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Maureen Child Update 12 June 2014

Dear All

I have alerted many of you already to the threat of Green Belt releases for housing in the Brunstane/Newcraighall/Milton Road East area. It is a large field leading up to the historic and listed buildings at Newhailes Estate and Brunstane House. The site is bisected by the East Coast Main Line and bounded to the north by the Brunstane Walkway, now part of the John Muir Way. Currently it’s landlocked. If it ever goes ahead, a vehicle entrance would be taken off Milton Road East immediately to the east of the Cemetery, across the Brunstane Burn, and another exit/entrance to the very congested road through Newcraighall to Musselburgh. This is a new potential development threat over the next 20 years life of the Draft Edinburgh City Local Plan which is still to go out for further representations form both developers and members of the public. I first flagged up this further local threat to our Green Belt in my end March Report and repeated last month. Portobello Amenity Society have already written in to the Council, expressing their deep concern. Last December, sites were put in the Draft Local Plan but Scottish Government insisted we needed more sites and others are being added. But the people near many sites in the West of the city have raised a campaign and want their local sites removed from the Draft Plan at this early stage’ potentially leaving all Green Belt and open green spaces vulnerable to the threat of development by unravelling the emerging Local Development Plan. I believe we should all have a level playing field, each locality should get the time, space and equal opportunity to muster their own arguments. The site at Brunstane would cause the most traffic impact of all – well above any of the others. We need the chance in the East of Edinburgh, just like they have in the West, to marshal our arguments against and to be heard properly. I will be fighting that case, and I need you help me do so. This meeting was postponed from this morning for a week until 19 June at 1pm, so we have another week to hone our arguments and get deputations together to represent the views of local people directly to Planning Committee. Papers are here and the contents won’t change between now and 19 June.

Portobello Rowing Regatta between on Saturday 14 June 10am and 5pm on the beach between Bath Street and Marlborough Street. Rowporty will be selling home-made cakes and Finlays finest burgers at the Club’s yard on the Promenade. they will have skiffs coming to compete from St Andrews, Pittenween, Anstruther, Newburgh, S. Queensferry, Newhaven, Musselburgh, Port Seton, North Berwick and Dunbar, so there should be 12 skiffs on the beach with over 250 rowers taking part. There are 65 people from Portobello rowing on the day, including Under 15’s, Under 18’s, Novice, 60+, 50+, 40+ and Open categories with Men, Women and Mixed teams in each race category. The races will start from the beach and row out to individual buoys, turn to starboard and head back to the shore/finish line. One of the races, the Inter Club Mix, will take names out of a hat from all the clubs taking part in an attempt to mix the crews up and to enable people from different coastal communities to get to know each other. We will also be running a Relay Mixed race this year, which will involve doing the course twice with 2 separate crews, the winner will get the Jonathan Bendit Cup in memory of Jonathan, who founded the club.

You are very welcome to come down to the shore, support the local team and buy some lovely cakes, which raises vital funds for the Club, all the work being done entirely by volunteers. They need to buy more oars and another trailer. The Club have started restoring the nearly 100 year old ‘Jolly Boat’ donated to them by Broughty Ferry. The boat is solid wood, copper riveted, beautifully made, and used to be raced off Portobello beach from the early 1890’s until the 1980’s.

The Baton Relay comes to Portobello this Saturday June 14. This is a map of the route. The Dalriada will be serving ‘Regatta Ale’ to mark the occasion, and there’ll be a sea-shanty singing competition and bonfire on the beach in the evening, starting 7pm. The Dalriada’s weekly ‘World Music Session’ starts at 3pm.The Commonwealth Games Baton will be coming along the Promenade from King’s Road at about 4:15pm, so is likely to be passing the Dalriada around soon after, if you want to be part of welcoming the baton to Scotland. See more at:

Towerbank Parent Council’s Playspace Group are doing a great job on improvements to the children’s playground space. See here:

Would you like to be a Friend of Portobello Online? The suggested donation for an individual is just £5 for 12 months. See:

With less than 100 days to go until the Scottish Referendum, Edinburgh citizens are being urged to use their vote on Scotland’s future. People across the city need to register to vote to take part in the much-anticipated election, which will take place on 18 September. But voters could risk missing out if they fail to meet the registration deadline on 2 September, or if they fill out their postal vote or ballot paper wrongly. The City of Edinburgh Council is taking forward a campaign to promote voter registration and voter awareness with a series of road-shows across its neighbourhood offices, in partnership with the Electoral Registration Office. Members of the public can come along and find out more about making sure they are on the register and how and where they will cast their vote. Monday 30 June, 11am – 3pm, East Neighbourhood Office

This is Carer’s Week. An estimated 37,859 carers look after loved ones in Edinburgh. Edinburgh has agreed a strategy to help support them

It focuses on six priorities:

  • identifying carers;
  • information and advice;
  • health and wellbeing for carers;
  • short breaks and respite;
  • young adult carers;
  • personalised support for carers.

Motorbike Menace! Tell the police who they are and where the bikes are being stored and they will act. Tel 101 or Crimestoppers. From the police, here’s a quick & easy way to remember when to use 999 or 101 :

Electric Bungalow Community Garden Benefit Concert on Sunday 22nd June 3-7pm. A family friendly fundraising event:

20mph plans for Portobello High Street and lots elsewhere in Edinburgh:

Fancy taking part in a Fringe art/show on Porty Beach this August? Volunteers needed, see…

Portobello Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) next to Scotmid in Bath Street offer free, holistic advice service by appointment or at drop in sessions. Info here:

Want to watch some great basketball live locally? Scotland Under 18 Men v Sweden Under 17 Men series is on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 June at Portobello High School games hall. See more at:

If you’re going to the cafe in John Lewis Edinburgh, then please put your green tokens in our box for a great cause – Craigmillar Literacy Trust:

The Council is opening up data for everyone to use, see link to Edinburgh by Numbers:

That’s enough for now

Best wishes


Maureen Child Update 6 June 2014

Dear All

Just a few things to tell you for now:

Craigmillar Books for Babies has been selected as one of 3 projects to receive support from John Lewis through its Community Matters Scheme. Over the next coming weeks there will be a collection point in the Place to Eat café in John Lewis where customers can give tokens to the project they wish to support. The project will be given a donation based on the number of tokens received. The donation will be used to produce a booklet of nursery rhymes which will be gifted to every family with a child under the age of 4 living in Craigmillar, Niddrie, Magdalene and Bingham. Please spread the word and if you get a chance to visit the Place to Eat café your support will be greatly appreciated!

The next Portobello Market is tomorrow, Saturday 7 June opening at 9.30 am and run until 1.30pm. There’s tables and chairs out for you to sit a while and maybe munch some goodies from the market, and listen to live music from the Caleerie Buskers and face painting. There are 27 traders – impossible to name them all here, but there’s everything from handmade soaps, plants, garden furniture and crafts, organic mutton, cheese, condiments, oils, bread to jams, fresh fish, dog treats and African vegetarian goodies! With five traders returning this month and two new ones you’ll be spoilt for choice. Check out the website for further details of all the stallholders.

Again, on tomorrow, The Velvet Easel, Portobello High Street is having a Celebration of Summer Exhibition. Join them at the opening of our on Saturday 7 June between 10am and 5pm – sparkling wine and nibbles will be served throughout the day.

From a local resident: “To all dog walkers/owners who use Joppa Quarry Park – the bins have not been emptied recently and have filled to literally overflowing. We use this park with our dogs a couple of times every day and lately have been taking our poo bags home rather than add to the problem. However, this morning I had had enough and went over with bin bags and rubber gloves and half filled a big bag with the poo bags left on the top of and by the sides of each bin. I have now left rubbish bags at each bin and will call the Council, but please, please, please take your poo bags home and put in YOUR bin if you can. I don’t want to be the one who always has to clear up when the bins don’t get emptied, this is not the first time I’ve done this, and I would truly welcome your help in keeping the park as clean as possible if the bins are not emptied!! Thank you.”
Probably safe to say the same applies to every park and open space!

As you will know, Portobello Community Council did an extensive survey of people’s views on the use of the Portobello beach for dog walking See here: A report is now on the website:
Fancy taking part in a Fringe show on Porty Beach this August? Volunteers needed, see…

Craigmillar Town Centre Masterplan PARC is holding open day about this next Wednesday 11 June. More detail here:

So what area do you call home? This is the question that the City of Edinburgh Council is asking in a bid to help define the city’s natural neighbourhoods. Residents can identify their local neighbourhood through a quick survey. Anyone taking part will be put forward for the chance to win from a selection of prints of beautiful old maps of Edinburgh from Our Town Stories, and can also try their hand at a fun Auld Reekie heritage quiz. The replies will inform consultations such as an ongoing review of Council wards, and the Scottish Government’s consultation on data zones. They should help services to identify areas that are meaningful to the people who live there. For example, if a service involves home visits, in most cases it would make sense to ensure that each neighbourhood is served by a single team.

Have a good weekend!


Maureen Child Report May 2014

Portobello Park Private Bill Progress
As widely reported, the City of Edinburgh Council’s Portobello Park Private Bill in the Scottish Parliament took another significant step along the way to becoming law and changing the Common Good purpose of part of the park from ‘recreation’ to ‘education’. The consideration stage report was published by the Scottish Parliament Committee recently and those MSPs gave the Council’s proposals their seal of approval, setting aside the objections. The next Committee is on 12 June where amendments will be considered. The Parliament could then debate the Bill on 26 June, its last session before summer recess. All being well, I am advised that the Council could still be on track to deliver the new Portobello High School on the Park in time for current P5s at the feeder primaries to be the first S1 pupils to enjoy their longed-for and much-needed new school building in August 2016.

Richmond’s Hope Expands
I was delighted to be invited to attend a reception for at Richmond’s Hope Church in Craigmillar recently where some really great work is done with families and new facilities were on display. From very small beginnings in Craigmillar, Richmond’s Hope children’s bereavement charity is now expanding well beyond our City’s boundaries. The charity was set up by local people over eleven years ago and in that time the organisation helped 2,500 children cope with the grief a death in their family. It is the most fantastic service, conceived at the grass roots in Craigmillar, growing organically to meet a need for young people to have a safe place to grieve and come to terms with personal loss in their own way.

A Whale’s Tale
The stranding of a young adult sperm whale last year sparked widespread interest in these fantastic big mammals, which we very rarely see since they generally belong in the deep seas. The Scottish Marine Animals Stranding Scheme’s Director and whale expert Dr Andrew Brownlow will give an illustrated talk on the whales of the Firth of Forth at Portobello Amenity Society’s Annual General meeting on Wednesday 18 June in the Baptist Church Hall, 185 Portobello High Street at 7.30pm. All are welcome.

Edinburgh Marathon Portobello
There was a very warm welcome all the length of Portobello and Joppa for the 30,000 brave Edinburgh Marathon runners who ran along Portobello Promenade this year, clocking up the first 6-7 miles of their over 26 mile challenge. Many were running for very good causes and were swept along with lots of cheers and encouragement from the spectators. One commented later that their very best crowds for cheering them on were in Portobello, Joppa and Musselburgh.

Historic Plaques for Local People
Portobello has a number of plaques up to mark where notable people have been born, lived or died over the years, thanks to a dedicated team of Community Councillors and Portobello Amenity Society Members who continue their valuable work. They plan a new one to remember William Hay (1818 – 1888) restoration architect of St Giles Cathedral who lived at 18 Brunstane Road North. Another group of Portobello residents are planning a plaque to Eric Lomax ‘The Railway Man’ who grew up for a while in Bedford Terrace.

Hunters Hall Park
Plans for a £2 million cycling hub are developing, hoping to meet the needs of both high flying cyclist and those who want just to play around and have fun on a day in the park – and everyone in between. Local Councillors were presented with four possible options which will be reported to culture and sport committee members shortly. The proposed investment was announced in February last year and Hunter’s Hall Park, home of the Jack Kane Sports Centre and Community Wing, is the preferred site for a regional track cycling facility and closed one-kilometre road circuit and BMX track. The ambitious plan is in response to discussions with agencies, the cycling community and local people about the need for facilities and opportunities they offer. A final recommendation will be made to the culture and sport committee in August. City culture and sport convener Richard Lewis said: “Plans to build a new cycling hub are still very much in their infancy but the council is considering four main options.”

Widening the Wisp
It was agreed as a condition of a planning consent ages ago, but work begins soon to widen the junction of the Wisp and Newcraighall Road/Niddrie Mains Road allowing more free flow of traffic, particularly from the south. The finance for this project came through planning gain from the partial redevelopment of Fort Kinnaird quite some time ago. The current eastern boundary wall of the Wisp with Hunter’s Hall Park will be rebuilt with the same stone, but further into the park, shaving off a bit of the woodland to create a wider carriageway and footpath.

Fort Kinnaird Appeal Lodged
An appeal has gone in against the refusal by the majority of Councillors on the City of Edinburgh Council’s development management subcommittee to give consent to a third Edinburgh store being built for Debenham’s at Fort Kinnaird in Newcraighall. Those objecting to the proposal were mainly those from City Centre and Leith who felt this would compete with their own shopping centres in Edinburgh, despite strong evidence to the contrary. This third store would be complementary to the current two stores’ operation and – in view of Portobello and Craigmillar Community Councils and all local elected representatives – should have been granted. I have written in support of the appeal.

Castlebrae Astroturf Available for Hire
From May 31, Castleview Community Centre, Craigmillar Castle Avenue (aka Sandy’s) will be providing weekend access to the Astro-turf in the grounds of nearby Castlebrae High School. The pitch will be available from 10-4pm, both Saturday and Sunday, and changing facilities will be available at the centre. For charges and booking information, please contact Chris Robinson by phone on 0131 661 4064.

Pedestrian Crossings
Good to see progress on the construction of the pedestrian crossing on Duddingston Park South. Work on the crossing at Abercorn Terrace opposite St Philip’s Church should start in late summer. The other requests I have had have been assessed but knocked back as they do not meet the threshold, one at Joppa Road at Coillesdene Drive, the other Newcraighall Road at Fort Kinnaird across to the Craigmillar Arts Centre. Neither location scored high enough in the priority assessment. Any new crossings on Niddrie Mains Road will be part of the redevelopment of the Town Centre. There are no plans to change the sequence of the lights at central Portobello although it is still being monitored at peak periods and the timing has been tweaked several times. I am very willing to arrange a site meeting with Council officers at rush hour for those who still feel the balance is not right or fair.

Maureen Child Update 8 May 2014

Dear All

Fancy listening to some live music in Porty this month? St Mark’s Episcopal Church, on Portobello High Street nearly opposite top of Bellfield Street, is holding a series of concerts, starting on 11 May with the Edinburgh Renaissance Band. It starts at 7pm and tickets are £5, available at the door. Other concerts are on 17 May, with the Dalkeith and Monktonhall Colliery Band; 26 May with the High School cello ensemble; 31 May with Philomusica of Edinburgh and 6 June with the Honest Toun singers and Capital Ensemble. One price – £20 – to attend all and under 16s free. More details from

Portobello Toddlers Hut are fundraising for their new building. If you’re in ASDA, The Jewel do ask for your green charity tokens and put them into the Portobello Toddlers Hut box! Toddlers Hut Fundrasing Please spread the word re Porty Beach Race on Sunday 15 June, also in aid of Portobello Toddler’s Hut. Click here:

This year, Edinburgh celebrates 10 years as a Fairtrade City and are having a Fair Trade Fiesta (sponsored by Scotmid) which you are welcome to join this Saturday, 10 May. For details see: We do our bit locally too, and have done for a long time, even before Fairtrade really took off. The Just World Shop is Portobello’s Fairtrade shop selling goods purchased from partners in the developing world. They aim to alleviate poverty through trade by paying suppliers a fair price for their products and enable them to provide health and education for their families and build their way out of poverty. The shop was established in 1991 and is run by a group of volunteers drawn mainly from local churches. The shop’s turnover doubled in four years, indicating a growing awareness of Fairtrade as an effective way of tackling world poverty. Jim and Morag Baird also do a lot of work with local schools. Just World Shop is at 54 Portobello High Street Edinburgh EH 15 1DA 0131 669 8819 Opening times Mon – Friday 10 a.m-12noon; 2-4 pm and Saturday 10 am -12 noon.

Portobello Open Door’s Film Night is this Saturday at the Wash house Community Centre, Adelphi Grove. This month the film is Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (PG) 10 May at 7pm Adults: £5 Children & Concessions: £3. Tickets are now available from Popeye’s Sandwich Bar on Portobello High Street, opposite the Town Hall. To keep up to date with POD Film news and ticket information please follow Portobello Open Door on Facebook or check this website

May is National Walking Month. Everyone’s invited to the party. Click on:

To solve local mine water flooding problems the Coal Authority is going to pump the mine water into a manhole within Hunters Hall Park. Work is due to start on site next week. Permission for this was given some time ago but not taken up until now. The Coal Authority is also working to take the mine water out of the basements of Ormelie Terrace and other properties in the street by boring a hole under the Ormelie bar and the back gardens of the terraced houses there and into a drain in Morton Street. Just in case you’re wondering what those works are about!

Another major set of works to happen in that area this summer (we think) is the long-awaited widening of the Wisp, at its junction with Newcraighall Road/Niddrie Mains Road/Duddingston Park South. It was reported and discussed last night at the neighbourhood partnership environment forum and will be discussed again at next Tuesday’s Craigmillar Community Council, Hays Business Centre, 13 May at 7pm (meeting held in public and all are welcome). Just a small ‘health warning’ on the maps attached – as locals, we believe the arrows on the attached maps might be a typo and that is to be clarified by the local roads manager as he meets with the project team today. The north-bound right hand lane should be marked for right turning traffic and the left lane for straight ahead and left turn. The loss of trees here will be a concern and we made sure that the repositioned wall is to be rebuilt from the materials ether at present and would look the same. We acknowledged that a wider pavement at this stretch would be a benefit of the scheme.

I am off on holiday as of tomorrow until 22 May. My excellent Labour Group assistant, Lorna McCole – as efficient as ever – will be on the end of my phone or email But you can get in touch with her direct on 0131 529 3189 or email But no surgeries, emails, updates, reports, meetings, visits, appointments, committees, consultations, phone calls or social media for me for a while!

Best wishes


Maureen Child Update 5 May 2014

Dear All

To make sure you have a say in the up-coming European Elections on 22 May you must ensure you are registered to vote by the deadline, TODAY. You can fill out an application form on the Lothian Valuation Joint Board website, or telephone the Lothian Valuation Joint Board 0131 344 2500. Those wishing to vote by post must register by 5pm on Wednesday, 7 May. The registration would also – of course – allow you to vote in the Referendum on 18 September.

The Portobello/Craigmillar Neighbourhood Partnership is consulting on the priorities for its next Local Community Plan – and we would be grateful if you took a few minutes to compete this short survey online (you can leave any question blank if you want to) Details of all the meeting times, places and activities are at: Meetings are held in public and anyone can attend to obeserve or take part.

Portobello Heritage Trust invite you to a community event to celebrate the completion of the rebuild of the 1909 pottery kiln in Bridge Street. The event takes place from 2pm on Saturday, 10 May. There will be music and stalls, with the chance for children to make their own brick. If you haven’t yet seen the outstanding brickwork of the kiln, please make this your opportunity to view it. Please feel free to bring along any colleagues, family or friends you think may be interested. More about the Trust at:

We just tested our fire alarm this weekend, as we should do every week. Not sure it’s in the right place though as the toast got burnt the very next day, and there was not a peep. Home fire safety free phone number is 0800 0731 999 or visits can be booked online at

The Council has prepared new guidance for street design which focuses on creating better places for people. Consultation will run until 30 June 2014. The Council would like your views on the draft Edinburgh Street Design Guidance and the design of streets in the city. You can read the document and complete the on-line survey on the Council’s web site Alternatively you can e-mail us with your comments directly at You can follow progress on the consultation on Twitter at

Towerbank 130th Anniversary Celebrations will now be in the week 26 May – 30 May with the Open Day on Tues 27 May. As I said in my last update, the school community are still looking for memorabilia of our old school days.

Portobello Timebank is growing and has received applications from almost 30 members of the community. More details at: Find us on Facebook or phone 07968 090 530

You can keep up to speed on the Portobello Park Private Bill in the Scottish Parliament by clicking on :

The police are targeting Doorstep Crime at the moment with an awareness raising campaign:

To report dog fouling, fly-tipping or other local environmental issues the contact is:
Or phone 0131 529 3298.

Great news last month that Craigmillar Community Arts have been awarded over £200,000 by The Big Lottery towards the refurbishment of their Arts Centre in a former church Newcraighall Road. This will allow them to make improvements to the heating, ventilation, storage and access as well as the building fabric. The works include putting in a mezzanine floor, improved access to the basement storage area, a new stage and kitchen facilities.

Some great cycle acrobatic tricks were on display at Castleview Primary School as part of the national ‘Give Me Cycle Space’ campaign. As well as impressing the children with their impressive back flips and bunny hops, the team was also running Dr Bike maintenance sessions and planning cycle routes to school. As with many schools, it would be better and safer if fewer children were dropped off by car and if the parents would park more responsibly when they do so. This has been identified as a problem by parents at St John’s, Towerbank, Brunstane and now Castleview Primary Schools.

Police have let me know about three local crime incidents over the weekend. In two of them, people have been identified, arrested and charged. But at the time of writing, the vandal who broke wing mirrors around 3am on Sunday in South Morton Street, apparently after a night out drinking, is still to be identified. Police are hopeful of getting something for the bus CCTV, but of anyone else has information, please do phone the neighbourhood police on 101 or anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at

Have a good week!