Updates from Maureen Child

Dear All

This is the end of a fantastic week of spring cleaning action in the Magdalene estate, thanks to Changeworks, Community Renewal and Council officers working together. Tomorrow, (Saturday) we need volunteers for a Community Litter Pick in and around Magdalene.  We’re meeting at St Martin’s Church, 4 Magdalene Drive EH15 3DB and doing a community clean up between 10.30am and 12.30pm. There will be refreshments in the Church as your just reward! The amazing Portobello Timebank volunteers are taking part too, this being the third year they have blitzed the Magdalene Glen Park and I think they may well go on cleaning and clearing and litter picking far into the afternoon. All are very welcome indeed to join in!

Portobello Community Orchard also have their first work day of the year tomorrow, Saturday 23 February from 10am to 2pm.  The group are starting winter pruning the apple and pear trees. Formative pruning helps the trees stay productive and prevent the diseases that may come when branches are overcrowded and the air can’t circulate easily. You can learn how best to prune and keep your own trees in good shape and fruiting well. Do bring gardening gloves and a pair of secateurs if you can. There will be the usual refreshments and all are welcome.

Lots of outdoor activity for you to Spring into action! 

The statutory planning process in Edinburgh can be a hotly contested area, and it is important to concentrate all our joint efforts in scrutinising the most difficult proposals properly and get them as right as we can. Of the 5000 development applications the Council’s planning function get every year only a tiny proportion are decided by a Committee of Councillors.  Whether the Council decision – to refuse or grant – is made by officers or Committee, developments are assessed in accordance with the City’s Local Development Plan and a raft of non-statutory guidance – all of which Councillors on the Planning Committee have agreed to put in place.  Scottish Government judges us by the time Councils take to determine applications.  We are not doing so well in Edinburgh, even although it is so very important to get the right decision not just a quick decision. This is on the Committee’s agenda for next week:  http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/download/meetings/id/60062/full_meeting_papers_-_planning_committee_-_270219

That dip in performance is the reason the Council have made some changes to the Scheme of Delegation in Edinburgh, so we can concentrate more of our collective resources on scrutinising most closely those tricky and marginal applications where the balance and weight of different planning considerations could tip a fine balance towards either grant or refusal. Here is the new scheme of delegation: https://planningedinburgh.com/2019/02/19/updating-our-scheme-of-delegation/

To say that planning is contentious is even more of an understatement in Portobello! Last week, I seem to have upset skateboarders who have got up a petition about the area set aside in Treverlen Park. I’m sorry about that! I didn’t mean to discourage anyone campaigning and gathering support to provide a real, proper skatepark; quite the opposite! But Treverlen Park is not the right place for it and it would not get planning consent.  Saughton Skatepark was built after planning refused consent for a facility at the majority’s preferred site at Inverleith Park on the basis is that it would raise complaints and a legal challenge around noise nuisance from nearby residential properties. The Treverlen Park design has gone through statutory planning and a procurement process.  The design is fixed.  What is proposed at Treverlen Park is an area of landscaped hard standing which might or might not be used for a bit of low level skateboarding. It is not, and never was intended to be a proper Skateboard Park, no matter how it is now labelled on the approved plan.  Nevertheless, there will be a special meeting next week so that the Council’s project manager can fully clarify the situation.  This is at the new St John’s Primary School at 6pm on Thursday 28 February, thanks to Northfield and Willowbrae Community Council. 

Sorry I have fallen well behind in my casework and have a slew of unanswered emails and phone calls! For me, this week has been dominated by the Council Budget.  Following the resignation of our highly respected colleague, Cllr Marion Donaldson, I got catapulted into seconding our SNP/Labour Coalition Budget Motion at Full Council. Making speeches at Full Council is my very least favourite part of this job, but I had some tough things to say about the abuse of Local Government and Councillors by our so-called ‘partners’ in Central Government.  You can pick up my speech now the Council’s sound archive here:   https://www.dropbox.com/s/50698mizbcfk4l1/CllrMaureenChild2ndgBudget21Feb19.mp4?dl=0

It’s great to see the Craigmillar Chronicle Online starting up again.  Click here for he latest: http://chronicleonline.net/2019/02/22/latest-news/

Have a great weekend!


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