Monday, 30 November 2015
Thursday, 26 November 2015
Then how is the bill to be paid? Last year there were all sorts of hints that the long overdue development of the St James Centre would mean the developer would be a possible lender at very low interest rates. See here for some more details. That possibility appears to have disappeared. The focus of the report seemed to be raiding the coffers of Lothian Buses - perhaps to the tune of £25m. That is to bridge a gap created by deferring the main borrowing costs away from the beginning of the project (saddling a future generation).
Annual borrowing costs are put at £9.5m (but that is only for the £145m total cost figure to Newhaven, not the higher figure of £162m).
But the financial part of the case for extending the tram is summed up in paragraph 3.42 of the report which the Administration pushed through last week:
"At this stage of project development no detailed assessment of the project finance/PPP solution has been carried out. . . "There is certainly no credible case for proceeding with the extension based on these finances.
Posted by Cameron Rose at 14:00
Today's Evening News runs its 6th front page lead article in the past 3 weeks on the scandal:
The story goes back to 2002 and earlier and there has been much activity in the last year to get to the bottom of what has happened. There is still work to be done to get to the bottom of what is clearly yet another scandal within Edinburgh Council.
And if you are wondering why events which began around 2002 are so important it is because they have been having an impact on events and people ever since.
Posted by Cameron Rose at 10:35
Wednesday, 25 November 2015
First is the cost. Having already risen from the £80 million trailed a few months ago it has risen to £145m and not to £162m. And that is despite a considerable proportion of the works already having been completed. And the tram vehicles have been purchased.
Then there is the project timescale. Almost six years according to the documents councillors are currently being asked to approve. That is six years of speculation, uncertainty and disruption.
Thirdly, there is the question of whether Edinburgh Council is capable of managing such a large project. History, whether in relation to trams, the Water of Leith Flood works, waste collection etc., etc does not bode well.
Finally for now, the Scottish Government has set up and enquiry. To go ahead regardless of Lord Hardie's conclusions smacks of self conceit.
Posted by Cameron Rose at 09:30
Tuesday, 24 November 2015
So over the next few days I will update you on two of these issues - the debate over the tram extension and the goings on over a period of years at Cameron House.
Posted by Cameron Rose at 16:00
Friday, 20 November 2015
There has been some concern about the implementation and effectiveness of the pilot project around the School to restrict motor vehicle traffic at the beginning and end of the school day. The details are here. I have the response from the Council's Road Safety Manager to my query about the current position. I replicate it (almost) in full below:
The school streets project is being taken forward as a pilot scheme for a maximum of 18 months; it is an innovative concept, the first of its kind on this scale in Scotland. It is being promoted under the statutory powers of an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), which sets out the streets in each scheme, the operating days and times, and the groups which are exempt from the restrictions. These conditions cannot be changed during the life of the pilot, although the scheme is being monitored and evaluated at intervals throughout the 18 month duration, to inform and shape any possible future permanent schemes.The Sciennes scheme is the only one in Phase 1 located on a through route. It was never the intention of the scheme to exclude all traffic from the streets; there are general exemptions including residents’ vehicles, blue badge holders, emergency vehicles, healthcare workers, such as doctors and nurses, and essential services, such as mail deliveries, gas, electricity and water. In order to reduce the impact on the daily running of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, there are additional exemptions for the Sciennes scheme. These include taxis and private hire vehicles accessing the front entrance and delivery vehicles specifically serving the hospital.My team is working with the school and the Junior Road Safety Officers to look at conducting assemblies and classroom activities to remind pupils of the dangers posed by traffic and how to behave when entering and exiting the school on foot or by bike.The Scottish Taxi Drivers’ Federation, Fleet Transport Association and Road Haulage Association were formally consulted about the scheme. We will contact them again clarifying how the restriction affects their members and requesting they send a reminder out.Lothian and will be approved for use in any future schemes ensuring consistency across Scotland The "When lights flash" wording is used to remove the need to add the exact operating days and times, which would be impossible for drivers to read as they approach the sign.In addition, we will shortly be erecting signs in advance of access routes to the area warning that "Livingstone Place and Sciennes Road between Sylvan Place and Tantallon Place are closed to traffic at the beginning and end of the school day".We hope that drivers’ awareness of the schemes will increase and drivers with destinations outwith the area will avoid it at the restricted times.We are aware that the police cannot always be present to enforce the scheme. For the first few weeks of the scheme, they have been undertaking an educational role by stopping and speaking to drivers and explaining the new restrictions to them. Shortly they will begin issuing tickets to offenders who will face paying a £60 fine. We will be publicising this and are expecting it to have an effect on drivers currently flaunting the rules. This is in line with the other Phase 1 schools which started at the end of September, where compliance has improved since formal enforcement has commenced.
Posted by Cameron Rose at 13:29
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
There was an accompanying application for listed building consent to move the pavilion - and this was granted - though that is academic.
Posted by Cameron Rose at 12:21
Friday, 13 November 2015
You can see the press release here and there is more coverage here.
Police have done raids on premises in Potterrow, Nicolson Street, Dumbiedykes and Upper Gray Street as well as a host of on street ;patrols (2000, I think they said).
Work led by Edinburgh's Trading Standards officers led to significant non illegal NPS substances being seized from shops distributing these death substances in the area.
Posted by Cameron Rose at 14:30
When the matter came before the Edinburgh Planning Committee on 7th October, the decision was deferred until next Wednesday 18th November (10am at the City Chambers) when a hearing allowing all interested parties and groups to be represented.
The proposals involve
Erection of 10 dwelling houses, creation of public park, new vehicle and pedestrian access, relocation of existing pavilion, alteration to existing boundary wall on East Suffolk Road and associated landscaping, drainage and engineering works on land at East Suffolk Road. Application No 14/03632/FUL Click here to see documents. There is also a listed building consent application for the moving of the Category C listed pavilion.I note that the proposals are recommended for approval by planning officers.
Correction 1415 13/11/15: Title amended to to correct the date of the hearing. Apologies for the error which suggested the Planning Committee would be meeting on a Saturday on a Saturday!
Posted by Cameron Rose at 09:15
Monday, 9 November 2015
The order, which is for the complete closure of the street for the removal, is in force from 5am through to midnight. I don't expect the closure will be implemented for all of that time.
Posted by Cameron Rose at 15:20
Monday, 2 November 2015
And the bad news: the scheduled end date for this project is the 4th April next year (2016). I'll need to go and find what co-ordination there has been on this.
Posted by Cameron Rose at 09:00
Saturday, 31 October 2015
There is also a report here."Over 170 officers were involved in the operation Amyloid which targeted a serious organised crime network operating in the area.As well as members of the Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit (OCCTU) and local officers, the operation was supported by Health & Safety Executive, Department of Work and Pensions, Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (previously VOSA) and theScottish Ambulance Service.22 premises were searched under warrants as part of the operation, including in the Liberton and two car garages.A total of 21 people were arrested and charged with a variety of drug related offences and 13 remain in custody over the weekend. Importantly the principal member of the group targeted was also detained and sufficient evidence was gathered to secure his arrest.In total £100, 000 of heroin, £2,000 of cannabis and £10,000 in cash was recovered and removed from the community.The was one of our largest drugs operation in recent years and will send a clear message to local criminals that drug dealing and serious crime remains a continuing priority for Edinburgh Division.
As always, we couldn't have carried out the operation without the support and information from the local community and our community officers were out on foot patrol after each search to ensure residents were reassured and understood the purpose of the Operation.The operation is not a one off though and intelligence gathered as part of the work yesterday will be considered with a view to organising further disruption activity."
Posted by Cameron Rose at 20:29
MILLIONAIRE nightclub mogul Stefan King has snapped up the former Odeon Cinema in Clerk Street in a move which will see the A-listed art deco landmark resurrected as a film theatre and restaurant.
Mr King's G1 group has bought the building in what is understood to be a multi-million pound deal, with work to clear rubbish and debris from the interior already under way.See the whole article here.
Posted by Cameron Rose at 20:13
Wednesday, 28 October 2015
But the new lights, we are told, will be brighter than those used in the pilot. And of course, the LED lights will be considerably cheaper to run than the old sodium lamps.
There will also be the ability to control the brightness remotely (at the moment changes have to me made lamppost by lamppost).
Even if you have been part of the pilot and the lamps in your street are not bright enough, do get in touch to see if they can be adjusted.
Posted by Cameron Rose at 09:30