Ian Murray MP Working Hard for Edinburgh South
This update was sent to constituents on 26th Jan 2023:
Thank you for taking the time to sign my petition and my open letter to Humza Yousaf MSP on GP services. From speaking to residents across the south of the city it is clear many people here are fed up with the poor planning and poor infrastructure in the area. As more houses are built I will continue to fight for proper amenities for new and existing communities.
As you will be aware I have been campaigning for more GP practices, more green space and sports facilities, better roads and traffic flows, cycle ways and footpaths and additional school capacity to meet the growing population demand. I am also working hard to support the many new communities in South Edinburgh who are experiencing issues with developers and factors – if you live on a new development and are experiencing issues, please do get in touch.
Please see below for updates on specific issues:
Gilmerton Gateway – I am delighted to report that the Gilmerton Gateway proposal, which has widespread community support, has been approved by Councillors at the Development Management Sub Committee. Local firm Bernard Hunter have been keen to make sure the site is developed with a view to bringing more community facilities to the area, instead of simply more housing. This is a good step forward for my campaign on GP infrastructure as the proposals include indicative provision for a new 10,000 capacity GP practice. We still need confirmation from the Scottish Government on funding but this is good progress. Other facilities will include a hotel, supermarket, offices, café space and improvements to pedestrian and cycle routes. You can view the full application by using reference 21/05498/AMC on the planning portal here.
Thanks to Bernard Hunter Crane Hire for all the great work you do for the community. I can’t wait for ground to be broken on this project!
New Primary School for Gilmerton – Good news on the Gilmerton Gateway proposals has been dampened by the bad news on the proposed new primary school at Gilmerton Station Road. A new primary school was included in plans for the new development at Gilmerton Station Road to accommodate pupils from new developments and take some of the pressure off Gilmerton Primary. Indeed, developers have already paid the Council over £9 million in contributions for this new school. However, a report prepared by the Council recommends suspending the construction of the school due to inflation. The report notes a funding gap of £123 million for education infrastructure in the south of Edinburgh that needs to be filled.
Many of these new developments were approved on appeal with the plan to build the necessary schooling infrastructure for families moving in. The new Frogston Primary School is a case in point. To not provide this school because of savage cuts to the council’s budget is yet another dereliction of duty from a Scottish Government. I am pursing this issue with the Council.
GP Practices – GP provision in the South East of Edinburgh continues to be a huge issue. My research revealed that of the 14 practises in Edinburgh South, only 4 were taking on new patients. Liberton Gilmerton has been particularly affected with four of the five GP practices closed to new patients. You can read more here.
Our communities in South Edinburgh are growing at an incredible rate and yet we have no expansion of GP services to meet the needs of your friends and neighbours. This is a problem years in the making. Planning permission was granted on appeal by the Scottish Government for many of the new developments over a decade ago. It was very easy to predict we would need more GP practices.
The new Gilmerton Gateway is part of the solution. Local firm Bernard Hunter are very keen to give a plot of land to NHS Lothian for the development of a new 10,000 capacity practice. The problem is that the Scottish Government’s funding formula for new practices does not account for population increase. Therefore Edinburgh is building GP practises as if our population is flatlining, when in fact it’s increased by 80,000 since 2012. I am meeting with NHS Lothian regularly and we are constantly pushing the Scottish Government for the relatively small amounts of capital necessary to get a new practice for Gilmerton.
In better news, Liberton High School will, if planning permission is granted, have a new purpose built practice inside the school. This will hopefully host Southern Medical Group, taking the capacity up from 8,000 to 10,000 and dramatically improving facilities.
Inch Park Regeneration – The bid for the Inch Park to the UK Government’s Levelling Up fund was unfortunately unsuccessful. The good news is that because of the extensive work and consultations already carried out, the Council team are in a position to apply for other funding sources. I will continue to follow this one closely.
Gracemount Mansion – Many people have fond memories of the Mansion and the area certainly misses the facilities and services provided by it in its heyday. I am delighted to be supporting Friends of Gracemount Mansion and Gracemount Mansion Development Trust in their mission to bring the mansion into community ownership. They are already developing some excellent ideas for the kind of facilities people want to see in a re-opened mansion. Please do get involved via the Facebook group.
New developments – I am working with residents association on most of the new developments in the area. Unfortunately we are seeing very similar issues with developers across the South East of the city. Many residents are complaining about the condition of the communal areas prior to handing over to a factor, revisions to the granted planning permissions and a general lack of high quality shared facilities. If you are having issues please do get in touch.
Thank you again for supporting my campaign. I will continue to work with residents and community groups to make our area better for new and exiting residents. Please do subscribe to my newsletter for updates on the campaign as well as other local issues.