond who, as a newly elected MP, interrupted the Budget speech in March 1988 in protest at cuts in income tax rates and the introduction of the poll tax in Scotland, and was thrown out of the chamber for a week?

There is an old saying: If you fly with the crows, you get shot with the crows. Perhaps what has really upset Jenny Dawe and other Edinburgh councillors is that people power in the form of protest against ill thought out crche cuts seems to has been successful and saved a vital public service.

Anna Cuthbert, Plewlands Gardens, Edinburgh

Check the source before denouncing

LETTER writer Mr McGrouther (March 26) has clearly not read the editorial in the April issue of Life and Work and has based his comments on a gross misinterpretation published in the Evening News (Resurrection time .. but does the church need part-timers?, March 21).

The editorial is unhappy with a Government-led "presumed consent" and also warns that checks would need to be put in place to prevent abuse. What it also says, however, is that for Christians, organ donation – giving the gift of life to others – is clearly commendable and that the current donor crisis would be better solved by generosity of spirit than by Government legislation.

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There are many people today who think that Government interference in people's lives is already excessive.

The Life and Work feature includes contributions from a doctor/church elder; a doctor/MSP; a former Moderator who serves on the lay council of the Royal College of Physicians and a donor recipient who has enjoyed 18 years of active life because of an organ donation.

Life and Work is contributing to a national debate on the issue which the Prime Minister himself commended prior to the introduction of any proposed legislation.

I suggest Mr McGrouther obtains a copy of the magazine so that any criticism he has to offer will, at least, be informed.

Muriel Armstrong, Editor, Life and Work, Frogston Gardens, Edinburgh