I have continued to support constituents with their particular issues dealing with mental health, housing, road safety, maintenance and green spaces. Just contact me if I can help you with anything.
My ‘Cut fuel bills, cut carbon, kick start the green economy’ motion is approved: I managed to secure the support of other councillors to produce a council energy reduction plan so saving money for vital public services, to ensure new builds are as energy efficient as possible and to use the council’s build programme to create new green, long lasting, local, decent jobs. Check it out here.
Help with the cost of living and keeping warm: I know there is a lot more to do to improve energy efficiency in existing homes too and I’ve started working on that too (see below) but in the meantime please do call Home Energy Scotland free on 0808 808 2282. They can advise you what help you are entitled to. I went along to the AGM of EK Citizens Advice Bureau, an amazing organisation who can help you with a variety of issues, including debt. Call them, make an appointment, don’t suffer alone: . I also attended the launch of Christians Against Poverty EK Debt Centre at Hunter House café. Find out more about their services in their December newsletter
In Book Week Scotland, my son and I chose some books at Long Calderwood Primary’s family library. It’s free and open to Long Calderwood families every Tuesday from 3pm til 4pm – a great resource after our local library was closed a few years back. And finally, if you want a warm place to be and some company this winter please do check out local ‘Warm Welcome’ spaces at;
Housing: As well as supporting residents get repairs and maintenance of their council-owned properties, I have also been helping residents in private lets, the following organisations can help you too:. After attending the EK Housing Forum (for all tenants and residents in EK), where people expressed concerns about their energy bills, I asked about insulation at the 6 blocks of rises in Long Calderwood. Apparently, there is no insulation but a study will report in 2023 about what options there are to insulate the buildings and replace the aging, expensive electric storage heating in these blocks.
Happy 75th Birthday EK! I met with the chair of EK Area Committee to discuss giving these area committees and our communities more teeth to drive forward regeneration across EK. I went along to the ‘Women of the Welfare’ exhibition in EK Central Library, all about the role of key female urban designers in the development of EK New Town and will share my memories about growing up in the town with researchers next week. I was delighted to attend a project at Calderglen High celebrating the history of the town. And I also amended a motion celebrating the 75th birthday of EK to recognise that the important principles behind new town planning should be valued in the town’s regeneration and that communities should also be heard and empowered to improve our place. And finally, I have had input with various third sector organisations on a funding application to expand community growing in EK, our ‘garden city’.
Road safety: After our Morrishall Road community road safety walk about in August and further residents comments on the draft, I submitted the final report and the council have promised to get back to me on it by mid December. I also took up concerns about parking issues around Calderglen and Sanderson High Schools with the council providing support on parking enforcement and a possible refresh of school travel plans. Residents contacted me about the speed of traffic and accidents on the dual carriageway between Nerston and Cathkin. As a result, the council will now do a speed check in the new year and come back with proposals for this road.
Calderglen Country Park and new town trees: I popped along to the EK Development Trust AGM at their growing space at Calderglen Country Park, to find out more contact them via email@example.com. In response to residents concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety I am pushing for a consistent speed limit in the park and improvements to alternative ways of getting to the park, including bus, cycling and community entrances along the length of the glen. To this end I also found out that the next phase of the EK Active Travel Network will go all the way to the park with potential for a new pedestrian / cycle bridge over the river to avoid the existing narrow footpaths. In response to a community walk about I joined at Stoneymeadow woods, just over the Expressway from Calderglen Park, the council said they are looking at this area and many of the other shelter belt trees planted as part of the new town landscape with the aim to expand South Lanarkshire’s tree canopy by planting 18 million trees.
Improving local facilities: We thoroughly enjoyed the reopening of Hazelhead play park (see photo) after our long fought campaign after all the equipment was removed without meaningful consultation. I’d like to thank everyone involved in the campaign and the council who then agreed to replacing it and got on with the work. The sound of children laughing and playing with their friends and families makes it all worthwhile. Residents asked me to look into the underused rugby pitch next to St Leonards Primary school and I just heard today that the council will look into this as part of their forthcoming pitch review strategy to see how the community could get more benefit from this asset.
Visits and meetings: I attended St Leonard’s Parent Council, St Leonard’s Community Council AGM, Calderglen High Parent Council, St Leonard’s and the EK Fairtrade Group Christmas Fairs and Long Calderwood Parent Council. I also met the new head of Hunter Primary to discuss all things play, MUGAs and safe routes to school. And I dropped in to a moving Calderglen High Armistice Day event on 11th November which as well as remembering, emphasised the importance of working for peace.
I attended briefings on South Lanarkshire’s waste issues and area wide carbon emissions. I went along to support the first meeting of the Pan Lanarkshire Communities Climate Action Network and learned lots at the Lanarkshire Energy Conference. Finally, I enjoyed the first meeting of the South Lanarkshire Cycling partnership and was delighted to welcome the South Lanarkshire Youth Sustainability Forum to speak at the council’s climate committee. It was so inspiring but a reminder to me that we have a narrow window of opportunity and as the decision makers now, councillors must act with ambition now to protect generations to come.
I don’t have regular surgeries to leave more time for community action on the ground but if you ever need to get me, I can meet when it is convenient for you – face to face, walking meeting, coffee shop or in a community hall, telephone or online. Contact me or for more information visit the South Lanarkshire Council Councillor’s webpage.