War breaks out at sheltered accommodation


Priscilla Cairns (Left) and Betty Mitchell (right) survey the damage

By Cara Sulieman

ACCUSATIONS of election rigging were just the start of what has become a power struggle between two different factions at a sheltered accommodation complex.

Now a police investigation has been launched into vandalism at the centre as tensions start to run high between the old rage pensioners.

It is understood that a long-running dispute between different cliques at the Calder Gardens accommodation in Sighthill, Edinburgh has led to the communal pool table being vandalised.

And it is not the first time the table was targeted – a previous incident saw all the balls being stolen.

“Inside job”

Several residents suspect that the fresh wave of vandalism is “an inside job” and just the latest incident in a feud that started with the election of a new residents committee in March.

The pool table was donated to resident Elizabeth Mitchell, 75, by local taxi firm and has been a popular addition to the community hall ever since.

Elizabeth’s daughter, also Elizabeth Mitchell, 45, said: “It was something that a lot of the relatives liked to play when they came round on Fridays, particularly the youngsters and it was well used by residents too.

“We called the police, although it looks like someone at the complex did it. It’s just so unfair. A few people are causing problems for everyone else, but this kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable.”

“Out of order”

Priscilla Cairns, 54, has been a resident at the complex for five years and claimed that most of the problems had been caused by the new committee who she described as “a new law unto themselves”.

She added: “It is completely out of order now, and no-one was particularly happy with the elections because it was all arranged in advance so they would win.

“Since then they have just been unbearable. They refused permission for one resident to have a 75th birthday party in the hall because it was bingo night, but they’ve cancelled a bingo night later in the year for their Christmas party.

“The incident with the pool table is just the final straw. We don’t know who has damaged it, but there’s no sign of a break-in so it must have been a resident, or someone else with a key.”


Elizabeth Hitchin, who runs Picturesque Party Plan in Glenrothes, has been holding events in the hall for 15 years but was recently told she had to cancel her annual Christmas party.

She now plans to put in an official complaint to Edinburgh City Council about the running of the hall.

She said: “It is really shocking what has happened there. It used to be a real fun, happy wee community, but recently I’ve found that people are almost scared to go into the hall.

“It’s like they’re being bullied. It needs to be sorted.”


The complex is run by the council, and a spokesman for them said that they were trying to resolve the issues between the residents.

He said: “As with any group of people living together, differences can arise and we are working with the residents to solve them.”

A police spokesman said: “Inquiries are ongoing to locate those responsible.”

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