Friday, May 20, 2016

Three schools to reopen next week as planned

Further update, as below, on local schools with confirmation that three schools will reopen next week as earlier mentioned here ...

Please do though continue to keep an eye on the following two links over coming days/weeks, which will be updated on a regular basis with any further details/adjustments:



Three schools to reopen next week

Oxgangs Primary, St Peter’s Primary and Braidburn Schools will reopen their doors to pupils and staff on Tuesday (24 May), in line with the programme published by the Council last month.

The schools had been temporarily closed whilst remedial works were carried out by the Edinburgh Schools Partnership (ESP) and their contractors. This has now been completed and all the necessary documentation has been closely scrutinised by the independent structural engineers appointed by the Council.

Five more schools are due to reopen next month – Firrhill High on 6 June, Royal High and Drummond Community High on 20 June and Broomhouse Primary and St Joseph’s Primary on 27 June. The remainder are on course to open for the start of the new term in August.

Council leader Andrew Burns said: “I am sure the parents at these three schools will be relieved to see their children back at their own schools next week. It has been a very difficult time for everyone and I want to thank parents for their patience and understanding.

“Staff at the schools and across the Council have pulled out all the stops to ensure our young people’s education could continue and they deserve praise for their commitment and flexibility.

“Our priority has always been the safety of our pupils and staff and we have insisted that Edinburgh Schools Partnership and their contractors take a belt and braces approach to these works and associated paperwork. This approach has also been reviewed by an independent expert on behalf of the Council.

“I hope parents will take comfort from the level of rigour we have applied and insisted upon throughout.

“The remedial work at the remaining schools is on track with five due to reopen in June and the remaining nine by the middle of August for the start of the new term. If we can bring forward any of these dates, we will.”

Correspondence from ESP and their contractors providing safety assurances to the Council will be published on the Council website on Monday morning.

The Council has confirmed that an independent inquiry into the school closures will commence after the summer holidays.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series

Not the best shot - but certainly catches the speed of the passing cyclists ...

... was taken on Victoria Street, as The Pearl Izumi Tour Series came to Edinburgh’s Grassmarket/City Centre - some further detail here (and below):

"Edinburgh’s fast, furious and tactical race will be staged on a new and extremely challenging 1.6-kilometre circuit that includes cobbles, a gruelling hill climb and hairpin bends.

The 500 metre cobbled climb up Victoria Street, which was used when the series last came to the city in 2014, will again form the centre piece of the race. 
In 2016 the riders will turn left at the top of the street to take in the Lawnmarket and a fast downhill section on Johnston Terrace below Edinburgh Castle, before returning to the Grassmarket via West Port."

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Spokes 'Favourite Cycle Rides Booklet'

I was delighted to be able to attend the informal launch of the Spokes 'Favourite Cycle Rides Booklet', recently (as pictured) ...

... you can find out more about the publication via this link - and it's only £2 if you want to buy a copy ;-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May's Corporate Policy and Strategy Committee

All of the Reports are now published for May's "Corporate Policy and Strategy" Committee; it meets at 10am, next Tuesday 17th May.

All of the relevant paperwork is in the public domain: the main Agenda can be found here.

The individual reports are all on Committee Papers on-Line (CPOL) linked from here.

Some that may well be of interest:

And, of course, as usual the Policy and Strategy Committee meetings are webcast live - and thereafter archived!

All available via here --- it's TV; but not like you've ever seen before ;-)

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Allotment Update :-)

Well - no leaflets or letters to deliver; no phone-calls to make; no doors to knock ...

... so, we escaped to the Allotment for a few hours this afternoon --- and everything now seems a little bit better with the world :-)

Friday, May 06, 2016

Edinburgh's Scottish Parliament Election results

Edinburgh's Scottish Parliament Election results

The Scottish Parliament Election results for Edinburgh’s six constituencies and the Lothian Region have been announced at the Royal Highland Centre.
The Members of Scottish Parliament for each constituency and the Lothian Region List results are listed in full below and full details of the results are on the Council website: 

Edinburgh results by constituency

Edinburgh Central Constituency: Ruth Davidson, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Edinburgh Eastern Constituency: Ash Denham, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Edinburgh Northern & Leith Constituency: Ben Macpherson, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Edinburgh Pentlands Constituency: Gordon MacDonald, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Edinburgh South Constituency:  Daniel Johnson, Scottish Labour Party

Edinburgh Western Constituency: Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Lothian Region List Results (Based on votes from the nine Lothian Region constituencies: Edinburgh Central, Edinburgh Eastern, Edinburgh Northern & Leith, Edinburgh Pentlands, Edinburgh South, Edinburgh Western, Midlothian North & Musselburgh, Almond Valley and Linlithgow. 327, 719 votes cast across region; turnout: 57.9%)
Miles Briggs Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Alison Johnstone - Scottish Green Party
Kezia Dugdale - Scottish Labour Party
Gordon Lindhurst - Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Neil Findlay - Scottish Labour Party
Jeremy Balfour - Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Andy Wightman - Scottish Green Party
Returning Officer Andrew Kerr announced the results in the early hours of Friday, 6th May.

He said: “It is down to the hard work of many Council staff, particularly the Election Team, that this election has run so smoothly in Edinburgh, and I’d like to take this opportunity to express thanks to those involved, along with Police Scotland, the candidates and their agents, who have cooperated throughout the process.

“I would also like to thank the public for turning out to have their say, helping to ensure representative vote for the capital.”

Constituency turnout: 59.84%
Electorate: 366,165
Votes cast: 219,135

Regional turnout: 59.85%
Electorate: 366,165
Votes cast: 219,170 

This year more than 1200 people worked at the election count at the Royal Highland Centre, while a further 1000 worked during the day at the city's 145 polling places. 
For further details of the results and the Scottish Parliament Election, please see the Elections section of the Council website.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ways to vote; in person, by post or by proxy

There are several significant 'electoral events' on the imminent horizon ...

... details here, and re-produced below, outlining all you need to know about how to cast your vote:

Ways to vote

Vote in person, by post or by proxy

Most people choose to vote in person on the day of the election at their polling station. If you are not able to vote in person you can apply
  • to vote by post
  • for someone to vote on your behalf, known as a proxy vote.

Deadlines for upcoming elections

You can register to vote at any time.
The deadline to be register for the Scottis Election was Monday 18 April. 
    If you are registered, you can apply for a new proxy vote until 5pm on Tuesday 26 April.
    The deadline to register for the EU referendum is Tuesday 7 June. 

    Postal voting

    You need to apply for a postal vote(external link) if you want to vote by post.
    If your address has changed since you applied, you will need to
    If you are resident in Scotland but voting from abroad, remember it will take time for your voting pack to reach you, and for you to send it back. If you are applying close to polling day, you may find it easier to apply for a proxy vote instead.

    Proxy voting

    If you are not able to vote in person or by post then you can apply to vote by proxy(external link). This means you can ask someone to go to a polling station and vote for you. Your proxy can also apply to vote by post, if you apply early enough.
    You must apply for a proxy vote in advance - it is illegal for someone to vote for you if you have not been granted a proxy vote.

    Emergency proxy

    If you have a medical or work emergency, you can apply for an emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day. More information about how to apply for an emergency proxy will be available closer to the time of the election.

    Friday, April 29, 2016

    Allan Park appeal dismissed

    Was very pleased to hear that the Principal Inquiry Reporter, from the 'Planning and Environmental Appeals Division', has - earlier today - dismissed the developers appeal and refused to grant planning permission in Allan Park :-)

    The full detail/decision can be accessed via this link, and clicking on 'open document'.

    Absolutely delighted for all in the 'Allan Park Residents Association' and the local area :-))

    Schools to begin opening next month as full remediation programme outlined

    Update, as below, on local schools ...

    ... & please do continue to keep an eye on the following two links over coming weeks, which will be updated on a regular basis with further details/adjustments:

    Schools to begin opening next month as full remediation programme outlined

    Three schools affected by the recent closures are to reopen next month once full remediation work has been completed, the City of Edinburgh Council has announced.
    The Edinburgh Schools Partnership (ESP), who manage and operate the schools on behalf of the Council, has updated officers on their completion dates for remediation works. 
    Pupils will return to Oxgangs Primary, St Peter’s Primary and Braidburn School by Tuesday 24 May (Monday is a holiday), with Firrhill High School due to fully reopen by Monday 6 June.  S1 and S2 pupils from Firrhill will meantime return to their own school, from Edinburgh Napier University’s Craiglockhart Campus, on Tuesday (3 May) when senior year pupils go on exam leave. 
    Two further schools, Royal High and Drummond Community High, are expected to reopen fully by Monday 20 June with Broomhouse Primary and St Joseph’s Primary schools expected to reopen by Monday 27 June.
    This means that over 4,000 pupils will be back in their schools before the end of the summer term.
    The Council is working closely with ESP on the programme which gives indicative dates for schools to reopen which are reasonable assumptions based on the programme of works. If it is possible to bring forward these dates then the Council and ESP will do this and parents will be updated as soon as possible.
    Edinburgh Schools Partnership has confirmed that the remediation works required on the remaining nine schools will see them all reopen by Monday 8 August at the latest, ahead of the pupils returning from holiday on Wednesday 17 August. 
    Goodtrees Community Centre is expected to reopen on Monday 15 August.
    In the interim, alternative arrangements will remain in place with Council officers continuing to monitor and make adjustments as required. Buses for Craigmount pupils will arrive at an earlier time next week so the school day can be extended.
    The full remediation programme is subject to the Council receiving satisfactory quality assurances from Edinburgh Schools Partnership, and contractors carrying out remedial works on their behalf, and the Council receiving appropriate safety assurances and checks this work is of the required standard to ensure the safety of children. 
    The Council has stipulated that a number of stringent measures must be met before the schools can reopen and these will be made available to parents via the Council website.
    Council Leader Andrew Burns said: “Being able to reopen three schools next month and a further five in June is a positive step forward and means over 4,000 pupils should be back in their schools before the end of the summer term.
    “The planned programme of remediation works from Edinburgh Schools Partnership gives everyone a clearer picture of when schools will reopen and I am sure parents will welcome the news.  I want to again thank all those affected by the closures, for their patience during this period of uncertainty.
     “The safety of our children is our number one priority and we all want our schools to reopen safely, as soon as possible. We will continue to work with ESP and their partners to ensure all work and quality checks are completed, so we can update parents as quickly with information about their schools. If we are able to bring forward reopening dates then we will do so.
    “I would like to thank all school staff and colleagues across the Council for their continued support, professionalism and commitment.  This has been a challenging time and the way everyone has pulled together, both in the closed and receiving schools, has been exceptional. Everyone is working together to minimise the impact on our children.”
    Head teachers will continue to keep parents of pupils at their schools updated regularly on current arrangements and any changes that are made. 
    Details will also be published on the Council website ( and via the Council Twitter @Edinburgh_CC.
    • Seventeen schools were closed on Monday 11 April which affects 7,600 primary and secondary pupils and 740 nursery pupils.
    • All exam candidates were accommodated in educational arrangements by Wednesday 13 April.
    • All 344 Drummond Community High School pupils were back in their school on 14 April and 1,237 Royal High School pupils returned to their school on 19 April.
    • Today’s announcement means 890 pupils are set to return to their own schools by 24 May with another 500 returning to their schools on 27 June.
    • This brings the total of pupils expected to be back in their schools before the end of the summer term to 4,060.

    Thursday, April 28, 2016

    Edinburgh counts down to the Scottish Parliament Election 2016

    The area of the count venue - Highland Hall at the Royal Highland Centre ...
    ... is bigger than the size of a professional football pitch ;-)

    With just one week to go until the Scottish Parliament Election 2016, Edinburgh is gearing up to run its own part in the vote.
    Preparations are already well underway across the city’s polling places and count venue, while training is in progress for staff working on the day and the first postal votes are being processed.

    And though registration for the electoral roll is now closed, citizens are still being urged to think carefully about their vote, and to ensure they know when, where and how to vote on Thursday, 5 May.

    Edinburgh’s Returning Officer Andrew Kerr said: “We are entering the final days of preparation for the Scottish Parliament Election and anticipation is clearly beginning to build across the city.

    “Running an election in the Capital is no mean feat, and it’s thanks to a great deal of organisation and the hard work of our Election Team and thousands of election staff that things go to plan.

    “As we draw nearer to the day, I hope the public are making their own plans for voting, and ensuring they know when, where and how to have their say by checking the Council website while remembering to add one cross on each paper on the day.”

    Postal voters are encouraged to return their votes as soon as possible to ensure they meet the deadline.

    Find out more about voting in Edinburgh online.

    As we count down the seven days until the election, we're counting up some of the key facts about Edinburgh’s vote.

    • 366,000: the approximate number of people registered to vote in the Scottish Parliament Election 2016 – around 70,000 of these are postal voters.  This is the first Parliamentary election where 16 and 17-year-olds have been able to vote.

    • There are six constituencies in Edinburgh – Edinburgh Central, Edinburgh Eastern, Edinburgh Northern & Leith, Edinburgh Pentlands, Edinburgh Southern and Edinburgh Western. The Lothian Region also includes the three constituencies Almond Valley, Linlithgow and Midlothian North & Musselburgh.

    • There are 27 individual candidates standing across Edinburgh’s constituencies.  Nine parties are contesting the seven seats available for the Lothian Region, with a total of  67 candidates involved.

    • 145 buildings will be used as polling places on Thursday, 5 May, housing 356 polling stations.  Each station will have two ballot boxes – one for the lilac Constituency paper and one for the peach coloured Region paper.   

    • This year, the Council will employ over 1000 polling staff to assist the public to cast their vote – with one presiding officer and at least one polling assistant in each polling station. On the night of the count, there will be another 1200 count staff tallying votes.

    • 8526m² – the area of the count venue - Highland Hall at the Royal Highland Centre. This is bigger than the size of a professional football pitch. 

    • The Edinburgh turnout for the UK General Election last year was 73.01%, with 261,165 votes cast. For the Scottish Referendum in 2014, Edinburgh saw a record 84% turnout, with almost320,000 people casting their votes.

    • Amongst the equipment used across polling places during the day will be approximately 700yellow post-its, 500 black bin bags, 145 sets of pliers and 1068 fingerettes.

    • This is the first Parliamentary election in which 16 and 17-year-olds have been able to vote, after the Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill was passed last year.

    • Edinburgh counts for around 8.7% of Scotland’s electorate – second behind Glasgow.

    • Three different types of polling booths are used in Edinburgh – aluminium, wood and cardboard.

    • Polls open at 7am on Thursday 5th May and close at 10pm.

    Find out how, where and when to vote in the Scottish Parliament Election 2016.