Friday, 17 November 2017

Painting the North Bridge - correct, I said the North Bridge

Following a query from a constituent I have obtained some information which may be of interest to others.  I will give the full text below but the summary headlines are:
  • A full refurbishment. of the North Bridge is due to start in 2018
  • The structural steelwork was last fully painted in 1933
  • Localised parts of the structural steelwork appear to have been painter on occasions since then
  • The non structural facade was last painted in its distinctive colours  in 1990
The main structural steelwork on North Bridge was last fully painted in 1933 as part of a major refurbishment of the structure.  This was in response to a detailed examination of the bridge which identified corroded steelwork and a general breakdown of the original protective coating.  Main steelwork may also have been repainted in localised areas in 1949 and 1961 but the bridge records are not clear on this.
The decorative, non-structural, cast iron façade elements (i.e. those currently painted blue, grey, red, gold) were last painted in 1990 at the same time as the parapets were being replaced for safety reasons.  I understand that the reason for painting these elements at that time was both (i) in response to the condition of the paint system and the underlying cast iron and (ii) following an offer from the Scottish Development Agency to assist in funding the painting, and floodlighting, of the structure.  It is my understanding that point (ii) above led to the adoption of the current decorative paint colour scheme for aesthetic reasons, in recognition of the bridge’s prominent location.
We are currently in the pre-construction stage of a project comprising a full refurbishment of the North Bridge, which is intended to commence on site in summer 2018, lasting approximately two years.  The repainting of all structural steelwork and the decorative, non-structural, cast iron façade elements will be undertaken as part of that project.

Departing from convention, I know that North Bridge is not inn the Southside/Newington ward but I know some residents will be interested - hence the post.

Do you know this man

Police want to identify this man in  relation to an investigation into an attempt robbery in Middle Meadow Walk on Friday 21st July this year.  Incident 3780 of that date refers and anyone with information should contact police on 101.  More details in the police release here.

Police officers assaulted in Nicolson Street

On Wednesday this week officers in Nicolson Street intervened as a small group of people appeared to be involved in anti-social behaviour concerning other members of the public.  Ultimately three persons were arrested - a 16 year old male and a 56 year old woman have been charged with assaulting the 3 police officers.  A 35 year old woman has been charged with obstructing the police.

The incident was around 12:30 - 1pm on Wednesday 15th.  The police officers sustained minor injuries.

The incident is not connected with recent anti-social activity in Nicolson Square and the police are very active in the area currently.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

20 year old pleads guilty to supplying drugs after death of French student

20 year old Scott Mckerral was convicted earlier this week of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs to French student Antoine Maury last year.  In December last year I reported on the funeral of Antoine whose body had been found in Duddingston Loch earlier that month.

The mother of Antoine was in Edinburgh for the court hearing and conviction and you can find more details here, including a confrontation between her and Scott Mckerral.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Swedish 11th century runestone for George Square

A 1,000 year old Viking age runestone is to be moved to George Square next Spring.

One of only three in the UK it has lived in Princes Street Gardens, largely hidden from public view.

Details here.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Neighbourhood Partnerships lurch on - update

Neighbourhood Partnerships, which we thought had subsided in preparation for the new 'Locality' structures, have not quite died and there will likely be another meeting of the South Central Neighbourhood Partnership in January.

The relevant member of the SNP/Labour Administration has now informed us that Neighbourhood Partnerships will continue until the Locality structures are up running.  That is still looking many months away.

A note for those not familiar with the current ways of Edinburgh Council:

Local services are now delivered, as far as possible, by local council officers organised in four 'Localities', dividing the city into North East, South East, South West and North West.  Whilst the service delivery has been underway for almost a year, the governance of local decision taking has failed to take off.  Whilst community councils, local groups and partners such as the police, universities, NHS wait for the structures for leading and influencing the services at Locality level, there is now little prospect of them being up and running for many months to come.

I am afraid, the Administration have extended their payroll vote by giving payments to four of their councillors (£7k+ pa) to lead the development of these governance structures.  Unfortunately very little has progressed and hence the instruction from the SNP/Labour administration to keep the old Neighbourhood Partnerships on life support.

I am therefore expecting a further meeting of the South Central Neighbourhood Partnership in the next two or three months - probably January. 

Just keeping you informed. . . . 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Weeds in the streets

Another day, another phonecall from a constituent about weeds.

November should see the die back of weeds but they have probably been worse this year than previous years.  I thought you might like to see my letter in the Evening News last week.
"We are coming to the end of another season when the out-of-control presence of weeds has marred our streets - both in appearance and in the damage weeds do to pavements and road surfaces.  They also contribute to the risk of flooding as they clog our gutters and drains.
Citing a World Health Organisation report, the Council took a decision to move towards abandoning the use of the rather effective but low toxicity weedkiller it had used for many years.  A report to the Council'sTransport and Environment Committee earlier this month highlighted how difficult and expensive it has been to find alternatives.
However last week an investigation by Reuters journalists was published which appears to change the basis of banning the weedkiller. Whilst the draft report stated there was no evidence the weedkiller was carcinogenic to humans when properly used,  the journalists found ten occasions where that evidence was suppressed or reversed in the final report. And it appears there is a wealth of other reports by international agencies which state there is no evidence sufficient to justify a ban on the weedkiller.  It turns out it is rather less toxic than coffee!
I hope this will now lead the Council back to more effective weed control on our streets and to review its earlier decision.
Councillor Cameron Rose
City Chambers"
There is another problem.  The European Commission is now wrangling about banning this particular weed killer.  I will monitor.

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Local resident Jim Sillars in the news

Former deputy leader of the SNP Jim Sillars lives locally.  He has been speaking out on a couple of issues recently. First, here is today...