Last month we reported that Wester Hailes Community Council had taken the lead in re-opening negotiations with AWG, the owners of Westside Plaza, to make more space available to improve the proposed pedestrian link between the new Healthy Living Centre and the Plaza. Now it looks like this has paid off big time.
The Community Council had written to AWG to raise the issue and ask the company to consider allowing more of the Plaza car park to be set aside in order to accommodate an extended link which would be safer and more user friendly for those accessing the Healthy Living Centre on foot from the main shopping area. There was a quick and positive response from AWG and a meeting was held between representatives of the company and the Community Council to take the matter forward. As a result of this, we understand, AWG are now prepared to grant permission for a larger area of the car park to be utilised although the exact details are still to be worked out.
Not only that, as a direct result of a public meeting requested by the Community Council, it also looks like the extra funding needed to construct this extension could be about to be put in place by the City Council. Responding to a request from the Community Council, a joint meeting of the two local Neighbourhood Partnerships was held recently and it was clear from the debate which took place that people felt the existing plan was inadequate to meet the needs of the community. The City Council has taken the strength of local feeling on board and the matter will be discussed by its Finance and Resources Committee on July 31st with a view to agreeing how this additional work can be financed.
Hopefully the next time we report on this it will be to say that the extended and the improved link is definitely going ahead. But, whatever the outcome, the Community Council has demonstrated over the last couple of months just how influential a committed local group can be when it comes to having a positive impact on big issues affecting the community.