'Forgotten' villagers fight for attention

A CAMPAIGN has been launched by villagers in the "forgotten village" of Kirkliston who claim they are being constantly neglected by Edinburgh council chiefs.

Although the village falls within the Capital's boundaries, they say they are deprived of the services most city residents enjoy.

Their grievances include the absence of a service by Lothian Buses, meaning they must pay 5 for a return ticket to Edinburgh. They argue that areas outwith Edinburgh are served by the company, allowing passengers to enjoy a cheaper 2.40 ticket, including Gorebridge in Midlothian.

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Steve Lee, chairman of Kirkliston Community Council, said: "We feel neglected – Edinburgh should be able to offer us a lot, but we get the thin edge of the wedge.

"When it comes to Lothian Buses – if they offered a service it would be really popular."

More than 80 people turned out to a public meeting in the village at the end of last month to share views on the main problems residents feel they face.

Another meeting has been scheduled for the end of May, giving senior authority members a chance to attend and address the community's concerns. Among them is the closure of city council offices in the village, seeing them move into the library.

Mr Lee said: "It just doesn't make sense, especially considering there are plans to build 700 new houses in the area.

"Not only will the closure mean the library space will be reduced, but the population of the village will increase and there won't be the facilities."

Noise and mess generated by the hundreds of HGVs that travel through the village every day – often from as early as 4:30am – to the housing construction site is also angering residents, who believe the council should be doing more to monitor the traffic by installing cameras and speed bumps.

Further concerns centre on plans to build a construction site for the new Forth replacement crossing near the village, sparking fears of even worse traffic.

Mr Lee said: "The complex can only mean more lorries and more mess for the village."

A spokeswoman for the city council said the decision to close the local authority office would mean the library will now serve as a "one-stop-shop" for all advice and information.

She said: "The same range of council services will still be available in the library.

"We have been working hard over the past few years to deliver the best possible services to this community. We understand that there are areas of concern and we are committed to working with local residents to support them through these changes."

Lothian Buses said it would not consider operating a service to the village.

A spokesman said: "For us to be able to run a service to Kirkliston we would need to be confident that such a service would be commercially viable.

"As things stand, we do not believe that such a service would generate sufficient revenue."

• www.kirklistoncc.btik.com