Eric Milligan warns against break-up of Colinton

Councillor Eric Milligan. Picture: Alan Rennie
Councillor Eric Milligan. Picture: Alan Rennie
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FORMER Lord Provost Eric Milligan has thrown his weight behind the campaign to stop boundary changes which would take Colinton’s most famous landmarks out of the village.

Proposals to redraw the city’s map ahead of the 2017 council elections would see Colinton Parish Church, Colinton cemetery, the war memorial and the Robert Louis Stevenson statue relocated from Colinton/
Fairmilehead ward into next-door Pentland Hills.

Local groups have united to oppose the plans put forward by the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland.

Now Councillor Milligan, who has lived in the area for 40 years, has also spoken out against the changes and lodged an official objection.

In his letter to the commission, he criticised the plan to alter the boundary of Colinton from the present Lanark Road to the line of the Water of Leith.

He wrote: “The Water of Leith is not the boundary of the Colinton village, it is the central artery that has pumped life and energy into Colinton.

“To use the river as the boundary as it weaves its way through Colinton Dell seems to me just as perverse as using the High Street, the very spine of old Edinburgh, to divide the Old Town.”

He noted the city council had officially asked for the Colinton proposals to be reviewed.

“You will also have received representations from the present elected members, from local organisations and from many individual local residents. I wish to put on public record my own view and add my voice to those who oppose the proposed change, believing that there must be another way to achieve electoral parity without plucking Hailes and Spylaw out from Colinton Village.”

The boundary changes are part of a shake-up which will see the number of councillors in the city increased from 58 to 63. Several wards will simply elect four members instead of three. Cllr Milligan said he did not see why the same solution could not be used in Colinton, rather than altering the boundaries.

He continued: “History does matter. Hailes was the original name for Colinton. Its name was first recorded in 1095 when Ethelred son of Malcolm Canmore gave the lands to Dunfermline Abbey. Hailes Kirk was the original name of Colinton Parish Church until comparatively modern times.”

And he pointed out Lord Hailes was the first Lord Provost of Edinburgh back in 1487.

Jason Rust, Conservative councillor for Colinton/Fairmilehead, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Eric Milligan is supporting the 
community-led campaign.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com