Received the following unsolicited email from a community activist in the Wester Hailes area (where I was a councillor for 16 years, hence my connections with the area). It's an alarming picture of the way that beneath the good PR that the current SNP government has been getting, a lot of the basic fabric of some of our communities is being undermined. There are bigger cuts in public services than I've seen at any time since the worst days of Tory government - in my own area there has been the highly publicised closure of creche facilities at Council leisure centres, school closures and cuts in teacher numbers, cuts in support for important community ventures like the North Edinburgh News - and it sounds as if Wester Hailes is being even more badly hit. There is a real danger here that twenty years of regeneration which have made real progress in some of our peripheral housing schemes and inner city areas is going to be undone in quick order - and I know from my experience representing, and for many years living in, this type of area, how it takes much longer to repair the damage if this happens.
Have been wheeching out customised versions of the following to anyone I can think of & thought that due to your own strong connections with the area you would also be interested - & no doubt appalled at - recent (un)developments here - i.e. Wester Hailes Education & Training Managers Group (of which I was chair), just wound up; WH Sentinel & the WH Representative Council (32 & 27 years old respectively) close today; 4 major shops in the Shopping Centre closed or closing; 1 primary school closed & another closing; WHEC on a Council closure hit list (albeit with a short reprieve); Calders Community Centre recently closed (& the Sighthill one 'across the road' also closing); & Tescos (their first store in Scotland incidentally) at Dumbryden closing in September. There's clearly something seriously not right here & a combination of so called 'community planning', (Wester Hailes was an original pilot area), 'Neighbourhood Partnerships'; change of Council Administration, Scottish Government (& associated 'Concordat' with loss of absolutely crucial ring fencing) etc, all need to be closely scrutinised very pronto if the whole estate is not going to plummet into serious unemployment, debt, poor health, drugs, crime, & social isolation etc very soon. Hopefully not too late here for some kind of salvage operation but surely other areas throughout Scotland (including your own?) should also be warned in order that they have at least a fighting chance to take pre-emptive action to avoid similar things happening to them?