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Maureen Child Update 28 March 2014

Dear All

Film Showing tomorrow afternoon in Portobello: ‘Taking Root – The Vision of Wangari Maathai’ Saturday 29 March 4pm – 6.30pm Entry: £5 for adults (under 15 years free) Venue – Portobello Baptist Church Café, 189 Portobello High Street, Portobello, Edinburgh, EH15 1EU. Tea and cakes will be provided – donations welcome. Fundraising for the green movement founded by Wangari Maathai, an organisation that empowers communities, particularly women, to conserve the environment and improve quality of life for all. Film Trailer:

Our local Neighbourhood Partnership is consulting local people on the priorities for the next Local Community Plan – we’d be grateful if you took a few minutes to compete this short survey online. Portobello/Craigmillar Neighbourhood Partnership is about this kind of thing and is not the Council acting all on its own: . We want your views on priorities for the local area what we should be working on together. Please fill in the survey here: You can leave any question blank if you want to, but do have your say and tell us your priorities.

Spring Pop Up Market for your diaries

Our Get On Line IT labs at Craigmillar Library are now full on Tuesday and Friday, but phone Kenny 0131 469 3615 to book your or a friends one to one session.

Craigmillar Literacy Trust is holding a Quiz Night on Friday April 11 at 7pm Cuddie Brae, Newcraighall. Just come along. Free entry for teams of three. A light-hearted look at literature. No heavy duty questions. Lovely Prizes For further info – Sylvia Gorman, Secretary, Craigmillar Literacy Trust, 0131 661 1282

The next Portobello Market is on Saturday 5th April. Graham Kitchener says: “It’s our Easter market, so though Easter this year is on Sunday 20 April, but if you want to get a head start, then come along on the 5th April. This is sure to be a bumper market. Not only have we got an Easter egg hunt for the kids, but the Edinburgh International Science Festival’s street science busking bikes is coming to the market. It’s an official venue for them so it’s sure to have a great buzz about the day. We open 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 we’ll have live music from the Caleerie Buskers. There are 27 stalls schedule to be trading, the most we’ve had in the last 12 months, so even more to choose from. So many it’s 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. See you there, Brighton Park, 9.30am, Saturday 5th April.”

This is the second year of “The Trad Affair”. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland BA Scottish Music course are giving a concert at Duddingston Kirk on Tues 1 April at 7pm, ticket £5 on the door or phone 0131 657 3306. Should be good and includes a Portobello lass!

The next stage in making Portobello a dementia friendly community is to start talking to local groups and businesses individually. We’ll explain to them what a dementia friendly community is and then explore how they might be able to do their bit. We need a few volunteers to help do this. Teresa (Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Advisor for Edinburgh) and Home Instead will give us volunteers all the training and support we need. 23 April, 6:30pm to 8pm, at a local venue is pencilled in for initial training. We’re not looking for experts, just people who want to make a difference and committed to speak to half a dozen local groups or businesses during the month of May and deliver some leaflets. Anyone who would like to sign up, or find out more can email Andrew Senew [] or call Andrew on 0131 300 0598.

Musselburgh Horticultural Society plant sale is being held on Saturday 3 May this year from 10 am until 12 noon in The Hollies Day Centre in High Street, Musselburgh. All welcome. Entrance is £2 but that includes tea or coffee and a slice of cake.

Best wishes and have a good weekend!


Maureen Child Update 18 March

Dear All

I am looking forward to meeting about 60 more Community Councillors, from across Edinburgh, at an induction and training evening tonight at the City Chambers. Around 90 Community Councillors already attended a similar event back in January and the feedback was good. Tonight we will be concentrating entirely on their role as a statutory consultee in the planning process. Of over 500 of these volunteers across Edinburgh, over a half are new Community Councillors.

The Portobello Community Council Consultation and Engagement Committee will meet tomorrow, Wednesday 19 March at 9e Bellfield Lane, starting at 8.30pm.

St. Philip’s Drama Group perform the Hot Mikado in St. Philip’s Church Hall from Wednesday 19 March to Saturday 22 March at 7.30pm. The show is a 1940s lively, jazzed up version of the original Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Tickets, including refreshments, cost £10 for adults and £5 for children and students. Phone Anne McKerchar on 0131 669 3123 for tickets.

The tweaking of changes to the main traffic lights at the centre of Portobello continues. The pedestrian phase can come up between each of the two traffic phases. The maximum waiting time for pedestrians at any of the three controlled crossing affected is related to the longest traffic ‘green time’. The signals team have ‘fine tuned’ and slightly reduced the maximum traffic green time on the Portobello High Street approach, more than once now. This allows for an increase in traffic green time on Brighton Place/Bath Street and reduces the queue time on this approach. The maximum waiting period for pedestrians will now be slightly less than at the start, at around 57 seconds. It is still under review.

The Council has agreed a ten year lease of 2 Niddrie Mains Road, Edinburgh, to Artur Wonsik, of 2 Niddrie Mains Road for a Polish food store, which is very welcome indeed and I wish him well.

It’s good to see this empty shop unit occupied. Up until nearly almost three years ago, No 2 was occupied by the local credit union and before that Luca’s ice cream shop. Castle Credit Union (CCC) – which now covers Portobello, parts of Restalrig and Gilmerton – have a new collection point at Community Ability Network (CAN) on Niddrie Mains Road, where money advice is also available. To join CCC and or ask a question about your savings or low-cost loans, though, go to Castle Credit Union, 3/2 Hays Community Business Centre 4 Hay AvenueEH16 4A; phone 0131 259 9738; Email The CCC website is in the process of being renewed.

I have had a number of complaints about parking in residential streets that makes it difficult for emergency vehicles and bin lorries to get access – situation that could be life threatening if not very inconvenient. This is the first service’s view: Big red fire trucks need space:

One of our local Neighbourhood Partnership subgroups (link below my signature) have been finding out more about food bank provision locally. One is the Wilson Memorial Church, Moira Terrace, open Tuesday 10.30-1.30. Its run through the City Mission. Referrals can be made through Sheila Gilmore MPs office on 0131 661 7522. The Neighbourhood Support Team in the East Neighbourhood Centre also makes referrals, and can collect food parcels for clients who can’t get to the bases in south Edinburgh and other parts of the city – phone 0131 529 6397 for information. Housing officers can refer tenants that they work with. The Cyrenians, have a drop-in service on Tuesday mornings in the East Neighbourhood Centre can also make referrals. The Access Point has a comprehensive range of advice and help services, including food banks on this link: .

New ’mid market’ homes for rent will soon be available at Greendykes. If you or anyone you know are interested, do get in touch to note your interest and get a form, by phoning 0131 529 5080.

Have your say on proposed school holiday changes now out to consultation. Might result in a shorter Christmas and longer summer breaks:

We would be pleased for as many young people as possible to join us at East Neighbourhood Centre on Friday 28 March at 2pm for the Greater Craigmillar Youth Gathering, led by young people themselves. Call 0131 529 3111 to book a place.

The next film at the Wash House, organised by Portobello Open Door is The Great Gatsby on the last Saturday of the month. Tickets available 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 :

Please help advertise the community event for planning Craigmillar Town Centre – scroll down at . Ideas for a new Masterplan for the Craigmillar Town Centre is being consulted upon and PARC Craigmillar, who are leading this process, want hear the views of as many members of community as possible. The drop-in event will be held at: The White House, Niddrie Mains Road, Craigmillar on Thursday 27 March 2014 from 3pm – 7 pm. If you can’t make the Town Centre Update drop in this week, you can find details here:… for updates

From the STV website, some great photos of The Velvet Easel in Portobello and information on the current exhibition.

For any issue for the local environment team about dog fouling, littering, street cleaning or parks or suggestions for improvements to local areas, the direct contact is 0131 529 3298

We have been assured that Asda do want to go out and retrieve any abandoned trolleys Contact: 0131 669 9151 Extension 222

On-line registration is now open for the 2014 It’s Your Neighbourhood Campaign. Registration is available here:

The Craigmillar Archives Trust is going strong and always looking for new people to get involved. See:

In response to local people, Joppa Quarry Park wildflower meadow is being moved from the slope in the middle to under the newly planted trees on the top level and reseed the existing area. Work will completed in late April. This now frees up all the space on the slope for walking down therefore parts of the slope won’t be churned up as much.

On Figgate Burn Park Walkway over the pond was slippery in the rain. I had a couple of complaints and as a consequence the total length of the board walk has now been covered in wire mesh. The material is re-used mesh from around newly planted trees, to reduce cost and recycles waste that would have gone to land fill. The parks team hope to have this project completed by the end of March.

Plans are progressing slowly for a new property enforcement service in Edinburgh – a further extension to the Shared Repairs service, which will continue to respond to any emergency situations on a 24/7 basis, as it has done since last April. Following the responses to the public consultation, officers were tasked with developing proposals for re-establishing an enforcement service by the end of 2014. Here’s The report

I hope the above is helpful. Feedback welcome!

Best wishes


Maureen Child Update 10 March 2014

Dear All

Edinburgh Basketball Club based at Portobello High School and involving lots of local kids has a huge run of success at the weekend winning Multiple National Championships.  See photos (selfies of course) of lots of happy kids:  Well done everybody involved.  What great results!

A reminder of our local Dementia Friendly Portobello initiative Details here:  There is a free dementia care training session tomorrow evening, Tuesday 11 March at St Philip’s Church, Brunstane Road North from 7pm to 9pm.

Local Councillors are asked whether or not we approve of names suggested for particular new developments.  There is a bank of names, with local historical connections, to which local people can add their own suggestions.  These will  be considered for additions to the bank of names.  The two attached documents are the latest selection of street names for two new developments in the Greendykes area,  either built out or about to be built.  The local family names are mostly taken from the first Edinburgh census in 1841 which covered the local area.  I also have the location plans a street layout maps, if you would like them.

One of the names suggested – Milligan – is to name a street after Faye Milligan whose name was suggested some time ago by local people in the Craigmillar/Greendykes/Niddrie area.  Faye Milligan was prominent in Craigmillar Festival Society drama and arts productions and went on to a successful career in drama. She sadly died, far too young, in her fifties.

I have just  21 days to get back to ‘street naming’ officers on the Craigmillar ones so if you have a view do let me know!  To see the whole bank of names from which we can choose, currently (additional suggestions welcome) go to: Portobello/Craigmillar Name Bank

Portobello Amnesty are holding a Coffee Morning with Books, Baking Toys and Games stalls.  Saturday 22 March 10am to 12 noon in the Old Parish Church Bellfield Street Portobello. £1 entrance fee includes coffee/tea and biscuits.  Games with woodcraft and knitting table with Wool against Weapons.  Music from Caleerie Buskers.

Police report that on Monday 3 March a 17 yr old male arrested and put in custody for break-ins to a garage and shed at Park Avenue and Niddrie Mains Drive on 27 February.  Information from the local police on how to secure your gardens shed is here:

You might be interested in the Designing Streets plan unveiled which would seek to make city more cycling and pedestrian friendly.  It’s out for consultation:

The Council has been undertaking quite a lot of analysis of information, broken down to community and neighbourhood level, based on the 2011 Census and has published this for general use.  Please See here for more information.

Watch the Council’s new website video to find out more about our new Council website. From April 2014, the easy to use site will be available from a range of devices, like tablets and smart phones at any time of the day. The new website has a clear and simple design which is modern and uncluttered. Information is arranged around popular tasks making it easier to navigate and quicker to find what you are looking for. Work on the back office processes and new, automated responses means the Counicl should be faster at dealing with your requests while keeping you informed about progress. Up to 30 transactions will be rolled out in this first phase. These include reporting road defects, a missed bin collection and being able to view rent or a previous payment. More services will follow over the next year.

The monitoring of the three central Portobello pedestrian crossings and the traffic flow at the Bath Street/Brighton Place/Portobello High Street junction is ongoing and tweaks will be made, as necessary.  I have answers to some frequently asked questions should you need them meantime.  The maximum wait at any pedestrian crossing should be 60 seconds. There is no less ‘green man’ crossing time than there was before the changes were made.

I hope this information is helpful.

Best wishes


Maureen Child Update 27 February 2014

Dear All

Please find details of the Travelling Gallery’s visit to Craigmillar Library on Friday 28 February from 1.30pm – 4.30pm. It will be at Castlebrae Community High School in the morning.

An update of how Castlebrae Community High School is doing is on next week’s agenda for Education Children and Families Committee. The link is here: Castlebrae Community High School – Progress Report

Race night this Friday! Portobello High School has a partner school at Kiurani in Kenya and this summer they are hoping to have exchange visits. Most of the fundraising has to be done by Portobello and depending on how much they raise, they can help 2, 3 or 4 students from Kiurani to come over and experience life in Scotland, and Portobello in particular. Porty High also intend to take across appropriate resources for their Kenyan partners and again this will depend on successful fund raising. One of their fund raisers is a race night at Portobello Rugby Club on Friday 28 February starting 7pm. £3 ticket includes Kenyan style food. Details of the fundraising is on the school web-site

You can start the month with a visit to Portobello on Saturday 1 March and the coffee morning and sale at St Mark’s Episcopal Church, on the High Street, from 10am to 12 noon. Coffee and bacon rolls will be available and a variety of stalls including home baking, crafts and second hand books. Also a chance to look round this historic church. More details from

This Saturday is also Portobello Market Day from 9.30am to 1.30pm in Brighton Park. Since the last email 3 more new stall holders have joined in: Shenincraft making handmade felt crafts from Portobello. Tim Johnson Crafts making unique jewellery. Days Gone Bye supplying real jams with no added thickeners, preservatives or anything artificial. Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts – an information stall for a non profit organisation providing studio space for crafts people in Edinburgh. Check out the list of stallholders for full information.

If you enjoy choral music, this is a very special treat for a Sunday afternoon. Robin Chapel Music have just issued their music list for March to June The choir is magnificent and everyone is welcome.

You might find this useful about what happens when you phone the charity Crimestoppers with information that contributes to keeping our communities safer and you want to remain anonymous:

A new project is starting off East Neighbourhood Centre on Monday coming. Staff will be providing a mix of drop-in sessions and 1:1 free guidance as well as classes and groups to help people with computing and getting on line. A four week pilot period begins on Monday 3 March. The main aim is to improve digital access for all, helping people to get online and use e-mail but also encourage easier and more access to services through the Council website. Staff will provide access to a range of laptops and other devices. This is an offer of free help from City of Edinburgh Council to help people use email, shop, chat, search, and make applications. Help is on hand in the East Neighbourhood Office, 101 Niddrie Mains Road. If you know anyone who would benefit, do let them know!
Monday Drop in all day 10am-4pm; Group sessions: 10.30-11.30am or 2.30-3.30pm
Tuesday Drop in all day 10am-4pm; Group sessions: 10.30-11.30am or 2.30-3.30pm
Thursday Drop in all day 10am-4pm; Access support for visual disabilities 2-4pm
Friday: Learn IT labs 10.30am-12.30pm
Contact: Kenny Sharkey 0131 469 3615 or Email:

As Councillors, we recently got some information on the Council’s insurance arrangements. Insurance Services produced a leaflet and a copy is available at: This leaflet is issued when a claim is reported for damage, mainly from potholes and trip hazards, which make up over half of the claims made.

Best wishes for a good weekend when it comes!


Maureen Child Report February 2014

More ‘Dementia Friendly’ Communities
Around 7,700 people over the age of 65 with dementia are living in Edinburgh. In the next 20 years, this is forecast to rise by 65% to over 12,000. ‘Dementia Friendly’ communities will want to make sure that there is a general understanding of the condition so that we create friendly places for people who suffer from dementia and those who care for them.  We had a very successful campaign launch event in Portobello Library inspired by Sandra Shafi who has led a similar campaign successfully in Motherwell. The Portobello steering group have successfully applied for a grant from the Portobello/Craigmillar Neighbourhood Partnership to print leaflets which will enable volunteers to take the message out to the businesses and neighbourhoods locally.  As part of our Portobello campaign, local care provider Home Instead are offering a free awareness raising training on Tuesday 11 March from 7pm to 9pm at St Philip’s Church, Brunstane Road North.  The evening will cover the causes, symptoms and different types of dementia, the importance of diagnosis, medication, diet and lifestyle and different ways to help and ensure people remain part of their community.

Edmonstone and Greendykes
Last week, Sheila Gilmore MP and I had a meeting with a Council planning officer to try and get to grips with all the proposals which have come forward historically and what proposals are current for the area of ground around Edmonstone Ridge to the South East, much of which is in the Green Belt.  Some proposals are subject to live planning applications – in one case, three for the same bit of Green Belt land.  At least I now have a map on loan from the planning officer which should help me get my bearings in future.

Central Portobello Traffic Light Changes
The traffic light sequence on the Portobello High Street/Bath Street/Brighton Place junction has changed, along with two controlled crossings nearby. I met with the officers responsible last week and fed back some of the comments I had. The first week, there was quite a back up on Brighton Place, but the timings were adjusted to give more green time to Brighton Place traffic.  A camera was placed at the junction to monitor the flow in real time at peak periods to see if it needs further tweaking. These changes were made to ensure that traffic cleared the centre of the junction by coordinating the lights at the three pedestrian crossings at peak periods.  While the two crossings at Portobello Town Hall and Windsor Place no longer change immediately on demand, there are now two phases of green light on the main junction in every cycle where there was only one before.  This all takes a bit of getting used to and has been perceived by some as less safe.  Positive feedback is that it has reduced some of the fast rat-running that used to happen in our side streets both north and south.  The green man timing is 6 seconds and indicates when it is safe to start crossing.  There is another 15 seconds of ‘dead time’ which is also designed as safe crossing time for pedestrians.  No pedestrian should wait for much longer than a minute to get a green man signal to cross. There is never going to be an ideal balance to suit everyone, but I believe we should stick with it for now.  The change is being monitored and I‘m still open to feedback on how it’s working.

Hunter’s Hall Park
The three local Councillors at last had a briefing on the proposals being developed by the Council’s culture and sport section for Hunter’s Hall Park, alongside Edinburgh Leisure who run the sports facility there. They have involved the Jack Kane Community Wing in these discussions, at my insistence, but we have been making the point, for a while now, that until the wider community are consulted on the principle of having facilities for developing cycling as a sport, there is very little point in preparing detailed plans. They are now consulting more widely, and they might not like what they hear.  The more immediate priority for local people would probably be to retain as much playable games pitch space as possible.  They may well want to complete the next environmental improvement phase of the Niddrie Burn Restoration Project, before introducing facilities for cycling – a sport they don’t currently take part in.

Be ‘Stair Aware’
The community safety subgroup of our local partnership gets regular updates from the fire and rescue service which is now centralised as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  They completed 167 home safety visits in two months last year and fitted 112 smoke detectors, but there is more to do to help prevent fires breaking out.  The smoke is more of a potential killer when a fire breaks out and the service has a lot of concern about the lack of use of door entry systems and the fact that a lot of people store things in the common stair.  Even a child’s buggy or a bike can prove combustible in rare circumstances, as people in Bath Street and Ramsay Place Portobello found out last year.  The service is conducting a ‘stair aware’ campaign.  The free home safety check can be ordered at 0800 0731 999.

Two New Pedestrian Crossings Planned
Two controlled pedestrian crossings are planned for the local area.  One was flagged up by accident statistics in Duddingston Park South from Niddrie Mill over to Scotmid and Farmfoods.  The other was identified by local people and is being funded through the Neighbourhood Partnership at Abercorn Terrace near St Philip’s Church.  The latter has been a priority for local Joppa people for many years.  The local environment forum’s fund is the same share of the local roads budget we used to install traffic calming on Joppa Terrace and a crossing at Milton Road East opposite the Coillesdene sheltered housing. Anyone can nominate an improvement project that they think should have priority and we can consider it at local partnership level.

Portobello Town Hall
The Town Hall in Portobello is covered in scaffolding at the moment and you might have wondered what’s happening? The current works are:-

  • Repairs to the roof coverings which include slate work, mastic asphalt and guttering.
  •  Some investigation work being carried out on the structural movement of the property as well as potential drainage defects to the building.
  • Stonework repairs including a rake out and re-point to the east and west side elevations and to the front elevation pediment ashlar area at high level over the first floor and roof deck.
  • A de-scale of the masonry and check on all dentil fixings.
  • Above ground drainage – repair hopper heads and apply a liquid plastic type coating to the inner section.
  •  Dry dash sections – patch repairs at high level of the gable elevations.

Some Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) works are also being carried out.  They are installing an induction loop, updating the fire alarm system, and re-doing some signage and parking markings.

Figgate Burn Clean Up
I heard that fourteen wonderful people turned up in the high winds, cold and rain at Bridge Street car park last Sunday morning to clean up the Figgate Burn.  I must confess I chickened out and stomped around some tenements to deliver leaflets instead, and lost my woolly grey hat in the process. Very well done to everyone involved in the clean up.  And if anyone else wants to organise a ‘Spring Clean’ of their local area, do let me know!