NTBCC minutes – Monday 13 June 2016

Minutes of the ordinary meeting of New Town and Broughton Community Council, held in the Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s Church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 13 June 2016 at 7.30pm

1            Attendance and apologies for absence

1.1          Present

Ian Mowat (chair) NTBCC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Chris Collins NTBCC/DCA Adam Wilkinson Director, E W H T
Judy Conn NTBCC Karl Chapman Mgr Usher Hall / MIA
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Neil Cooper MIA
 Jack Hugh NTBCC  Local Residents
Richard Price NTBCC Caroline Bond
Christine Ross NTBCC Dorothy Hogg
Alan Welsh NTBCC Greg Kettrick
Elaine O’Donnell
Cllr Marion Donaldson Leith Walk Ward Sheila Warnock
Michael Train  Leith Links CC

1.2          Apologies

Audrey Cavaye, Susannah Beaumont, Jonathan Finn, Lynn Henni, Claire Miller, Carol Nimmo, Lewis Press

2           Minutes of Meeting of 9 May 2016 and matters arising

Agreed (R Price / J Hugh) subject to minor amendments (to be recirculated).

3           Police

No police representative in attendance

4           World Heritage Site and RBS Proposal / Tron Church Centre

Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage (EWH), discussed RBS proposed development’s relationship with World Heritage Site. Although just outside the WHS boundary, still in Conservation Area so part of New Town; therefore buffer zone where WHS principles and values still relevant and where development must not impact negatively on Site. Particular points to consider:

  • contiguous with Heritage Site so not a gap site where completely different approach would be appropriate
  • new building heights are taken from Dundas St / Royal Crescent corner building, but this is taller than the general heights in the area – use for emphasis, not as norm across site
  • traditionally New Town building heights follow topography, stepping down slope
  • proposed finger blocks are wider than traditional New Town blocks
  • views down Dundonald St important
  • top quality design / materials / detailing required, preferably earlier on in the process
  • considerations re: open space, relationship with park
  • planning regulations potentially strong but must be enforced by Council

Pointed out that this is a speculative development – RBS will not build it but trying to maximise content to sell on. Experience shows that purchasers tend to see consents as starting point for further increases, rather than as maximum; so planning permission must be robust enough to deal with this. Current EWH view is rather negative, trying to get maximum value on a proposal that is already too big.

In discussion, residents raised subsidence issues; not a specific planning consideration, but worth mentioning in their responses to Council. Individual representations tend to be given more weight than petitions or circular letters.

A Wilkinson also presented WHT’s intentions for Tron Kirk (including redevelopment of Hunter Sq toilets) as world class interpretation centre / information hub for whole of WHS area. WHT need more space, e.g. for school parties, workshops, exhibitions etc. Viability to be ensured by provision of commercial elements such as shop & café. Preliminary plans showed main entrance / welcome area / retail; permanent exhibition; education centre; event space; café; knowledge hub; community exhibition space. EWH are seeking NTBCC support for Lottery bid. CC agreed that the Chair should provide letter supporting the bid.


5          Presentation: Music Is Audible group

Karl Chapman, Usher Hall Manager, and Neil Cooper, music journalist, explained aim of encouraging live music and diversity of music scene in Edinburgh. Mentioned 2013 shut down of Picture House on Lothian Road as live music venue. Reasons were financial and not Council policies, but negative comments led to Council working group on measures to maintain live music in city. Initial meeting at Usher Hall – allegations made that Council’s policy (no audible amplified live music) was making music industry wary of opening in Edinburgh [but no examples given]. MIA group set up to look at issues, with input from Ed University census of venues and Music Venues Trust. 10 recommendations include “balance” – felt that current condition too negative, should be changed from “not audible” to “not be an audible nuisance”. Assessment would be made on basis of environmental laws – impact, locality, duration etc.

Discussion points raised: Present condition clear-cut and easy to enforce, proposed condition subjective – who would decide what was a “nuisance”? Disparity with MVT’s recommendations that, where a venue opens up in an existing residential area, the venue promoter should ensure adequate soundproofing. Although Edinburgh policy is stricter that many cities elsewhere, it is also unusual in UK by having a large residential component. As other cities gradually rediscover city-centre living, perhaps Edinburgh policy is setting the example of the way forward rather than being an outdated anomaly. Noted that main agitation seems to be from music venue proprietors, not musicians – commercial motivation? Consultation will be open until 22 July – NTBCC will update previous response (attached).


6          Transport

Parking Action Plan now approved, with compromise 12:30 start on Sundays and no change outside central zones 1-4. CC will invite Lesley Hinds to speak, probably September. Also discuss other aspects.

George Street – final report of design forum presented to Council – CC view that design principles now much better.

20 mph restrictions – general support (e.g. safety, to cut pollution) but concern over enforcement (streets currently with 20 mph zones are not enforced). No information in Council publicity. Police view is that they may act where major public concern has been raised, but no commitment.


7           Environment

Waste management – waiting for feedback from Council. Report on performance going to Audit committee. Recycling going back to outside tender (currently done in house).

Noted that Cllr Mowat offered to obtain Council r figures on homelessness at the May meeting and the impact they have on service provision and that she had yet to provide these.

Stair Lighting – could stair cleaning service be extended to cover lighting (at a charge)? Cllr Mowat has agreed to look at this.

Bike storage – attention drawn to Spokes leaflet.


8           Planning

St James Centre – new application.

Heriothill – now at appeal, report due 9 July.

Registers – Council minded to grant, called in by Historic Scotland but HS subsequently withdrew their objections so now approved.

RHS Music School – some changes made at request of HS, proceeding through planning.

Edinburgh Civic Forum – Local Development Plan progressing, as is SESPlan (very slowly). Scottish Government Independent Review of Planning has reported back – rejected third-party right of appeal, looking at enhanced engagement of local communities.

Princes Street – ex-Forsyth’s globe to be replaced.


9           Edinburgh Association of Community Councils

The Chair attended the AGM and reported that EACC had a successful AGM. He mentioned NTBCC concerns about the music is audible proposal and learnt that Morningside CC are objecting to Licensing proposal (para 5 above) and will send letter

 10       Any Other Business

Central New Town Area Garden Party on 30 July (in Gardens opposite Heriot Row).


11         Next Meetings

Possible extra meeting in July if required to meet timescales for comments on RBS site

Otherwise meeting scheduled for 1 Aug, 12 Sept, 10 Oct, 14 Nov and 12 Dec.