Community News

Smelly pigs in nanny state claim

Midlothian View - 5 hours 3 min ago

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A pig farm ordered to shut down before new housing is built near it has been given a reprieve after councillors branded the demand “nanny-state”.

Plans to build 620 new houses on land across two farms at Millerhill, Midlothian, were given the go ahead at a meeting of the local authority’s planning committee this week.

However planning officers had added a condition demanding the pig farm, which lies on part of the site earmarked for housing at a later date, be closed before the first property is occupied.

They told councillors that concerns about “odour issues” for the new houses had been raised.

They added a condition to the planning application that insisted “no dwelling shall be occupied until the pig farm at Wellington Farm has cease to operate and all the pig manure on the site has been cleared from it.”

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Planning committee chairman Councillor Russell Imrie, Labour, said the condition lacked common sense.

He said: “With regard to us requesting the pig farm be closed down, forgive me when I say this but if you’re going to buy a house you look at the environment round about you. You know there is a pig farm there, for us to determine what should be there – I am not quite sure I follow that.”

He was backed by Councillor Colin Cassidy, SNP, who said: “Sometimes we do step over into the realms of nanny state when it comes to these things.

“People are educated, they are going to buy a house and do their homework, they will look around and see there is a pig farm there.”

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Peter Arnsdorf, council planning manager, pointed out that the pig farm was expected to be closed and turned into part of the proposed housing at some point as part of the overall plans.

However the committee agreed to remove the condition before approving the plans which will see the housing built across Newton Farm and Wellington Farm, where the pigs are based, off Old Craighall Road.

The post Smelly pigs in nanny state claim appeared first on Midlothian View.

Categories: Community News

Council tells staff to take holiday if severe weather hits

Midlothian View - 6 hours 45 min ago

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

East Lothian council workers who live in the countryside are being advised to set aside their holidays to cover absences from work or face losing pay if another Beast from the East hits.

A revised staffing policy for severe weather absences warns East Lothian Council will continue to dock the pay of workers who cannot get to work if storms hit.

But it suggests those who live in rural communities “may wish to consider holding back some of their annual leave for events such as adverse weather”.

Councillor Jeremy Findlay, whose ward covers North Berwick coastal communities, told a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Tuesday that he had a “moral problem” with staff being penalised because they lived in rural areas.

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Raising his concerns about the revised policy, Mr Findlay told cabinet members: “I have a moral problem with someone who lives in the rural county where roads are under two feet of snow being adversely affected when they are being told by police they should not travel and as a result their wages will be docked.”

However the council’s chief executive Angela Leitch told councillors that if staff could not fulfill their contract the council “could not pay them”.

Anger over the way East Lothian Council handled last year’s severe snow storms led councillors to overturn its long-standing policy on absences and agree to pay workers who had been unable to get into work.

Many workers were stunned to be told that, while police were warning people to stay at home, the council was continuing with its established policy advising them they would have to take time in lieu or unpaid leave to cover the time they were unable to work during the crisis.

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While other local authorities, such as City of Edinburgh Council, took to social media to assure staff they would be paid if they were unable to work during the Wednesday and Thursday of the red weather warnings last March, East Lothian Council repeated its advice that workers should report to work if it was “safe to do so”, or attend the nearest council office or suitable premises, or work from home or other suitable locations.

Following a review of its actions, wages were reinstated for those who missed work during red weather warnings and the policy was reviewed.

However the revised policy, which was approved by Cabinet this week, showed little change except adding in advice for rural workers to set aside holidays.

Councillor WIllie Innes, council leader, said he expected that should another Beast from the East hit the county, councillors would once again step in to ensure wages were not docked.

He said: “It is impossible to have a policy that pleases everyone. Last year members took the decision to pay staff – I would hope if it happened again we would consider making similar commitments.”

The cabinet approved the new policy.

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Categories: Community News

Rosslynlee Hospital councillors stand firm on contributions

Midlothian View - 7 hours 22 sec ago

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Councillors fighting to save an historic hospital from falling into ruin have set their own ‘red lines’ in a row over developers’ contributions.

The owners of Rosslynlee Hospital, which has lain empty in Roslin since 2010, want to develop the site and surrounding land by building nearly 400 homes on it as well as commercial property.

However they have declined to pay the local authority the standard contributions needed for local investment insisting the money they will spend restoring the hospital buildings should be considered part of their payment.

At a meeting of Midlothian Council’s planning committee, red lines were drawn as councillors insisted the local authority should not have to subsidise the restoration with money which would have to be taken out of other communities.

And they demanded developers meet the full cost of expanding local schools to meet any future demand from families moving into their new homes.

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Councillor John Hackett told the committee: “In effect we are asking every other resident of Midlothian to help fund the restoration of this building.

“Given it was the NHS who owned the property I would argue it should have been them. I think it would be adding insult to injury if we approved the application without appropriate contributions.”

Category-C listed Roslynlee Hospital closed in 2010 and was sold by the NHS to a private firm.

They have three separate planning applications in with the council to build a mixture of housing on the site, adjoining fields and within the main buildings itself.

Considering all three together, Peter Arsdorf, the council’s planning manager, said the developers had offered to fund just 58 per cent of the expected contribution towards education required for a development of its size.

And he said while other housing developers were expected to make 25 per cent of the houses affordable, the Rosslyns proposals offered up less than 50 social housing units – between eight to 11 per cent.

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Recommending councillors refuse the application, Mr Arsdorf said: “The applicant’s position is that the cost of delivering the development is such that it is not appropriate to meet the developers contributions required in full and is as such dependent on the council, in effect, subsidising the development.

“Although there is significant benefit in seeing the restoration of the listed building, it is recommended that the benefit does not at this time outweigh the dis-benefits of the scheme.”

However planning committee convenor Councillor Russell Imrie suggested a final attempt to negotiate with developers should be made with “red lines drawn”.

He said: “We would love to get that building restored, it is how we do it. The council is saying we will support you as long as you meet the criteria.”

Councillor Stephen Curran backed the move to go back to developers adding: “I think we need to set out what the red lines are, I am pretty clear on what they are, to me they are the education solution.”

The committee agreed to defer a decision to allowing planning officers to take their position back to developers.

The post Rosslynlee Hospital councillors stand firm on contributions appeared first on Midlothian View.

Categories: Community News

Boardmaker in libraries now

Midlothian View - 15 hours 5 min ago

An innovative software package aimed at parents and carers of children and adults with communication difficulties is now available for use at Dalkeith, Lasswade and Loanhead libraries.

The Boardmaker software package is a collection of standardised picture symbols used for communication with individuals who find visual learning easier for example those with autism spectrum disorders and anyone with a disability or impairment that affects communication or memory. It can also be helpful for people with English as an additional language.

It can be used to create symbolised leaflets & posters, visual timetables, schedules, social stories and more. Boardmaker symbols can be adapted and customised to suit individual needs. Users can edit symbols, change colours, combine symbols or use their own digital images.

Anyone wishing to use Boardmaker should simply call the library to book in advance. It is free to use. Every library that offers Boardmaker has a laminator to use with the software so parents and carers will be able to print and laminate their resources for a small charge.

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Cllr Stephen Curran, Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries said:

“This project will benefit a range of people in the community who have communication difficulties. The software not only helps children and adults with learning or physical disabilities but also older people with some forms of dementia and anyone who has lost some language skills after a stroke, accident or illness.”

The introduction of Boardmaker in Midlothian libraries has been made possible thanks to funding from Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation.

Midlothian Libraries are running demonstration sessions on how to use the software. For further information contact one of the libraries offering the service.

The post Boardmaker in libraries now appeared first on Midlothian View.

Categories: Community News

Have your say on Hillend proposals

Midlothian Advertiser - 15 hours 10 min ago
Midlothian Council wants to hear your views on plans to potentially turn Midlothian Snowsports Centre at Hillend into an all year round, multi-activity leisure development.

Midlothian MSP slams pension changes

Midlothian Advertiser - 15 hours 11 min ago
Midlothian North MSP Colin Beattie has slammed the UK Government for “sneaking out” changes to state pensions, which could cost older local couples £7000 per year.

Scottish Water campaign launched to flush away Midlothian river pollution issue

Midlothian Advertiser - 15 hours 22 min ago
A campaign to encourage local people to think twice about what they flush down the loo, in a bid to help protect the local environment, has been launched by Scottish Water.

Forum for Midlothian farmers

Midlothian Council - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 11:32
This year’s annual farmers’ meeting, hosted by Midlothian Council, will be held at the Stair Arms near Pathhead on Tuesday, 5 February at 6pm.

Lasswade and King’s Park primary schools’ traffic bans approved

Midlothian Advertiser - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 10:59
A ban on traffic outside two primary schools during certain times of the day will be made permanent despite opposition from teachers.

Penicuik unveiling of only British rocket to reach space

Midlothian Advertiser - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 09:22
Pupils from primary schools in the Penicuik area have been invited to take part in an intergalactic art competition - with the winning designs to be displayed alongside the unveiling of the only British rocket to reach space.

NHS Lothian public meeting to take place as part of annual review

Midlothian Advertiser - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 07:18
The annual review of NHS Lothian will take place on February 4, with a public meeting chaired by Jeane Freeman MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport.

Endo Warriors West Lothian

Midlothian View - Mon, 21/01/2019 - 20:43

Candice McKenzie and Claire Beattie

Written by Candice McKenzie & Claire Beattie

ENDO Warriors West Lothian is an independent support and awareness group founded by Candice McKenzie & Claire Beattie in October 2017. As Endo Woman ourselves we have experience and knowledge in Endometriosis and are passionate to raise awareness and most importantly bring Endometriosis into Education, along with raising the profile of our own support group, we identified the need of support for woman living with this debilitating and chronic disease that has NO cure.

We hold monthly meetings from St John’s Hospital in Livingston, we also have Instagram and Twitter pages to go along with our private Facebook page where our woman can share their journeys & speak freely to one another sharing valuable experiences, our Facebook team includes ourselves as well as our fellow endo sisters and admins Dionne & Koren.

We are currently working towards bringing menstrual wellbeing into the West Lothian Education curriculum, at present we are speaking with our MSPs and councilors. We would like to visit schools and speak to young girls about their periods, we want them to know if they are having to stay in bed for 2/3 days every month and are crying in pain that this is not normal. We want to help educate them and get them the help and support they need – we want to give them a voice.

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Living with Endometriosis is difficult and can be life changing for women – it can affect their education and work life as well as their homelife and relationships, It also has an impact on mental health, and with suicide rates rising in the community it is something we need to be aware of – Endometriosis is an invisible disease which makes it hard for people to understand the pain we go through on a daily basis, it can be a very lonely disease and women can often feel misunderstood and isolated

Endometriosis can cause severe chronic pain (like being wrapped in barbed wire) sometimes making it difficult for us to even stand-up, never mind function to get on with our day, the pain can be so extreme that it causes us to be sick and even pass out. Many women live on painkillers or are expected to use hormonal drugs that cause the body to go into a state of artificial menopause, while waiting for their next surgery – on average this is every 2 years – the drugs that endo women endure cause horrendous side effects that are life changing and could be causing consequential damage to their bodies

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We must keep fighting to be heard and it’s important to our community that we continue to raise awareness. Endo’s signature colour is yellow; therefore we choose #lightupyellow as we wanted to bring Endometriosis to the public eye, to make people stop and think for a minute to get people to read about why the buildings are lit up yellow, which will in turn educate people on Endometriosis. We lit up 20 buildings/landmarks last year and will be continuing annually until the world is yellow.

Our confirmed light ups for 2019 are, The Scottish Government Buildings, The Dome, Camera Obscura, The Titan Crane, The Science Centre, Blackpool Tower, Northern Spire Bridge, Helmsley Building NYC, Mid-Hudson Bridge NYC, The Six Bridges (Highway 59 in Houston) Houston City Hall, Last Vegas City Hall, Boston City Hall, Norwich City Hall, Ness Bridge, Dan the Hot Dog Man, Mansion House Dublin, Her Majesties Theatre Aberdeen, AKB Hair Design, Creative Beauty, Brighton Palace Pier, Mareel Arts Centre & we are awaiting confirmation and dates from many more.

If your business would like to support us by having a yellow day in March please contact us by e mail or Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

The post Endo Warriors West Lothian appeared first on Midlothian View.

Categories: Community News

Watch out for ice

Midlothian Council - Mon, 21/01/2019 - 14:53
Gritters will be out from 3.45pm today (Monday) tackling priority routes such as main roads and routes to schools and hospitals.

Milestone in energy from waste plant project

Midlothian Council - Mon, 21/01/2019 - 14:22
FCC Environment, which has been contracted to construct and deliver a state-of-the-art energy-from-waste plant serving Edinburgh and Midlothian, marks the project's good progress.

Edinburgh City Bypass death: Midlothian police wish to speak to two lorry drivers

Midlothian Advertiser - Mon, 21/01/2019 - 09:22
Police in Midlothian continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the discovery of a man’s body on the Edinburgh City Bypass are appealing for two lorry drivers to come forward.

Construction ahead of schedule at Millerhill recycling and energy recovery facility

Midlothian Advertiser - Mon, 21/01/2019 - 07:10
It is only 27 months since the ground was broken at the site in Millerhill and over this time construction of the new state-of-the-art energy-from-waste plant, which will serve the City of Edinburgh and Midlothian, has reached an advanced stage.

Midlothian businessman launches mental health campaign

Midlothian Advertiser - Mon, 21/01/2019 - 06:39
A new mental health campaign has been launched this week by a Midlothian businessman.

Charity engaged with Midlothian pupils

Midlothian Advertiser - Mon, 21/01/2019 - 06:31
The Scottish SPCA’s education team engaged with 61 per cent of Midlothian’s schoolchildren last year.

300 jobs could go in Edinburgh

Midlothian View - Fri, 18/01/2019 - 21:10

Waverley Court, the City of Edinburgh Council

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, David Bol

Museums, public toilets and residential care are among services set for the axe to cut £41 million from Edinburgh council’s budget next year – as 300 jobs could also be in the firing line.

Around 80 proposals have been drawn up by council leaders, including cutting £1.5m from economic development services, “a number of organisational reviews of staff”, combining services including museums into fewer buildings and creating “wider pools of head teachers and teachers” for nurseries.

Edinburgh Leisure, which runs many of the city’s sports centres, is set to be hit hard – potentially losing £350,000 next year – following by three years of £1m being cut.

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Conservative opponents labelled the proposals “spectacularly light on detail” as it is not yet known specifically where some of the savings will come from.

If the proposals are agreed, public toilets would see maintenance rotas changed to part time instead of full time to cut £250,000 from next year’s budget. More than £500,000 could be saved from “reducing additional contributions to Police Scotland” for some community officers, but some funding will remain in place.

The council hopes to receive more funding from the Scottish Government when Holyrood’s budget is agreed by the end of the month – and it is thought this would go towards health and social care. Council leader Cllr Adam McVey insisted the authority’s no compulsory redundancy policy would continue, despite the threat to 300 posts.

He said: “This is very much 300 posts – some will be moved somewhere else, some of it will be managed vacancies where some people might retire and those posts managed out.

“There will be no compulsory redundancies, based on these plans. With 300 posts, we hope we can manage as much of that through natural terms.

“This is an uncomfortable position for us to be in. We would welcome additional resource. It’s not a pain-free budget and if we had more resource I think we could take out some of the edges. I’m hoping and anticipating additional resources.”

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Around £12m of cuts will be made from “operational efficiencies”, including renegotiating IT contracts and cutting staff development and training budgets. An overall efficiency target of between 1 per cent and 1.5 per cent will save £9.5m in 2019/20.

Savings from “corporate and capitalised budgets” will include additional income from council tax due to the city’s growing population, savings in borrowing costs and moving money between capital and revenue expenditure.

As part of a review to cultural services, almost £3m could be saved over four years by creating a new museum and gallery, meaning the existing council-run City Art Centre, Museum of Childhood and Museum of Edinburgh, could be “consolidated” into fewer buildings.

Green Cllr Gavin Corbett said: “These are the deepest budget cuts I’ve seen in my time as a councillor. Some of the ideas have been trailed already – reduced police funding, fewer nursery teachers and public toilet closures, for example. But others are new, such as reduced funding for Edinburgh Leisure for swimming pools and sports facilities, or reduced grants for local voluntary organisations. And, for the first time, the number of job cuts – at 300 next year – is given.

“While councillors have to wrestle with the cold reality of cuts, all eyes now turn to the Scottish Government and its budget statement on 31 January. It is vital that councils which are SNP-led, including Edinburgh, flex a bit of muscle and demand a fair and proper settlement for local services, coupled with proper reform in future years on how councils are funded.”

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An overhaul of the council’s workforce is hoped to cut £2.4m from next year’s budget, including £1.4m in back office support. Economic development will also see £1.5m cut next year and again in 2020/21 from the existing £9m budget.

The council’s proposed offer to the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board for 2019/20 for health and social care means the service will “require total savings of £19.4m to be identified”, according to council officers.

Proposals to change staffing in early years nurseries include “wider pools” of head teachers as well as qualified teachers not attached to specific schools. The council says this would be managed by an increase of early years practitioners “permanently attached to each nursery”. The early years proposals would lead to a £350,000 saving in next year’s budget.

Parks are set for a £150,000 budget saving next year through “increasing incomes” from events, while £510,000 will be saved from residential care partly through losing two beds from third-party providers.

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The Capital’s tourism industry is also in the firing line with Marketing Edinburgh expected to lose £500,000 of its £890,000 budget from the council.

The organisation, which helps promotes Edinburgh to the world, has warned the cuts could “damage our reputation globally and locally” as a city.

John Donnelly, chief executive at Marketing Edinburgh, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the proposal.

He said: “The proposed cut will make a significant impact on how we and the city market itself on the global stage. It will put the £72 million created by business tourism entirely under threat and we would not be in a position to develop the £16m film economy.

“Edinburgh is a world-leading destination, yet we would be the only city in the developed world without a destination marketing management organisation, which could damage our reputation globally and locally. We have a responsibility to both market and manage our success to keep our city an outstanding place to live, work, study, invest and visit for all – but we need proper funding to do so.”

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Marketing Edinburgh is also set to lose another £220,000 in the 2020/21 budget.

Council leader, Cllr Adam McVey, believes the introduction of a tourist tax, or transient visitor levy as the council labels it, would help the city raise additional funds to support the tourism economy.

He said: “We know that reducing the budget for Marketing Edinburgh will lead to people looking seriously about how the city markets itself and try and pick up some of that slack. There may be a challenge to the business community if they want to see that continued and they can support the funding of it.

“Unless we get additional funding through a tourist levy for things that sustain our tourist economy like Marketing Edinburgh, we are no longer in a position to be able to sustain those services.”

The post 300 jobs could go in Edinburgh appeared first on Midlothian View.

Categories: Community News

Police scour Müller milk van for clues to Edinburgh bypass death

Edinburgh Evening News Midlothian - Fri, 18/01/2019 - 20:45
A PHOTO has emerged of a damaged dairy van police are examining as part of their investigation into the death of a man on the City Bypass.

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