Tuesday, May 01, 2012

There are so many issues across the huge Sighthill Gorgie Ward it has proved almost impossible to create a general leaflet. With 23,000 in a ward that stretches from Haymarket to the by-pass it is a tall order.

I have tried to keep it local in my campaign. Now we are decoupled from the Scottish Parliament it will, no doubt, affect the turn out but I believe people have the right to expect that we will talk about local issues in a local election!

I take personal pride in the fact that know what the issues are in every corner of the Ward and I think this is a testament to the work I have put in over the last five years (longer in the case of Gorgie). I was interested in the Tory leaflet that came through my door where Susan Dewhurst comes out with a fantastic list of what she would have done if she had been a Councillor for the area. In reality it is an accurate list of what I have actually done over the last five years so clever wording there. Saving the Dalry Swim Centre is something I played a lead role in at the Council as well as bringing the Sainesbury's to Longstone! When the Sainesbury's went to Planning I attended as the local Ward member (the only local Councillor to do so -  Eric was on the Committee and therefore took no part prior to the meeting) I spoke at length and persuaded the Committee to overturn their own officers recommendations and vote for it (9 votes to 3). I was representing the views of the  Longstone Community Council who were passionately in favour of the development which will bring 500 jobs to the area and revitalise a brown field site that has been a problem for the area since the B & Q were forced to leave (another issue locally).
My visits to Planning have been frequent, representing local views, mostly opposing things like hotels that were too high or balconies that looked straight into peoples windows. My attendance at local meetings such as surgeries, Residents Associations and Community Councils whilst not 100% (impossible in such a  large Ward) has been better than all the other Councillors for the area put together!

As Chair of the South West Neighbourhood Partnership for five years I have struggled with the fact that they were made into 'Advisory bodies' instead of the decision making Committees they were originally designed (by me as Executive Member for Modernising Government) to be.  In spite of this I have made it into a positive force for good in the area taking on issues such as surface crossings for the Calder Rd. and the fire in the Shandon Colonies. I was and remain the Chair of the Europe wide 'Demos' project which looks at citizen participation in local governance. I have tried to bring this to bear at the SWNP. It is a testament to my efforts and passion that local Councillors of all parties have voted me back into the Chair of the South West NP every year in spite of the fact that it was meant to change.  

I have done lots of local leaflets but here is my general Sighthill Gorgie one....