We all enjoy having a bit of a moan about what Edinburgh City Council is or is not doing in our neighbourhood. Why don’t they fix the potholes in the road? Why did they allow that ugly block of flats to be be build near to our park? Why was that rowdy pub given a late licence?
Now local residents have a chance to play a part in how such decisions are reached. Community Councils are groups of volunteers who are elected for a period of 3 years to be the voice of their local communities. As statutory bodies Community Councils are funded by the City Council but members give their time free of charge. Training is available. Because each Community Council is by right a voting member of their local Neighbourhood Partnership, they can really influence what goes on in a wide range of areas such local policing, the supervision and maintenance of local parks HMO licensing, parking, and the allocation of funds for the repair of roads and pavements. They also have a vote in the award of grants to community – led projects. Merchiston Community Council has been active in representing the views of its local residents on a number of important issues recently, including plans for the new Boroughmuir School, horticultural developments in Harrison Park, a new Canal Towpath Code of Conduct, the sale of Craighouse for a big housing development, parking in Shandon, barbeques on The Meadows, litter in Bruntsfield Place, future changes to the Astley Ainslie and Royal Edinburgh Hospitals, graffiti along the Canal and the conversion of an old biscuit factory into student flats at the Slateford Road Flower Colonies. To name but a few! Have a look at our website www.merchistoncc.org.uk
To be nominated for possible election to a community council you have to be aged 16 or older and registered to vote in the local area. You also have to have an interest in a wide range of issues affecting your neighbourhood, and not just parking problems in your own street! You will be required to do more than simply turn up at the occasional meeting to air your views. There is more to being a community councillor than that! Above all, you have to be willing to consult, listen and give a fair account of your fellow residents’ views. The work of a community councillor can be demanding and sometimes challenging but your reward will be the knowledge that you actually did everything possible to sand up for the interests of your fellow residents.
Nomination forms are available on the Council’s website at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/communitycouncils. You can find information on each individual community council, including maps, on the Neighbourhood Partnership website: www.edinburghnp.org.uk/community-councils or contact the Community Council Liaison Officer, Eileen Hewitt on 01231 469 3838, email firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE – nominations close on 23rd September 2013.
Bridget Stevens, Merchiston Community Council