• Portobello Community Council
  • c/o 14 Rosefield Avenue
  • Portobello
  • EH15 1AU

Maureen Child Update 17 July 2020

Posted on: July 18th, 2020

Dear All


Schools are going back in August and there have been quite a few questions from parents as to how that might work.  Things change every week depending on what the Scottish Government advice and guidance say, but some commonly asked questions have answers as of a couple of weeks ago.  The Consultative Committee with Parents notes published on the Council website might be helpful. https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/schools-learning/returning-school-august-2020/1 and updated information comes up every day on the Council’s website: https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/coronavirus


If you search that website, you will see the Pipe Lane toilets are among just five across the city that the Council have reopened from Monday 13 July 11am until 6pm, with restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.  The link is here: https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/leisure-sport-culture/public-toilets/1. Other Council toilets, like Bath Street, remain closed.  


A few streets in Portobello are already doing this without the fanfare of Council Motions and Evening News articles, but the Balerno community shows the benefits of gardening their streets: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/environment/volunteers-take-job-weeding-edinburgh-streets-after-persuading-council-stop-chemical-spraying-2914439


For some of the context, it’s worth looking at the More Than Weeds website.  This link leads you to talk about tree pits and glyphosate, but there is more fascinating stuff there.  https://morethanweeds.co.uk/2020/02/12/tree-pits-plants-vs-glyphosate/


I was delighted that the wording for the plaque to interpret the Henry Dundas statue has gone up on a temporary basis in St Andrews Square while the setting for a permanent plaque is designed. What is even more important than acknowledging Edinburgh citizens’ part in the slave trade, of that period, is tackling the appalling racism  and human rights abuses that exist in our midst right now.  I was interested to read this article, which is part of our more recent Edinburgh history and a movement that is still needed today.  A good read: https://scottishcriticalheritage.wordpress.com/2020/07/13/fighting-denial-the-lothian-black-forum-and-anti-racist-protests-in-edinburgh-1989-1992/. Learn about the people behind the street names and statues, yes, but I am far more interested in helping challenge and change our own attitudes and behaviour, here and now. 


Edinburgh welcomes refugees, for example, and appreciate the part they will come to play in our communities.  This initiative came from local people living amongst us now in Portobello and Craigmillar: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/health/coronavirus/meet-syrian-refugees-hand-sewing-vital-ppe-edinburghs-medical-centres-2910995.  Sawsan Osso was among the first fifty refugees who came to Edinburgh under the UK’s Resettlement Programme. They are all very welcome here.


I am also feeling proud of those local people like SPOKES Porty members who are campaigning to make walking and cycling safer, not least Anthony Robson and Kirsty Lewin who have been getting no end of personal stick for promoting cycling and helping us claim road space from motor traffic.  We have had more than enough grief and abuse from those who get behind the wheel of a vehicle and act like they own the public spaces that they help to ruin for everyone else.  We are now on a bit of a mission together. See here: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/transport/show-bit-more-courage-campaigners-call-more-segregated-cycle-lanes-edinburgh-along-arterial-roads-help-create-proper-network-which-safe-all-2908065 and https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/how-edinburgh-can-cut-pedestrian-and-cyclist-road-deaths-zero-anthony-robson-2912220


That said, I have had a few people in contact about the behaviour of some people cycling inconsiderately and endangering pedestrians particularly on Porty Promenade and Eastfield, where irresponsible and fast cycling is certainly not welcome. This is the good advice of active travel campaigners Sustrans:   https://www.sustrans.org.uk/about-us/our-work-in-scotland/walking-cycling-and-wheeling-during-covid-19-in-scotland/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialSignIn


We four Councillors have been pushing hard for Community Centre Management Committees to have some limited, safe access to the equipment and resources locked away in their community centres so they can operate more effectively.  Their amazing volunteers have been an absolute tower of strength to their neighbourhoods and vulnerable people during lock down –  in Magdalene, BIngham and NIddrie/Craigmillar in particular. Very frustrating that it’s taking so very long for the Council, in its various functions, to work it out how to do it responsibly.  Watch this space!


Enjoy your weekend and your week.


Kind regards 




Councillor Maureen Child

Labour Councillor Portobello/Craigmillar Ward

Office: 0131 529 3268

Mobile: 07718 666 481

Facebook Page: Maureen Child Standing Up for Portobello/Craigmillar

Twitter: @MaureenChild1