Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Primary school pressures in south Edinburgh

Most will be aware by now of the looming crisis on the availability of school places in south Edinburgh - particularly in primary schools.

Some proposals have been presented to the Education Committee and there will be a consultation later in the summer on these.  Details here.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Robbery clue at Greenmantle pub?

Police are seeking two persons who robbed the Edinburgh Scarf Company shop in Edinburgh's High Street on Saturday evening.  There might be a connection with two people selling scarves at the Greenmantle pub in West Crosscauseway between 10pm and 11:30pm on Saturday 16th.  Police have issued descriptions.

Fuller details here.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Edinburgh University rejects fossil fuel divestment policy

Despite pressure from the green lobby, Edinburgh University has declined to pull out of fossil fuel investments (including its pension fund).  You can see more details in this BBC report (which, alas, just quotes from the environmental lobbyists rather than giving a balance of reactions. After all there will be many pensioners who are affected).

The University's press release is here and a key reason for their decision is concern of the effect divestment will have on poorer parts of the world as shown by this paragraph:
"The [Fossil Fuels Review Group] group noted in particular that many developing countries are still dependent on fossil fuels for the provision of heating, clean water and refrigeration. An abrupt shift away from fossil fuel use would impact on the well-being of some of the world’s poorest communities."
The University will engage with investors and companies and continue research to minimise negative impacts of fossil fuels.

Comment:  It is good to see Edinburgh University taking a realistic view which weighs current impacts on the poorest in the world against environmentalist claims about some future harm which may or may not happen in 80-100 years.  Indeed, recent research, and the flatlining of global mean temperatures (now for 18 years) cast further doubt on the credibility of confident predictions from the catastrophists.

Amended 140515 to make the title clearer

Monday, 11 May 2015

Edinburgh South GE result

At the 2015 general election, Edinburgh South became the only constituency in Scotland with a Labour MP.  For the blog record here are the figures (courtesy of Wikipedia).  Congratulations to Ian Murray.
General Election 2015: Edinburgh South
LabourIan Murray19,29339.1+4.4
SNPNeil Hay16,65633.8+26.1
ConservativeMiles Briggs8,62617.5-4.1
Scottish GreenPhyl Meyer2,0904.2+2.2
Liberal DemocratsPramod Subbaraman1,8233.7-30.3
UKIPPaul Marshall6011.2+1.2
Scottish SocialistColin Fox1970.4+0.4
Labour holdSwing-21.7

Voter turnout in Edinburgh

Here are the figures for the turnout in the five Edinburgh Constituencies at the general election last Thursday.

Edinburgh West:   Turnout 76.6% (electorate 71,717) [turnout 2010: 71.4%]
Edinburgh South:  Turnout 75% (electorate 65,801)    [turnout 2010:  73.9%]
Edin N & Leith:    Turnout 71.8% (electorate 80,910) [turnout 2010:  68.5%]
Edin South West:  Turnout 71.6% (electorate 72,149) [turnout 2010:  71.5%]
Edinburgh East:    Turnout 70.2% (electorate 67,141) [turnout 2010:  65.5%]

Added 11.5.15:  This compares to an Edinburgh turnout of 84.4% at the referendum last year.  2010 turnout comparisons added.

Flooding Gladstone Terrace and Hope Park Crescent

I have been assured that the problems of ponding of water after recent rainfall at the above two locations will be dealt with by the end of next month.

The Gladstone Terrace issue is beside the waste and recycling bins at the top of the street.   The Hope Park Crescent ponding is at the new cycle crossing behind the Queen's Hall

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Buccleuch Street and Hope Park Crescent roadworks.

The above works extend to Gifford Park, Rankeillor Street and a small section of St Leonard's Street are for the cycle link between the Innocent railway path and North Meadow Walk.

Here is a link to the details.

Community Cafes

The Bite 'n Blether lunch club for the over 60s is a new initiative jointly hosted by The Well Café and Arthur’s Café. The lunch club will provide hot, affordable, healthy food for older people and with the aim of helping to reduce social isolation.

The lunch club will run every Monday at The Well Café and every Thursday at Arthur’s Café. The menu is a 2-course special for £4.80.  More on Facebook.

The Well Café,
The City of Edinburgh Methodist Church,
25 Nicolson Square, EH8 9BX
Café Manager: Amy Marah 

Arthur’s Café,
Southside Community Centre,
117 Nicolson Street, EH8 9ER
Tel: 0131 667 0484
Café Manager: Donald Campbell

Monday, 4 May 2015

Festival Theatre break-in

And just across the road in Nicolson Street from the Royal College of Surgeons, at the Festival Theatre, there was a break in through the front doors last night (Sunday) about 10:30pm.  The culprits, mainly aged about 16 but including one perhaps as young as 10, made off unidentified with their booty. 

If you saw them or have any information as to who was responsible, do contact the police (telephone 101).  I believe the only thing stolen was ice cream.

Visit to College of Surgeons

Southside Association have their AGM tomorrow evening and following the formalities there is a visit to the Royal College of Surgeons:
"After the meeting we will walk to the Royal College of Surgeons in Nicolson Street where we’ll have a presentation from Scott Mitchell, Commercial Director, on the college’s plans for expansion and redevelopment, followed by a buffet and refreshments."
All will be welcome.  The AGM is at 7:00pm tomorrow evening (Tuesday 5th May)  at the Southside Community Centre in Nicolson Street.

 I reported on some of the plans the Royal College have in February.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Newington meeting on housbreaking

Police organised a meeting last night at Mayfield Salisbury Church in response to the concerns in the ward about crime.  Housebreaking in particular is at epidemic level.

Very significant concerns and fears were expressed by local residents - in some cases forcefully.
  • One resident described two instances where his house was broken into and then, three weeks later his wife was faced with two masked men in the middle of the night.
  • When Inspector Nisbet responded to one question that the clear up rate for housebreakings was 34% the questioner followed up asking how many of those were taken to court and what was the conviction rate.  Those figures are not held by the police.
  • Concern was expressed about repeat offenders - especially juveniles who cannot be restrained - as there is evidence of criminals coming back to the same houses.
  • The one contribution which drew spontaneous applause was from one resident who attacked the justice system and the inadequacy of the police response
  • The theft of carkeys in housebreakings in order for culprits to steal the occupier's car is a feature of many of the housebreakings.  One resident criticised the police policy for pursuits of stolen vehicles which leads to police backing off - particular if juveniles are considered to be involved.  There was criticism of this soft policy which was considered to allow culprits to escape.
  • One member of the audience asked how we could get the justice minister here to the meeting.
  • There were questions about the bail system which enables criminals to repeat offend.
Of the residents I spoke to, one told me her neighbour on one side had been broken into.  Then the neighbouring house on the other house had been entered.  She said, "We're just waiting our turn."!!

Another told me he believed there were problems with a couple of sheriffs who were over lenient and who apparently did not appreciate the seriousness of the damage being done to the community.  That resident thought the Crown Office should at least have had someone present at the meeting.

All these comments and questions reflected a feeling of vulnerability and frustration that residents were not being protected.  All in all there was considerable frustration and fear - and some anger - with the present situation.

On a more positive note the police gave a reasonably good account of themselves at the meeting - especially PC Stevie McGill who was particularly informative, pragmatic and realistic in the advice given in response to all sorts of questions.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

West Crosscauseway project moves closer

Cash has been made available to help the ambitious plans to transform West Crosscauseway.

The injection of resources comes from Sustrans, which is largely funded from central and local government grants and payments, and their recent announcement part funds a number of cycling and improvement projects throughout the city.

More information here about The Causey Project which local people have been working on for several years.

Here is an Evening News article with some more detail.


Remaining postal vote packs now sent out.

If you have not received your postal vote pack yet for May 7th's General Election it should be on its way.

The batch of 7,461 was passed to the Royal Mail yesterday and should be with remaining postal voters today or tomorrow.  That is a total of 73,118 issued in Edinburgh - with a handful of about 50 still to be issued.  By yesterday 31.1% of those issued had been returned.

Community Grants available

Asda has teamed up with Foundation Scotland to provide grants for local community groups.  In brief, there are grants available for projects and good causes in the local community.

Details here if you know a group or a cause which might benefit.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Grange Fair next Saturday

From 1-4:30pm at the Newington Library in Fountainhall Road:
A community fair being held from 1-4.30pm on Saturday 9 May at Newington Library and Fountainhall Road, Edinburgh. Come and join in the fun!
Here is the Facebook page is here and the website here. From the latter:
Everyone is welcome to come along to an afternoon of fun and entertainment.
Stalls, bouncy castle, music, dancing displays, cycling fun – under 12s bring your bike – and more.
Any profit will go to Newington Library for children’s craft materials and the Eric Liddell Centre.
To make the event a success we need your help:
  • Could you volunteer to be a steward on the day?
  • Do you have anything you could donate for these stalls?
    • Collectables
    • Books and DVDs
    • Tombola
Please put any items you can donate in the box in the library vestibule when it reopens at Easter, or if you would like them collected that’s no problem.
We’re also having a plant stall and will be asking you for donations nearer the time. Could you start potting up spare plants now?
Contact Lucy Richardson, 0131 662 4992, with offers of help, or a request to collect donated items.