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Thursday, 21 June 2007

Chair's Report 2007


Last year I started my Report by saying this was my third and final year as Chair – but never say never since here I am again – albeit as Acting Chair – due entirely to the success in this year’s Council elections of Cameron Rose. So although I think we have had a year of considerable progress I cannot take the credit

We started the year with an election and a record number of nominations so that we filled our 14 elected positions and 7 nominated positions with ease. Our Office Bearers changed entirely. This was a healthy sign. New members and new office bearers bring new energy and broaden the horizons of any organisation and especially so with a voluntary one such as this.
The new Committee has worked hard and I think that they deserve our thanks. Cameron tackled the task of chair with energy and commitment. Melanie organized our accounts and had the very difficult task of investigating and sourcing funds for a grant for Notice Boards and improvements to the area at the foot of Marchmont Crescent. First Tina and then Hugh took on the difficult job of secretary advertising our meetings. A big step forward was Hugh’s contribution of a Blogspot for the Community Council at a time when our previous attempt at a web presence on My Edinburgh was disappearing with the folding of that website. Unfortunately we also lost two important members. We remember with affection Ron Beasley who died in December. He made a valuable long term contribution to the Community Council and was very supportive and appreciative of the efforts of others. He is sadly missed. Gerry Mulligan was a newly elected member was forced to resign because of a serious health problem. You will be pleased to know that he is making good progress and indeed you can follow his return to health on which makes for inspirational reading. We look forward to welcoming him back when he has fully recovered. Tina also had to resign because of work commitments. Other members however joined us during the year. The problems with the extension of parking zones brought us Hugh and others. Cherry joined us to represent Safer Routes to School and then was of considerable assistance in organising the Christmas Tree Lighting event.

Our main focus this year was dealing with the fallout from the implementation of the extension of the Parking Zones. The implementation caused problems for residents and a great deal of effort was put into diagnosing what the problems were, meeting with the Council to explain the problems and providing possible solutions. For this we should thank Hugh and Cameron who were most involved in sorting out what was a difficult problem and for positively influencing the final outcome. The traders too had difficulties with this and with Monica we were able to add support to their campaign to ensure that we as users of the shops and other customers have places to park and that the scheme took into account the traders need to have vehicles parked nearby. It was a campaign that was difficult and prolonged but the effort put in did result in the Council amending their initial proposals. Although the outcome was not wholly satisfactory great strides were made which rewarded the effort put in.

Our grant application to erect three Community Council Notice Boards throughout the area, provide benches and planters is being considered and likely to be approved. This involved a lot of hard work by Melanie in getting estimates for the benches, boards and planters and researching where they were best placed as well as the complications of applying for a grant. As an adjunct to this we were given a presentation in our March meeting of proposed street landscape improvements in the shopping area around Argyll Place Roseneath Terrace. We have now been advised that Council funding has been obtained for this and a consultation on these improvements will be taking place in July. It is important that individuals and traders have input into these proposals. While we welcome the funding for improvements it is important that we influence what these are. We all want to see enhancements that encourage shopping and support the traders. Without input this might not happen.

Our members have represented us well at the Traffic Forum, kept us abreast of developments at Quartermile, brought to our attention the possible selling off of the Sick Childrens’s Hospital site and the need for more room at Sciennes Primary School. Members of the MSCC are meeting with neighbouring Community Councils in investigating the possible revival of the Meadows Festival. We have had several updates on the James Gillespie Oral History project, a talk on the People against Litter Campaign and ASBOs.

We also had a very successful Tree Lighting Ceremony organised by Ken Cherry and Tina. This was a real community event with participation from the Schools. It has become an important way of bringing all members of the community together and is looked forward to by both old and young. It was particularly pleasing to have performances by school groups.

I cannot finish without mentioning the excellent work done by Bruce Burt our community policeman who keeps us informed of what is going on and keeps the neighbourhood well policed. He has become a well known figure in the area and his approachable easy style of policing is very welcome. We greatly appreciate his regular attendance at our meetings and the way he listens to and acts on our concerns.
We are heading into a new era with our multi member constituencies and the Neighbourhood Partnerships. This should give us more representation but this will not happen without involvement from all members of the community. Our aim for this year must be to expand attendance at our meetings so that we can become truly representative of all sections of the community. That cannot be done without involvement from you all so I hope that you can assist in making some contribution over the coming year. The more people who are willing to take on responsibility for a particular area the more impact we can have on our community life. I would urge you to stand for office or at least take responsibility for one of the areas of interest. New blood and new ideas are welcome and essential if we are to evolve. Stay and join us for a drink at the end of the evening. A community is only as good as the people who support it. You have all contributed to the success this year and I thank you for your support.

Anne Laird
Marchmont and Sciennes Community Council
20 June 2007

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