Tag Archives: Edinburgh City Council

Vote with your butt: Ballot Bins appear in Leith

In the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in the US, City of Edinburgh Council have installed light-hearted ‘Ballot Bins’ along Leith Walk.

The bins allow the people of Edinburgh to vote with their cigarette butts and settle the question: ‘President Donald Trump: ‘Dream’ or ‘Nightmare’?’

These bins are part of an initiative that wants to set up more Ballot Bins in the Leith Walk area later this month. It is hoped that the campaign will ease strain on the area’s communal bins, identified as ‘hotspots’ for overflowing and fly-tipping. Continue reading Vote with your butt: Ballot Bins appear in Leith

Tram disruption to be discussed at council meeting

By Marion Guichaoua

A motion will be discussed by the Council this week about the traffic issues created by the tram’s installation and the new traffic lights in the city center.

The council have said: “The council notes with concern that, six months after the start of tram operations, the combination of traffic lights between Leith Street and Waverley Bridge are still causing considerable delays to traffic.

“Further notes that this effect has greatest impact on buses and cyclists but also affects general traffic and, occasionally, trams.

“Considering that long waits for west bound traffic, even for an east bound tram which will not cross the same path, are frustrating for travelers. “

The tram of Edinburgh is a 14-kilometre line between York Place in New town and Edinburgh Airport, with 15 stops.

The line opened on 31 May 2014.

The final cost of the tram is expected to top £1 billion.

Chris Hill, from the City Cycling Edinburgh Forum said: “There are all sorts of issues related to trams – not least people falling off on the tracks, particularly when wet.

“Most concerns about trams and traffic signals have been to do with the long delays caused by the timings. “

Councilor Whyte calls for a report to the Transport & Environment Committee within the two cycles setting out a full solution to this issue.

The council have refused to comment on the issue at this time.




Green belt campaigners challenge city council to tread carefully


Edinburgh City Council’s plans to build on the capital’s green spaces typify the modern day urban conflict between environment and development. The council’s recent Local Development Plan (LDP) sets out a range of proposals for the construction of new homes across much of the city’s green spaces between 2015 and 2025. Between 3750 and 5080 new homes are planned at sites across the capital – the bulk of which are located in Edinburgh’s west and southeast.


The LDP has stated that development should be focused on four key areas – the city centre; the waterfront regeneration area in the North; west Edinburgh; and southeast Edinburgh. The city’s fast-growing population has placed greater demand on housing – development is inevitable. But the issue is where this development takes place. Duncan Campbell, member of Edinburgh’s Green belt network, said: “If you are going to develop anyway on green belt, mitigation must be of the highest quality so that impacts on the setting of the rest of the green belt is preserved.


“City planners have a tremendous challenge which is emanating from the Scottish Government through national planning frameworks which place a primacy on growth, and the local authorities have to follow that instruction. If they don’t, there are penalties.”

Edinburgh’s planning convener, Ian Perry, recently stated “we expect the vast majority of the new homes to be built on existing and future brownfield sites, such as Leith or Granton. However, we still need to find some green field sites to meet the overall need for additional housing land.” But Mr Campbell says: “It is not beyond the wit of imaginative landscape design to use green space on brownfield sites, where you would be able to have low rise developments in those areas.”


Achieving the right balance is key – and if more can be done to incorporate future brownfield sites into council plans, then environmental groups will be more willing to compromise. The danger amid the scuffles is that if insufficient land is identified where development is acceptable then the Scottish Government will take it on instead. That would mean losing control at a local level on decisions about where housing should go. Mr Perry says: “it may be time to review the whole process and revisit the question of how we handle Edinburgh’s growth and protect its green spaces.”

House venue to be shut down

by Shiv Das

Edinburgh City Council’s planning department have ruled against a man who has set up his own music venue in a house in the capital.

Douglas Robertson submitted an application for certificate of lawfulness to enable a house as a live music venue, which the Council has rejected.

Robertson, a freelance photographer, rented an old grocer shop to use as a photography studio 20 years ago, and used the basement below for musicians to rehearse. Over the past two years Douglas and his wife have hosted countless local and touring musicians playing classical, folk, bluegrass, Americana and jazz. They have raised over £1200 pounds, and hosted over 100 concerts last year. Visitors are asked to pay a £10 donation, which goes straight the performers. He has a strict 11pm curfew rule every gig.

Robertson has paid some of the costs himself. He has spent £5000-£6000 on equipment over the years, and provides free soup and bred for all the musicians before the gigs.

City Council served a town and county planning legislation enforcement notice demanding that Robertson seeks a partial change of use for the house to continue concerts. This requires a public entertainment licence and installing fire and safety regulations.

Cllr Richard Lewis, Culture Convener, said: “Of course, we want to support those, like Douglas, whose enormous passion for live music already contributes greatly to the scene in Edinburgh – and has the potential to contribute a whole lot more – but this cannot be at the expense of the relevant planning legislation.”

Andrew Burns, Council Leader, adds “Planning’s conclusion was that the level of concert activity contravened permitted use for what is a house in a residential area’’.

The Council’s Planning Service contacted Robertson in early November 2012 to ask him to stop the concerts from the end of 2012. This followed a planning enforcement investigation which itself followed a complaint from a nearby resident which obliged the Planning Service to investigate.

“The vast majority of our neighbours either enjoy our concerts as guests or have no problem with them. Only one neighbor has actually complained in the last 10 years” Roberston said.


Edinburgh libraries ‘will not close’

Central Library, Edinburgh

Quashing fears of community library closures,
Edinburgh City council assured the public that all Edinburgh libraries will remain open.

Across the country campaigners have been fighting to keep libraries open since budget cuts threatened to close some smaller libraries earlier this year. In response to public concerns, the council have published a libraries consultation document outlining plans to bring Edinburgh’s libraries into the 21st century. Under the mantra ‘Better Libraries, Better Lives,’ the proposals focuses on strengthening community connections.

Councillor Deidre Brock, Culture and Leisure convener, said: “obviously all local authorities are having to make big savings just now, and we are no exception. But unlike some areas, we have not closed, and will not close any of our libraries – on the contrary, we’re opening more, integrating library services within community facilities to give greater flexibility and make best use of resources.”

The consultation document was released in the same week that Edinburgh’s virtual library received a nomination for “Best use of social media” in the UK Public Sector Digital Awards.

Covering 27 community libraries, the Central Library, mobile libraries and services to hospitals and care homes, the plan aims to cater to all, from children to the elderly.

In order for the libraries to be ‘fit for purpose’ some buildings will undergo refurbishment, a measure that has already been taken in Stockbridge and Portobello. Morningside library is the latest to undergo changes and is due to reopen in a matter of weeks after extensive refurbishment.

Information Services Manager for Edinburgh libraries, Liz McGettigan explains how the library service hopes to evolve: “This is a hugely challenging time and what is set out here will evolve as we continue our dialogue across the city. It will only be through a strong partnership approach that this will be achieved. We intend to continue our innovative public, electronic, educational and cultural programmes, delivered both on-site and virtually. We are also laying the groundwork in this period for a new Central Library.”

Brock emphasized the need for public involvement in helping to shape the future of Edinburgh’s libraries: “In Edinburgh we are shaping our library service based on customer feedback, usage patterns and discussions with libraries’ staff. As we move forward, we’re looking to gauge the public’s views on our draft strategy for libraries. We invite everyone to tell us what they think – your feedback is invaluable in helping us continue to improve this vital service for the city.”

Public consultations on the proposals will take place from December 2011 into January 2012.

Leith Festival to Lose Funding

The Leith festival looks set to face a dramatic downsize due to public funding cuts.
One of Edinburgh’s largest and most renowned festivals, it is likely to lose many of its benefactors,
includingEdinburghCity Council.

Leith Gala Day

The event relies heavily on public and charitable funds, which are diminishing at an alarming rate. Edinburgh City Council is just one of the contributors which has decided not to renew their contract with the festival.

The festival has entertained thousands of people over the past 8 years and has earned a reputation as one of the cities most popular attractions. It produces a variety of events including comedy, theatre, music and dance. Festival organizers predict that in 2012, it will be stripped  back, returning to its historical roots as a Gala Day and Pageant.

Speaking about the potential cuts, Leith Councillor Gordon Munro said: “We have had to reduce the festival because we don’t have finances. There has never been much money available from the Council and other sources have dried up and for the foreseeable future, I don’t see that changing.”

The residents of Leith have relied heavily on the festival in recent years to bring trade to the area and boost community spirit. Rowan Campbell, on of the festival’s board members, said: “People need to know how vulnerable we are and that it cannot go on without them. We need their help. The festival does great things for the community but there doesn’t seem to be funding available for this sort of community event, if there is we certainly haven’t found it.”

A public meeting is scheduled to be held alongside the Leith festival.  The AGM is due to take place on Wednesday 7 December in the Leith Community Centre at 7.30pm. It is open to the public, and any offers to join the board of volunteers who run the festival, will be warmly welcomed.

Edinburgh Council’s ‘painful’ vote goes ahead despite court action

Portobello Park, the site of the new school.

By Tom Freeman

In the face of legal action, Edinburgh City Council is today voting to approve preparatory works on building on one of Edinburgh’s community parks.  Portobello Park, between the ancient Portobello 9-hole golf course and the Milton Road section of the A1, is the preferred site for the new Portobello High School.  The Portobello Park Action Group have condemned the decision to build on the park, citing this as another example of shrinking public green space in Edinburgh and have now raised a legal action in the Court of Session to review the decision, an action which the Council have vowed to ‘vigorously defend’.

“Green space is an asset” Ros Sutherland, chair of PPAG said yesterday, “Step outside the bounds of Portobello, and look at Edinburgh as whole, there’s a history of building on public space”

Local SNP councillor Michael Bridgeman was quick to distance the current administration from the previous Labour-led council  “The SNP pledge to leave the golf course and its 150 year history alone” he told Napier News.  “We have published a clear Open Space Strategy.”  He conceded, however, that there were no plans to create new green space in Edinburgh.

“I fully acknowledge that for those living nearby this choice is totally unacceptable and very painful.” Labour councillor Maureen Child said yesterday.

The PPAG is holding a 5k fun run in the park tonight from 7pm, followed by tea and home baking in St Martin’s church hall.  They hope this will raise awareness and funds for their appeal.

“Eureka! Wee’ve got it!” Street urinals are the answer

Outdoor City Urinals. Picture courtesy of "This Amsterdam" website

By Claudie Qumsieh

In London at weekends dark figures connected to the sewers rise out of the pavements: urinals. Edinburgh has unveiled plans for similar, if not as cinematic, urinals to address the problem of drunkards using the streets as make-shift toilets.

The proposal was outlined in a report into how the night-time economy of Edinburgh affects local residents’ quality of life. Public urination most affects the Grassmarket and Cowgate  areas according to Edinburgh City Council. “Urinating in the street accounts for a third of all fixed penalty notices for antisocial behaviour and a large amount of residents’ complaints.” a spokeswoman for the Council said.

The report was a response to give balance to a previous report on the benefits Edinburgh’s night-life brings to the economy. City leader Jenny Dawe said: “Obviously there are some people, particularly in the Grassmarket for example, where they see a different side to it, so this is addressing the impact that it has on residents and their quality of life. It shows that quite a lot is already being done to try to minimize the impact and that will continue being the case, because clearly we don’t want to have disgruntled residents just because something’s helping Edinburgh’s economy.”

According to suppliers Loo-hire UK “From delivery, to waste management, to collection – Loo-Hire U.K. take care of everything. This saves the local authority time and money in street cleaning services. The Four Bay Male Urinal portable toilet provides a public convenience and creates a more pleasant environment for everyone”.  Each unit holds 450 litres and is 200cm tall. They need no mains connection or set-up, and Loo-Hire U.K remove the waste.

Similar initiatives elsewhere in the UK have proved to be a success. Since Bath & North Somerset Council installed 2 portable toilets at a taxi rank in October 2009, the device has collected on average 30 litres of urine a night and 14000 people have used them. Bath Councillor Vic Pritchard said: “It is noticeable that fewer people are using street corners and shop doorways to urinate, meaning the police can deal with other anti-social behaviour incidents and council street cleaners can concentrate on grime hot-spots elsewhere”

Police street patrols will also be increased in Edinburgh to reduce public disorder between 2.30 and 3.30am.

Edinburgh unveils antisocial behaviour strategy

Antisocial behaviour can cause a range of social problems

By Oonagh Brown

Edinburgh City Council has joined forces with the Lothian & Borders Police to tackle antisocial behaviour.

Together they have launched The Antisocial Behaviour Strategy 2010-2013, aiming decrease the capital’s rates of vandalism and potential crime.

The strategy plans to tackle the “root causes” of problems before they begin to affect the community. This includes dealing with aspects of antisocial behaviour such as noise and vandalism.

The new strategy builds on some of the council’s recent successes. Police figures show that there was a 14% drop in vandalism in 2009-2010, and a 27% decrease in anti social behaviour complaints.

A 2009 annual neighbourhood survey also found that 75% of the public were satisfied with how the council dealt with antisocial behaviour.

Community safety leader Councillor Paul Edie said: “We want to be smarter in how we tackle antisocial behavior by addressing the causes and not just the symptoms.”

Counciller Edie also added that it was important for the public to take an active role in their community. He said: “It’s important the public don’t ignore issues affecting their community like nuisance neighbors, litter, fly-tipping, noise and graffiti, all of which can really impact on the quality of their lives and weaken communities.”

The new strategy has also placed particular importance on how young people can be encouraged to engage with the police and report violent or antisocial behaviour.

Superintendent John Hawkins wants the police to work with young people in the community to deter antisocial behaviour.

He said: “We don’t want to demonise young people because they themselves are likely to be victims of crime but they also contribute to a large number of antisocial instances. Therefore we would like to work with young people and allow them to report instances of antisocial behaviour anonymously.”

The Citadel Youth Centre’s project manager Willy Barr claimed that encouraging young people to work with the police would be a long process.

He said: “Young people need to be engaged with this issue and given an understanding of what antisocial behaviour really is.

“The best way to encourage young people not to participate in antisocial behaviour is to provide them with a service like the Citadel Centre where they have an emotionally and physically safe space.”

Barr also felt that antisocial behaviour could be further decreased if police were more available to the public. He said: “Our youth centre often holds programmes between the police and young people who attend the centre, but police officers often have to drop out because of their workload and internal pressures.”

The Lothian & Borders Police aim to counter this problem through The Safer Neighborhood Teams. This initiative has seen police officers becoming more accountable to the community and local organizations. Superintendent Hawkins said the programme would help the police address issues which were of a high priority to the community.

He added that emergency services and local authorities were now working together to protect the community.

He said: “From a preventative perspective, the partnership between emergency services, local authorities and housing associations allows for monthly coordinating meetings where the services which attend can come up with plans and activities which will address the problems of antisocial behavior.”


High speed rail discussions continue

Edinburgh centre, credit: members.virtualtourist.com

By, Kati Rawlins

Edinburgh City Council is continuing with their agenda to include the city in the plans for a UK high speed rail network.

City council leader, Cllr Jenny Dawe met with the Secretary of State Rt Hon Michael Moore MP at the City Chambers this Thursday. The topic will be high on the agenda in addition to discussions about other important issues. The discussion will also include budget cuts in the public sector, welfare reform and energy, in particular renewables.

Cllr Dawe further added: “This meeting is recognition of Edinburgh’s importance not just to Scotland but to the UK as a whole. I am grateful to the Secretary of State for taking the time to meet with me tomorrow.”

Last week at Holyrood Cllr Dawe and the leader of the Glasgow council, Cllr Gordon Matheson talked to MSPs about the importance of adding Scotland to the High Speed Rail plans. They explained what would be needed to bring the rail link to Scotland and stated the importance of maintaining the pressure on the Scottish Government to co-operate with their Westminster counterparts in ensuring that Scotland becomes a part of the network from the outset.

The meeting this week was a good opportunity in general for council leader Dawe to bring the Secretary of States attention to timely issues in Edinburgh.

Cllr Dawe continued: “The meeting will provide me with a great opportunity to promote Edinburgh’s priorities to ensure that we remain a world class city to live and visit as well as one which is attractive for investment.”

Secretary of State, Rt Hon Michael Moore MP, said: “I am keen to discuss the High-speed rail link with Edinburgh Council. I am particularly looking forward to hearing about the way it will fit into their plans for strengthening the city’s economy and the investment opportunities that it will create.”

Fire Brigade and council team up for a safe Guy Fawkes night

By Rachel Watson

Edinburgh city council has this week been removing dangerously constructed and home made bonfires from around the city. This comes with the council’s launch of the new anti social behaviour strategy. It is hoped that these pro-active measures will target problematic situations before they arise, including accidents, injuries and violence.

Community safety officer at Lothian and Borders fire and rescue service, David Lockhart said: “every year we receive hundreds of calls about nuisance and unsupervised bonfires putting real pressure on our resources at our busiest time of year.”

With the new anti social behaviour strategy in place Mr Lockhart said the fire brigade hoped for a fall in violence at this busy period, “this is our busiest time of year but sadly this is also the time when we see a rise in violence towards the crew.”

Guy Fawkes night is one of the busiest weeks of the year for Lothian and Borders fire brigade. Last year they received 1171 calls between 31 October – 7 November, and were called to 249 bonfires.

In a bid to reduce the number of bonfire call outs which the fire Brigade receive this year the fire department are urging people to attend only organized events across the city. Further safety information regarding tonight has been published online by the Lothian and Borders fire brigade.

High Speed Rail Network to include Scotland

By Katariina Rawlins

The 5th of November

London High Speed Rail

The Coalition Government at Westminster are currently considering how to best take forward plans for a UK High Speed Rail Network.

Council leaders from Glasgow and Edinburgh explained this Thursday to MSPs why it would be beneficial to include Scotland in the high speed rail plans.

Council members Jenny Dawe and Gordon Matherson spoke at an event in Holyrood that was hosted by MSP Charlie Gordon. Many people turned up for said event.

Edinburgh council leader Cllr Jenny Dawe, said: “The presence of the Leaders of Scotland’s two main cities at today’s event is a clear demonstration of our willingness to work together in the national interest and of the importance that we attach to bringing high speed rail to Scotland.”

The Council members pointed out how adding Scotland would deliver maximum economic and environmental benefits whilst ensuring that Scotland is not economically disadvantaged in relation to UK and international competitors.

Cllr Dawe added: “Failure to do so from the outset will damage not just our ability to compete internationally but also our ability to compete with those other regions of the UK that will be included in the network.”

A rail expert has warned ministers that Scotland must spend £10 million on its own blueprint for a high-speed rail route north of the Border because the UK is only serious about building lines from London as far as northern England.

Cllr Gordon Matheson added: “In fact, it’s estimated that bringing the line to Scotland could take at least 20 years – so long-term thinking and planning is absolutely crucial and we believe we have a strong case for building this rail network from both ends.”

The event was organized to make sure that the Scottish Government would work with Westminster to ensure that Scotland is included in the network from the outset.

Cllr Matheson said: “Edinburgh and Glasgow both agree that rejecting any commitment to high-speed rail for Scotland would be short-term thinking of the worst kind.”

It took place on the same day as Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond addressed the Transport Times Conference in London outlining the government’s commitment to HSR.

Edinburgh Sports Academy Serves Up Scotland Selection for City School Boy

Edward Cogliano
Edward Cogliano

By Lauren Witherspoon

An Edinburgh teenager has been chosen to represent Scotland in an international badminton competition. The European Under-17 Championships are due to take place at Medvode in Slovenia, from the 7th to the 15th of November this year, and sixteen year old Edward Cogliano will attempt to smash his way to the final. The James Gillespie high pupil has already racked up a number of age group titles in badminton and recently represented Scotland in the UK School Games held in Cardiff. With a passion for sport from an early age, Edward has been attending the City of Edinburgh Council’s Schools Sports Academy. The Academy was set up to help talented pupils reach their sporting potential, and is funded by the Children and Families department. In the last year, over 80 percent of Sports Academy athletes have achieved selection to regional or national squads. Speaking about his selection, Edward said: “I’m really pleased and proud to be chosen to represent Scotland for the first time. It’s something I have always dreamed of doing. It’s going to be a fantastic experience.” “It will be great to walk around the athletes’ village and be with all the other athletes. I’m really grateful to all the coaches at the Edinburgh Schools Sports Academy and the National Squad who have helped me achieve my goal.” “The badminton strength and conditioning training has allowed me to become an international player. And this experience has inspired me to continue to work hard so that I can continue to represent Scotland and develop as a player. In the future, I would like to mentor and coach younger players so that they can have a similar experience.” City Education Leader Cllr Marilyne MacLaren, speaking about Edward’s achievment, said: “It takes stamina and determination to make it to this level in any sport. On behalf of the city, I wish him all the best and hope he goes all the way in fulfilling his dream.

The future of Edinburgh’s Meadowbank stadium looks uncertain as council chiefs admit that they are uncertain of when work on the planned renovation can begin.

What will become of Meadowbank?
What will become of Meadowbank?

Culture leader Diedre Brock has stated that while she is still “fully committed” to the project, that she can’t forecast when work can commence. The key stumbling block is the current dip in the property market which has scuppered plans to fund renovations by selling off land around the existing stadium. Until property values rise the project will remain on hold.

Brock remarked that “The issue is very much dependent on land values. If you’re asking me to predict when the current financial crisis will end, like most financial experts, I am unable to do that.”

While the future of Meadowbank is a matter of conjecture, its present is contentious. Despite the existing stadium being doomed to rubble, the council continue to pour money in. It was agreed in April of 2009 that almost 2 million pounds worth of funds would be injected to pay for “essential maintenance work”.

A spokesperson for the stadium insisted that the current renovations were entirely necessary and “needed to be done.” When asked if continuing to upgrade a facility that is, essentially, condemned was pointless, the spokesperson commented that: “my opinion is my opinion.”

Pensioners Warned as Money-Making Scams on the Rise

21 October 2009

Amy Sutherland

Taken from the Think Jessica website

West Lothian Council has announced it is backing the ‘Think Jessica‘ campaign, which aims at raising awareness of scam letters circulating and tricking people – particularly pensioners – into sending money.  This comes as Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service issued a warning for the public not to be duped into sending money to fraudsters claiming to be part of force for advertising purposes.

A recent study by the Office of Fair Trading found that nearly 700,000 elderly people are being conned into giving £3.5 billion to scams such as prize draws, foreign lotteries and clairvoyants.  ‘Think Jessica’ was created by Marilyn Baldwin, whose mother Jessica’s health deteriorated with the stress of receiving and sending money to up to 30 scam letters a day.  The posters produced as part of this campaign display a free advice line 0800 848 88 55, sponsored by British Gas, aimed at helping those suffering in silence at the hands of these fraudsters.

A spokesperson at Lothian Fire and Rescue Service advised the public to be “very wary of these type of calls and make all the necessary checks they can before considering parting with their money.”

The Trading Standards department at Edinburgh City Council directs those concerned to sign up to theTelephone Preference Service and Mail Preference Service.  Doing this records your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls and letters and makes it illegal for organisations to contact you.

Young Conservative Distributing Pro-Labour Pamphlets

by Lindsay Brown

Nigel Griffiths MP with protesters
Nigel Griffiths MP with protesters against LibDem/SNP school policies.

Edinburgh City Council mistakenly taxed Michael Henderson, 22, an extra £800. Nigel Griffiths, MP for South Edinburgh, corrected the charges and recruited conservative Henderson to pass flyers on the Labour Party’s behalf.

After 6 months of written correspondence to correct the overcharge, Henderson wrote a thank you letter to Griffiths and offered hypothetical help as a sign of appreciation.

“I had written that if there was anything I could to do help him, don’t hesitate to ask,” Henderson said. “I didn’t expect him to take me up on it.”

Yesterday Henderson received a request from Griffiths to help distribute pro-labour pamphlets, despite that Henderson never communicated his political affiliation with Griffiths. “He pointed that since I had offered, he was asking,” Henderson said.

When Henderson began corresponding with Edinburgh City Council regarding the overcharge, he cc’d Griffiths in his emails.

Henderson lives in South Edinburgh with three students, entitling him to a tax discount. Henderson has been corresponding with City Council since receiving the unexpected bill for £2200 roughly 6 months ago. Henderson, who works full time, has lived with students for three years.

Initially, City Council taxed him as if he had not been living with three students. Griffiths, upholding his originally designed Contract to Constituents, interceded on Henderson’s behalf.

Griffiths is the first Labour Party MP for South Edinburgh. His Contract to Constituents, posted on his website at http://www.nigelgriffiths.co.uk/contractwithedinburghsouthconstituents, states that he will help all his constituents regardless of their political party.

Through complicated circumstances, local constituent Henderson has now volunteered to help Griffiths in his efforts.

“I told him I will do it. I can’t go back on my word,” Henderson said.

Homeless service closed

By Edwin Mashonganyika

The Edinburgh City Council will provide temporary accommodation to anyone at risk of having to sleep rough, the Housing leader Paul Edie said today.

The Housing leader was reacting after Cowgate Centre, a Homeless service in the City, announced that it would close at night sparking fears that up to 40 would be left without a place to sleep.

Cowgate Centre would downgrade to day provision only, and it was feared that the former users would be forced back on the streets.

“We can provide emergency accommodation to anyone who is at risk of having to sleep rough. The homelessness strategy emphasises the need to provide suitable accommodation.

“The new service will provide temporary accommodation which avoids the need for people to use Cowgate centre at night. This will avoid the current situation where people stay overnight there sleeping on chairs and mats, Paul Edie said.

Holyrood defenceless against suicide attacks

By Laura Mclean

The Scottish Parliament is not strong enough to withstand a suicide bomb attack, despite having had £90 million spent on bomb-proofing the building, according to a report by the The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure.

A ring of steel and concrete is to be erected surrounding the Scottish Parliament , two years after MI5 warned that not enough measures were being taken to protect Holyrood.

The move comes after the terror attack on Glasgow Airport 2 years ago when a Jeep Cherokee loaded with propane canisters was driven into the glass terminal doors at Glasgow International Airport.

A Parliament insider said today that discussions about increasing security have been in the pipeline for years but up until now no changes have been brought about.

He said: “The existing bollards were not thought to be strong enough and the fear was that a car being driven at speed could come through the glass front and into the building.”


Over £90 million was spent bomb proofing the interior and exterior of the Scottish Parliament. But today it has been announced that a further £1.5 million is to be spent on a package of security improvements including new security gates and bollards will be erected at the entrance to the Holyrood building.

The architectural demands and safety regulations on the building were amongst the most rigorous in the construction industry in the 1990s. Consturcted from a mixture of granite, steel and glass the project was deemed as bomb-proof.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Parliament said they are taking measures to install street furniture that will fit with the surrounding area. She said:  “The intention is to produce additional security measures, which are tasteful and merge with the iconic status of the Scottish Parliament building.”

Security bollards surrounding the airport entrance stopped the car from entering the terminal. MI5 say that a similar attack in Edinburgh can be prevented by erecting a further 162 bollards outside of the Scottish Parliament

City councillors have reassured local residents that no additional clutter will be made to the Canongate streets.

Council warns of sale of dodgy shellfish

With a wave of illegal shellfish being harvested we sent Emma Hill to Leith Docks to find out more.

Interviews with Dave the fisherman and Chris, assistant manager of Lochvine

Edinburgh City Council has warned businesses against purchasing shellfish that is of an uncertain origin following concerns that it may have been illegally harvested.

Local food retailers need to be aware that shellfish not containing adequete documentation which identifies the harvesting location and the area should not be bought.

Leith Docks
Leith Docks

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environment Leader of the City Council, said: “High risk products such as shellfish should never be purchased without correct documentation to prove that they were legitimately sourced.”

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police added: “We urge businesses and members of the public to remain vigilant when approached by anyone selling any goods that they feel may not have been acquired legally.”

Anyone witnessing or being offered shellfish of a suspicious nature should contact the Council’s Food Safety Team on 0131 529 3030.