NTBCC minutes – Monday 12 September 2016

Minutes of New Town and Broughton Community Council, Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s Church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 12 September 2016

1. Attendance and apologies for absence

1.2 Present

Community Councillors

Ian Mowat (chair)                    NTBCC

Stephen Hajducki                    NTBCC

Chris Collins                             NTBCC

Judy Conn                                 NTBCC

Claire Miller                             NTBCC

Jack Hugh                                NTBCC

Richard Price                           NTBCC

Christine Ross                         NTBCC

Alan Welsh                               NTBCC

Iain McGill                               NTBCC

Jonathan Finn                         NTBCC

Carol Nimmo                           NTBCC

CEC Councillors

Cllr Joanna Mowat                 City Centre Ward

Cllr Lesley Hinds                     Inverletih Ward

Police

PC Chris Green

PC Paul Rich

Broughton Spurtle

Alan McIntosh

John McLean

Residents

Stephen Nisbet

Dorothy Hogg

Roddy Stewart Meiklejohn

Marion Williams - Director, The Cockburn Association

1.2       Apologies

Audrey Cavaye, Susannah Beaumont, Lewis Press, Alan Jack, Cllr Marion Donaldson. Ruth Davidson MSP, Ben MacPherson MSP,
2          Minutes of Meeting of 1 August 2016 and matters arising

Agreed (R Price / C Miller) subject to minor amendments (to be recirculated).

3           Police

PC Chris Green and PC Paul Rich attended. They reported 300 crimes in the city centre during the period 1-31 August 2016, around 50 per cent solved – although many of those were apprehended at the time. In our particular area, known to them as “22 Beat”, there were 4 business break-ins, none solved as yet (forensics working on one), 3 domestic break-ins (one solved, two not), 2 break-ins to motor vehicles (neither solved), two thefts to cars (one solved, one not). One assault and robbery (unsolved).

At the previous meeting the police had been asked to follow up questions raised about cycling on pavements. The police reported that they were in discussion with SPOKES to launch an initiative on that topic.

There was some discussion of the introduction of the 20mph limit.

·         There was uncertainty as to whether the new 20mph limit would include cycles or not – the police thought it did, a contributor from the floor contradicted them with apparent authority.

·         Training of more officers in the use of handheld radar guns will take place after the reorganisation of community police forces in Edinburgh on 17 October.

·         No map of affected streets had been supplied, though promised at the previous meeting.

Councillor Hinds arrived at this point in the meeting.

4           J.C. Decaux

Suzanne Williamson attended to explain J.C. Decaux’s proposals for Bus Shelters and “Community Information Panels” (CIPs) in George Street. The company was proposing to install 5 of the former, 4 of the latter. CIPs had a purely advertising function and included a digital side which could be used, she said, to advertise community events for approximately 1/12th of the time. There were previously 12 bus shelters on George Street.

Princes Street already has J.C. Decaux digital shelters – a flagship scheme for the company, the first of its kind in any of its worldwide operation. She claimed that the shelters were popular and successful.

In discussion and under questioning the following points were made:

·         There is no clarity as to how the proposed community information function would work on the Community Information Panels. Who would control content? How much time would actually be available to organizations such as NTBCC? Ms. Williamson said this was still for discussion with the Council and J.C. Decaux would feed views in. Political and other controversial content would be rigorously excluded.

·         The design for bus shelters provided little shelter from wind and rain – priority had been given to the advertising function. Norman Foster had been involved in the design.

·         Bus tracking information within the shelters was far less easily seen by bus users than when provided on poles. Ms. Williamson said there was nothing in the plans to prevent poles continuing to be used in addition to tracking screens.

·         JCD self-scrutinised proposals for content prior to submission for council approval. Material that might distract drivers (e.g. all-moving displays) would not be appearing.

·         Several members of the committee made the point that the proposals appeared at odds with newly-agreed design principles for George Street, which had stressed the need to de-clutter the street. JCD asserted the George Street plan had not been approved, but Marion Williams contradicted her explaining that the design principles had been approved.

·         A previous application for CIPs had been rejected by CEC, Richard Price suggested. Ms. Williamson said in fact the proposals had been withdrawn for further consultation with interested parties. The CIPs now suggested were around 2m high, not 3m. The new plans were significantly more sympathetic to the WHS, she claimed.

Ian Mowat called for a show of hands on the proposals. CIPs attracted no support whatever, not a single vote. Around 1/3 of those present supported the bus shelter proposal, 2/3 opposed.

Ms. Williamson was thanked for her presentation and left the meeting.

 

5           Councillor Lesley Hinds

Councillor Hinds attended the meeting without an official, who had mistaken the time of the event. She handed out a written presentation on the proposed parking changes in the New Town which is Annex A to these minutes and spoke to it.

Councillor Hinds produced a map of the proposed showing how the parking changes might be implemented in the Scotland Street area, which was examined by the Committee. She stressed that this was not the final option but simply an example of how the change of some pay and display bays to shared use bays might be carried out in practice.  Judy Conn indicated that the example took on board suggestion Fettes Row association had made.

There was some discussion of the timetable for introducing the proposals. Councillor Hinds said there was none at present. It would be done in one large TRO for each parking zone. Councillor Hinds made a commitment that council officials would consult with NTBCC about the detailed plans for shared use bays before the TROs were submitted for approval.

There was some discussion of communal bins, Councillor Hinds confirming that they should not be sited in share use bays.

Stephen Hajducki pointed out that shared use bays work well in Zone 1, where they have been in place since the tram works. He hoped that officials will not carry out plans to revert to the previous arrangements now the works are finished. He pointed out also that commercial permits now result in the occupation of perhaps 30 per cent of shared use bays by contractors working in permanent building site that is the city centre these days.

Carol Nimmo raised the issue of speeding in Regent Terrace. Councillor Hinds undertook to raise the question with officials.

Alan Welsh raised the issue of the single-yellow lines in Hamilton Place, which result in heavy parking outside restricted hours. Councillor Hinds agreed that double yellow lines would be more appropriate and undertook to discuss with officials.

Claire Miller asked about the ratio of spaces to permit holders. Councillor Mowat commented that she had historic figures and could ask for up-to-date information, if Claire would email her.

Councillor Hinds confirmed, in answer to a question from the chair, that there would be no net loss of resident spaces from the changes.

Judy Conn asked whether thought had been given to redrawing boundaries between Zones. From Councillor Hinds’ reaction, it was speedily concluded that the topic was a can of worms and discussion lapsed.

6           Planning

Richard Price explained that the RBS redevelopment proposal has not yet been submitted but is imminent, perhaps a day or two off. He described the meeting at G.V.A. Barr-Michael Laird at Forres Street at which a number of Planning Committee members had been briefed as to the state of the proposal. The plans had not evolved massively since the presentation in February – there were still eight blocks, of eight storeys - but what changes there had been seemed positive. The view down Dundonald Street was better protected, with the buildings stepped back, a response to representation from Historic Environment Scotland. One downside was that the easternmost block was now closer to the park.

Richard noted that it was denied outright by Barr-Laird that there had been any discussion with officials of adding a section of the car park to George V Park. Several of those present at the briefing felt this denial might have been disingenuous and that there might be negotiating leverage in this area.

Chris Collins asked Councillor Hinds her reaction to the suggestion made to us at the Barr-Laird briefing that council officials had pressed to increase the density of the development? She nodded dissent to this suggestion.

One questioner from the floor asked whether developers might not deliberately evade planning conditions by building out of conformity and then paying a fine. Councillor Mowat and Marion Williams both commented that such an outcome was hard to envisage in a development of this scale. Ms. Williams suggested that there was a danger that significant changes could be made to plans during the Approval of Matters ( AMC) process . She warned further that the whole process would need to be gone through again when proposals were submitted by the final developer.

It was agreed that monitoring the proposals coming out of the development would be a difficult task. Ian Mowat noted that powers existed to co-opt residents onto the Community Council where they had valuable expertise. Alan Welsh suggested that resident groups could help also.

There was some discussion as to whether NTBCC would be able to comment on the RBS application at the 10 October meeting if it comes very shortly after this meeting? Ian Mowat and Richard Price were confident that it would be able to, so no arrangements were made for an interim meeting before the next due. But Ian Mowat noted the concern and agreed to arrange a special meeting to consider the planning application between now and 10 October if the planning application was lodged in the next few days. This would be advertised on the NTBCC website.

There was some discussion of other planning issues.

·         Ian Mowat noted that the NTBCC had associated itself with the Cockburn Association in opposing the appeal by Duddingston Properties against the refusal of their hotel scheme for the   Royal High School. The appeal has been sisted at the request of Duddingston Properties on the basis that they were to lodge a new planning application for an amended hotel design.

·         Richard Price noted a presentation on the future of BHS in Princes Street, to take place 10-8 on 22 September 2016 at the George Hotel. The current 1960’s building is listed.

·         39-47 Albany Street: further applications to add a storey require attention, given the previous history of applications and enforcements. It was noted that council policy towards Mews development has changed.

·         Alan Welsh raised 37A Heriot Row where an application has been made to remove internal walls. There was discussion of how effective advertising of applications now is – ads being posted on lampposts often some distance from the property concerned and quickly torn down. Carol Nimmo suggested that notification of neighbours is now very restricted – 8 or 10m proximity, down from 50m.

7           Licensing

Jonathan Finn spoke to the following circulated paper:

Licensing Report - September 2016

New licences

Restaurant (D&F East) at 1 Forth Street - no alcohol licence applied for, so perhaps BYOB

Licence Variations

Oddbins, 5 Queensferry Street - applied to add tastings

Music Is Audible (i.e. residents’ complaints must be on the basis of nuisance rather than audibility)

We have been invited to the hearing on Monday, 26 September at 11.30am. I will attend if Stephen is unable to be there. I sent a brief summary of our concerns to all councillors on the Licensing Board before their previous meeting on 29 August. Councillor Milligan has since been making considerable efforts to accuse residents of being NIMBYs and claiming Edinburgh's licensing policy is out of date. I would not like to suggest that he seems keen to make friends in the licensing trade before his retirement.

Unfortunately, the public debate has focused wholly on live music, even though this forms a tiny part of the amplified music sector in the city.

We have been working in co-operation with Tollcross, Southside, Morningside, The Old Town, Stockbridge & Inverleith, Leith Links and Merchiston Community Councils to promote our concerns. In particular, there is concern that the consultation did not follow correct governance procedures by not involving community councils and then mis-representing the Forum's position.

Steve Gregory from Morningside CC wrote to Cllr Childs (who is responsible for promoting CCS) specifically to ask her to address these governance issues but she has responded to say she will not get involved as she does not share our view on opposing the new noise regulation. Personally, I do not think this is an acceptable position to take. I consider this to be a conflict of interest.

The proposal by the CCs above to raise our concerns that the correct procedures have not been followed is to write to the CEO of CEC. Does this seem to be a good idea? Does anyone have any better suggestion as to where we go next? Another option might be to meet Cllr Childs to persuade her that this is her role.

Discussion on Licensing

Discussion centred on the question of what to do about the governance issue – that the Licensing Forum had twice been misrepresented as supporting the proposals when it had minuted its opposition, and also the misleading claim that Community Councils had been consulted, however informally. In fact we had only learned what was under proposal from a Licensing Forum member.

Councillor Joanna Mowat suggested that Jonathan Finn should write to her setting out NTBCC’s concerns, which she would then forward to the Council’s monitory officer. He might also write directly to the Chief Executive. She did point out, however, that the semi-independent status of the Licensing Board might deprive the council of a locus standi in the matter.

Councillor Hinds also asked to be emailed by Jonathan Finn setting out his points. She would take it up also.

Carol Nimmo pointed out that residents have also been deprived of the chance to object. The many representations received in favour of the proposals seem to have been concerted, and notably lack content also – people writing simply to say they backed the plans, not explaining why.

It was pointed out that the proposals were consistently presented as creating opportunities for live music, even though their scope would be far wider, to cover all music however made. The rebuttal to this point was that no distinction could be drawn for enforcement purposes, but it was not clear why this should be so.

Iain Magill commented that there was a genuine desire to change from live musicians in Edinburgh.

8           Environment

Lewis Press was absent, but had sent an email raising two points  : this  has been  forwarded to Cllr. Hinds:

(a)     When will the reorganisation of waste collection, street cleaning, and environmental warden services be complete, and what plans does CEC have to inform the public and CCs of the new arrangements ?

(b)      It has been reported that the system for report and complaint handling cannot cope; often there is no response to a report, even when escalated to a complaint, and quite often the problem is wrongly recorded as having been "solved" on the online, customer-facing system. What measures are being taken to improve the working of the system (eg reducing the number of ways to make a complaint in favour of a single system - accessible via telephone or CEC website - for recording and dealing with reports and complaints)?  In my opinion it is wasteful of CEC personnel resources to have people running Twitter accounts etc dealing with waste problem reports. If the main reporting system reliably produced results, Councillors might also (hopefully?) receive fewer direct complaints from their constituents about these issues.

Councillor Hinds undertook to return to talk with us at the 10 October NTBCC meeting. She would discuss ‘black spots’ – places where communal bins needed moving for example. She invited residents to raise such questions with her directly.

9           Neighbourhood partnerships

No one attended so no discussion took place.

10           Edinburgh Association of Community Councils

Iain McGill attended the meeting. The merger of personal and social care was discussed at that meeting.

11           Activities of Local Street or Amenity Associations

No discussion.

12           AOB

There was brief discussion of Community Council election procedure. Leaflets were offered, but no hard copies of nomination forms were available. There was a link to the forms on the Community Council website and they were also available on the city of Edinburgh council website at the Community Council page. It was noted that 26 September was the last date for nominations and that no one could nominate more than one person.

The meeting closed at 9:35pm

 

Annex A – Written Presentation by Councillor Lesley Hinds

 

Increase residents spaces:

The aim of the review is to provide additional space for permit holders wherever there

is a demand for more space and to improve accessibility for those who need or choose

to visit the city centre.

These aims will primarily be achieved by creating, in the form of shared-use parking,

opportunities that can be utilised by a range of users, whether they are resident permit

holders, visitor permit holders or pay-and-display customers. Transferring other

restrictions to either permit space or shared-use will provide additional space that is

more flexible than the current distribution of permit and pay-and-display parking

places.

Most of the gains in parking spaces will come from transferring either pay-and-display

parking places or yellow lines to either permit or shared-use parking places.

While we understand the need for additional space for permit holders, the aim of

providing improved accessibility could not be achieved by simply introducing more

permit spaces. Shared-use has proven effective in the extended zones at providing

flexible parking provision, supporting both the needs of residents and visitors.

We also know from the design work that has already been carried out in other zones

that it is possible to achieve significant increases in shared-use space, as well as

increasing the number of permit holder parking places. We expect the same results

from other zones, although it is not possible to guarantee this.

Migration:

The original proposal was to include zones 5, 5a and 6, with controls operating on

both Saturday and Sunday. That proposal was dropped solely as a result of the level of

opposition from residents of those zones, primarily in response to comments that

suggested that there were no parking problems to warrant extending controls.

 

As the implementation of these aspects of the PAP moves forward we will develop a

monitoring strategy that will detail exactly how the impact of Sunday controls will be

measured. It is highly likely that one of the most useful forms of monitoring will be to

gauge the feedback that we receive in the form of correspondence from residents and

local Councillors.

 

Parking controls could, in the future, be extended to operate on both Saturdays and

Sundays in other areas, should it be possible to show that parking had migrated and

that there was therefore a policy justification for action to address that issue. The

process to bring in such changes is, however, quite lengthy and subject to public

consultation. That process, including consideration of potential opposition, would

mean that any solution could not be brought forward quickly.

Controlling the overall number of parking spaces available in central zones:

The preparatory work for the Parking Action Plan included parking surveys

conducted on selected streets across Zones 1 to 8 of the CPZ. There will also be data

available from ticket issuing machines and RingGo that would tell us how many

vehicles are parked on-street. There is no definitive indication across the entirety of

any single zone as to the number of vehicles that are parked on a daily basis.

We should, however, also remember that one of the main reasons for this process is to redress a current imbalance between permit holders and the space available to them. Beyond that aim the introduction of shared-use is not specifically intended to increase the number of vehicles parking in the city centre and, although there is a possibility that improved accessibility might encourage some to visit, no assumptions or predictions have been made about the impact of the PAP on the number of vehicles coming into the centre.

 

The Local Transport Strategy recognises that there are some trips that have to be

made by private transport. What the L TS sets out to do is to create a situation where

people are encouraged to utilise more environmentally friendly, more sustainable

forms of transport in preference to the private car. The rollout of shared-use parking is

more about keeping the city centre an attractive place to live, supporting residents and

their visitors, as well as accepting that there will continue to be people who choose,

for a variety of reasons, to visit the city centre by car. Managing demand is more

closely connected to the pricing strategy than it is to shared-use parking.

 

It is important to remember that the majority of space gains will be achieved by a

reduction in pay-and-display provision. The ability to increase parking provision is

limited by the layout of the streets themselves, so there is unlikely to be a huge

increase in space. It is also important to reiterate that any increase in space will, first

and foremost, be designed to benefit residents.

 

Even so, if the proposed changes do result in an overall increase in space, the demand

for and usage of any additional parking opportunities will be managed by parking

charges, with those charges themselves managed by the pricing policy. It is likely that

the attractiveness of driving into the city as a commuter will be reduced, but also that

any space that is available can be used by legitimate visitors, shoppers etc. These

visits are managed by payment and limitations on length of stay, creating turnover

that should mean that spaces are constantly becoming available. It is anticipated that

many long-stay users will be encouraged to use other forms of transport if they are no

longer able to park in the city centre.

Pricing Policy

The pricing policy will support the objectives within the LTS using permit charges

and pay-and-display charges.

 

For pay-and-display charges the aim will be to monitor parking demand and to adjust

parking charges to levels that encourage turnover and therefore maintain accessibility

to parking opportunities.

 

For permits, the policy will look at permit prices in the context of managing the

permit holder fleet, setting charges that encourage permit holders to carefully consider

their choice of vehicle, based primarily on the current emissions-based system.

 

These are measures that are designed to make users consider their choice of travel,

with an overall aim of promoting greener, more environmentally friendly options,

whether that is by walking, cycling or public transport, or by their choice of private

vehicle.

Sunday Provision

Initial discussions have taken place with Lothian Buses. Further discussions with

operators and Transport for Edinburgh will be required in order to determine what

improvements could be delivered in conjunction with Sunday parking controls.

Lothian Buses have already made some improvements to Sunday services, in response to rising passenger demand.

 Next Steps

The changes proposed to city centre restrictions are being brought forward as a

permanent change to the operation of the CPZ.

 

There are plans to involve CCs in the process. The shared-use design is being

conducted on an area basis, looking to provide improvements across each zone.

Scrutinising the design on a street by street basis is not advisable, simply because

many changes will be necessitated by the situation in the local area rather than in a

particular street. While we welcome any feedback, it would be preferable for feedback

to be managed by the CCs.