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In May 2017, when I step down from the City of Edinburgh Council, I will have worked as a councillor for 33 years. During this time I have stood and been elected in eight local council elections, serving under several different administrations and holding a variety of roles, from Leader of the Council to Lord Provost.

Times have changed a great deal since I was first elected to the Telford ward in 1984 – both in Edinburgh and further afield. Back then, the capital’s population was in decline, several gap sites were in real need of development and countrywide unemployment was at a record high.

Since then, we have seen a rise in affordable homes, investment in the regeneration of some of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas, not to mention top-quality developments and an increasingly talented workforce alongside an integrated transport system and world-class cultural offering.

Convener of Transport & Environment – Lesley Hinds
Convener of Transport & Environment – Lesley Hinds

In Edinburgh, we have launched the world-famous Hogmanay Street Party, witnessed the first sitting of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 272 years and seen a World Heritage Site established. What’s more, unemployment is at an all time low and more people than ever are choosing to live here – almost half a million compared to 425,000 33 years ago.

So just think what could change over the next 33 years. As I prepare to retire from service, I look forward to the next generation of change-makers taking over and helping to shape the city’s future, with the help of residents.

I’ve worked on so many worthwhile projects during my time in office, from collaborating with the anti-apartheid movement, erecting the Woman and Child statue in Festival Square and naming the Mandela Room in the City Chambers, to marching the city as part of Make Poverty History. Locally, I have championed regeneration, building community centres, libraries and local art projects in areas like Drylaw and Muirhouse and new and improved housing city-wide.

As Transport and Environment Convener, I have engaged in some of the city’s most controversial issues, overseeing an annual increase in the city’s cycling spend (now 9% of our transport budget), a continuous rise in recycling and a flourishing publicly-owned bus service in Lothian Buses. And, love it or loathe it, I am proud to have seen the completion and subsequent success of the tram project as transport leader.

For the last 40 years I have called Edinburgh my home. I have raised three children here, made friends for life, and look forward to many more years spent living in the capital.

I know things are bound to change over the coming decades. Right now we’re at a fork in the road for local government – one way could take us toward increased devolution, where we can address local issues in our own way. The other leads to the centralisation of power, where Edinburgh’s residents will be denied any real influence.

For me, I want the former scenario to play out over the next 33 years. I want people to be able to live, shop and socialise in thriving local communities, with effective and well-thought out transport infrastructure, good public and active travel opportunities and efficient recycling services.

My Edinburgh Vision is a capital that continues to flourish and regenerate, for the gap between rich and poor to narrow and for an inclusive society in 2050.

Have your say on Edinburgh City Vision 2050 here

TER Leith to Portobello path 231012 8

1 COMMENT

  1. The two points in particular are cringe-worthy:
    1. “And, love it or loathe it, I am proud to have seen the completion and subsequent success of the tram project as transport leader.” But not proud of the years of incompetence and fiasco leading up the the completion (well, based on the original plan it’s only half complete).
    2. “…one way could take us toward increased devolution, where we can address local issues in our own way. The other leads to the centralisation of power, where Edinburgh’s residents will be denied any real influence.” Matters incl. Canonmills Bridge, the Royal High School and Caltongate / Waverleygate / Carbunclegate suggest Edinburgh’s citizens are already denied of ‘any real influence’.
    It’s difficult to be positive about about anything Ms. Hinds has done other than her announcement of departure.
    Of course she has filled a role and certainly there has been much good done. But she is part of a council that in its myopic vision to turn Edinburgh into some sort of shopping / festival mecca (I mean, TK Maxx on St. Andrew Square…the Royal High School… the ‘Turd’ hotel?. These should never even have reached the discussion point. The Council – and though possibly not Ms. Hinds jurisdiction – should get the city centre rubbish problem sorted first. Then look at how to make existing business areas successful before introducing yet more underwhelming new chains. The West End Village, for example is a jewel that is ignored and dying because Princes St. seems to only extend from The Apple Store in the east, to Frasers in the West End. Well, what’s left of the West End thanks to those years of criminally incompetence management of the trams project.
    But enough….

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