Grounds for concern

I write with reference to your recent article on the propose "land sell-off" at Hawkhill. First, the net loss of playing-fields is much less than reported. It amounts in fact to one rugby pitch after considerable effort was put into the new proposed pitch alignments at Academy Park.

If the proposed deal does not materialise, then grass surfaces currently available will certainly be left intact. However, the future of Leith Academicals Rugby Club will be in severe doubt and the playing fields at the school will continue to prove inadequate (and at times unplayable). This will certainly constitute a "net loss" for the entire community.

There is justifiable concern about any loss of grass pitches, and the disposal of these must be examined closely. However, such proposals cannot solely be judged in quantitative terms - the quality and variety of sports and recreational provision are surely vital. Therefore, I would encourage the Scottish Sports Council to undertake a costbenefit analysis of each individual project, so that it can be considered on its own merits. This project has obvious benefits for the local community and a degree of vision and flexibility is required to support it.

SANDY McCAULAY Headteacher Leith Academy Edinburgh

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