The Great Divide: Capital’s Craiglockhart is Scotland’s best area but Niddrie one of nation’s most deprived

Linda Swan and David Fulton with Danielle, Cherelle,  Colette  and Jamie Lee
Linda Swan and David Fulton with Danielle, Cherelle, Colette and Jamie Lee
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AN area of Craiglockhart has been named as the top neighbourhood to live in Scotland while, just a few miles away, part of Niddrie is ranked among the most deprived.

The lifestyle gulf between the two sides of life in the Capital is mapped out in the latest statistics on inequality across the country.

But the latest Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation shows Edinburgh now has fewer of Scotland’s poorest communities, suggesting there has been some success in tackling the most acute need in the city.

The apparent trend was welcomed today, but there were also warnings more needs to be done to tackle pockets of poverty in Edinburgh, which is likely to worsen with planned benefit reforms.

Data from the index is published by the Scottish Government’s chief statistician and used to drive future funding towards those areas in most need of support.

The index divides the country up into more than 6500 small areas of population or “datazones”.

The ranking is not decided just by wealth, but also takes into account factors such as health, crime, education and employment.

The least deprived area in the whole of Scotland is a neighbourhood of 1775 people on a short stretch of Colinton Road, Colinton Grove, Lockharton Avenue and Crescent, Meggetland Terrace and Meggetland Wynd. They come top of the overall rankings.

The majority of the most deprived areas, as shown by the index, are in Glasgow, Paisley and North Lanarkshire. .

But an area of Niddrie – a neighbourhood of 824 people living around Niddrie House Avenue – emerged as the most deprived community in the city and the 40th most deprived in Scotland.

Overall, Edinburgh’s tally of datazones featuring among the 15 per cent of the most deprived parts of Scotland has fallen from 60 to 54 since the last index was published in 2009. Glasgow and Aberdeen also saw a fall in their share of Scotland’s poorest areas. City council leader Andrew Burns, whose own ward includes Craiglockhart, welcomed the reduction, but said the council was working with the health board and other agencies to do all it could to try to eradicate deprivation even further.

He said: “The overall picture for the city is of a gradual reduction in the number of areas experiencing the worst poverty in Scotland. Despite this, there is still a number of persistently deprived neighbourhoods.

“We must remember that behind every statistic is a family and even a single family living in poverty is one too many.

“We can’t afford to be complacent.

“Along with our city partners, our vision for Edinburgh is one of a thriving, successful and sustainable capital city in which all forms of deprivation and inequality are reduced.”

He said he was not surprised that Craiglockhart had the most affluent neighbourhood in Scotland and pointed out his ward also stretched right into Tollcross and Fountainbridge.

But Green councillor Gavin Corbett, who also represents Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart, said he was surprised at the index findings.

He said: “There are certainly some large houses and obvious affluence in Craiglockhart, but also plenty of examples of local residents with pretty ordinary jobs like teachers or social workers. Right next door are Oxgangs and Hutchison which certainly are not home to 

“I suppose that is one of the great features of Edinburgh – people from very different backgrounds living close by each other. It is striking how many things they have in common for all the differences – concern about green space, worries about excess traffic, and an appetite to protect valued community services and shops.”

Leading anti-poverty campaigner John Mulvey, who is chairman of the Granton Information Centre, said he believed inequality within Edinburgh was worse than in many parts of the country. He said: “You have the people who work in financial services and the like – they are not worried about paying the next electricity bill. And at the other end you have single mothers having to make decisions about whether to pay the electricity bill or buy food.”

He was also sceptical about how much could be done by the council or other agencies. He said: “I don’t think with the best will in the world there is a lot that can be done at local level. The best way to change these things is by national programme. Gordon Brown, when he was Chancellor, did one or two things that started to narrow the gap but he didn’t stick to it, presumably under pressure from other interests.”

Mike Bridgman, SNP councillor for Portobello/Craigmillar, which includes Niddrie, said: “There are pockets of deprivation everywhere and we have to work hard to change that. The council coalition is trying to eradicate the problem.

“There is no reason in this day and age why anyone should be living in any form of deprivation. The welfare reforms are only going to make things worse.”

Most deprived

Niddrie (Niddrie House Avenue)

Moredun (Craigour Green and Place)


Muirhouse (Parkway, View & Grove)

Waterfront & Granton (Granton Medway to Wardieburn Place West)

Greendykes & Niddrie Main

Clovenstone & Dumbryden (Murrayburn Gardens, Park & Green)

Niddrie Marischal Gardens and Place

Granton (Granton Park Ave, West Granton Road, Royston Mains Road)

Restalrig & Lochend (Lochend Road South, Lochend Gdns, Sleigh Drive)

Least deprived

Craiglockhart (Colinton Road, Lockharton Avenue, Meggetland)

Morningside (Braid Road, Crescent & Ave, Hermitage Gdns, Corrennie Gdns)

Blackhall (Hillside Road, Columba Road, Forthview Terr, Gardiner Rd & Grove)

Blackhall (March Road & Gait, Carfrae Gardens & Park, Hillpark Terr & Grove)

Stockbridge (Ann St, Lennox St, Eton Terr, Oxford Terr, Dean Park Crescent)

Morningside (Cluny Drive, Gdns & Ave, Nile Grove)

Colinton & Kingsknowe (Westgarth Ave, Redford Dr, Ave, Terr, Cres & Loan)

Trinity (Trinity Rd, Spencer Place, East Trinity Rd, Russell Pl, Clark Rd, Bangholm)

‘Parents and children need support’

Niddrie Marischal Drive

THEIR Niddrie neighbourhood may rank as the most deprived in Edinburgh but, for Linda Swan and David Fulton, it also has strengths which city leaders are failing to capitalise on.

The couple – who live in Niddrie Marischal Drive with their children, Danielle, 18, Cherelle, 17, Colette, 14, and granddaughter Jamie Lee, three – admit the area has social problems that need to be addressed.

Linda, 52, said: “There are parts where people are out of work and it does seem to be the case that if someone in the city needs a house and they have some sort of problem, they just get stuck in here.

“You do see people going to the chemists and waiting to pick up their methadone, or something like that. I think a lot more needs to be done to support local parents and provide places for kids to go to stop them going off the rails.

“Things like mobile football pitches, which get taken to young people in Niddrie and Craigmillar, really help.”

Motor mechanic David, 53, agreed. He said: “We have a fantastic wee community down here but there isn’t enough for youngsters and I just do not think councillors listen to what we really want. There’s the situation with Castlebrae High. That school does adult learning classes and has the children and families sessions, where parents go to learn and there’s a crèche for kids. Why do they want to close it?”

‘It’s a great area with many facilities’


THE Frains – IT manager Jamie, wife Suzy and their teenage children, Madison and Conrad – have lived in Meggetland for nearly two decades.

They are not surprised the area has scored so highly in the Scottish Government’s affluence index and said this was due to the excellent quality of life on offer.

Suzy, 54, said: “It’s a great area. The councillors try to do as much for you as possible. Then you have facilities like Meggetland Pavilion and Craiglockhart Sports Centre.

“There are lots of playing areas round about that are really close. You can walk into town by the canal and then you have cycle paths going the other way.

“The schools here are excellent. Craiglockhart Primary has a great reputation and Firrhill and Boroughmuir secondaries are also very good.”

Jamie, 50, said the combination of high-achieving schools, good housing and a thriving community of locally-run, independent businesses had helped attract a growing population of well-qualified, high-earning professionals.

“When houses are on the market, they tend to sell quickly, which is a good sign,” he said. “People here aren’t swimming in wealth, but I don’t know of anyone who’s unemployed.”

For Conrad, 15, and Madison, 16, it’s the community spirit in their neighbourhood that makes it special.

“Everyone knows everyone and everyone is friendly,” said Conrad.