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Maureen Child Update 8 January 2016

Dear All

Happy New Year and all the very best for 2016! We were up in a pretty wet and remote part of Angus for New Year but it was good to see lots of people enjoyed  Portobello Looney Douk 2016, news of which I picked up on in social media when we got back:  See also a video of the Porty Douk by Arran Moffat:  The twig and stone sculptures were – apparently – the talk Portobello beach dog walkers:  And there was a wonder of the natural world seen from Portobello Beach, the aurora borealis:

By the end of this month, a newly refurbished Castlebrae Business Centre will have over 30 fit for purpose business units and workshops for lease in the fabulous listed 1930s(?) old school building at Peffer Place. This will enable social enterprise Cre8te to further stimulate business growth and economic activity in the Portobello/Craigmillar area with further job creation and employment in the local community. Enquiries to 0131 661 8888 or  More here:

Wassailing in the orchard There will be a Wassail at Donkeyfield Community Orchard Saturday January 23rd 2-4pm. Wassailing is a very ancient custom . The word comes from the Anglo-Saxon ‘waes hael’ meaning ‘good health’. January is traditionally the time for singing rowdy songs in orch­ards to cel­eb­rate the har­vest from the pre­vi­ous year and ensure a good crop in the com­ing sea­son.  Please bring ‘music’ mak­ing equip­ment (drums, whistles, pans), bread to hang on the trees, apple juice to soak the bread in.  And do wear scary clothes if you wish, just to scare away any evil spir­its that may be lurk­ing (!) Come and drink spiced apple juice and sing round the bon­fire. All welcome!

In the run-up to Christmas, a notice went out about the intention for The EDI Group Ltd to put in a planning application for a development at Brunstane.  Click here: There are no details at all yet, besides a red line round the area on a map.  It’s  a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN), not the application itself details of which would come later. By law, there must be a programme of public consultation before the applcation is submitted. This large site is currently in the Green Belt but has been identified as a possible housing site in the Edinburgh’s Local Development Plan (LDP2) which is currently at the Scottish Government Reporter’s Inquiry stage.  The move is hardly a surprise, as developers and owners of sites are seizing their opportunities to build on their desirable green land (like Craigentinny/Telferton Allotments) arguing that Edinburgh ‘has no effective land supply’. And they have succeeded in convincing Reporters in a few cases, despite the best efforts of Council planners to ‘stick to The Plan.’  Mean time, there are at least six areas where substantial housing development is currently happening on brownfield sites in Portobello/Craigmillar and three more where planning applications are being lodged.

Fresh Start’s Community Growing Space near the Robin Chapel is winding down for winter. With the new year in mind, there will be a planning meeting held on the 18th January from 1pm-4pm in the Hays Business Centre. This will be a fantastic opportunity for anyone thinking of getting involved to come along and hear more about this growing space, meet some of the existing volunteers and learn about the project. There will be plenty opportunity to discuss ideas over suitable crops to plant in both the ground beds and raised beds, and also to suggest and chat about broader ideas on how to make the community growing space work for everyone.  More here:

And if you are interested in visiting the Robin Chapel itself, there are services there every Sunday.  January services here:; 4pm, all welcome.

A couple of local residents got in touch with me about the loss of trees in front of Phoenix House and there has been some chat on the Porty People Facebook page.  From the Council website I found this application: Tree Works for the following reasons(s) : The property is subject to a change of use from commercial to residential flats. The current tree cover is outgrowing its location and is unsuitable for purpose. If retained, the trees will require regular on-going pruning. There is conflict between infrastructure and tree crowns and rooting. Tree removal and replanting provides an opportunity to match tree cover to the altering site use and available space, to provide valuable long term amenity in line with the character of the area.  275 Portobello High Street Edinburgh EH15 2AQ Ref. No: 15/05320/TCO | Validated: Thu 19 Nov 2015 | Status: Raise No Objection.  A decision to grant was dated 8 December 2015.  Tree works in a Conservation Area do require planning consent. The application would have been advertised, in the normal way, but I understand that direct neighbour notification letters are not required for just tree works.  More information on the planning portal which can be accessed through the Council website on this or any other property or land you might be interested in. You can search by application number or address.  Click here to get started:

A new Portobello Dementia Friendly Singing Group called ‘Let’s Sing’ for people newly diagnosed with early to mid stage dementia who like singing or would like to try.  There is lots of research now demonstrating the benefits of singing for people with dementia. This is a free weekly singing session at the Brunton Theatre (Rehearsal Room), Tuesdays 11.00.00 – 12.30, starting on 19 January.  The group will be led by the very experienced Penny Stone, a professional community group singing leader at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Members are welcome to come as often as they as they like and can bring a friend/companion.  The local steering group of Dementia Friendly Portobello are keen to get the information out to any potential members among people in the earlier stages of the illness. They have a small pool of volunteers to greet folks, make tea and be enthusiastic supporters.   There is room for more volunteers with the next training session on Tuesday 12 January from 10.30 – 12.30 also at the Brunton Theatre (Rehearsal Room). Contact first for more information – Jan Killeen, Steering Group Dementia Friendly Portobello, Phone 0131 669 2888.

That’s all I have time for today, but I hope you found something of interest here.

Best wishes for a great weekend!



Councillor Maureen Child | Labour Elected Member | Portobello/Craigmillar (Ward 17) | City of Edinburgh Council | City Chambers | High Street | Edinburgh | EH1 1YJ | Tel 0131 529 3268 | Mobile 07718 666 481| Twitter @MaureenChild1

p.s. My face-to-face Councillor Advice Sessions, or ‘Surgeries’, are usually every Monday at 5.30 pm in Castleview Community Centre, 76 Craigmillar Castle Avenue (Phone 661 4064) and then at 7 pm in Portobello Library, 14 Rosefield Avenue (Phone 529 5558).  Now also at Craigmillar Library, 101 Niddrie Mains Road, EH16 4DT, 1st Wednesday of the month, drop-in session 5pm-5.30pm, thereafter by appointment only up until 7.30pm. Please phone me on Direct Line 0131 529 3268 or Mobile 07718 666 481, or email to check availability, make an appointment or request a home visit.