Wester Hailes Community Council December report

The Wester Hailes Community Council held their December meeting yesterday, discussing a range of local topics and issues.

The meeting began with a series of reports from Rik Morley, the group’s treasurer, who began by stating that the Community Council balance remained unchanged. Next, he discussed the recent meeting of the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils. The meeting was attended by twenty-seven of Edinburgh’s forty-three Community Councils. He reported that he had met with the other community councils in the South West who had asked if they could all meet up quarterly to provide a unified voice for the South West of Edinburgh. The Community Council commented that they were in favour of this and would encourage working together.

Rik then reported that he had spoken to Edinburgh Council staff regarding the state of the Harvesters link and the amount of weeds that have been left to grow. He stated that it looked like he would be given permission to form a ‘guerrilla gardening’ group to go along and weed it.

Chair of the Community Council Anne Denholm, reported that she had been in touch with Edinburgh Council’s Sam Werner regarding the construction plans for the new small sites programme which will see homes built in Dumbryden, Hailesland and the Calders. Anne commented that plans have changed regarding the Dumbryden site has now grown and there will be 50 homes built on the site. She added that the planning permission for Dumbryden has been submitted and that they should hear back in January whether it has been accepted.

Rik Morley announced he had been in touch with Council staff and that the plan to close all the bin chutes in Hailesland has been cancelled due to a lack of support and the ongoing problems in Murrayburn, where the bin chutes have been closed and residents are now reporting an increase in waste in the streets and a poor waste collection service.

The next item on the agenda was a presentation from Matt Wright from the Forge. The Forge is a project currently located in Fountainbridge which uses shipping containers to store scrap and teach people useful skills such as woodworking and metalworking. Matt announced that he was visiting the Community Council because the forge has been asked to move their current site in Fountainbridge and that they had been in touch with Bridge 8 who had welcomed them to set up on the five a sides pitch located next to the Calder Community Garden and the canal. Matt added that they were planning to move into the space on Friday 9 December 2016.

The Community Council were pleased to hear about the project and were supportive of what the Forge does. However, they were upset to hear that they were just finding out about the plans to move now. They added that they did not think the land that the Forge was planning to move to was Bridge 8 land and that it belonged to the Council. They did not believe that Bridge 8 had the authority to allow the Forge to use. Furthermore it was added that the adding of several shipping containers to the space would require planning permission from the Council which the group had not received.Finally, they added that without community consultation it was unlikely that local people would welcome the addition of several new shipping containers, a problem which they have been having for the past few years.

Matt replied that he was unaware that the land did not belong to Bridge 8 and that it was highly likely in that case that they would not be going ahead with the move. Councillor Dennis Dixon agreed to work with the Forge to determine who owned the land and then help them proceed in the proper channels if they decided to try to go ahead with the move. The Community Council agreed that they were happy to hear this and they would welcome the Forge into Wester Hailes believing it to be a worthwhile project that would add to the community. However, they would prefer if an alternative site could be found since the five a sides pitch is a valuable asset to the community.

The next item was a police report detailing the crimes in the area over the past month. The monthly crime figures included:

  • 13 cases of housebreaking
  • 15 cases of assault with 7 been detected
  • 17 detected road traffic offences with 3 of them being drink driving
  • 14 cases of theft with 2 detected
  • 1 hate crime reported

The Constable also reported that they were currently focusing on Operation Spinefoot which was to identify the local youths who have been vandalising buses. The operation has so far been a success with 17 youths identified and the police were now working with the relevant partners to deal with the problem.

Next was a brief update on next years Fun Run which will take place on Sunday 25 June 2016. Caroline commented that the Fun Run organisation committee were planning to identify funders in the coming months with the Wester Hailes Community Trust being identified as a possible source.

The meeting then moved to other business with Anne Crandles reporting that Headroom and Wester Hailes Health Agency had achieved funding to run a pilot project inviting people with a history of substance misuse to take part in Art therapy.

The Community Council then discussed their plans for a one day celebration event marking the 50th anniversary of Wester Hailes. Rik reported that he had done research and estimated that the cost of having a one off event in Hailes Quarry Park would be at least £10,000. The Community Council agreed to carry out research and consult with local people to find out if the event is something they would like to see and if the cost was too high. the Community Council also commented that should they decide to go ahead with the event then they would have to write multiple funding applications to secure the needed money. It was agreed that a subgroup would be made and that they would do this in the new year.

The next meeting of the Community Council will take place on Wednesday 11 January 2016, 6.00pm – 7.45pm at Wester Hailes library.

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