Colinton wins battle against proposed split

Councillor Jason Rust, second from left, joined other community campaigners to block the changes. Picture: Lesley Martin

Councillor Jason Rust, second from left, joined other community campaigners to block the changes. Picture: Lesley Martin

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CAMPAIGNERS have won their battle against controversial boundary changes which would have taken Colinton Parish Church, Colinton Cemetery and Colinton War Memorial out of Colinton.

Protests over the plans – part of a revamp of wards for next year’s city council elections – prompted a rethink by the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland, which has now submitted revised proposals as its final recommendations to ministers.

The boundary changes are part of a shake-up which will see the number of councillors in the Capital increased from 58 to 63.

The commission originally proposed dividing Colinton in two, with key landmarks such as the church, the cemetery, the war memorial and the Robert Louis Stevenson statue all ­relocated from the Colinton/Fairmilehead ward into next-door Pentland Hills.

Local groups united to oppose the changes. The commission received a 117-name petition against the Colinton proposal and a total of 299 responses about its Edinburgh plans, almost all of them focusing on Colinton.

The community council claimed the revamp would divide a natural neighbourhood and said locals were “shocked and dismayed at this proposal to split their community apart”.

Colinton Amenity Association said Colinton had been an identifiable community for 900 years and warned that ties to “all manner of community functions” would be broken if the changes were approved.

Colinton councillor Jason Rust and former Lord Provost Eric Milligan, who has lived in the area for 40 years, were among others voicing their opposition.

The revised proposals, keeping all of Colinton together in Colinton/Fairmilehead ward, has knock-on effects on the boundary changes for some adjoining wards. The top criteria in the revamp was to have an equal number of electors in each ward. The final recommendations are expected to be approved by ministers, but not for a few weeks.

Cllr Rust, who has represented Colinton for 11 years, said: “I am absolutely delighted the commissioners have recommended that all of Colinton remains within the one ward.

“There was a fantastically energetic community campaign supported by local groups and community councils and this is a vindication of all the local representations made.

“This was about keeping a community together and is an outcome for common sense.

“People do matter as well as numbers and the commissioners were clear in their report that retaining the Hailes and Spylaw area in Colinton was a key theme in the submissions made. It is a proud day for Colinton and I trust the recommendations will be upheld.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com