Leith Links Community Workshop – Parklife project

Later this year the ParkLife project (a collaboration between City of Edinburgh Council and University of Edinburgh) is coming to Leith Links!

Everyone who uses or has an interest in Leith Links is welcome to attend this community workshop to find out more about the project & what it means for Leith Links. This is also an opportunity to feed into the work of the project moving forward.

The workshop is being held on Monday 1 April 2019 from 6pm in Leith Community Centrefollow this link to book your seat.

The ParkLife project is looking at how new uses of data and technology can help us understand how people use and value parks. The aim is to support the city and park partners to work together to improve parks to benefit everyone. The project includes the installation of a wifi enabled model which park users can engage with, should they wish to do so.

The workshop will give you an opportunity to share and develop your ideas about ways Leith Links can be improved and how technology might be able to help. During the workshop we will design several ‘prototypes’ that could be built and installed in Leith Links. These can be anything from a digital notice board that provides information about park activities to a system for timing yourself running a mile.

You don’t need to have prior understanding of technology in order to be able to join. You just need to be a person who cares about parks! Your views are important and will directly contribute to the project. Parks are diverse spaces and we would like to hear from as many people as possible.

 

Community Councils Together on Trams: Joint statement

Joint statement by Community Councils Together on Trams (CCTT) – a coalition of the four community councils that cover the areas most impacted by the route of the tram extension [which includes Leith Links Community Council].

In advance of Edinburgh Council’s imminent final decision to go ahead with the tram extension to Newhaven, which represents a major intervention in the areas covered by the four Community Councils along the route, CCTT has reviewed the information gathered from documents in the public domain and provided in monthly meetings with the Tram Project Team.

While we continue to support the broad principle and ambitious aims of the tram extension, a number of our concerns have yet to be fully addressed.

We recognise that a strong feeling exists among many people in our communities that this project is being pushed through with undue and unnecessary haste.

We remain sceptical about the absence of sufficiently robust progress or commitment over the following measures which are essential if the tram is to achieve its steep environmental mode-shifting targets and if the collateral damage of the inevitably disruptive construction period is to be reduced.

CCTT seeks firm commitment from Edinburgh Council, Transport Scotland and Transport for Edinburgh for the following project-critical measures:

  1. Fully Integrated Ticketing System (FITS): this is key to achieving a material modal shift from car to public transport (as opposed to the 87% modal shift from bus to tram, as projected in the tram business case)
  2. Staged construction sites, ie avoiding simultaneous closure of (a) Leith Walk, (b) Constitution Street to Bernard Street and (c) Melrose/Ocean Drive to Ocean Way; in parallel, CCTT seek bus priority route deviations with quality temporary bus stops: these two measures are key to minimising disruption to the daily lives of 75,000 residents and 1500 businesses
  3. Controlled Parking Zones along the tram corridor: this is key to preventing the tram corridor from turning into Edinburgh’s largest park and ride area.
  4. Constitution Street: construction of strengthened pavements and the introduction of a streamlined dual permit system for scaffolding, as well as further serious engagement with residents and businesses about the detail of the design for the street.
  5. Early and maximum clarity on the logistics intended to serve local businesses during construction to allow traders (along the tram corridor and – if necessary – along the diversion routes) to plan ahead and make appropriate arrangements that will allow them to survive the inevitable disruption during the construction period.

CCTT has been a valued partner of the Tram Project Team during the months leading up to this point in the process, contributing local knowledge and providing a critical sounding board.

If real progress can be achieved in relation to our key concerns and the above measures, we will stay involved and work constructively with the Tram Project Team during the Early Contractor Involvement and construction periods.

 

 

Suggestions sought on possible new locations for Just Eat Cycles hire points

In 2018 the Edinburgh Cycle Hire Scheme (operated by Serco under contract to Transport for Edinburgh) introduced a hire point in Leith Links, sadly this had to be removed following serious damage.

Leith Links Community Council will be considering other suitable locations at our next meeting on Monday 25 March 2019 (18:30 in Leith Community Centre), with a view to submitting a request or requests, and is keen to hear your suggestions.

Below is a map of our area (the area within the red boundary line), if you can think of a suitable location please let us know and tell us why you think it would be suitable.

We’ll circulate a list of the suggestions in due course.

  • If you find an abandoned bike you can report to Serco by email, telephoning 0131 278 3000 or Twitter so that they can consider collecting it.

 

update 30/3/19: We have removed the suggestion form and considered the suggestions at our meeting on 25 March 2019, please view our minutes of this meeting when they are published on this website for further updates

 

Community Councils Together on Trams: Minutes of meeting held on Thursday 30 January 2019

Leith Links Community Council is a member of ‘Community Councils Together on Trams’ alongside Leith Central Community CouncilLeith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council and New Town & Broughton Community Council. CCTT is the coalition of Community Councils who meet regularly to discuss, scrutinise and influence the intended continuation of the Edinburgh Tram system to Newhaven.


Abbreviations

BAFO = best and final offer LW = Leith Walk
CCTT = Community Councils Together on Trams NTBCC = New Town & Broughton Community Council
CEC = City of Edinburgh Council OBC = outline business case
CPZ = controlled parking zone POLHA = Port of Leith Housing Association
CS = Constitution St SPC = swept-path contract
ECI = early contractor involvement TAPOG = CEC’s tram all-party oversight group
EIA = environmental impact assessment TfE = Transport for Edinburgh
FBC = full business case TMRP = Traffic Management Review Panel
ISC = infrastructure and systems contract TN = Trams to Newhaven project
LCCC = Leith Central Community Council TRO = traffic regulation order
LHNCC = Leith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council TT = trams team
LLCC = Leith Links Community Council

TAPOG is CEC’s leader and vice-leader, CEC’s transport convenor and vice-convenor, and transport spokespersons from each party

1 Welcome, introductions

Attendance Apologies
Charlotte Encombe CCTT/LCCC Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/LHNCC Harald Tobermann CCTT/LCCC
Rob Leech TT/TN project Andrew Mackenzie CCTT/LL CC
Rob Levick CCTT/LHNCC Bruce Ryan CCTT minutes secretary
Angus Hardie CCTT/LL CC Darren Wraight TT/CEC

2 Update from TT

2.a Summary of current status

D Wraight noted

  • TT is still on target for its programme, so no amendments are needed to a programme document circulated by HT.
  • TT is building up to Transport & Environment Committee meeting on 28 Feb, and to full Council on 14 March .
  • They still need to complete political briefings, and open a data room for CEC members to scrutinise the business case.

Action CE to forward most recent programme document to BMR.

2.b Supplementary projects

2.b.1 Foot of the Walk to Ocean Terminal options appraisal around active travel

  • Stakeholders convened before Christmas
    • These include active travel groups, POLHA, local elected members and C Encombe as CCTT representative
    • The objective of this meeting was to set key objectives for the appraisal. One of these is affordability criteria.
    • Action: D Wraight to supply agreed key objectivesinfo [AECOM’s slides) to BMR and other CCTT members
      • NB this is not for publication, simply because it is not TT/DW’s document, but the information can be used.
  • Stakeholders reconvened on 14 January with AECOM to consider strategic corridors in this area.
    • Initial suggestions were derived by AECOM from the local development plan, active travel plans, key locations, trip generators etc. Then a workshop considered whether AECOM’s suggestions were correct. (They were.)
    • The strategic corridors are Constitution St, Newkirkgate to Kirkgate, Henderson St, Great Junction St, and east-west routes (Salamander St, Ocean Drive)
    • Then local links into these strategic corridors were considered. Many such links are already on the active travel plan.
    • Debate focussed on Leith Links’ connections with the corridors.
    • POLHA’s input about their properties was useful in this discussion, e.g. to consider use of Links Lane by children
  • Now AECOM will collate information and score each corridor and link against the key objectives.
  • They will report within 6 weeks of 14 January.
  • Then there will be a further discussion, then a public consultation. The format of the consultation depends on the outcomes of preceding steps.
  • AECOM will also provide high-level figures (presumably costs) for the full council meeting in March.
  • However, the other steps, including the consultation, will not be complete until May 2019. At this point, there will be a fully costed and consulted design for this region. It will then be CEC’s decision whether to proceed with construction.
  • This appraisal process has been funded by Sustrans.
  • CEC has not yet funded any construction that might stem from this appraisal process.
    • Sustrans has offered 50% match-funding.
    • Other funding arrangements are also being discussed with Sustrans.

It was noted that C Encombe and/or A Hardie may be CCTT’s representative in relevant fora, and that AECOM might also present to CCTT. There was then a discussion of where is and isn’t cycle-friendly in the area.

2.b.2 Duke St roundabout (bottom of Easter Road)

D Wraight noted that the current roundabout needs to be removed during tram-construction because of extra traffic that will then be using Easter Road. Temporary signals would allow traffic to enter the junction sooner, reducing congestion. Also, CEC transport staff wish to replace the roundabout with a signalised junction to deal with current congestion, but don’t currently have budget to do so. The junction is also considered not to support pedestrians or cyclists.

The predesign is complete, and detailed designs are in progress. Building is due to be completed in summer 2019. It was noted that if there is a TRO, there will be relevant consultation. Active travel aspects will also require some consultation. So DW expects that at minimum, community councils will be consulted

2.b.3 Duncan Place

There are three questions about [work on] this area: (1) Can it be extended to include Academy St and Wellington Place? (2) Can the road condition be improved? (3) What is the final look of these streets to be?

Predesign is in progress, following consultation, by the capital roads team DW anticipates CRT will opt for a renewal (i.e. resurfacing, possibly also look and feel, including maybe reconsideration of one-way systems) of these streets around summer 2019. AECOM is also looking at active travel in this area. This study may also affect the renewal/look and feel work.

2.b.4 Controlled parking zones and other items not [necessarily] on TT’s list

  • C Encombe noted that a Leith CPZ is third priority on CEC’s list of potential CPZs. (Corstorphine 1st, Morningside 2nd.)
    • DW noted that he, A Mackenzie and J Marlborough attended a meeting with local councillors about CS, where CPZs were discussed. Cllr Booth has contacted a relevant CEC official, and received a response, so this topic is ‘open’. DW also noted that despite the priorities, when major projects come online, relevant other/additional features must be considered. Hence the Leith CPZ is ‘open to discussion’. C Encombe noted the community strength about Stead’s Place, and suggested that this strength may influence CPZ decisions. (A Mackenzie noted that CPZ discussion was mostly about Leith Central’s area.)
  • Action: DW to ask Cllr Booth to share with CCTT the reply he received about the CPZ priorities.
  • C Encombe noted that Monty Roy has not received a response about issues affecting her police box. (DW noted that he has received MR’s communication.) Shrub hill work is encroaching onto the pavement, hence affecting MR’s business.
    • DW noted that TT has liaised with all developers along the tram route, and so knows what will impact the tram designs. MR’s issue should be handled by the locality team. DW also noted that despite police boxes are not deemed as fixed buildings, this one is now on TT’s drawings, and that DW would contact MR in the immediate future.
  • J Marlborough noted a new application to build a car-park on Ocean Drive to serve MV Fingal and Port Authority staff The relevant drawing implies the car-park would encroach on the tram route. Action: DW to investigate this potential issue
  • Constitution St
    • DW noted that he met with relevant CEC cllrs, Am and JM about this area. Prior to Xmas, DW was tasked with investigating parking and loading arrangements.
      • It was felt that creating such facilities in the church area was disrespectful and impractical, so the soft landscape area at Kirkgate House (KH) was considered for both parking and some loading facilities.
      • This week, TT’s recommendations around two design options will be taken to TAPOG. In general, option B is likely to be taken forward, with the caveat that other thing must be provided. Option B involves centralised tram-tracks, widening the footpath either side, introduction of a general traffic restriction at some point between Coatfield Lane and Laurie St (hence no parking or loading in this section). It also involves reinforcement of the pavement on the east side of CS to allow use of scaffolding and relevant vehicles directly outside houses. Option A had been rejected by the CS meeting.
      • The time-frame for restrictions is as yet undecided, but some local councillors prefer 7am to 7pm. Such restrictions on traffic are desirable because at peak hours there is much pedestrian use of relevant streets.
      • At TPOG, it was decided that this is part of the TRO considerations, and more work is needed to decide timing.
      • In the soft landscape area adjacent to KH, TT proposes providing loading facilities for up to 3 vehicles.
      • TAPOG has signed off moving forward with option B with loading provision and path-reinforcement before other tram-work starts. It was noted that walls in the CS area are grade A listed and so must be reinstated as is.
    • AM noted the meeting’s consideration of complete bans on traffic on CS. Sizes and weights of cherry-pickers that may be used in practice for inspecting and maintaining CS roofs were discussed. A 3-D model was suggested. He suggested that this is where negotiations over parking, loading, traffic restrictions should begin, rather than end.
    • DW emphasised that TT consulted in summer 2018, noted that strong concerns were raised about CS, met residents to discuss these concerns and hence gone to TAPOG with recommendations resulting from meeting residents.
  • JM asked about the conversion of Ocean Drive junctions from roundabouts to signalised junctions, hence preventing cars making U-turns. DW and RL responded that this issue will be resolved, potentially by the capital roads team removing the central reservation from Ocean Drive when it is resurfaced, and asked for time to go through processes.
  • A Hardie asked about coherence of design, specifically [adverts on] bus shelters, which may enhance TN’s image.
    • DW responded that TT has to perform a ‘massive’ comms task, which would involve the eventual contractors. Work on this is in progress but because the contractor has not yet been selected, this comms task can’t be started yet.
    • RL added that Hannah Ross is co-ordinating matters at senior levels in CEC.
  • The quantum of small business supporthas been signed off by TN’s board, despite low response rates to consultation.
  • Concerning other developments around Western Harbour, the contact is development@edinburgh.gov.uk.
  • TN now involves 127 building-fixing agreements, This will not involve 127 fixings, because there may be more than 1 person per building or group of buildings. Of the 127, currently only 11 are outstanding.

3 Date of next meeting

21 February 2019 (Subsequent meetings are to be agreed.)

Public consultation on fireworks

A public consultation on the use and regulation of fireworks in Scotland is now live, running until Monday 13th May.

The Scottish Government seeks views on how people use and enjoy fireworks, the impact they have on people and communities across Scotland, as well as their impact on animals. It also seeks views on the sale of fireworks to the general public, and ideas on what action can be taken to ensure fireworks continue to be enjoyed safely and responsibly.

While much of the current legislation on the sale of fireworks is reserved to Westminster the consultation will help to identify gaps, issues or unintended consequences with the current regulatory framework.

Alongside the consultation, there will be a series of engagement events to create opportunities for members of the public, alongside local partners, to deliberate on the key issues and discuss with others what could be done going forward. Details of events alongside access to the consultation on Citizen Space can be found via the following link https://consult.gov.scot/safer-communities/fireworks/

The consultation events that have been organised so far:

  1. Wednesday 13thFebruary, 6- 8 pm at Craigroyston Community High School, Edinburgh
  2. Monday 18thFebruary, 5 – 7 pm at Pollokshields Community Centre, Glasgow
  3. Thursday 28thFebruary, 1-3 pm and 5-7 pm at The Attic, Tolbooth, Stirling
  4. Tuesday 5thMarch, 2-4 pm at New Register House, Edinburgh
  5. Tuesday 19thMarch, 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm at Perth Leisure Pool, Perth
  6. Thursday 21stMarch, 2-4 pm at Spectrum Community Centre, Inverness
  7. Thursday 21stMarch, 6-8 pm at Jurys Inn, Inverness
  8. Monday 29thApril, 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm at Civic Rooms, Town Hall, Aberdeen

Events are also being planned in Elgin, Paisley, Dumfries and Galloway and the Islands.

Leith Links Community Council meeting Monday 25th February

The next meeting of Leith Links Community Council will be on Monday, 25th February, in Leith Community Centre (Shore Room). Please remember the new start time is 6.30pm.

If you live in the Leith Links area, and have questions or concerns to discuss, we would be pleased to welcome you.

Please find Agenda and draft minutes of last meeting attached.

agenda  Agenda25.2.19 minutes Draft2LLCC Minutes Jan 2019

 

New development planned for 111-115 Constitution Street

Plans for a development of 49 residential dwellings and a commercial unit have been submitted to City of Edinburgh Council, the plans include demolishing some buildings already on the site including the Latto vehicle repairs garage.

The two planning applications are detailed below, by clicking on the links you will be taken to the City of Edinburgh Council planning portal where you can view the documents associated with the applications, you will also be able to submit your comments on the applications.

  • 18/10297/FUL. Proposed redevelopment of existing vehicle repair centre and derelict warehouse buildings to form residential development comprising 49 units and a commercial unit. Existing listed buildings and significant historic building to be retained as part of the development.
  • 18/10298/PN. Prior notification for demolition of buildings.

In addition to commenting on the planning applications you may wish to share your views with the three City of Edinburgh Councillors for Leith Ward;

Leith Links Community Council will also be considering its response, which will be available on our website in due course.

Formal review of Scheme for Community Councils launched

Following a preliminary consultation on possible changes to the Scheme of Administration for Community Councils in Edinburgh, which we wrote about here, a formal review of the scheme begins on 11 February 2019, and runs until 22 April 2019 following a decision taken by City of Edinburgh Councillors earlier today [7/2/19].

Proposals aim to improve and update the terms and provisions of the Scheme. This will include the introduction of a complaints procedure for dealing with breaches of the Community Councillor’s Code of Conduct.

Council officers are also holding a series of drop in information events accross the City, although they will not hold any in Leith.  The nearest ones to Leith are;

  • 28 February 2019, 4 – 5 pm, East Office, 101 Niddrie Mains Road
  • 6 March 2019, 5.30 – 6.30 pm, City Chambers, High Street.

The current intention is for a revised scheme to be presented to Councillors in August 2019, with a view to it taking effect in time for the October 2019 Community Council elections.

Community Councils Together on Trams: Minutes of meeting held on Thursday 10 January 2019

Leith Links Community Council is a member of ‘Community Councils Together on Trams’ alongside Leith Central Community Council, Leith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council and New Town & Broughton Community Council. CCTT is the coalition of Community Councils who meet regularly to discuss, scrutinise and influence the intended continuation of the Edinburgh Tram system to Newhaven.


Abbreviations

BAFO = best and final offer LW = Leith Walk
CCTT = Community Councils Together on Trams NTBCC = New Town & Broughton Community Council
CEC = City of Edinburgh Council OBC = outline business case
CPZ = controlled parking zone POLHA = Port of Leith Housing Association
CS = Constitution St SPC = swept-path contract
ECI = early contractor involvement TAPOG = CEC’s tram all-party oversight group
EIA = environmental impact assessment TfE = Transport for Edinburgh
FBC = full business case TMRP = Traffic Management Review Panel
ISC = infrastructure and systems contract TN = Trams to Newhaven project
LCCC = Leith Central Community Council TRO = traffic regulation order
LHNCC = Leith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council TT = trams team
LLCC = Leith Links Community Council

1 Welcome, introductions

1.a Attendance

Charlotte Encombe CCTT/LCCC Andrew Mackenzie CCTT/LLCC
Hannah Ross TT/CEC Angus Hardie CCTT/ LLCC
Darren Wraight TT/CEC Rob Levick CCTT/LHNCC
Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/LHNCC Harald Tobermann CCTT/LCCC

1.a Apologies

Margaret Duffy CCTT/NTBCC Bruce Ryan CCTT minutes secretary
Rob Leech TT

2 Review of critical dates from CCTT

A Data Room will be open to councillors. Final Business Case (FBC) plus supporting documentation will be available to all the councillors in the data room. Procurements process is already complete but not published. Councillors will scrutinise procurement through the Finance & Resources Committee in early March but any decision will be subject to Full Council approval of the FBC.

The FBC will be considered by the Transport & Environment Committee on 28 Feb 2019 wherein councillors may speak and CCs can have a delegation. FBC will be made available to the Press on 22 Feb. On 14 March full council meeting, motions can still be tabled; this may cause postponements or amendments. Political briefings will take place prior this, i.e. presentations, explaining the business case, each party briefed separately and independent councillors separately by CEC.

If the FBC is approved the Council will not award contracts until after a procurement “standstill” period meaning contracts would be signed at the end of March. After contract signing there will be a 5 month Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) stage during which time CCTT will be able to liaise with contractor.

JM was assured that Brexit should not have any effect on the tram construction (other than general confusion).

HR explained to AH that the Hardie inquiry is completely independent from CEC so they have no access. Also the main subject is TIE rather than CEC. However, HR noted that CEC have followed the inquiry throughout and as far as possible have included/are including lessons learned. Whenever Hardie publishes his report CEC will endeavour to learn from that as well.

2.a Identify opportunities for further CCTT input at various stages.

HR confirmed that CEC are following the Government Green Book Guidance in finalising the FBC and in doing so seeking to demonstrate that the project stands up in terms of costs and benefits. HR asks if there anything that CCTT would like to see in the FBC. HT: we see them all as quite important and would like to see them all incorporated into the FBC (refer to update programme/issues list inserted at end of minutes as Appendix)

AM: will FBC be specific about issues along the route? In particular Constitution Street? HR: It will probably be more general. There will be information on traffic and construction management . If there are additional problems we have had to allow in the cost plan for that. It’s also reflected in the risk, although these are all commercially sensitive details. The preferred contractor would talk more to the community. AM is still concerned that the detailed designs are still very vague with lots of areas of uncertainty. DW: disagrees, there are 2 options for Constitution St to approve. Discussion follows on how TT has approached the design process, in which DW mentions that TT ‘stands rigidly behind the current design’. HT mentions the possibility/example of changing speed limits for Constitution St. which would have an adverse effect on the tram system. The point made was that the worst case scenario from a construction cost has been reflected within the FBC. DW also mentions that changes in speed limits are not considered at all, just possible changes in hard landscaping.

JM: passes on enquiry about a resident who had a letter from CEC about wires being attached to her building. Causes confusion for residents. DW advises to ask the persons in question to get in touch with him, there is a legal team on hand to help. AM wants to know how many fixings will be attached to buildings along the tram line.

HT: proposes that CCTT should ideally look at the FBC as soon as possible once the data room opens. CCTT members need to lobby our councillors for political inputs.

2.b Update from CCTT

JM’s note was provided through the design consultation and will be closed out through this process. CCTT will be able to express views through forum however consultation is now closed.

3 Update from CCTT

See above.

4 Other items

4.a Review of traffic

In email of 27 Nov 2018 Cllr Munro requested from CEC a review of traffic volume, access and egress and parking at Ocean Terminal. This request ended up with TT as CEC did not have such information. TT has not done any specific modelling in that area because the junction is not being altered for the benefit of the tram.

RL: this letter came from a discussion at LHNCC about traffic impact around western Harbor, where we are going to have building of school, properties etc. in the next 5 years. There are difficulties in Newhaven place, the coaches service the cruise harbor; a number of major projects taking place in a restricted area. LHNCC wants to flag up these potential difficulties, the effect on traffic, which is difficult already. It could turn into a mess that cannot be fixed. DW Tram team has not done any modeling on that junction and suggests that RL gets in contact with the transport planner for that area.

A comment was made about speeding vehicles along Ocean Drive. DW has agreed to arrange a meeting with Cllr Booth and provide him with a response from a tram perspective. DW will also report the problems with noise at night to the technical work group that he attends.

 

4.b List of interdependent programmes and who is responsible

Refer to document

4.b.1 Additional comments:

CE: how could a member of the public challenge any traffic management plans? In the case of the Abbeyhill rotary, it virtually appeared overnight and there was no way for members of the public to challenge that decision. DW: communications are so critical to this project. The Contractor is contractually bound to provide a stakeholder management resource which will be defined at the ECI period. They will give ample notice of any changes in traffic management during construction. Traffic management can be a standing agenda item in future community engagement forums. HT: it will be necessary to have a number of people on the street dealing with issues as they arise. DW: TT acknowledge this and confirm that a strategy will be further developed through the ECI period.

JM: Who is going to manage construction vehicles in the dock area and construction vehicles for other construction projects? DW: There is the Dock Area Working Group to deal with this. On it are Cala Homes, S1 homes, Harrisons, Leith Distillery, Ocean Terminal and Forth Ports, chaired by DW. DW is happy to circulate a list of the various groups, their remits, members and lines of communication.

In HT’s opinion the Supplementary projects list of 10 is far more important to the users of this community than the tram itself. He notes that the construction of the tram is necessarily the most important thing to the tram team, but the above list of issues should be resolved as well as it will be this community that will have to live with the consequences. Every single item on the list should be resolved; should have been resolved a long time ago, and the council needs to get its act together.

5 Quantification of environmental benefits for CC areas impacted by tram corridor: before/during/after.

Could be part of our political case still to be made to make sure that there are some. HT to keep trying to get hold of any data.

6 Next meeting 31 January and 21 February 5.30-7.30pm

RL and DW can be there all or just for some of the time. HR offers to provide answers to any specific queries you may have. DW is also happy to answer specific questions. Next meetings might be split into two parts: first part CCTT with TT for further clarifications and updates; second part for CCTT steering group only to plan best engagement with councillors, media and the wider public.

‘Fascist political group plans to infiltrate Community Councils’ says The Ferret

The Ferret describes itself as an award-winning investigative journalism platform for Scotland and beyond, recently one of their contributors published an article claiming that the far right are planning to infiltrate Community Councils. Reproduced below is the article.

Edinburgh Community Councils will be holding their triennial elections this Autumn.

At the last triennial elections in 2016 Leith Links Community Council were the only Community Council in Edinburgh to hold a public poll. This was because we were the only Community Council in Edinburgh to have more candidates standing than the number of seats available, in our case we had 17 candidates for 12 seats.  If we had 12 or less candidates, they would have been given their seats without an election.  Information relating to our 2019 elections will be published soon on this website, and on our Facebook & Twitter streams.

It should be noted that Community Councils in Edinburgh are non party political but a number of Community Councillors across the City area members of political parties, pressure groups etc.


Billy Briggs wrote:

An extreme far right group modelled on Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists plans to put candidates up for community council seats in Scotland.

The New British Union (NBU) idolises British fascist Mosley whose violent supporters wore Nazi-style uniforms in the 1930s and were known as Blackshirts.

The openly fascist group is recruiting on Twitter and is led by Gary Raikes, the British National Party’s former leader in Scotland.

An official NBU document seen by The Ferret reveals that NBU plans to stand supporters as independent candidates to build support locally across the UK.

The document explains what Raikes terms as the “Quiet Revolution”. It says: “The important action is that cells should try to center (sic) around a member willing to stand in parish/local elections as independent candidates and help get them elected.

“Blackshirt cells will develop into Blackshirt units in every village, town and city in the UK. The idea is to build fascist cells of two to five people in as many places as possible.”

The document adds: “The action is true, grassroots style politics – fostering change nationwide, from the local level. The fundamental application of this philosophy is the induction of true British nationalists in all forms and level of local government.

“We at the NBU have recognised that obtaining appointment to parish and community councils is both a symbolic, and practically necessary starting point, in the pursuit of this philosophy of action.

“The NBU is a young movement, yet already has a handful of parish councillors, and one county councillor we also have a number of our people about to take up seats on Scottish community councils.”

Raikes formed the NBU in 2013 after leaving the BNP. He was also a member of the anti-Muslim group, Britain First, led by Scottish Loyalist, Jim Dowson.

At the 2007 Scottish Parliament election Raikes was a BNP candidate for the North East Scotland region. In 2015 the NBU claimed it was targeting Elgin politically prompting a backlash from locals.

The NBU uses Nazi iconography while Raikes posts sinister propaganda videos of himself speaking while dressed in a black uniform. Another video on the NBU site is of far right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, who is an advisor to UKIP.

Yaxley-Lennon is a former BNP supporter and football hooligan who has been convicted of multiple crimes including mortgage fraud and assault.

In one video Raikes says he is trying to “unite the right”.

Unite Against Fascism said: “Thankfully the far right in Britain is divided, whether this numpty has the ability to unite them remains to be seen. What can be seen from NBU website is that Tommy Robinson is the lightning rod that they are trying to use to unite the far right.

“Although the slogans and emblems of the NBU look old fashioned from the 1930’s we can see when they were used last year in the the “unite the right” rally in Charlottesville in America that they can become potent once again.

“‘Never again’ was the popular slogan after the second world war against fascism. We should never forget that and never give these dangerous idiots an inch.”

Scottish Greens justice spokesperson John Finnie MSP said: “It’s a sad reality that the Brexit mess created by the Tories has given confidence to those with extreme right-wing views. However, I’ve no doubt that communities across Scotland will continue to reject these dangerous and deluded groups who couldn’t organise a bun fight in a bakery.”

Raikes said: “We are not supporters of Tommy Robinson. We supported that specific issue not the man. We have been recruiting for six years. Social media is just one way of doing that. I fully expect you to deliver a bias twisted report detached from reality and know I will not be disappointed.

“British blackshirts fought and died for Britain in the last war just one of the many facts ignored by people like you. If you have read our website then you will know we are not a hate group we are simply offering people an alternative to failed democracy and a chance to discover the truth about Mosley and his ideas.”

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