The Wester Hailes Community Council met yesterday, Wednesday 2 December 2015, in the Community Room of Wester Hailes library. Here is our report of what was discussed.
The meeting was chaired by the Community Council’s Vice-chair Anne Denholm, with councillor Ricky Henderson and MSP Gordon Macdonald in attendance.
In regards to matters arising from the previous meeting, Ricky Henderson gave an update regarding the extension to the Wester Hailes Baptist Church. He said that though there had been an initial meeting between the church and the council, the Church have since decided to terminate the project. He said that the Church have stated that the cost of the land is more than they were willing to pay and that delays over what has now been two years of trying to build the extension has caused the costs of the project to rise.
Colin Cooper, who serves on the Dove Centre board, said that this was a severe disappointment to the Dove and that though the Dove is not in any danger, it means that it will not be able to expand. The Community Council mirrored this, saying that it was a disappointment losing something which could have been an asset to the community.
The Police then gave their report. They apologised that they had been unable to attend some of the previous meetings and announced that there had been a series of staff changes and hoped that they would be at more meetings in the new year. They reported that they are currently focused on domestic violence and hate crime and would soon be starting their Christmas drink and drive campaign.
Since 1 November 2015, 73 crimes have been reported to the police in the area, of these 22% have been solved and that they are still investigating the others. PC Dallas highlighted that they are still focusing on some of the problems at the Plaza and the library and that a youth had been caught possessing a bladed implement and that the police were now working with the child’s family.
Greig Robertson gave a presentation, giving an update on Wester Hailes Edible Estates. He gave a brief history of the two community growing hubs, one at the Calders and one at Clovenstone. The group at the Calders has been so successful that they are now their own group separate from Edible Estates and have managed to secure funding. Greig mentioned that the Clovenstone garden has always had more children involved and that they are now trying to expand that with a natural play worker and are looking into the possibility of building play areas in the green space around the garden. However, Greig did mention that they have had to build a fence around that garden to encourage adults after some of the plants had been pulled up.
The Community Council then discussed organising an official opening ceremony, suggesting a midday ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday 22 December before visiting the Health Agency for refreshments. It was also mentioned that there was a funding opportunity with Scotrail to create an artwork exhibition around the railway and felt that this would be a good way to further beautify the link. The Community Council agreed in principle to submit a proposal for the funding.
In regards to subgroup reports, community council member David Corcoran reported that he had met with the manager of the Plaza and confirmed that the shopping centre had changed hands. He also attended the recent meeting of the Living Well Wester Hailes project group and commented that the community bid to the Hunter Foundation has been successful and there are plans to create a new Wester Hailes Community Trust which would monitor money which the community will collectively decide how to spend.
Rik Morley commented that he had been in touch with the Council and that there were currently no plans to close off the bin chute in the Hailesland area this year due to staff shortages. Vice-Char Anne Denholm mentioned that she had heard that they would not be forcing the bin chutes closed for people that did not want them closed, though it was mentioned that this was conflicting information than what the Community Council has been told in the past and that Rik would contact Edinburgh Council for more information.
One resident complained to the Community Council about the number 20 bus not serving Wester Hailes on a Sunday, the group agreed to contact Lothian Buses to complain on the residents behalf. They also agreed to support another resident after he complained of furniture being dumped in Hailesland lying for weeks even after contacting the Council.
The Community Council was also presented with several options for a possible logo designed by local resident and volunteer Noorislam Uddin who has been working with Shasta Ali, SCOREscotland on this project. The Community Council decided to think over the options for a week before making a permanent decision. Rik also agreed to look into creating a Wester Hailes Community Council website.
Rik Morley of Wester Hailes wildlife added that a Kingfisher had been seed at the canal near Hailes Quarry Park. You can see photos of the Kingfisher on the Wester Hailes Wildlife Facebook page.