A Better Balerno. Community Consultation.

An update on the Balerno Village Trust’s community consultation from Molly Brown, Community Enterprise.

Community Enterprise

A Better Balerno – news on Balerno’s Community Consultation

Thank you to all 423 of you who participated in BVT’s on-line survey in 2015! A second stage of consultation is now underway, starting with the Balerno Community Council’s background paper, which arrived through doors in June 2016.

As you may know, Harlaw Hydro will be investing profits into a community benefit fund. Balerno Village Trust wants your help creating a plan for how we should invest in our village. But we don’t want to stop at the Hydro profit – we want to bring more money into the community to make Balerno a better place to live, work, and visit.

Community Enterprise is now working with BVT and the Community Council to build on the responses we’ve already received to generate discussion, ideas and priorities for the village. Community Enterprise’s role is to “work with ideas generated at community level to help make them happen”. The Community Enterprise team will be chatting to as many people as possible over the next couple of months, so please come along to the Open Meeting on Wednesday 31st August, and look out for other drop-ins, interviews and meetings.

Open Meeting: 7.30 – 9pm
(and for those that can’t make it an optional Drop-in from 5-6pm)

St Joseph’s Hall, Balerno Parish Church

Refreshments will be provided

If you can’t make the meeting, Community Enterprise will also be at the Farmers’ Market on the 10th September – drop by to share your views.

Village Consultation. Wednesday 31st October.In the meantime, here’s a summary of the responses to our on-line Community Consultation survey completed by 423 people in 2015.

Top three things about living or working in Balerno:

Location and community spirit both topped the list by a long way, with recreational opportunities coming in lower on third place.

Least popular things about living or working in Balerno:

Top of the list were: lack of basic facilities (banking, health services etc), choice of shops and social meeting places, lack of employment opportunities, and parks and sports facilities. Traffic management also attracted dissatisfaction.

We asked for suggestions on what would make Balerno a better place to live and work. The answers are summarised here:

* A more vibrant Main Street, including a better variety of shops, family-friendly and attractive pubs restaurants and meeting places.

* Lack of vibrancy related to disappearance and lack of amenities and services, eg the bank closure, lack of health services in the centre, lack of public toilets etc.

* Cleaner, better kept streets, with concerns around litter, lack of bins and recyling services.

* Better kept public areas, including planting in the village centre and grass-cutting.

* More play park provision for the village for example swings in the park.

* Public transport links, particularly to the West, eg Livingstone and Kirknewton, and places of employment eg the Gyle and other parts of Edinburgh.

* Traffic issues, including speeding, lack of pedestrian crossings, and congestion on Bridge Road at peak times.

* Better sports facilities, and publicity about what facilities are available, and what’s on in the village centre, would encourage people to use village facilities more.

Using Balerno’s facilities and opportunities:

The results show that many people make the most of the facilities the village and its surroundings offer. 90% of them walk or run regularly in the countryside, and over 40% cycle locally.

On the whole, people use the village centre a quite a lot, with nearly everyone visiting the village centre at least monthly, and over two thirds at least once a week. Around half regularly visit the pubs, cafes or social places in the village centre, and a third visit the Farmers Market. Around two thirds go regularly to clubs, community groups or churches in the village.

Community Walled Garden at Ravelrig:

Over 60% responded with interest to the project to redevelop a walled garden in Ravelrig into a community garden, primarily wanting to be involved in the garden socially, and keen that their children should access it to learn to grow food etc. A sizable group were also interested to grow food there themselves, either in groups as a community, or in their own space.

Where do you get your local news from?

The most popular sources of local information by far are word of mouth and C&B News, with Konnekt magazine following. Around half the respondents mentioned community noticeboards, followed by email, Facebook, websites and twitter in descending order.

Who are the people who responded to the on-line survey?

Not everyone answered these questions, but from the half that did, the biggest group were in their 40s, followed by the over 60s, with about a sixth being in their 30s and 50s. Very few young people participated. Lots of people who answered have young children and a slightly smaller group have children over 11. The vast majority live in Balerno and work or study elsewhere, but a quarter of those who responded to this question work from home. Only 12% work or study locally.