This blog is where you will find community council information, including meeting times, minutes and agenda. Do please comment on postings.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

We wish you a Merry Christmas. And a Happy New Year!

Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council wish all in our community a Merry Christmas.

Best wishes for health & happiness in 2017!

Update and review of previous 9 months for the community policing team

Inspector Graeme Nisbet has shared this with us (including contact details for local community police officers):

"This year has been one of challenge and change, along with the fluctuations in crime in the area the community team along with the division have responded to major operations and events however our continuation on and commitment to local policing remains strong.  
Officers have been tasked with responding to the complaints from communities and increased their ability to respond quickly and attend specific locations where we have had reported concerns.  W have worked closely with our partners and officers have worked with other agencies in the area and we maintain very good links with a number of local groups and I have no doubt this will continue in to 2017.

On this note I would like to thank all of my partners, community groups and stakeholders for all of the help, support and assistance this year as tackling community issues is one which needs a shared approach and it is one which has worked and will continue to work very well in the south area.

You will know that I am committed to local officers supporting and being visible in the community and I have made sure officers have attended as many community meetings and events as possible and I will do everything possible to have this continue.
With regard to crime, this year we have seen a significant fall in house breaking crimes with an average 30% reduction although vehicle crime is on the slight increase and is the focus of continued police activity.

Anti social behaviour, particularly with the use of motorcycles was a problem in the open green spaces and park areas during the summer and autumn and we saw issues not only in the south but across the city with the north area suffering. Locally we had put together a local operation which sits under a citywide operation and this will be put in place early next year to prevent an escalation, although the winter nights have seen it, not surprisingly, tail off.

Other forms of anti social behaviour mainly, youth calls, have been tackled and a number of individuals are now subject to various forms of intervention and ongoing work to disrupt their behaviour and we will continue to concentrate on those responsible.

Violent crime remains a priority under operation Austinberg and we continue to work in the known hot spot areas where we conduct weekly patrols, overall violent crime in the area has fallen which is a positive. I also recently attended a domestic abuse forum in Southouse where I did a presentation along with other speakers, this was very well attended by a broad spectrum of public and professionals and domestic abuse remains as a divisional priority.
Road Safety, will continue as a focus for my team, we have been supporting the school streets initiative and also the introduction and roll out of the 20mph zones in Edinburgh. Speeding in general will be monitored and enforced where we have concerns and vulnerable premises. Recently we worked with partners to increase the safety and visibility of cyclists and will continue this through the winter.

A number of warrants over the last 9 months were applied for allowing us to tackle drugs and search for stolen property at a number of addresses in the area, I plan to keep this going as tackling drugs is a focus for not only my community team but by the division and we often have specialist officers in plain clothes deployed in the area. We make sure we collaborate with one another and share information to maximise opportunities but the information from the community has been excellent allowing us to obtain warrants and carry out enforcement.

We now have a dedicated sergeant for each area:

PS David Cuthbert, based at St. Leonards is now in charge of the Southside/ Newington & Meadows/ Morningside wards
PS Mark Innes, based at Howdenhall is in charge of the Liberton/ Gilmerton ward

The community officers can be contacted on  
I can also confirm our current ward officers areSouthside/ Newington Ward
PC Chris Harris & PC Neil Mackay
Meadows/ Morningside
PC Jennifer Mackenzie &  PC Stuart Fraser.
Liberton/ Gilmerton Ward
PC Rebecca Wilson & PC Craig Cairns

The Police Scotland Survey is live and we are committed to getting the opinion of residents and local businesses on local Policing priorities. Since April 2016 we have been asking individuals to complete an online survey that would influence local Policing plans. This is an ongoing project however the most recent results will shape Edinburgh's Policing priorities for 2017.

Please take two minutes to confirm the top priorities that have been highlighted by others in Edinburgh represent YOUR VIEWS too.
We want to hear from you. To take part copy and paste this link

Please pass this information on to anyone else you think might be interested in taking part, but don't forget to do it now as this mini-survey closes at the end of December.
This coming festive season, is as always a busy time for the police and we have a number of operations and events to oversee and of course like many of our colleagues in the emergency services, officers will be on duty through the festive period, which is a typically a demanding period for us all.

May I wish you all the very best for the festive period and I look forward to working with in 2017.
Graeme Nisbet"

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Please comment on a report of the public engagement meeting on 16 Nov about RHSC redevelopment

update, 3 Jan 2017: MSCC have produced a draft 'summary of collective views')

The report of the public engagement meeting on 16 Nov about RHSC redevelopment is now available  [as Appx 3].

This is a report that contributes to the community views section of a 'pre-application position statement' that’s been prepared by NHS Lothian's planning advisors (GVA) for NHS Lothian. 

We are interested in gathering your responses to the report, whether you were at the meeting or not: we are keen to know what you feel about the development of this site at the heart of our community.

Please add your comments on the report below or e-mail them to  

Comments will be used, along with those already expressed, to shape a set of MSCC views.  These collective MSCC views will be added to the final ‘position statement’, being completed by GVA for NHS Lothian (and available to developers).  The MSCC views will also be sent with the final NHS/GVA 'position statement' to interested developers.  A final draft of the ‘position statement’ is now available.

The 'position statement' also contains details about i] formal planning constraints and ii] heritage considerations (listed buildings, conservation area etc). Developers will be asked to take full account of the facts and findings in the 'position statement' (including community views) when their formal offers to purchase the site are invited.  This will support NHS Lothian's identification of the scheme that represents 'best value' and lead to an agreement to sell by Easter 2017. 

As yet ‘best value’ has not been clearly defined but during the public engagement meeting there was an indication that this might mean something other than simply selling the site at the highest cost.

There is no guarantee that community values in the ‘position statement’ will be binding within a development agreement, but we really want to represent your views on the development of the site. And this is our opportunity to do precisely that: place your views within the development process.

NHS Lothian has confirmed that the closing date for interested developers’ offers will be 9 February 2017. Therefore MSCC have been asked to share a set of views from the community by mid-January.

Once a developer is selected there will be further community engagement. The normal pre-application consultation process will ensue, with a Proposal of Application Notice and at least 3 months, and at least one local event, to engage further with stakeholders.  MSCC will be working to promote as much on-going additional community involvement as possible.

If you'd like to stay informed please join our dedicated mailing list by e-mailing or keep an eye on the MSCC Infoblog or on the MSCC Facebook page, or follow @marchsciennesCC on Twitter.


Thursday, 15 December 2016

South Centra£ Decides: Intergenerational Projects - applications now open!

South Centra£ Decides again!  
This time for Intergenerational Projects

Applications must be in please by FRIDAY, 20TH JANUARY 2017

Once again the Scottish Government has awarded the South Central Neighbourhood Partnership £10,000 which will be matched by the Neighbourhood Partnership, making a total of £20,000.   The money is to be distributed to the community via the Neighbourhood Partnership Community Grants Fund and is specifically ear-marked for intergenerational activities.  

The maximum grant available is £2,500 but please – it’s not compulsory to bid up to the max!  More projects can be funded if groups only bid for what they really need.   An application form and guidelines can be downloaded from the South Central Neighbourhood Partnership Website.   Please remember – community grant funding is specific to each Neighbourhood Partnership area so your idea must be for the benefit of people local to South Central (Council Wards 10 and 15).

What are intergenerational activities?
Intergenerational involves two or more ages coming together in a joint initiative, sharing memories, skills, knowledge and having fun! This could be anything from sport, art, history, environmental improvements, dance etc – basically whatever you like as long as it involves two or more generations.  An example of a project could be Strictly Come Dancing where over a period of weeks older people teach the younger generation how to do the Fox Trot, Jive etc.   It could also include one off events.   If you are unclear or looking for some inspiration, why not check out the Generations Working Together website.   This organisation provides information, delivers support and encourages involvement to benefit all of Scotland’s generations, by working, learning, volunteering and living together.

How will the grants be awarded?
There will be a one off market-stall event held on Saturday, 4th February at Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson Street.  On the day, the public will be will be asked to score the projects and those scoring the highest points will secure funding – until we reach the £20,000 available.

Nearer the time you will be provided with guidelines on what is expected of you on the day, including times etc.   The important thing just now is to get the application submitted.

There is going to be quick turnaround so your application and supporting documentation needs to be submitted by Friday, 20th January 2017.  Please provide an electronic copy of the actual application form (in a Word format) as well as a signed hard copy.  

The reason for such a quick turnaround is that the money needs to be out of our coffers by the middle of March - don’t worry though successful projects will have the normal six months to spend their grant.

Research participants needed for Univ Edinburgh project exploring how to save energy

Changeworks has partnered with the University of Edinburgh to deliver IDEAL, a cutting edge research project exploring how smart technology can help save energy in the home. They are looking for Edinburgh households (EH1-17) with gas combi boiler heating to participate.

The benefits include:

  • Gaining insight into your home energy use
  • Receiving a free android tablet used to display energy use information
  • Receiving tailored advice from University of Edinburgh experts
  • Hopefully saving money on gas and electricity bills

For more information visit

To get involved email your name, address, and contact details to, or call 0131 539 8610.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Thanks everyone for a wonderful Christmas Tree Lighting Event!

Thanks to all the performers at the Marchmont & Sciennes Christmas Tree lighting (Choir from Sciennes Primary and Pipes and Drums, Wind Band and Chamber Choir from JGHS). 
To Stuart from Marchmont Hardware and Brian from MSCC who compered. 

To the local traders who provided raffle prizes (Marchmont Pharmacy, Bohemia, New Leaf Co-op, MarchHair, Ann McGinley Florist, Marchmont Hardware, Doodles). 

To Butterflies Cafe for mince pies and Scotmid.
And to the volunteers who put out the chairs, put up the staging, served the wine and passed out song sheets and mince pies.
But especially to Alison who organised the whole thing!

Merry Christmas everyone when it comes. Maybe it'll snow!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Don't forget the Marchmont & Sciennes Christmas Tree Lighting on Sa 3rd at 4pm!

Don't forget the Marchmont & Sciennes Christmas Tree Lighting on Sa 3rd at 4pm! See the previous post for more details.

Volunteers to put out chairs, pass round mince pies and collect for charity are still required. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Update on Jawbones on the Meadows (Nov 2016)

Jawbones update November 2016 (from Edinburgh World Heritage):

"The City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh World Heritage are working together to conserve and repair the much-loved local landmark, the Jawbone Arch. This statement is to update you on the progress to date.

The conservation of 125-year old natural whale bone makes for an interesting challenge. As it is a very unusual material there is no existing body of knowledge and so accredited conservators were commissioned to work out how to stabilise and protect them and what materials to use.

In a delicate operation, the four whale jawbones were carefully liberated from their concrete
 bases, then taken away to dry out slowly under controlled conditions. Once the jawbones were dry, they were moved to the conservation workshop where specialists removed all the soiling and biological growth and assessed their condition. They found that the main causes of the problems were previous attempts to repair the bones which had been carried out using inappropriate materials such as car body filler and cement. On top of this, the concrete foundations had been trapping water in the bones and causing them to decay.

The poor quality historical repairs were carefully removed and the recesses filled with natural lime mortar where necessary. The jawbones were also given a temporary shelter coating of lime to help protect the bones from weather, dirt, and deposits from the trees above. Whilst this conservation work was going on, new stainless steel fixings were designed and handmade by an artist to replace the corroded iron fixings that joined the bones at the top of the arch.

However, just as the conservation treatment was completed, the specialist conservator went into liquidation. This had a number of serious implications especially as there are very few suitably experienced specialists who have the expertise for such a unique conservation project and for this reason, the procurement process to organise another consultant to take over took many months. In addition, the conserved jawbones had to be immediately removed but we were very lucky to find a cost-free location in which to store them.

Meanwhile, some of the paths in the Meadows were being resurfaced and so in order to get best value for our limited project funds the contractors were asked to simultaneously prepare the end section of Jawbone walk for the return of the arch in the expectation that they would be reinstalled in Autumn of 2016. This includes provision for new uplighting of the arch which has been made possible by private donors.

CEC and EWH are conscious that the delay in re-opening the section of path has caused some inconvenience to the public and that local residents and users of the Meadows are anxious to know about the progress of the project. We are currently working with the new contractor to explore options for the new foundations and supports for the base of the arch. We want to ensure that the methodology for the reinstallation of the bones is to the highest conservation standard. The bones must be returned without any damage and we must make sure that the arch is structurally safe. The proposed method under consideration involves the use of a permeable lime concrete which is required to cure slowly under certain conditions. To avoid potential damage from frost, we will have to wait until warmer weather to complete this part of the work which will mean keeping the path closed longer than expected.

We recognise that people are naturally taking a shortcut around the site area, and that this has caused some damage to the grass. We are looking at how we can ensure that the underfoot conditions remain useable during the winter months.

We understand that there is a lot of interest in what’s happening to the Jawbone Arch, and we are committed to keeping people better informed as the project moves forward. We thank you for your patience as we get this local Edinburgh landmark ready to stand on the Meadows for another 100 years."

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Greening our Street Annual Meeting is on 10 Dec at 1:30pm

Greening our Street are "a [Lauriston] community group dedicated to Greening Our Street and creatinan environment where birds and bees, and local residents, can thrive."

They are holding their Annual Meeting on 10 Dec at 1:30pm at Lauriston Hall, EH3 9DJ.  This will be followed by an optional craft workshop.

Call 0759 331 6284 for more details.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Our next meeting is on 25 January 2017. An agenda will be posted at this blog one week before the meeting.

Materials from Home Energy Scotland 'Restore warmth to your historical home' events

Home Energy Scotland recently organised two 'Restore warmth to your historical home' events

As promised at the events they have made the slides from all the speakers available for reference.

The questions and answers from both of the events are also available. If there are any questions you didn't have a chance to ask, then please get in touch via email 

Partner information 
During the event their partners referred to further sources of information. Here are links to partner sites:

You will also find further information on the Cockburn Association and Edinburgh World Heritage websites.
Next steps... 
If you are feeling inspired to take action to improve the warmth of your home following the event, why not book a home visit from their technical team? They can offer tailored help and advice on homes which are hard to heat as well as renewable technologies. 

Participants heard from some Green Home Network members at the event; you can visit them at home and speak to the householder directly about their experience of making their home more energy efficient. 

Get in touch
Home Energy Scotland is the free, impartial advice service, funded by Scottish Government and managed by Energy Saving Trust. You can call them free on 0808 808 2282 or email them.

Tollcross Winter Festival Events

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Tearfund Christmas Tour is coming to St Catherine’s Argyle on the 3rd of Dec at 7:30pm

The Tearfund Christmas Tour is coming to St Catherine’s Argyle on the 3rd of Dec at 7:30pm (after the community tree lighting).

Tearfund has teamed up with some of Scotland’s finest Christian musicians to celebrate Christmas 2016 with you in style. Singer-songwriters Yvonne Lyon, David Lyon and Allan McKinlay are joined by singer and musician Ellyn Oliver.

Each performance will help to raise money for Tearfund's partners, bringing hope to poor communities throughout the world. It’s a great way to get Christmas 2016 started.

Tickets normally cost £6.  However, the church would love to make members of our community particularly welcome so they have set aside a quota of free and half price tickets. Please get in touch with the Church office (0131 667 7220) to book some of these.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Reminder: MSCC meeting in public this wed night from 7:30pm at St Catherine Argyle Church Hall

The Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council will meet in public this wednesday from 19:30.

See previous post for details of what we will discuss.

All who live or work in the area are most welcome to attend 
There will be an opportunity from 7:00pm to meet the City of Edinburgh South Team to discuss with them our ideas for City Vision/ Locality Improvement Plan.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Excellent turn-out to provide views on future development of current Royal Hospital for Sick Children Site.

About 75 local people braved the lashing rain to join a three hour Public Engagement Event to explore options for the current Royal Hospital for Sick Children site on Wed 16 November. 

This was the latest in a series of events co-hosted by Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council (MSCC) to allow local residents to contribute.  Daniel Johnson MSP and a couple of local City Councillors also attended. So did Sciennes Parent Council and a representative of James Gillespie's High School Pupil Voice.  The event was facilitated and managed by Grant Myles of People Assets, an experienced event facilitator who has worked with NHS Lothian before, on masterplanning.

The meeting opened with a quick update on the proposed timescales for the sale of the site by NHS Lothian, as they prepare to move children's healthcare facilities in 2018 to the Royal Infirmary site at Little France. The site will be advertised for sale within the next week and offers will be invited from prospective developers by February 2017.  These offers will be considered from a financial perspective, and proposals will also be independently assessed against a 'pre-application position statement' being prepared by NHS Lothian's planning advisors (GVA) for NHS Lothian.

The aim of the event was to generate community views and ideas for inclusion by GVA in that 'position statement'. Alongside components in the 'position statement' about i] formal planning constraints and ii] heritage considerations (listed buildings, conservation area etc) the collected community views will support NHS Lothian's identification of the scheme that represents 'best value' and lead to an agreement to sell by Easter 2017.

The event continued with an opportunity for each individual attendee to write down ideas and views on post-it notes.  These ideas were then arranged under five headings: Uses; Buildings; Movement; Spaces, and Next Steps.  Participants then moved around the room reviewing each others' ideas and adding to them.  The emerging commonalities under each theme were then summarised by groups of participants onto flipcharts and reported back in turn to everyone present. 

The meeting closed with a discussion of how all the information gathered will be used (by NHS Lothian in selecting a developer, and potentially by developers), and how participants at the workshop can continue to contribute to the consultation process and stay informed (about the sale, and proposed site designs).  All the flipcharts and post-its will be retained and all the contributions will be included in a full report of the meeting.  The report will be available by mid December and will be publicly available for review and comment, including at the MSCC Infoblog.  This is the report that will contribute to the community views section of the GVA 'position statement' for NHS Lothian.

Once a developer is selected there will be further community engagement, including through the statutory 'pre-application notice' process that must precede submission of a major planning application. MSCC will be working to promote as much on-going additional community involvement as possible.

Thanks to Grant Myles who facilitated and to GVA (planning advisors) and NHS Lothian who partnered with MSCC to organise the event.  

If you'd like to stay informed please join our dedicated mailing list by e-mailing or keep an eye on the MSCC Infoblog or on the MSCC Facebook page, or follow @marchsciennesCC on Twitter.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Reminder: Public engagement event for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children site is this coming Wednesday (16th) at 6pm!

40 people have told us (via that they will come to the community engagement event on Wednesday the 16th and more will probably turn up at Summerhall on the night. 

The broader the range of views the better so please pass this on to any of your friends or neighbours that might have an opinion on any of the workshop topics below.
  • Movement – where will people access the area and how will this affect the area?
  • Spaces – how should the site be arranged and what spaces should be left?
  • Buildings – which buildings should be preserved and what restrictions for new build?
  • Uses – what facilities would be valuable to the community ?
If you are  coming, please try and be at the Summerhall TechHub by 6pm for a prompt start. 

Agenda for MSCC meeting on We 23 November 2016 at 7:30pm

Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council will hold its monthly regular meeting on We 23 November 2016.  

The meeting will take place in our usual venue of St Catherine's Argyle Church Halls on Beaufort Road/ Grange Road. 

The meeting will start at 7:30pm. 

This will be our third meeting of 16/17.  

The next meeting after this one will be We 25 January 2017.  There will be no meeting in December 2016.

All who live or work in the area are most welcome to attend 

There will be an opportunity from 7:00pm to meet the City of Edinburgh South Team to discuss with them our ideas for City Vision/ Locality Improvement Plan.

 1                  Sederunt and apologies
 2                  Draft Minutes of last meeting, 26 October 2016, and matters arising (not otherwise on Agenda)
·     Pedestrian route on Beaufort Road
·     Public toilets
·     Pothole patching
·     Seagull nesting: options to dissuade
·     South Central Contacts
·      Home Energy Scotland: materials from meeting
·      Informal get together with other community councils

 3                  Police Report

 4                  Meadows & Bruntsfield Links:  Update from Mike Shields

 5                  City Councillor report on topical local issues

Items for discussion
 6                  City Vision/ Locality Improvement Plan (15 mins; also chance to chat from 7pm)
 7                  Astley Ainslie Hospital Redevelopment: preparing to co-design engagement process
 8                  Royal Hospital for Sick Children Redevelopment: report from workshop on 16 Nov and next steps
 9                  Road closure outside Sciennes School
10                  Christmas Tree lighting
11                  Boundary Commission proposals
12                  Planning (Applications & consultations)
·       3F1 88 Thirlestane Road
·       3F2 131 Warrender Park Road
·       SESplan consultation

Items for information
13                  Treasurer's report
14                  Cheque account signatories
15                  Rising rolls at local schools
16                  Meetings attended
           ·       JGPS Parent Council

17                  AOCB
18                  Date of next meeting: 25 January 2017

updated 20 Nov with links to report of RHSC meeting and to Treasurer's report