Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Morgan Playing Fields proposals - back on the table

Last month I noted that the proposals for the Morgan Playing Fields under the Community Asset Transfer process (see here) were dead.  However, outside that process Council staff are continuing to speak with the applicants, Street Soccer Scotland and Edinburgh South FC concerning a possible deal.

Such a deal would require to go to the Council's Finance Committee which meets monthly.  To ensure that any such move would get more local scrutiny I moved an emergency motion at last evening's South East Locality Committee:
Morgan Playing Fields

  1. Notes the Community Asset Transfer application for the Morgan Playing Fields, Peffermill Road, by Street Soccer Scotland/Edinburgh South FC was declared invalid on 4th September 2018
  2. Notes that the applicants have now begun negotiations with City of Edinburgh Council in contemplation of a direct agreement with the Council to progress their aim of a Change Centre along with pitch facilities for the use of Edinburgh South FC at Morgan Playing Fields
  3. Notes that the process is that any such decision agreement requires to be approved by the Finance and Resources Committee and, if approved, would then be subject to planning permission.
  4. Instructs that any proposed agreement be brought to the South East Locality Committee for full local scrutiny prior to consideration by the Finance and Resources Committee
It was approved unanimously. 

Buffer Zones

The Locality Committee last evening considered a report called for by a Green Councillor on the possibility of setting up buffer zones around clinics offering pregnancy and sexual health services.

The report concluded that there are not legislative powers to set up such buffer zones in Scotland and that the police have powers and responsibilities to take action where it is appropriate to disperse public gatherings or protect those using such clinics from intimidation or harassment.

Nonetheless, the report recommended setting up a 'Community Improvement Partnership' to safeguard the rights of those who wish to hold a vigil whilst ensuring the users of the clinic services, clinic staff and others in the area do not feel intimidated or harassed.  The report recommended this comprise of Edinburgh Council, NHS, Police and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.  I thought that for balance there should be some sort of representation from a pro-life group (representing those who hold prayer vigils or occasional events outside the Royal Infirmary).  Alas that was defeated, I think on the grounds the BPAS is a research group in Scotland - rather than a campaigning organisation and so no balance was needed.

You can see the webcam of this here

Urban gull control options - proposal for trial defeated

The South East Locality Committee refused to support a proposal to move toward a pilot which with a view to informing future city-wide gull control measures.

I often get representation about the nuisance (and sometimes threat) posed by gulls - particularly in relation to waste.  The full report - here - gives details of measures which can be taken, and of the history of efforts to get the Council to explore measures to curb the nuisance.

My colleague, Councillor Cook, moved that work be done towards setting up a pilot using measures detailed in the report.

This proposal was voted down by the SNP, Labour and Green members of the Committee.

The Causey Project is referred to a hearing

A Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) is required before the proposals for the transformation of West Crosscauseway can go ahead.  Because there are unresolved objections to the TRO the South East Locality Committee last evening accepted the recommendation to refer the matter to Scottish Ministers.  The motion accepted is:
'Notes the objections in Appendix 2 and instructs the Director of Place to request the Scottish Ministers hold a public hearing to consider the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) objections, and that this should be combined with the required Scottish Ministers' review of the Redetermination Order (RSO).'
Full details in the report here

Local Issues

The South East Locality Committee met last night.  It is made up of the 16 councillors representing four wards - Southside/Newington, Morningside, Liberton/Gilmerton and City Centre.  You can see the agenda and papers here.

Amongst the issues were:

The proposed closure of Sciennes Road to create an extended playground for Sciennes Primary School.  The report brought back information of the work done to date and to note that, following recent meetings between Council officers and representatives of the school, 'officers will continue to provide support and advice to develop and progress the proposal for the playground extension project.'
There was also a deputation from parents and the Deputy Head at the school.  You can get more details from the report.  No decision to proceed with the project has been taken at this stage.

Locality Policing Report.  Ch Insp Helen Harrison presented a report on crime figures for the period from the beginning of April this year to the end of July.  The report also includes a large amount of comparative information with other parts of the city as well as the previous year.  The report can be found here.  There are no major trends over this period (compared with the same four months last year) with the overall figures showing a very slight increase in crime and offences.

Local trends in the Southside/Newington ward show

  • Thefts from motor vehicles tripled from the previous year though break-ins to sheds, garages and businesses fell sharply
  • Break-ins to houses and theft of motor vehicles remained static
  • Possession of drugs offences increased by one third
  • Assaults were up by 20 to 156 
  • The total number of recorded crimes increased by 18%
  • I understand cycle thefts fell significantly - though they are not included in the table
I will address the motion on Buffer Zones outside clinics offering pregnancy and sexual health services in a later post.  In addition there were reports about 
  • The project to rework and improve West Crosscauseway - The Causey Project
  • Urban Gull Control Options
  • An emergency motion on proposals for the Morgan Playing Fields in Peffermill Road.  
I will report briefly on all of these in later posts.   

Friday, 14 September 2018

Garden Waste changes - What to expect

The paid for collection of garden waste begins from Monday 8th October.

For those who have registered and paid for this fortnightly collection, permits and calendars will be posted out from 24th September. 

If householders want to register but have not yet done so, there will be an opportunity to do so between 1st and 16th October.  It can be done online (you have to register for a MyGov account first) or you can call at one of the Locality offices.  Residents can also register for the service by telephone (this is the one which was a bit chaotic when registration was open earlier in the year).  The number is 0131 608 1100 - you need to select option 1 then option 9 (I hope that saves you listening to all the messages).

There are other options for garden waste (apart from composting in your own garden).  You can take it yourself to one of the Council recycling centres. or you can book a special uplift for up to 28 bags of waste at a cost of £35. 

I've had a lot of complaints about the current garden waste service.  In recent months one street was collected on the day notified (and sometimes not at all) only once in five scheduled collections.  I think we are all hoping for an improved service.

Middle Meadow Walk disruption

From Monday (17th), further underground pipe work will start on Middle Meadow Walk with an expected completion date of mid November.

The work is to pipe energy from George Square to the Edinburgh Futures Institute which is being fitted out for Edinburgh University on the Lauriston Place side of the Quartermile development.  The first phase, largely affecting the east side of Middle Meadow Walk, was completed earlier this year. The west side will be dug up, beginning from next week.

A number of people have asked about the poor reinstatement of the earlier work on the east side.  I am assured that on completion of the second phase later this year, both sides will be resurfaced and the white lining reinstated as before.

You can get more information about the Edinburgh Futures Institute at Edinburgh University's website here.

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Garden waste figures

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