Letters: Princes Street must pay for ice rink

Picture: Ian Rutherford
Picture: Ian Rutherford
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IN these times of austerity we must all support any attempt by the city council to reduce costs without impacting on essential services.

For that reason we should applaud the fact that it has identified the enormous cost of restoring Princes Street Gardens after the Christmas festivities, and have elected to relocate the most damaging of the festive attractions – the skating rink, etc – to George Street, where they will cause less physical damage.

And who tries to prevent that? The Princes Street stores which expect this free annual subsidy to increase the Christmas footfall in their halls of plenty.

Most of the Princes Street stores, however, are major national and international chain stores which measure their profits in tens and hundreds of millions of pounds. If they want the Christmas attractions to remain in the gardens, so be it, but then let them pay, between them, the total annual cost of restoration – and up front.

We have subsidised these retail giants – who are probably registered for tax purposes in Timbuktu or Kiribati – for long enough.

It’s time they pulled their weight, and repaid and supported a city which has hosted them so economically, for so long.

David Fiddimore, Nether Craigwell, Calton Road, Edinburgh

No nudge from city council over HMO

I WAS wondering whether it might be possible to try to find out whether any of your readers find themselves in the same boat as I am.

I am the landlord of an HMO property in Edinburgh and, for some reason, this year I did not receive the usual reminder from the council that my HMO licence was about to expire.

As a result, I did not manage to submit my licence renewal application before my existing licence expired.

When I did manage to submit it (NINE days after the expiry of the previous one) I was told by the council that I would need to pay £175 (in addition to the £330 I paid for the renewal application) to enable my application to be processed, as a new application (which I would not have been required to pay had I submitted the application a mere nine days earlier).

Samantha Clark, Edinburgh

Cinemas should spell out use of subtitles

IS it not possible that when films are listed in cinemas in Edinburgh each day that any that are subtitled are marked accordingly? This would save any misunderstanding a disappointment.

Alison Reid, Howden Hall Drive, Alnwick Hill, Edinburgh

Who’s really behind ‘chemical’ attack?

It makes no sense that the Syrian government would use chemical weapons against its civilian population, for this would give the Anglo-American superpower pseudo-justification to militarily intervene in the civil war with the United Nations’ endorsement.

Although there was no concrete evidence to accuse who was responsible for the alleged nerve-agent attack, it would appear more true to life that British and American vested interests were behind it in order to set in motion the pursuit of replacing the Syrian regime with a more accommodating or even submissive one.

Given the ignominious conduct of British and American forces in the Middle East and surrounding areas in recent years, it is not beyond the bounds of reason to speculate that Israel was used to send the helicopters with the chemical agent over its neighbouring border into Syria, knowing the unthinking section of world opinion would blame Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

William Burns, Pennywell Road, Edinburgh

Scots must accept referendum outcome

I WAS delighted to receive a response from Clark Cross (May 16) to my earlier letter and must thank him for directing me to a couple of reports on immigration – albeit documents of which I was already well aware of in my continuing quest to keep an open and unbiased mind on the forthcoming independence referendum.

I am, however, somewhat puzzled by his statement that “I will explain in words of one syllable” – and then fails to do so by launching into no less than six multi-syllabled paragraphs.

He refers again to the SNP and the imagined consequences for Scotland if the forthcoming referendum brings a positive result. He should understand, however, that it is by no means certain that the SNP will be returned to government post-referendum. It could well be a party holding his own views and aspirations.

I will vote for or against the referendum once I have assimilated all the facts. No easy task considering the plethora of fatuous claims and counter claims reverberating around the media.

However, as a supporter of democracy, I will accept the outcome of the referendum whatever the result. I hope that the supporters of both camps can find the courage to do the same.

I will finish in words of one syllable.

Thank you.

D McBain, Baberton Mains Row, Edinburgh