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Maureen Child Report April 2015

Calling All Local Parents – or Parents-to-Be!
Portobello Expectant and New Parents’ Event is in Portobello Library from 12noon to 2pm on Saturday 2 May. Are you expecting or had a baby recently? Please come along to this free information event to let new and expectant parents know about groups, classes and services on in Portobello. We are lucky to have a great range of services for parents available locally, so this is a great opportunity to find out more about what’s on and to speak with people from a range of Portobello groups. The first 50 people will receive a brilliant PlayTalkRead goody bag, so get there quick! There will also be a home-baking stall raising funds for a mums-led support group called Juno Perinatal Mental Health Support (Juno PMHS).

Community Grants Fund – You Decide!
There have been a very encouraging 24+ applications for the Portobello/Craigmillar community grants fund this year, to be decided by you, as local residents. You will be able to take part either by voting at the local libraries until 5 May, or at the main ‘You Decide!’ decision-making event which takes place on Saturday 23 May 11am-3pm in the East Neighbourhood Hub/Craigmillar Library, 101 Niddrie Mains Road. When we vote on projects we have to score them ALL, or your vote is invalid and not counted. No chance of voting only for your favourite. But this is not only about allocating money to projects. It is primarily about engaging people in our local communities and neighbourhoods. You Decide! Is a structure within which local residents experience first-hand how decisions are made (including how hard it can be) and have more of a say in what happens in their area. When Leith first did their Leith Decides five years ago, they had 320 people participate. This year, 1625 people took part. Let’s see what Portobello and Craigmillar can do to beat that!

Towerbank Primary School Catchment Review
The formal consultation process on the changes to catchment of Towerbank Primary School starts on Friday May 8. Lots of anxious parents have been in touch with me about what this might mean for their families and have taken part in an informal consultation and survey work led by Portobello Community Council and Towerbank Parent Council with the support of Council officers. This will inform what the consultation proposal or proposals are. Even once the proposals are put forward, the outcome is no ‘done deal’. It can change. For example, if our request for a guaranteed place for all siblings of children currently at the school has not found its way into the formal proposal, it can still be argued for through the formal process. I will be pushing for a sibling guarantee.

Portobello Heritage Trust ‘Dig in Portobello’

Last year AOC Archaeology undertook a weekend of community excavations as part of Dig Portobello, an exciting public archaeology project led by Portobello Heritage Trust (PHT) with lots and lots of local involvement and the support of Lottery funding and in-kind Council support. The city archaeologist, John Lawson, even got his own hands dirty. The excavations revealed a great deal about Portobello’s industrial past and it was great to find out more about the results of that work. There is clearly a great deal of potential for doing more in future. The exhibition is in Portobello Library all through this month and next. Go along and take a look. Those who helped with this project – both from AOC and George Haggarty, local resident and the leading authority of Portobello pottery – said it was one of the very best community involvement archaeology projects they had ever been involved in.

Local Development Plan – Brunstane and Telferton Allotments
The delay in the consideration of Edinburgh Local Development Plan decision has enabled quite a big campaign to reflect local concern about the potential loss of Green Belt land at Brunstane, including a road link from Milton Road East. The petition has reached over 600 signatures on line. This matches the protest in the West about the Cammo site which (unlike Brunstane) has an actual planning application already lodged. The Cammo application is being decided by the Scottish Government Minister who has yet to announce his decision. If it is to reject the application, that calls into question the whole LDP process to date. If he grants it, that gives the Council more confidence to make the amendments we might want to make before submitting it to the Reporter for consideration.

Growing Projects

As we move into late Spring, the growing season is upon us and a number of exciting local projects are at various stages of development. It’s great to see work going on at Sandy’s in Craigmillar Castle Avenue and the community garden at the Jack Kane Centre, I had a long conversation with the project worker, Kirsten (on a bus, as you do!). It is very encouraging to hear how inclusive this project has become, involving lots of local people growing together. It will prove a real community asset for people nearby.

‘Imagine Portobello’
Local arts and community charity ‘Big Things on the Beach’ who brought you the very memorable sand pyramids among other arts projects, is hosting a Day on which to ‘Imagine Portobello’.  This is on Saturday 30 May, starting at 10.30am, in the Church Hall in Bellfield Street.  It should be a good event and a very interesting day.

Next Portobello Market
Portobello Market is at Brighton Park, Portobello on Saturday 2 May, 9.30am until 1.30pm. There will be 26 traders this month, offering a wide range of sustainably produced foods from fresh coffee, organic fruit and vegetables, lamb, beef and mutton, oils, breads, jams, pickles, cheese, spices, tray bakes, pies, pastries, sauces. But it’s not just food on offer: there’s also handmade jewellery, garden furniture, soaps and artisan wooden gifts, to name just a few. Dr Bike is also on site, courtesy of BG Cycles offering you a FREE bicycle check. Is there anything else you could possible want for! The market runs on the first Saturday of every month except January.

Park Clean-Ups
Brighton and Rosefield Residents Association are organising their annual Spring clean up Saturday May 9, starting at 10am in Rosefield Park. Everybody welcome! I am trying to get a group together to help clean up the woodland areas around Portobello Park and golf course, which is a much bigger task. The Council have made some recent progress and Portobello High School have agreed to help. We reckon it could take a couple of days work. If you want to volunteer, do get in touch and when we have a date, I’ll let you know.

Abercorn Crossing
The Neighbourhood Partnership for Portobello/Craigmillar agreed to fund a pedestrian crossing on Abercorn Terrace well over a year ago from the relatively small part of the transport capital budget devolved for local decision-making. But it will have taken us almost 20 years (as long as I have been a Councillor) to get agreement to put in a controlled pedestrian crossing on Abercorn Terrace. There are signs now of some survey and construction activity locally, nearly a year after we first agreed it as a priority.

My Contact Details
My regular reports and updates on local issues are freely available by email. Just let me know if you want to be on my distribution list. I also put hard copies in the libraries to pick up. My contact details are: Councillor Maureen Child | Labour Elected Member | Portobello/Craigmillar (Ward 17) | City of Edinburgh Council | City Chambers | High Street | Edinburgh | EH1 1YJ | Direct Line 0131 529 3268 | Phone/Text Mobile 07718 666 481 or Follow me on Twitter @MaureenChild1