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Maureen Reports - 31. page

Maureen Child Report April 2014

Who’s for Bowls at Brunstane?
The Bowling Club is tucked away off Brunstane Road, next to the railway line. The club got a grant to support and publicise their summer Open Day, where anybody can learn to play bowls. The Open Day is on Sunday 8 June 1pm to 4pm. Bowls Scotland qualified coaches will teach everyone the basics of bowls within an hour and all the equipment is freely provided. All you will need is to go along, wearing comfortable clothes and you can have a go.

More Dementia Friendly Portobello Progress
The group of volunteers who are steering this initiative have identified various things which could contribute to making Portobello dementia friendly, including:
· Different forms of publicity & awareness-raising
· Specific resources to help engage with schools and churches
· Event(s) during Dementia Awareness Week in June
· Arranging for the Alzheimer Scotland information bus to visit Portobello
· Focusing on creative activities such as film, singing and art therapy
· Contacting Portobello Older People’s Project
· Engaging with local businesses, churches & organisations to help them become more dementia aware and commit to becoming dementia friendly.
Please contact Andrew Senew to get involved, phone Home Instead on 0131 300 0598.

Portobello Park Private Bill
The bid to remove the final obstacle to building a new Portobello High School on Portobello Park while retaining its Common Good status is making progress through the democratic processes of the Scottish Parliament. The Bill Committee met again on 23 April and spent four hours listening to more evidence from Objectors and the Bill’s Promoters, the City of Edinburgh Council. At its next meeting, on 7 May, the Committee expects to consider its decisions on objections to the bill and the key issues for a draft Consideration Stage report.

Brownfield Housing Consents Given
There are long-term threats to Green Belt land for housing an expanding Edinburgh population, in the East at Newcraighall and Brunstane. But mean time, well over 90% of the housing is on brown field land. New housing has been given consent at the Clockwork industrial land, alongside the railway line off Duddingston Park South and also at Blackchapel Close, beside the public path from Fort Kinnaird to Asda. It was recently announced that the former Scottish Power site at Baileyfield has been acquired by house builder Crudens in partnership with supermarket Aldi. Whatever application comes forward will have to conform to the Masterplan for that area to be recommended for planning consent. All those new developments include 25% share of affordable housing, in accordance with Council policy. Housing at Greendykes, for Manor Estates and the Council’s own 21st Century Homes development is ready for letting. East Edinburgh’s population is growing! A recent look at the numbers in the electoral register show that, in less than five years, the adult population has already increased by over 5000.

Towerbank Primary School Growing
As a consequence of the rise in population, our schools are thriving. There may not be much new family housing in Portobello, but when smaller properties do come available, they tend to be filled by local people giving up their family homes. This has not been captured in the statistics as it’s hard to do. But perhaps it helps explain a bit of why Towerbank catchment area is bursting at the seams and the school will be taking in four P1s in August.

Help Celebrate Towerbank Primary School’s 130th Anniversary
Towerbank parents are looking for ex-pupils who may have artwork, photographs or any other mementos of Towerbank they would be happy to lend to the school for an exhibition of Towerbank-related memorabilia. The exhibition will be open to the community on a special ‘Open Day’ which will take place during the week of 6-9 May. If you think you can help, please do contact the organisers. You can email the Towerbank Parent Council at Or you can leave information and contact details at the Library and the school will get in touch Or you can call the school directly on 0131 669 1551.

Magdalene Glen Trees
Some areas of Millennium woodland where poplar and willow were planted 14 years ago are being cut down as the roots are invading the main sewer that runs that way. SEPA and Scottish Water have investigated and the Council’s parks department must do this work to avoid a fine and any future problems in the decades to come, the area will be replanted with meadow grasses and maybe bulbs and shrubs, none of which will cause the same problems in the longer term. The Glen has been designated as one of our local parks and the intention is to continue to improve the area for recreation in consultation with local people of all ages.

Sandy’s Garden Project
Sandy’s Community Centre in Castleview Castle Avenue is soon to add a garden to it’s new ramp and path at the front, with the help of a local volunteers and Bridgend Growing Communities. Among other local groups, the Centre is the base for the wonderful family-friendly Craigmillar Boxing Club, which is going from strength to strength. It is also where I have a Ward ‘surgery’ most Monday evenings at 5.30pm. Even if nobody comes with a problem for me to solve, there’s always a friendly welcome and often a cup of tea.

How to Stop Dog Fouling?
Not a nice subject, but a few irresponsible dog walkers give all the rest a bad reputation. Once a space gets fouled all the dogs in the district will want to add their own mark if they possibly can, that being the way territorial marking works for our canine friends. The Council’s degradable stencilled marks do work in convincing dog walkers their neglect of duty is noticed. Several local areas have been given some attention recently by environmental wardens. The Council has worn out the stencil but is getting more. A Bath Street resident has suggested that if each of us with a main door property took a bucket of water with a splash of disinfectant and swept our patch of street, when or if the pavement is fouled, that would deter the rest of the dog ‘pack’ very effectively. Please do phone the environmental warden team or email them with any information about sightings of culprit dog-walkers or particularly badly affected areas which need cleaned up.

Jack Kane Centre and Hunters Hall Park
There are proposals with options coming forward for the development of a ‘cycling hub’ at Hunters Hall Park based in the Jack Kane Sports Centre and Community Wing. No decisions have been made about the extent of this or even whether it would go there, but some cash has been identified and plans worked up. A future Chris Hoy or Bradley Wiggins might originate in Craigmillar. Who knows? More on this next month.

Maureen Child Update 24 April 2014

Dear All

Please find a Figgate Park questionnaire at this link:
The information obtained will help shape the way forward for the park over the coming years and will be part of the new management plan. If you’re a regular user, you may have already been asked the questions by the park rangers, but if not the survey will be open until close of play tomorrow (25 April), so seize the day!

University Masters student and local resident Talat Yaqoob is currently doing research on community participation for her dissertation, and she is using the Portobello High School developments as one of the case studies and is looking for responses. The link to the survey is here:

Local cyclists and pedestrians are asking us to come and join them at Pedal on Parliament which is for both pedestrians and cyclists. The demonstration is on Saturday 26 April where cyclists from all over the country will be gathering in The Meadows at 11:30am before cycling together down the High Street to The Scottish Parliament in order to highlight the benefits that active travel could bring to Scotland. There are various feeder rides and all the details here at:

Message from and another PEDAL (Portobello Transition Town) – It will soon be Portobello Market time again! A week on Saturday – 3 May – they fling open the gates of Brighton Park again for another morning of market stall shopping with independent traders. There’s the regular live music band of the Caleerie Buskers and local face painter Annie D will be there. Come and join us and browse everything from handmade soaps, plants, garden furniture and crafts, organic mutton, cheese, condiments, oils, bread to jams, dog treats and African vegetarian goodies! Check here for a full list of stallholders Portobello Market is open at 9.30am until 1.30pm.

Duddingston Primary School Parent Teacher Association Spring Fayre is on Saturday 10 May from 10am to 12 noon in aid of school funds.

Lothian Sea Kayak Club are organising an event in aid of the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea. It’s a talk on Sunday11 May at 7.30 pm in St Philip’s Church, Portobello, Abercorn Terrace, EH15 2DL. “Big Dreams, Big Seas: The importance of failure”. Patrick Winterton talks about the first successful kayak crossing from Scotland to Norway. Patrick, together with Ollie Hicks, made the crossing last summer in a Kirton double kayak with relentless Force 5-6 winds, constantly crumbling waves and container ship consuming mist – a far cry from the comfortable conditions they wanted for rapid paddling and deep sleep, both of which they felt were vital to complete the 360km crossing. The presentation will include footage and anecdotes from other trips, including their first aborted attempt to get across the North Sea. More on the RNLI and how to donate:

Fun Fiddle Portobello Music Train is back!! On Sunday 4 May at 3pm, join Fun Fiddlers and a brand new Porty community street band in a live music train along Portobello Promenade. (This even is part of Tradfest, more details click on: Tradfest Festival Bring an instrument or just bring yourself and family. All welcome, young and auld! Meet at junction of Beach Lane and Portobello Promenade at 3pm and process to ‘The Cake’ bandstand, Marlborough St for some dancing and music. Then on to the Dalriada for a session. You can access our easy-to-play march from our website or on Fun Fiddle Facebook, or here: Fun Fiddle. Rainy weather alternative – meet at The Wash House , Adelphi Grove, 3pm. Calling all adults (or over 16’s!) If you would like to come to Street band workshops and take part in Music Train with Fun Fiddlers see Tradfest Events
Portobello Heritage Trust have made an open invitation 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 do make this your opportunity to view it and feel free to bring along any colleagues, family or friends you think may be interested. More detail at:

Have a good weekend!

Best wishes


Maureen Child Update 22 April 2014

Dear All

Some of you might already have responded to this as the park rangers have been doing some face-to-face interviews and there was a clean up a couple of weeks ago and a story-telling event last Tuesday. This is the Figgate Park questionnaire: The information obtained will help shape the way forward for the park over the coming years and will be part of the new management plan. The survey will be open until the 25 April.

University student and local resident, Talat Yaqoob is currently doing some research on community participation, and is using the Portobello High School developments as one of the case studies. The link to the survey is here:

Portobello Timebank is growing and has received applications from almost 30 members of the community, we’d love to see each and every member swapping by the end of April. The group are really excited that to have already matched members with swaps including cake baking, dog walking, repairing clothes and IT lessons – with many more requests and offers to pair up. Contact Kirsty Carver <> for a membership form and more details.

Have a look at Craigmillar & Portobello Ward local policing priorities resulting from extensive consultation. Policing Priorities The police are currently doing a campaign to tackle doorstep crime. Watch our their awareness video and please share: Doorstep Crime A very important issue.

Like to help Portobello become a more and more Dementia Friendly Community? Meeting in the Old Parish Church Bellfield Street (in the cafe space) Wednesday 23 April (tomorrow) 6:30 until 8pm.

I have a list of road works that are in place or planned over the next few months in Portobello/Craigmillar.


Maureen Child Update 9 April 2014

Dear All

A volunteer group of ‘Friends of Figgate Park’ have organised two events. This coming Sunday 13 April, there is a litter clean-up between 10am and noon, meeting beside Figgate Pond. On Tuesday 15 April the group have a children’s storytelling session in conjunction with Portobello Library at 2pm, near the Hamilton Terrace Entrance. I have posters I can send you, if you want to spread the word.

The annual Spring Clean of Rosefield and Brighton Parks is on Saturday 10 May, from 10 am – 12 noon, starting in Rosefield Park.

The next film at the Wash House, organised by Portobello Open Door is The Great Gatsby this Saturday, 12 April at 7pm. Tickets from Popeye’s Cafe on Porty High Street. The last two films have been a sell-out. For more of what is happening at the Wash House, see their new website at:

Portobello Community Council are holding a consultation on should the beach have dog-free zones? See here: Dogs Consultation They will also be consulting people face-to-face on Saturday morning in Scotmid Bath Street Portobello. Between 10am and 12 noon. This will be the third of the monthly PCC consultation sessions on a range of issues. The plan is to take the dog zone consultation on to the beach as well. The Evening News picked this up See here: Dog Zones Evening News Just to be clear, it is not a ‘dog ban’ as in the headline. The plan is to develop a voluntary code of conduct for visitors to the beach and places where well-behaved dogs and their well-behaved owners are always welcome.

The next meeting to help organise Craigmillar Fun Day meeting is on Thursday 24 April, 5pm onwards at The White House, Niddrie Mains Road. Everybody is welcome. The annual Fun Day doesn’t just happen and is run entirely by volunteers in their own time, whether they live and work in the area or not. The date – 28 June – is fast approaching and there are still lots of arrangements to be confirmed. Firm commitments to lend a practical hand, on or before the day, would be very welcome indeed. Otherwise a few people will be running totally ragged from dawn to dusk which won’t be much of a ‘Fun Day’ for them!

On Monday at Craigmillar Library there will be a free talk about Mary Seacole: Forgotten Hero. Mary Seacole was a very independent minded 19th century Jamaican woman who refused to be defeated by prejudice and adversity. She supported herself by running a hotel on the isthmus of Panama and providing free medical care for gold prospectors. At the outbreak of the Crimean Warm she offered her services and expertise as a nurse and won great admiration, respect and affection from all who knew her. The event is free, 6pm to 7pm, at 101 Niddrie Mains Road EH16 4DS.

Edinburgh Choices is a directory of care, support and preventative services available on the Council’s public website. It covers Council services as well as NHS, third sector and private sector services. Services include preventative services which are free or low cost, and available to people who do not quality for more formal support. People managing a personal budget or direct payment under self-directed support can also use the directory to find out about the range of options available to them. Please see link

Some stands of trees have to be removed from Magdalene Glen next to the Brunstane Burn because they have invaded and, are beginning to clog, the main sewer that runs down there. In places almost 50% of the pipe has been blocked with roots. This will result in seepage and contamination if it’s not sorted, Scottish Water and SEPA have advised us. The work is to start on 23 April. The area will be cleared and some stands of trees have to be removed from Magdalene Glen next to the Brunstane Burn because they have invaded and are beginning to clog the main sewer that runs down there. In places, almost 50% of the pipe has been blocked with roots. This will result in seepage and foul contamination if it’s not sorted. Scottish Water and SEPA have advised what needs to be done and work starts on 23 April. The area will be cleared and reseeded with a special grass seed mix to create a meadow. Then we can look at further planting (e.g. bulbs or small shrubs). Local householders in Magdelene have been informed by a leaflet. I can send you a copy if you want. For further information please email or call 0131 529 3111

Autism affects one in a hundred people in Edinburgh. The Council published Autism Edinburgh on the website to raise awareness about this life-long developmental disorder. This is so that people can recognise the signs that someone has it and know how best to support them. This includes launching the Council’s autism plan to improve and develop our services for people with autism and their families and carers. We are also raising awareness of online training, provided by Portsmouth City Council, which gives people more information about the condition. World Autism Awareness Day was 2 April and events were held throughout Edinburgh, working with partners Autism Initiatives, Upward Mobility, Parents of Autism Spectrum Disorder Adults (PASDA), Lothian Autistic Society, Edinburgh University, NHS Lothian, Intowork, Edinburgh and the Lothian’s Aspergers Society and the Action Group.

Local community enterprise Cre8te Opportunities Ltd in Craigmillar, Council and Scottish Government in partnership have secured the future of Castlebrae Business Centre in Peffer Place. We have a substantial grant from Historic Scotland to help restore Castlebrae Business Centre (formerly the secondary modern school for Craigmillar) to its former glory. This is in addition to the over £1 million granted through the Scottish Government Townscheme Grant for the project. The official announcement said “The art deco Castlebrae Business Centre in Edinburgh is to receive £500,000 towards a major refurbishment of the 1930s school building to limit the ongoing decay of the historic exterior fabric. The building’s owners also intend to carry out considerable internal alterations to make the building more suitable for business use and encourage local business start-ups. These internal alternations will also conserve the existing historic interior features.“

The on-line Edinburgh Reporter has a sister site- click on: This is a user-generated content site which allows you – the reader – to file your story. This can be in photos, video or words – and must answer a call for a story from their editor. The content may seem fairly light, but deliberately so. The Edinburgh Reporter very much want to get you to use the site regularly and then they will either set subjects that you suggest or set more serious topics when they occur.

To beat the doorstep ‘bogus caller’ problem, thieves that tend to target elderly and vulnerable people, Police Scotland have a ‘nominated neighbour’ scheme – see here – Beat Doorstep Crime Leaflet

The consultation on the future development of Craigmillar Town Centre is ongoing and open until the end of April. See the plans here: Craigmillar Town Centre Proposals Map The questionnaire for consultation feedback is here: Questionnaire Or I can email you an electronic copy. At the recent open day, 30 people came in to the White House to give their feedback. The Youth Gathering at Craigmillar Library a week ago, led by local youngsters, also gave quality feedback on the proposals. Craigmillar Community Council have had opportunities to represent local views. More views would be very welcome.

The Community Alliance Trust (CAT) which runs The White House, 70 Niddrie Mans Road is going strong. If you haven’t visited the fabulous White House Cafe yet, you must – includes free WIFI for customers and wonderful food as rated highly on Trip Advisor. More news:
Kitchen Garden – Courtesy of the Castlebrae Community High School construction skills programme, The White House now has a kitchen garden with more than 40 raised beds.
Gardening Group – They are looking for volunteers to help us look after the Kitchen Garden. Training will be given and you can take away some of the stuff you grow or alternatively have the odd free meal in the White House.
Volunteers Wanted – Volunteers also needed to help in the kitchen and café. Training will be given.
The ‘Best Days’ project has been using The White House as a hub to meet with people regularly on Tuesday afternoons. This has been very successful and now a few of their regulars come in most days for a meal and a chat. Castlebrae Community High School Prom – CAT will soon be starting to plan this years Prom and work with the students to make it as memorable as the last one.

You might like to comment on the Council’s draft anti-social behaviour policy here: Anti-Social Behaviour

Best wishes


Maureen Child Report March 2014

Revised Local Development Plan Housing Sites – Brunstane
Scottish Government insists that Councils in Edinburgh, Lothians, Fife and Borders have to identify what is called an “effective land supply” for housing development; units of housing that can be delivered on the ground over the period of our joint Strategic Development Plan. This has big implications for land in our City of Edinburgh Local Plan. It means the Councils must find yet more sites that could be developed, even beyond those sites already earmarked. That’s beyond current brown field sites, beyond the green field and beyond Green Belt releases – including those we already ‘lost’ at Newcraighall. One of those extra sites, identified for 1100 units, is a large field, to the east of the main railway line, between Newhailes and Brunstane. This big area of land is landlocked at present, but I am advised it is physically possible to build an entrance off Milton Road East along the boundary of the Cemetery. The route would cross the Brunstane Burn and the Walkway that forms part of the John Muir Way, which was recently improved. I am already arguing that this should not be an option, but will need to come up with some other alternative that could be equally unacceptable to other Councillors and their own communities. If Scottish Government were more reasonable in their demands for land release and timescales, this level of demand for Green Belt release would not be necessary.

Brighton Place Cobbles
The major works to improve Brighton Place is scheduled to take place in 2015 with two possible schemes drawn up so far, by the central Council roads investment team. One option replaces the traditional setts and another option is to finish the surface in smooth Tarmac. The latter is less expensive but less preferable as it is not in keeping with the Conservation Area. I am pushing for more mixed options and for the scope and costings of the projects to be shared with local Councillors and the community so that we can all know more about what is possible. Meantime, small repairs can be made to the worst bits out of the small local repairs budget.

Pedestrian Crossings
The two pedestrian crossings promised for the area this financial year are to go ahead in May. Contracts have been agreed for the works at Duddingston Park South and Abercorn Terrace, the latter being one of the projects brought forward by local demand through the Neighbourhood Partnership. There has been another request for a crossing at the foot of Seaview Crescent over to the end of the Promenade on Joppa Terrace. This was due to be assessed again last year and I am checking up what the outcome was. The changes to the traffic light and crossing sequences in the centre of Portobello continue to be monitored and some adjustments have been made.

Towerbank Primary School Growing
The new classroom and nursery extension at Towerbank is being officially opened this week. The school is planning to celebrate its 130th anniversary with a week of activities in late April. Towerbank is a large and hugely popular primary school and many families are moving to Portobello with a view to sending their children there. For some three years now, the intake of P1 pupils has been around 90 and early indications show that the peak has not yet been reached.

Dementia Friendly Portobello
Thanks to a small grant from the local Neighbourhood Partnership and with support from Alzheimer Scotland and the Council, Home Instead and other volunteers are ready to go to the next stage of making Portobello a truly Dementia Friendly Community. There is an evening meeting planned for 26 April in a local venue yet to be confirmed. We have some commitment from local people to talk to groups and business locally. There will be opportunities to get involved, even in a small way. Please contact Andrew Senew by phone at Home Instead on 0131 300 0598 to get involved.

Helen Crummy’s Memorial
I was delighted to be at the cutting of the ribbon on the sculpture in memory of Helen Crummy and the foundation of the Craigmillar Festival, which has its 50th anniversary is year. The wonderful sculpture by Tim Chalk takes pride of place in the centre of Craigmillar. It was commissioned by a group of local people who had worked with Helen from the early days, Helen’s family and friends and the environment forum of our local Neighbourhood Partnership. It was a great occasion and a coming-together of people from the arts and community development world; people who started their careers in Craigmillar and jumped at the chance to come back and meet up.

Craigmillar Town Centre Plan
The refreshed proposals are for mixed use development including a new secondary school for Craigmillar, 300 new homes, a medium size supermarket and other retail is being brought forward to guide any future planning proposals that come forward. The Council’s regeneration company, PARC, is leading the consultation with community members, local interest groups and residents of all ages who want to engage in the process.

The White House Planters
It was great to see and hear first hand stories of the success of local youngsters engaged in construction projects that benefit themselves and the local community. Those who worked on Castleview Community Centre progressed to a course at Peffermill and will be guaranteed apprenticeships at the end of that year. Another group of twelve, four from Castlebrae, made planters for the kitchen garden of The White House Cafe on Niddrie Mains Road. Those young men were not engaging in formal education, but are now finding a positive way forward towards the real world of work. Lots of great success stories.

Community Council Training, Induction and Development
More than 500 people now serve on Community Councils, about 40% new to the job. 140 CC members have already taken part in two highly successful induction and training sessions. Community Councillors gave us very positive feedback and said that more sessions would be welcome on developing their role planning, ways to involve young people and communication tools to better equip them do the task they have volunteered to do.

Local Youth Gathering
I just caught the end of the Youth Gathering in Craigmillar Library last week where young people from Craigmillar and Portobello all worked together to put their views forward about various developments in their area. I met four of the youngsters who had led the process and they seemed very pleased with how it had all gone. Youngsters came from all over Portobello/Craigmillar and we got some really great feedback and ideas which will be written up and taken into account in local plans, services and changes.

Quiz Night
The staff, trustees and volunteers who run the Craigmillar Literacy Trust and Books for Babies are very friendly and positive people. I was made very welcome at their AGM last year and the work they do is really impressive. Sheila Gilmore MP and I plan to take part in the Craigmillar Literacy Trust Quiz Night which promises to be a light hearted look at literature with no heavy duty questions. There’s free entry for teams of three in the convivial surroundings of the Cuddie Brae, Newcraighall at 7pm on Friday 11 April. All welcome, just come along on the night and we hope to see you there!