I have lived in this area for nearly 30 years and work locally (for charity Out of the Blue). I have been chair of Leith Walk Primary School and Broughton High School. I co-founded a residents association and have been a member of local community councils for many years, the last four as vice chair of Leith Central Community Council, leading on transport and planning. The Evening News has described me as a “veteran campaigner” – perhaps because I helped to beat a planning appeal by Wimpey in a 14-day public hearing some 15 years ago.
I love Edinburgh and I am passionate about our area, the most densely populated and diverse in Scotland – from Broughton and Canonmills to Pilrig and Bonnington, to Ferry Road and Jane Street, from Easter Road to the Hibs ground and the Abbeyhill colonies, via London Road to the top of Leith Walk. It is lively and diverse; it is never far to the heart of the city or the sea; it combines style and quirkiness.
Ever since the aborted tram works, I have pressed Edinburgh Council to put Leith Walk back together again. I am a reasonable man, but 10 years of craters, roadworks, traffic jams and pollution is a long time – many children have grown up thinking this mess is normal. It is not! This is the first time I am standing in a local election as a candidate – to make sure the priorities for our area are understood and translated into action.
One principle and a simple policy
Many local people are fed up with the mess in Leith Walk and the half-hearted way our public realm is maintained and kept clean across the ward. Instead of many policies – which all too often turn out to be empty promises – I have really only one policy: “keep it simple, get the basics right and get it right first time”.
There is a clear principle that should inform all interventions in our area: given the population density, proposals for new housing, office or student accommodation, hotels and large retail developments must always be matched with increased social and green infrastructure – new pavement/roads/cycle paths, more public transport, park and green space access, GP access and schools. And there must be resources and capacity to maintain all this properly. If for any reason this is not possible, these proposal should not go ahead.
In short, our area needs streets that work for everybody, reliable public transport, well-resourced schools and thriving local parks. Not much to ask for, I would have thought.
If you agree with most of the above, you can help to make a change by voting TOBERMANN on 4th May. If you have party loyalties, but want to make sure I get a fair chance as an independent candidate, put a “1” against my name and a “2” against your party candidate.