“Edinburgh pupils on the march to urge drivers to slow down” – Edinburgh Evening News

Dozens of youngsters staged a demonstration at a busy junction in an appeal for drivers to slow down amid fears for their safety when crossing the road.

The walk was staged by pupils from Craigentinny Primary School after previous efforts from the community to get a lollipop lady proved unsuccessful.

Now parents and politicians are hoping to get a zebra or pelican crossing installed near the junction of Craigentinny Road and Avenue to help improved the situation.

Joined by Brake charity mascot Zak the zebra, the children showed off a colourful array of road safety posters to passing motorists in a bid to remind them to slow down while the community waits for a potential crossing.

Among those in attendance was Edinburgh Eastern MSP Ash Denham, who said there had been several reported incidents of motorists driving along the road at double the 20mph limit.

She said: “It’s quite a complicated junction, so we’ve got children who are probably having to cross multiple times in order to get to school.

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“Pitz plan is an affront to Portobello residents” – Edinburgh Evening News

Residents of Portobello are furious at the City of Edinburgh Council’s plans to sell the Pitz Westbank Street site, and rightly so. This is one of the most valuable open spaces in Portobello and home to five-a-side football pitches and Tumbles, a gymnastics and soft play centre. Both are widely used and beloved by the community. Beach Wheelchairs Portobello also recently secured a storage unit on the site for their wheelchairs.

That is why, despite the current leaseholder’s wish to no longer operate the football pitches, it is alarming the council would move forward with selling the entire site with zero input from the community. 22 bids from developers have already been received, with plans for hundreds of new houses and commercial development and the fate of existing leisure and recreation facilities compromised.

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“When will the Tories see sense and ditch their Austerity Generation policies?” – The National

THE Austerity Generation, a report just released by The Child Poverty Action Group and Institute for Public Policy Research, has revealed one million more children will be driven into poverty by the end of the decade as a result of the Conservative UK Government’s welfare reforms.

I am left wondering how many more children must face impoverishment for the Tories to reconsider their own policies.

One would assume a generation’s worth of harm at the hands of poor policy would be enough for ministers at Westminster to change course. But this latest report comes on top of lots of research that has spelled out the dire consequences of the Conservatives’ welfare policies.

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“Edinburgh MSP in call for ‘answers’ on Brexit impact” – Edinburgh Evening News

The UK government has been called to reveal the impact that leaving the European Union will have on Scotland’s financial sector amid fresh concern of potential job losses.

It follows a warning from the Bank of England that 75,000 jobs in the industry could be at risk from Brexit, with Edinburgh home to the largest number of finance jobs in the UK outside of London.

Edinburgh Eastern MSP and Holyrood finance committee member Ash Denham said it was the act of a “reckless, irresponsible government” not to publish findings on the impact of Brexit.

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Baileyfield Objection Letter (1)

Dear Ms Carus,

As the Member of the Scottish Parliament for the constituency of Edinburgh Eastern, I write to you on behalf of my constituents, who have raised concerns regarding the proposed development of 17 Fishwives Causeway 8-9, 10, 11, 12, 25 Baileyfield Crescent, Edinburgh, EH7 6GH – reference 16/05898/FUL. The planning application for mixed use development of 483 new homes and commercial building including infrastructure, drainage and landscaping. Although I completely in favour of additional housing within Edinburgh Eastern, and indeed Edinburgh as a whole, I do believe that some of these concerns should be addressed prior to approval being granted. The main reservations regarding this development can be found below.

Density of housing.  This is 30% higher than the adjoining site: 100 houses per hectare, compared with 70 houses per hectare. There are concerns that such density will have a negative social impact and that the numbers proposed are too high.

Heights of proposed housing: They range from two storeys to four storeys, and then nine, six storey blocks, throughout the site. It will increase the overall density of population in wider area, undesirably. The plan is inconsistent with existing North West Portobello Design Brief (NWPDB), which specifies a maximum of 3-4 storeys for areas adjacent to the promenade. This is also the maximum height in the adjacent development. Again the NWPDB states “Building heights will largely derive from the general height of existing adjacent buildings and the surrounding urban grain”. The proposed buildings may be a similar height to those which are already there however, there are concerns how these new builds with fit in with the surrounding area aesthetically.

Traffic: Seafield Junction is already heavily congested at peak times and the Transport Assessment seems to reiterate this. With the addition of two extra developments, one of which is the Brunstane Development, the infrastructure for traffic in and out of the area will be under additional strain. The same assessment already indicated that it is above capacity at some times. This queuing traffic would also have an effect on the air quality of the general area.

Parking: Developers are only proposing 68% on site provision. What guarantees can be given to neighbouring streets that they will not be subject to overspill parking?

Flood prevention: Concerns have been raised that the development will be too close to the culvert and may inhibit maintenance of culvert and flood defences in Rosefield Park, these remain unaddressed. There are concerns that losing trees, including tall trees, green space and further development will impact upon water run-off and increase the risk of flooding.

Design: The proposed six storey flats have no balconies or private outside space. There is a higher percentage of two and three bedroom flats than advised in the NWPDB which states “Conventional 2 or 3 bedroom flats should not compromise more than 25% of the total accommodation provision”.

Impact on the conservation area: Concerns have been raised regarding the integrity of the local conservation area with the size and density of this development.

Lack of community space provision: The NWPDB states that community space should be included in any development for the area.  There are none in any of the recent proposals for this area.

Playgrounds and green spaces: There is insufficient provision of green space and no play areas included. Especially given that the tallest areas of the development have little or no private outdoor space.

Impact on wildlife: There are two pairs of kingfishers and goldfinches on the burn; what provision been made for their protection?

While it is overwhelmingly agreed that housing development is needed for the area and this site lends itself well to such a development, both my constituents and I would appreciate more information and reassurance prior to the development being approved.

Yours sincerely

Ash Denham MSP
Edinburgh Eastern Constituency

Baileyfield Objection Letter (2)

Dear Cllr

I am writing to further object to the proposed development at 17 Fishwives Causeway 8-9, 10, 11, 12, 25 Baileyfield Crescent, Edinburgh, EH7 6GH (reference 16/05898/FUL).

I have received a number of complaints from my constituents since Barratt Homes submitted an updated planning application. As I said in my previous objection in this matter, I am in favour of additional housing in Edinburgh Eastern. However, this housing development should address and resolve the issues below before moving forward.

First, the density of properties is still too high. Although the number of homes has been reduced from 475 to 441, this is only a nine per cent reduction. This large number of homes will also impact parking, which is already congested in the surrounding area. As the planning application currently stands, parking would only be provided for 68 per cent of the property. This will have a negative effect on surrounding streets and a nearby conservation area.

Second, the property developers did not address concerns with traffic. The current design will increase traffic in Seafield Junction, which is already close to capacity, and it will constrict traffic on Baileyfield Road and Portobello High Street. This has implications for heightened air pollution in the area as well. Additionally, there are new development proposals in nearby areas, which will further worsen traffic and discourage visitors from coming to areas such as Portobello Beach. This may also affect local businesses and services for the worse.

Third, there are still some six storey properties proposed. As I raised in my previous letter, this is inconsistent with the North West Portobello Design Brief which stipulates housing be three to four storeys. The Barratt development on the former Scottish Power site does not exceed four storeys, so I see no reason why they cannot maintain the same building height for this development.

Lastly, the developers have ignored calls for a community space in the property and have not met the City of Edinburgh Council’s provision on the amount of green spaces. A great number of my constituents have expressed these concerns, and it is critical they are resolved before the development moves forward. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Yours sincerely

Ash Denham MSP
Edinburgh Eastern Constituency

A Scottish Model of Legislation on Prostitution

The following motion was presented and successfully passed at SNP Conference in March 2017. It was proposed by Ash Denham MSP and seconded by Fiona Broadfoot.:

A Scottish Model of Legislation On Prostitution

prostitution-is-violence-against-womenConference agrees with the Scottish Government’s NHS guidelines on Commercial Sexual Exploitation which outlines the harmful effects on prostituted women; that a majority suffer high levels of physical violence, rape and post traumatic stress; that there is a significant effect on mental health; and that there is a significant link with drug abuse. Conference further acknowledges that in countries where prostitution is legalised there is an associated increase in human trafficking, child prostitution and other forms of criminality. Conference recognises the successful legislative approach to prostitution pioneered i Sweden over the last sixteen years, also now adopted in Norway, Finland, Iceland and more recently in Canada, Northern Ireland and France, which focuses on reducing demand for commercial sexual exploitation. Conference therefore supports the development of a Scottish model of legislation that (1) decriminalises the sale of sex, (2) criminalises the purchase of sex and (3) offers appropriate support for those wishing to exit commercial sexual exploitation. Conference further agrees that such actions are in accordance with the Scottish Government’s Equally Safe strategy regarding violence against women and in particular that commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution and human trafficking, is a form of violence against women.
Supported by:
Haddington Branch
Glasgow Shettleston Branch
Ash Denham MSP
John Mason MSP
Kate Forbes MSP
George Kerevan MP
Philippa Whitford MP
Joan McAlpine MSP