Update newsletter from Gavin Corbett – July 2020

Please note that all views expressed in this newsletter are the views of the Scottish Greens and Gavin Corbett – 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). 

Welcome to an occasional e-mail bulletin from local councillor Gavin Corbett about things that may be of interest in the Fountainbridge – Craiglockhart area.

Recovery time?
As I write, Scotland is slowly edging its way out of the depths of the Coronavirus crisis. But what kind of “normal” are we heading towards?
  Even newspapers like the Financial Times are pressing the case for Green Recovery, where we don’t simply swop the Coronavirus crisis frying pan for the climate crisis fire. That is why I set out 10 ideas as to how Edinburgh can restore jobs and incomes and meet its zero carbon target all at once. At the same time, radical new ideas are also needed: which is why I have welcomed the final report into Universal Basic Income, in which I have been involved the last two years. Of course, the future also means getting basic services moving again and the announcements on services as varied as waste collections, schools, grass-cutting and parking are coming thick and fast. You can get up to date on the council’s Coronavirus web-pages.  And just as importantly it’s about supporting our local shops, charities and social enterprises through recovery.

A Bridge to Chesser:
  The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted that the Booker building next to Sainsbury in Longstone has been demolished and now a planning application is duen for a mixed commercial-residential development on the site. It is just outside my area but there’s been a longstanding opportunity to provide a footbridge to cross the river, linking Chesser and Longstone.
  When the Sainsbury store was built, a condition was to carry out a feasibility study which was duly done. However, there is no funding for the actual build. So, a new development could potentially have a condition to provide the bridge which would create a fantastic link up to New Mart Road, all the way along Sidings Way to the Hutchison path and Slateford Green.
  Green MSP Alison Johnstone and I (pictured above) have both made the case for a bridge and we will follow up as the planning application gets fleshed out.

The value of green spaces:
   The last three months has brought home as never before how valuable are the green and open spaces in our area. From big parks like Saughton Park and wilder spaces like the Craiglockhart Hills and the Water of Leith, to the small stretches of greenery that most of can access, they’ve been a lifeline.  
  I know I have taken extra delight in watching the cygnets hatch at Happy Valley and the canal and seeing the otters splash away at dusk within earshot of the traffic on Gorgie Road.
  The sheer number of people staying local for daily exercise has created its own pressures. After one hot weekend, litter in Harrison Park was a real problem so, through Friends of Harrison Park we’ve sought to remind people to dispose of waste responsibly.
  Saughton Park, sadly, continues to face problems of vandalism from a very small number of people. With the park more fully re-opening, greater footfall will help, as will CCTV in the future. Do please let police know if you see anything.

Walking and cycling safely:
  The local bike shops tell me they have never been busier as thousands of people dust down bikes or buy new ones as a way of getting round our city. At the same time, it’s clear from the wear on footpaths that many of us have been enjoying walking in the area.
  But it also exposes how poorly-designed our city landscape is, with narrow footways, railings that hem people in, kerbs that are forbidding for wheelchairs and buggies; and cycle routes which are stop-start at best.
  The council has secured £5m extra funding to open up more space for people walking and cycling. In our area, I have submitted suggestions for improvements in several locations, from the Dundee Street-Slateford Road corridor to Hutchison Road, Glenlockhart Road and many more.
  Until public transport is fully restored, the only defence against congestion is much more foot and bike.  

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