Greens urge Council to hand powers to communities

Edinburgh should shrug off its “we know best” culture and prepare itself for a massive transfer of power from politicians to communities over the next five years.  

That’s the message from Green councillors as the Council prepares to agree its position on flagship legislation on community empowerment this week.

The Scottish Government is planning a major Bill on community empowerment and renewal over the next year.  At the full Council this week, the Council is preparing to sign off its submission to that Bill.  However, Greens have been critical of some aspects of the response, and so have sought to have it cleared by full Council before being submitted.

Among the improvement Greens are seeking to the Council submission are:

– Strengthening the way the planning system captures community aspirations for development in their neighbourhoods;

– Giving community councils a distinctive and meaningful role for the good of community democracy;

– A critical review at how well the city manages common good property;

– Greater vision on how communities can be given the resources to run local facilities.  

Green councillor, Maggie Chapman said:

“This could be a unique time for local democracy.  Here in Edinburgh, the Council says it wants to be a co-operative Council.  Nationally, the Scottish Government says it wants to open up new opportunities for community groups to own assets and have a meaningful say on what happens where they live.

“I believe the City Council needs to seize that agenda with both hands.  It needs to shrug off “we know best” attitudes and put communities in the driving seat, with support and guidance to allow them to prosper.

“Over the next five years, there are unprecedented opportunities – in the homes we build and the schools we run, in our local shopping areas, in our leisure facilities and our parks and green space – to transform how Edinburgh is run.  We must return power to where it belongs: in the hands of our citizens.”

On 27 September, Edinburgh Greens will host a public meeting entitled “Community Empowerment: opportunities for Edinburgh – 7.30pm at the Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace.