When Wester Hailes was first proposed as a development, those involved in the initial plans understood that it would be extremely shortsighted to build high density housing without including a wider community infrastructure with shops, community facilities, leisure/ social venues etc. However as is well known by those who were involved in the start of the Wester Hailes story, what emerged fell far short of this original vision. No library, no health services, no shops, no transport links, no police station, no playgrounds, no cafes, all part of an infrastructure that established communities would take for granted.
Over the initial years local residents campaigned and worked together to build an infrastructure of their own. Gradually, key community facilities emerged from this process such as the community huts. Places to meet socially are important in any community, but are particularly important in an area like Wester Hailes where accessing leisure and social facilities can be difficult if
travel outside the area is required. Most people in Wester Hailes did not own a car despite the planners’ optimistic assumptions and public transport links were limited. Many people had moved from long established stable communities and had been thrown together with neighbours they did not know. Yet there were few places that people could get together to meet socially and to enjoy a night out.
In 1985, a new social club was formed, Club 85. It was set up within the Community Workshop complex in Hailesland Place and built by Wester Hailes Community Enterprises Ltd. Initially offering 300 membership places, the club aimed to provide a welcoming environment and a place to relax. The Sentinel reported the plans in December 1985.
A range of activities was on offer including pool, darts, live bands and bingo. It proved to be a popular development and in April 1986, the Sentinel reported on Club 85’s first AGM when membership was increased to 500. A football team was established along with a set of darts teams and a dominoes side.
In 1995, the club raised a substantial £2 million to build and develop a new centre on the site of the newly demolished Wester Hailes Drive site. Funding for the new project came from Urban Aid and loan support from Scottish and Newcastle. The Sentinel reported on the new development in March 1995.
The Greenway Centre opened in March 1997. It was designed to be able to offer events accommodation as well as providing a variety of activities including a fitness wing, gymnasium and dance studio. The Sentinel reported on the new centre in March 1997.