COVID Update 11 from Cllr. Neil Ross (28/06/20)

Please note that all views expressed in this newsletter are the views of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Neil Ross – Merchiston Community Council is not a party affiliated organisation. This is for resident information purposes only and MCC should not be held accountable for the views expressed in this bulletin. Thank you – MCC Communications and Media Coordinator (merchistonmedia@gmail.com). 

Cllr. Ross can be contacted at  neil@edinburghlibdems.org or on 07738 116055

Further Relaxation of Lockdown

The Scottish Government has announced a further relaxation of measures as Scotland moves out of lockdown, including indicative dates for when people can meet other households and when shops and services can re-open, such as:

  • 29 June: Local non-essential shops will re-open
  • 3 July: The 5-mile travel distance limit for leisure will be lifted
  • 4 July: Edinburgh Farmers’ Market plans to re-open – see more here
  • 10 July: Households can meet indoors with up to a maximum of two households, with physical distancing
  • 15 July: Museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments, libraries can reopen with physical distancing and other measures, such as ticketing in advance.

Read more about this here.

Town Centre plans for Morningside & Bruntsfield

The consultation exercise launched by the Council last week got off to a false start.  Lib Dem councillors pointed out that the plans to temporarily suspend all parking spaces to improve social distancing for shoppers and to aid the recovery of local shops and businesses were too vague and lacking in detail.  Consequently, the Council has said it will draw up detailed plans showing exactly what is intended and how it might work so that local groups can provide meaningful feedback.  Another 5 day consultation for local traders, community councils and ward councillors is expected in the week beginning 6 July.

Thank you to everyone who has sent me feedback, mostly favourable.  I attended a meeting of local groups on Friday with Council officers at which a wide range of views were expressed.

In my opinion, there are two main priorities for these plans –

  1. they must improve the ability of pedestrians to maintain a social distance from each other when visiting these streets so that they feel safe to be there; and
  2. they must allow shops and businesses to service their premises, i.e. receive supplies, deliver to customers and remove waste.

The Council favours widening pavements by removing many parking spaces and probably some loading bays too.  However, in line with the second priority, loading bays are really important for deliveries to and from shops and for customers to collect purchases so we need to retain a lot of these somewhere.

To my knowledge there are no disabled bays on Bruntsfield Place between Viewforth Gardens and Holy Corner and only one on Morningside Road near the Library.  I am aware that blue badge holders can park on yellow lines, so long as they don’t park dangerously, but this will need to be maintained and made clear in publicity. 

There is also local concern regarding the bus stops and how more space will be created around them.

The guardrails outside the Mellis cheese shop in Morningside Road are likely to be removed.

There has also been much concern amongst the traders and resident parking permit holders with regard to the planned removal of public parking spaces. Traders are worried about the effect for business in terms of customer access, and for permit holders it heightens the scarcity of spaces that exists already.

To encourage the less mobile elderly shopper and provide for passing trade, we could introduce £1 per hour maximum one-hour parking by converting some of the standard ‘pay and display’ bays in side streets, for example on the west side of Hermitage Terrace and the south side of Cluny Avenue.  The latter bays are greatly under-used on week days when the full £2.80 per hour charge applies.

School Building delays?

The building of the new South Edinburgh Primary School in Canaan Lane and the extension to Boroughmuir High School are both scheduled for completion in August 2021.  I have asked the Council whether, because of the pandemic, there is likely to be any delay in these target delivery dates.

Lothian Buses timetable changes

Recent changes have been made to bus timetables for the numbers 5, 11, 16, 24, 27 and 38 and route and timetable changes for the 41.  The 10, X15, 23 and 36 are still not operating.  You can find out more here.

Glyphosate weed spraying

The Council is starting to spray Glyphosate in the city to kill street weeds. Many people have concerns about the use of this pesticide. If you want your street to remain free of this chemical, now is the time to weed your patch. Spread the word among your neighbours and friends. If you clear the weeds from your street, you can contact the Council’s Parks team by email parks@edinburgh.gov.uk and ask them not to spray your street. You can read more about this here.

Community Action to clean up the Meadows

Lots of people have been spending the recent good weather in the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links.  Unfortunately, not only have people been burning holes in the grass with single use BBQ’s and urinating in public but a huge amount of litter is regularly left behind.  This needs to change.  Our public spaces are for everyone to enjoy responsibly.  Well done to the community spirited individuals who cleaned up the mess – you can see what I mean here.

Picnic Tables on their way to the Hermitage

Friends of the Hermitage & Blackford Hill have been seeking funds to buy picnic tables and, as a result of donations, 5 new tables should be installed by the end of July. They have extended ends, so each one will accommodate two wheelchairs.

Further donations are sought for the membrane and timber rails, anchors, chains and padlocks to make them secure.  If you would like to contribute, please email enquiries@fohb.org You can read more here.

The latest advice on Council services is available here.

Councillor Neil Ross
Liberal Democrat Councillor for Morningside Ward

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