Saturday, 18 October 2014

More waste collection delays

2 years ago I pushed for the establishment of this page on the Council website to give up to date information about waste collection delays.   Alas, it is not always up to date - I Know from correspondence from my constituents - though it is a helpful point of reference.

Alas the current situation on some fronts is a bit more serious and the details below have been sent to me but have not reached the 'delay' webpage:
Waste Collection Delays
We are currently experiencing delays in collections of our side loading bins (OMBs) due to vehicle breakdowns.  Side loading bins can only be serviced by specialist vehicles therefore we are unable to use other operational vehicles to collect this waste. Over the last few days we had sporadic use of these vehicles due to ongoing breakdowns which has unfortunately had a significant impact on our service delivery today.
To reduce the impact on the affected areas we have instructed crews to remove waste from overflowing bins to keep streets free from waste. Further parts are due to be delivered and fitted this evening therefore we hope to have another vehicle operational by tomorrow morning. With this additional vehicle and extra crews working on these collections we are hopeful to have this backlog cleared over the weekend.
Further update will be provided on Monday morning. Thank you for your patience and we apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Playground plans

Sciennes School is the subject of ambitious plans to expand the playground - into Sciennes Road. It is a popular school with pressure on play space and the plans are still at an early stage - as this article reports.

King's Buildings to Marchmont route consultation

New cycle route proposals between King's Buildings and Marchmont are now out for consultation.  Below is a summary of the proposals but you can see fuller details on this Council webpage. Details can also be viewed in Newington Library.

  • new on-road cycle lanes
  • extended hours of parking and loading restrictions, to reduce the amount of time that cycle lanes may be blocked by parked or loading vehicles
  • a new road layout in the Kilgraston Road/Grange Loan/Blackford Avenue/Oswald Road area. This will help to reduce conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians in this area, and will improve pedestrian crossing opportunities
  • a trial of ‘early start’ cycle signals at Blackford Junction is also proposed. This would give cyclists time to move off in advance of general traffic, and would be the first time these have been used in the city.

Friday, 10 October 2014

New Bike Trail gets go ahead

The 800m mountain bike trail between the Crags Sports Centre and Holyrood Park has been given a final tranch of funding which will enable the bike park to be built by next summer.  The project has been known as the SKELF and its website is here.  It is hidden away between St Leonards, Dumbiedykes and the Park and the image (below) shows the plan.

"Angus Calder of the Braidwood Bikepark Group said: "The SKELF bike park project is about creating a fantastic and fun bike play space for local young people. . . . Creating the SKELF bike park will attract people and life back into the woods, making a real community asset of a currently wasted resource. The project will also be a safe place for local schools to run bike skills classes and PE.”

Details from the Scottish Government website here.  There is a BBC report here.

Congratulations to Angus Calder and the team

Do you know about SARA?

Last evening I attended the AGM of the Savile Area Residents Association (SARA).  Around 30 people attended and I wondered if there are not some local people who are not aware of this resident's association who might have enjoyed the event.  .

So here is the website with information about what they do and you will find a map of the area they cover here.

The picture is not a prediction of things to come this winter - but one of the excellent photos on their website.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Priestfield priority parking phasing

The work to implement the new and long awaited parking controls in Priestfield gets under way on the ground later this month.

Priestfield will become known as Area B7 and residents can apply now for a parking permit to park in the permit holders places. You can find a plan showing the locations of the first phase of parking places on the Council’s website here. The scheme starts on 3rd November and the controlled hours during which permits are required are 9:30 - 11:00 Monday to Friday.
There has been some concern that the plans published differ from the plans issued at the consultation stage.  Important with the introduction of priority parking is the phasing - which enables a review shortly after the go live date to enable adjustments to be made.  For those affected/interested, read on to see the explanation from one of our parking development staff to a public query,
" It has always been the case that Priority Parking is installed on a phased basis. In order to do that we must process a Traffic Order that includes all phases, so that we have the legal backing to introduce additional spaces at relatively short notice. With the Order process typically taking up to a year, including all parking initially allows us the flexibility to react to changing situations within reasonable timescales. In Priority Parking Area B1, this approach allowed us to react within 2 to 3 months of the going live date, introducing a second phase of parking in order to ensure that the amount of space met the needs of residents using the scheme.
The plans that we have previously consulted upon have, therefore, shown all of the proposed parking. As you rightly say, the accompanying notes on the original plan state that “An initial phase of permit parking places (approx 50% of spaces shown) is expected to meet the majority of residential demand”. The notes go on to explain that monitoring will take place and that a second phase could be implemented if required.
For B7, the latest plan shows the first phase of implementation, with the remaining parking being held until we can assess the need for further spaces. This is a key element of Priority Parking and is fundamental to ensuring that we place parking where it is needed most.
In determining the locations of the first phase of parking places we looked at the survey data for the Priestfield area. This reveals where people park and whether the vehicles surveyed are likely to belong to residents, commuters etc. What it does not do is consider where people would park if they had the opportunity to park wherever they wished. On that basis the first phase is therefore centred around those areas where access to off-street parking is limited, meaning that those streets which consist mainly of terraced properties have the bulk of the parking provision allocated to them, while those streets that consist mainly of properties with driveways are allocated fewer spaces. We are cognisant of the fact that not everyone supports parking controls, even in situations where there are obvious parking pressures. For this reason the second element that we consider when determining the first phase of implementation is the consultation responses. Even so, we tend to build in an allowance that creates more space on-street than appears to be required.
The result in this case is a first phase that is less than the 50% previously indicated. We use 50% as a guideline and , in hindsight, it may have been better to be even more vague than that. In trying to balance the needs of those who want controls and the needs of those who don’t, we will always use the data we have to determine how much parking to provide. With a second phase of implementation potentially able to happen a couple of months after phase 1, I am confident that we can deliver a scheme that meets the needs of those who want to use it and that this element of tailoring is a valuable tool in achieving that. I do not doubt that a second phase will be required – what is not clear is where the demand will lie. While our first phase centres around areas of support, I have no doubt that additional demand will become apparent once the scheme is operational. We will do all that we can to ensure that this additional demand is identified quickly and that additional space is provided where it is needed.
Obviously, we look to residents to give us indications of how our schemes are working. Our monitoring involves permit numbers, on-street surveys and input from those who are using the schemes. That feedback is vital in ensuring that we get the final scheme right, with enough spaces in locations that suit its users. We want Priority Parking to work. Thus far it has been a very successful approach to commuter parking pressures and this is a success that we would like to continue.

Monday, 6 October 2014

WW1 anniversary event at Usher Hall

28th November is a date for your diaries for a significant anniversary event commemorating a part Edinburgh played in the World War One.

On Friday 27 November 1914 a grand public meeting was held in the Usher Hall to inaugurate Lieutenant Colonel Sir George McCrae’s new Active Service battalion of the Royal Scots. By midnight three hundred volunteers had stepped forward among them thirteen players from Heart of Midlothian Football Club and fellow professionals from Raith Rovers, Falkirk, Hibernian, Dunfermline and East Fife. Sportsmen and supporters from countless other fields joined them and within five days the roll was full. Scotland’s sporting battalion went on to win undying fame on the killing fields of the Western Front, carrying Edinburgh’s name with pride and distinction, but at a terrible cost. More than a thousand officers and other ranks perished in the war. Many of them including most of the Hearts players have no known grave.

On Friday 28 November 2014, exactly one hundred years to the night, the City of Edinburgh will remember McCrae’s Battalion with an evening of music, drama, song and contemporary images. The distinguished actor Ken Stott has kindly offered his services as narrator and will lead the audience through the history of the battalion. All profits will be divided between the military charities, Help for Heroes and Poppy Scotland.
The driving force behind the McCrae's Battalion Trust is author Jack Alexander (local to this Southside/Newington parish).  This blog has reported on his sterling work on several previous occasions.

There is also a commemoration of the raising of the 16th Royal Scots Battalion (McCrae's) at St Cuthbert's Church at 12:45 on Thursday 27th November.  Details here.

Read the book:  McCrae's Battalion.
 Updated 061014 to correct mistyped date 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Transformation project wins £30k

The Causey plan to transform the historic West Crosscauseway part of Buccleuch Street has been awarded £30,000 by Edinburgh World Heritage.

Details here.  More info here.  And the Causey Development Trust website is here.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Missing person Fergus McInnes - info sources

Swiss police released this last known picture

A blog has been set up to bring together information about St Leonard's Bank missing person Fergus McInnes.

Here is a link to the blog which brings together a wide range of information about the disappearance of Fergus.

Here is another link to an article published today.

Lutton Court judicial review

A local resident has lodged papers with the Court of Session for a judicial review of the Scottish Government Reporter's decision to approve the application for student housing at Lutton Court.

See here for yesterday's post giving the background.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Lutton Court student housing update

Judicial review is an unlikely option in attempts to prevent Lutton Court Business Centre buildings being turned into student housing. 

The story so far.  The application to build a student housing complex at the site of the Lutton Court Business Centre - between Lutton Place and Bernard Terrace - was refused by the Planning Committee on 16th March this year.  (I am on the planning committee and amongst reasons for opposing it were concerns about the concentration of transient students in the area and the council planning guidance which advises that concentrations should not rise above 30% of the population)
The applicant appealed and the Scottish Government Reporter overturned the Planning Committee decision with a closely argued judgement.  You can read the judgement here.
Following representation from local people the Council have obtained
  1. a legal view from its lawyers
  2. a legal opinion from a QC
Both of these conclude that the chance of success in challenging the appeal decision at a judicial review is poor.
And that is where matters currently stand.  The Council has decided not to challenge the decision of the Scottish Reporter.
Meanwhile, the Planning Committee will be reviewing the 30% rule - though that review cannot affect any application which is already lodged.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Look out for your neighbours

Police Scotland are warning of a spate of bogus workmen reports across the city.  Claiming to be workmen offering to complete minor property repairs, the bogus workmen gain access to the the property of vulnerable householders and 'find' a woodworm infestation.  They then offer to treat it for an inflated sum and apply pressures for the work to be done by them and done immediately.

Look out for your vulnerable neighbours.  Bogus workmen crimes are amongst the worst.

 More details.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Doors Open Days

This weekend a selection of fascinating premises and organisations will throw open doors for members of the public.  The full list can be seen at the Doors Open Days site here.  Here is a pick of four local sites worth a visit:
  • Murchison House, West Mains Road:  Scottish Headquarters of the British Geological Survey, the oldest national geological survey in the world. Purpose built, in a cruciform shape, the chamfered corners and glazed stair lights were designed to echo the facets of a crystalline structure.
  •  Buccleuch and Greyfriars Free Church of Scotland, West Crosscausway: 
    These two churches frame the historic space known locally as ‘The Causey’. Buccleuch and Greyfriars, category C listed and dating from 1856, dominates the area with its towering steeple. By J., W.H. and J.M. Hay, who also built Augustines on George IV Bridge. Chapel of Ease (Graveyard): category B listed and built in 1755-6 as an overflow for St Cuthbert’s Lothian Road. Its tranquil secret graveyard houses several significant graves plus the unmarked grave of Deacon Brodie.
  • Queen's Hall, Clerk Street: A category A listed former church, originally designed by architect Robert Brown in 1822, which in 2014 is celebrating its 35th anniversary as a concert hall which now hosts approximately 200 events a year to over 100,000 people.
  • Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill:  The Royal Observatory Edinburgh combines state-of-the-art high tech facilities and original Victorian observatory buildings on a beautiful hilltop location overlooking the city. On site they design, build and use some of the best telescopes in the world. Visitors can catch talks, demonstrations and exhibits and go behind the scenes at a leading scientific establishment to discover how they contribute to astronomy at every stage in the process from designing a new telescope to using and storing the data produced.


Funeral of John White

The funeral of Middle Meadow Walk Big Issue seller John White takes place on Monday 29th Sept at Mortonhall Crematorium at 10:30am.

Previous post here.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Sick Kids charity saga court case

Well known figures have been called to give evidence in the current case at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.  Yesterday it was the turn of entrepreneur Jim McColl.  Also drawn into the fraud case against accused Elaine McGonigle have been former First Minister Jack McConnell and Donald MacDonald of MacDonald Highland Hotels.  Here is an extract from the Evening News report about the allegations of false expenses claims by McGonigle:
"Mr McColl, chief executive of Clyde Blowers Capital, said he donated money to a number of charities but could “not recall” ever giving money to the children’s hospital campaign. . . . . . He said he had flown out on April 3 and returned to Scotland on April 7, 2009. He said had also been on a trip to the United States around the same time.
The 62-year-old said: “I wasn’t in the country that day. If it helps, I have my travel tickets here.”

You can see more details here and previous details are in my earlier post here