The Wester Hailes Community Council met yesterday, Wednesday 15 April 2015, and the Digital Sentinel was there to tell you everything that was discussed.
The meeting was chaired by John Aitchison and was attended by Councillors Dennis Dixon and Bill Henderson, local MSP Gordon Macdonald and SNP candidate for the General Election Joanna Cherry as well as Sergeant Steve Adam.
The first topic discussed was MSP Gordon Macdonald reporting back to the Community Council that he had heard back from Lothian Buses and that currently there are no plans to discuss the creation of a bus stop at the new Harvesters development which would provide bus access to the Healthy Living Centre. However, he said that this just covered until September which is when Lothian Buses will next discuss rescheduling their services. He commented that as this is the same time that people will begin moving into the newly built homes at Harvesters then it is possible that the creation of a bus stop will be discussed then.
Finally, Mr Macdonald added that he had been contacted by a resident of Harvesters Square who were concerned that the plans for a bus stop at the Harvesters development would remove parking.
Rik Morley reported on the situation in Hailesland regarding Council repairs, stating that 425 letters had been sent out to owners but that there had been no replies. Gordon Macdonald replied that he had been in touch with the Council and that there plans were to repair the buildings which were completely Council occupied and that after they would repair the ones that have a majority of Council tenants and that they would bill owners in these buildings for their share of the cost.
There was then a police report by Sergeant Steve Adams who stated that there has been progress towards the issues of legal highs sold at the Plaza and that he believed that the two venues which had been selling them have now stopped. He then discussed the recent issues at the Plaza where in the past six weeks the polices have received 139 calls to respond at the Plaza, with 94 of these calls being relating to youths.
The Sergeant announced the creation of Operation Eddison which will focus on Westside Plaza. As part of the operation every backshift will see two police officers patrolling the Plaza and surrounding streets who will answer calls, prevent fires and vandalism and will visit some of the shops and organisations based at the Plaza to provide reassurance. He also commented that the Chief Inspector will be monitoring the success of the operation and will provide more resources if required. Finally he commented that in regards to preventing future situations there were discussions about making the Plaza an alcohol free area. The sergeant welcomed discussion by the Community Council about making the space more attractive and getting more families using the Plaza to prevent crime.
The meeting was attended by staff from Napier University who wanted to discuss community outreach and involvement and the refurbishment of the pavilion at Sighthill Park as well as the Park being used by the Scottish Rugby Union in the future. The Community Council raised hopes that the refurbishment of the Park might be a means for creating something for young people to do and provide a new area for them to play sports and prevent boredom.
Finally there was a report by Sam Verner of Edinburgh Council informing the community that there are plans to possibly create affordable housing on three sites around Wester Hailes. These would include 32 homes on the site where Dumbryden Primary used to sit, 28 homes on the open space by Holy Trinity Church and Canalview where the huts used to stand and 34 homes on some of the green spaces at Calders. Mr Verner added that this was very much the beginning of the process and that it is unlikely that there will be anything built on the sites before the end of next year. The Community Council were in favour of construction taking place at the Dumbryden site as there had been concerns that this had become a dumping ground but frustrations were raised at the use of the other sites for more housing rather than anything that could be used by the community such as businesses or recreational areas. Local MSP, Gordon Macdonald, commented that though it was unfortunate that there had not been community consultation before the plans were set in motion, one of the complaints he frequently receives is that there is not enough affordable housing for people who wish to remain in Wester Hailes. He also commented that demand for housing across the city is extremely high and building on sites like these were one of the ways to prevent the destruction of green spaces like Curriemuirend Park.
The Community Council will hold their AGM on Wednesday 29 May 2015, 6.00pm at Wester Hailes library