The Wester Hailes Community Council held their June meeting on a rather sunny day yesterday. Here is our report of what was discussed.
The Meeting began by discussing matters which has arisen from the previous meetings report. Acting Chairperson Anne Denholm, mentioned that she had spoke to Edinburgh Council about the concerns of people in Dumbryden that plans had changed for the new Young Peoples Centre, Heathervale. Anne added that she had been invited to a meeting with Heathervale’s new manager and would report back to the Community Council how the meeting went.
Community Council Treasurer Rik Morley reported that the Murrayburn Residents Organisation has continued to do a lot of work addressing the bin pilot which is a proposed change after the closure of bin chutes in several areas of Wester Hailes. The Murrayburn Residents are arguing that the bin pilot has been a failure with an increase in rubbish on the streets and the bins blowing open in high winds. Rik commented that he hoped there would be a meeting between the Community Council, Murrayburn Residents and Edinburgh Waste soon to help address these concerns.
Police Constable Andrew Gillies then had a report of crimes in the area over the past month. The main priorities of the Police in the area are antisocial behaviour, particularly around Westside Plaza and the Library, housebreaking, hate crime and drug and alcohol misuse.
Over the last month there had been 115 crimes reported to the Police and of these 42% had been solved, with investigations still ongoing for the other 58%. These included:
8 housebreaking, with 3 cases reported to the courts.
10 assaults, 5 cases reported to the courts.
17 cases of theft.
1 hate crime which had been reported to the courts.
There has also been several cases of hoax calls over the past month with two youths being reported to the courts for contacting the police over 50 times.
Finally PC Gillies commented on the recent problems at Westside Plaza stating the community police officers were currently working with the Council and other partner organisations to help combat the problem. The PC added that one recent problem is that several youths have gained access to the old GP’s building and were using it as a “den”. He commented that the building was dangerous and they would be working to try and make sure that it was secured. The Community Council commented that it would be good to see this building, as well as the old Social work building, demolished as they has been empty for a while and were an eyesore as well as being fire hazards. PC Gillies commented that a further development was that Westside Plaza security were now contacting the police much more often whenever there is a problem which will hopefully help deal with situations quicker.
The Community Council discussed the idea of inviting someone from the licensing board to a future meeting to discuss their concerns with a local off-license which they feel is having a negative effect on the Plaza. One member raised the point that they would like to work on the Plaza making it a more pleasant area for the community but feel that currently they would be unable to as any work could be damaged.
The next item on the agenda was an update on the upcoming Fun Run which will take place on Sunday 19 June 2016, 10.00am from outside WHEC. The organisers are still looking for volunteers to act as wardens on the route and help make sure the event goes off successfully. The closing date for registration to take part in the event is Friday 10 June 2016.
The Community Council then discussed Sub-Group reports. Rik who attended the Environment and Transport Action Group commented that the Council are currently focusing on trying to organise community transport better and reduce their dependency on taxis, which are both expensive and unsuitable for people who may need support with additional needs. The Council is currently recruiting for drivers and that it is hoped that benefits from this new approach will be seen next year.
Another item from the group was possible changes to bus routes with the number 18 possibly changing to include Balerno in an attempt to make the route more profitable as currently it is subsidised by Edinburgh Council. Also issues were raised with the number 20 bus as residents from Ratho are unable to use it later in the evenings.
The Community Council also agreed to hold a meeting to brainstorm their next big project after their success in campaigning for Harvester’s Link to be reopened, with possible suggestion including working on the Plaza to make it more community friendly. The Community Council agreed that they would work with other local organisations and the new Wester Hailes Community Trust to share ideas.
Rik Morley from Wester Hailes Wildlife reported that Wester Hailes Wildlife has recently done a successful wildlife event with thirty children from Clovenstone Primary School and has carried out a series of successful walks and trips with community groups over the past few months. He thanks the Community Council for donating some of the initial money used to purchase equipment and that it was being put to good use. He added that he would like to find several interested community members to join him and form a constituted group so the organisation can grow. Rik added that he had seen a Lesser Whitethroat on Clovenstone Road which is a new species of bird for the area. For more information about the group or to contact Rik visit the Wester Hailes Wildlife Facebook page here.
The Community Council then discussed topics raised by members of the community including the possibility of creating some form of memorial for former chairperson John Aitchison, who sadly passed away recently. The Community Council agreed that they were in favour of the idea and would contact his family before pursuing it.
Nick Burges, new deputy head at Wester Hailes Education Centre invited local residents to join the WHEC parent council. The fact that you are a parent of a child at Wester Hailes Education Centre and you have views on the school and how it is run means you are very well qualified to join and would be very welcome. The next meeting of the parent council will take place on Tuesday 7 June at 6.00pm. If you are interested in joining the Parent Council or would like to receive more information please contact WHEC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally local resident Cheryl raised the point that the road exiting Scotmid and Morvenside Close leads to a blind corner which could cause traffic accidents, especially when people park at the corner to visit the shop. The Community Council and Caroline Richards from Prospect Community Housing agreed to raise this point and see if anything could be done to make the corner safer, one member suggesting double yellow lines be placed to prevent people parking.
The next meeting of the Wester Hailes Community Council will take place on Wednesday 6 July 2016, 6.00pm – 7.45pm at Wester Hailes library, upstairs in the Connect Room.