£500k makeover to breathe new life into neglected area

The Calder is said to need 'all the TLC it can get'. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The Calder is said to need 'all the TLC it can get'. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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ONE of Edinburgh’s “neglected” neighbourhoods is set for a £500,000 makeover aimed at breathing new life into the district.

The city is tendering for contractors to revamp street and landscapes at The Calders in Wester Hailes – an area described as needing “all the TLC it can get” – and the work will include improving pavements, fencing, boundary walls and installing a new children’s play area.

It comes almost one year since a high-profile police crackdown on low-level drug dealers as part of Operation Cipher which also saw authorities engage with the community to combat parking problems, antisocial behaviour and youth disorder.

The revamp project will concentrate on surface improvements such as tree 
planting, weeding and grass seeding alongside some drainage and road repairs, as well as a “multi-use games area” for children.

Work is set to start in November and is expected to be completed by spring 2014.

John Aitchison, chairman of Wester Hailes Community Council which includes the Calders, said the investment was “badly needed” in an area that had seen a recent spurt of community activism.

“I’ve seen the Calders when it was a good place [to be] and how it’s deteriorated,” he said. “Now it’s being revitalised so it’s money well spent.

“It will improve the health and wellbeing of everyone who lives here and put a smile on their face which is the most important thing.

“It gives them a reason to live there and be proud of their area.”

Vice-chair Anne Denholm echoed this view and said: “The Calders has been neglected for quite a few years if you ask people round here.”

Councillor Denis Dixon, who represents Sighthill and Gorgie at City Chambers, said it was a “positive” investment but questioned how far the money would stretch.

“It’s a lot of money but in todays world you don’t get a lot of bang for your buck.” And he added: “Our area needs all the TLC it can get. How far this budget can be spread is the other part of it but it’s good news for the 
Calders.”

Councillor Cammy Day, vice-convener of Housing, said: “After consultation with the local community, environmental improvement works have been planned for the Calders Estate. This will include landscaping to help improve the appearance of the area and the creation of an accessible space for outdoor activities.

“I look forward to seeing the real benefits that it will bring to local residents.”

david.mccann@jpress.co.uk