Edinburgh's Eye Pavilion: Councillors (finally) realised they must ditch party politics over replacement – Steve Cardownie

I tuned into the full council meeting last Thursday particularly to see how the debate on the replacement Eye Pavilion went.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 4:45 pm
Edinburgh councillors have united across party lines to call for a replacement for the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion (Picture: Greg Macvean)
Edinburgh councillors have united across party lines to call for a replacement for the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion (Picture: Greg Macvean)

At the outset, although all parties agreed that a new facility should be built in Edinburgh to replace the old building, conflicting motions had been submitted for debate.

Much was made about the Scottish government’s abandonment of its commitment to build a new facility in the city in favour of dispersing eye treatment services throughout the Lothians, primarily to St John’s in Livingston.

And for some within the SNP councillor cohort, it undoubtedly made for uncomfortable listening. To their credit, however, many of the supporting contributions came from SNP councillors some of whom recounted personal experiences to back up their case for the eye services to remain in the city.

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Edinburgh's Eye Pavilion: council unites to throw its weight behind demand for n...

During the debate, it belatedly dawned on councillors that a united approach to the government was likely to have a greater effect than a fragmented one and a five-minute recess was called for in an effort to get unanimous support for a combined motion – which was eventually achieved.

Full marks to Councillor Lezley Cameron for intervening and calling for the recess as the respective group leaders appeared to be asleep at the wheel at that point.

So now a letter will be sent to the Scottish government by the city council on behalf of the Edinburgh public which will be signed by all group leaders on the council.

At least the letter it will demonstrate that all parties represented want to see a replacement built in Edinburgh – whether or not it will have any effect is another matter.

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