NTBCC minutes – Monday 10 February 2020

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s business meeting, held in Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 10 February 2020 at 7pm

Actions and decisions are red italic. ND (‘no dissent’) means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.

1 Welcome

There was discussion of minute-taking in the absence of the normal minutes secretary.

1.a Attendance

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Richard Price NTBCC secretary
Michael Birch NTBCC, RRCTMA Andrea Simpson NTBCC Drummond Civic (pending)
Jonathan Finn NTBCC treasurer Sheila Warnock NTBCC, Great King St Residents’ Association
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Peter Williamson NTBCC, Picardy Residents’ Association
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Cllr Jo Mowat City centre ward
Simon Holledge NTBCC engagement officer Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward
Jack Hugh NTBCC 10 residents, including Annick Galliard
Allan Jack NTBCC, India St Association Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Carol Nimmo NTBCC chair Patrick Keady Old Town Community Council

1.b Apologies for absence

David Clarke NTBCC Stuart McAllister NTBCC Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith
Susan Duff NTBCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Laura Graham NTBCC Fran Wasoff NTBCC

2 Minutes of meeting of 13th January

The minutes were approved as-is (proposed P Wiliamson, seconded D Henderson, ND)

2.a Matters arising (and not on agenda below)

  • Item 1b: there has been no response to a recent email enquiring why the CEC councillor was absent, despite being rota’d to attend.
  • Item 3: Actions: NTBCC members to notify R Price of streets suffering speeding, R Price to forward complete list to police
  • Item 4b (possible judicial review of CEC concerning East Princes St gardens) Action: NTBCC exec to explore options
  • Item 5a (Quaich project): see item 5a below
  • Item 6a (noise at RBS site): following contact with Ediston, this appears to have ceased : matter closed
  • Item 8: (lack of licensing notifications from CEC): matter closed
  • Item 12b (response to tourism matters) now on website

3 Police report

No police present, so no report

4 East Princes Street Gardens update:

4.a Recap: EPSG PAN consultation (retrospective PP for 2019 & 2020/2021)

R Price stated

  • The PAN consultation was very limited (in terms of number of sessions – 1 day only).
  • NTBCC objected to the PAN on the grounds that of limited consultation and pending reports within Edinburgh Council on alternative locations etc. as well as seeking to legitimise a retrospective application.
  • NTBCC has not responded to the consultation. This gave no more information than had already been observed from the actual set-up for 2019..
  • The /FUL application is due soon. NTBCC would not support a repetition of the 2019 events.
  • The /FUL application should include a summary of comments from the PAN consultation.

Cllr Mowat added that as of last week, no FUL application had been received. She has told CEC’s director of place (DoP) that communities expect the application sooner rather than later. DoP responded that CEC is in discussion with Underbelly. The 12 week PAN period finishes in mid February. Assuming a FUL application is lodged by end February, then determination is therefore likely to be at the end of April.

5 West Princes Street: The Quaich Project update

5.a Recap: Business Plan / Operational Plan – Culture & Communities 28 January

S Holledge and C Nimmo noted what had happened since the last NTBCC meeting

  • The Culture and Communities Committee report on the Business Case were were only available late on Wednesday 22 January, at the same time as the Quaich issued a reply to our Joint Statement, leaving us only three working days to formulate our responses and make the arrangements for the deputation.
  • We met with the Cockburn and the 3 other community councilson Monday 27 January, and then formed two deputations, of the CCs and the Cockburn separately, at the Culture and Communities Committee on 28 January, both strongly asking the committee not to approve the Quaich Outline Business Case as we regarded it as a ‘roadmap to the commercialization of the gardens’ and also a poorly written and inadequate document on its own terms. Conservative, Green and Liberal Democrat councillors all expressed their reservations about the Business Case and the committee agreed not to approve it.
  • A Quaich Project Stakeholders Meeting was held on 4 February, attended by C Nimmo, A Jack and S Holledge for NTBCC and by representatives of the other CCs, together with Karl Chapman, the author (& owner?) of the Business Case, and David Ellis of the Quaich Project.
  • We pressed Karl Chapman to be open in future and give us advanced sight of any future versions of the Business Case, also to include proper consideration of sustainability in terms of finance and of environment.
    • He responded that advanced sight is CEC’s decision, not his.
  • With David Ellis, we discussed the Welcome Centre, the biggest point at issue between the Quaich and the stakeholders, also the importance of including full visuals of all the audience configurations with public consultations. It was not acceptable to ask the public to approve a 3,000-capacity venue, without telling them it was also going to be used for 6,000 and 10,000 people.
    • At the NTBCC meeting, it was stated that such visualisations are expensive [for Quaich).
    • Cllr Osler added that Quaich stated that it is not up to it to show the larger capacity versions. Quaich is building the 3000-people version, and the larger versions will only be temporarily created for large events. Quaich do not control how many events there will be – that is up to CEC.
    • It was suggested that large events are those most likely to cause issues; the public should know of these versions.
    • It was noted that while CEC will run events, Quaich is running the current consultation. Honesty in this was urged due to lack of proper communication of previous consultation findings.
    • It was suggested that consultation should cover whole of the gardens, including strengthening of bridges.
    • It was suggested that while a few large events can be coped with, there is lack of clarity about medium-sized events, and Quaich’s and CEC’s responsibilities. (Quaich is a partnership between CEC and the Ross Development Trust.)
  • There was then a frank discussion of future management of the gardens. (This did not involve the councillors.)
  • S Holledge suggested a WPSG site visitto look at the Welcome Centre and disabled access issues on the ground. Both Quaich and Cockburn have agreed to this.
  • This matter will come back to the culture and communities committee in late March.
    • It was suggested that the Edinburgh Access Panel should attend to advise on disabled access.

There was discussion of future relevant planning applications, including whether these would be piecemeal or collated.

6 Planning

6.a Info: ‘City Plan 2030’ – consultation on the next Local Development Plan

R Price noted

  • This iteration of the local development plan sets the agenda for planning from 2021.
  • CEC opened a consultation on 31 Jan (closes 27 March). There is a simultaneous consultation on the city mobility plan.
  • Cllrs Mowat and Osler noted the legal and governmental importance of the City Plan.
  • There are drop-in events, including some on spatial strategy. Action: R Price to add these to website.
  • Action: NTBCC members to attend drop-in events, to inform discussion at NTBCC’s March meeting.

6.b Info: Update on Ediston / Orion (ex-RBS Dundas Street/Fettes Row) development

R Price and C Nimmo noted

  • There are on-going discussions between Ediston, CEC and Historic Environment Scotland (HES).
  • Current plans appear to have allayed HES’s strong concerns, notably about the view along Dundonald Street about proposed building heights directly fronting Royal Crescent.
  • Current plans include some potential overshadowing of King George V park.
  • There have been calls for a third public consultation. An information-session is likely to happen in mid to late March.
  • So far, visuals have shown ‘greyed’ blocks indicating new buildings. We supported the suggestion by the architect that future visuals should indicate materials and look of the finished buildings.
  • There has been welcome [to NTBCC, at least] progress on planning, including visuals that show changes to proposals.
  • Developers’ plans for permeability and access from Dundas St to the park are probably a good idea.
  • This large site is on the boundary of the New Town, so opinions vary on appropriate architectural styles.
  • No demolition has yet happened, and NTBCC is unclear as to whether previous demolition-permissions are still in force.
    • Cllr Osler stated that demolition-permission will be requested in the FUL application. The site is now being cleared.
    • There was discussion of how local residents’ concerns should be conveyed to the developers.

6.c 5 – 6 Marshall’s Court (20/00486/FUL) – Proposed 26 flat development

A resident noted

  • the location of the proposed development (near Greenside Row and Greenside Lane).
  • The site-plan: the site is currently vacant. It was owned by CEC until 2019. Some Greenside Row properties have private parking spaces. There may be issues with access around the proposed development.
  • The extent of the proposed development, and access through the area including routes used by local businesses.
    • There may be issues with the height of the proposed development (5 storeys): it may block views of Calton Hill, and cause loss of privacy in nearby residential buildings.
    • There may be issues around access for emergency services.
    • The proposed development would involve removal of mature trees.
  • Local residents’ consensus is that the principle of development here is reasonable but these proposals do respect local characteristics.
  • There was discussion of ownership of the site and nearby buildings, and of relevant CEC policies on views.

R Price suggested that there are questions over the number of affordable flats (6 out of 26 ≠ 25%, these flats would be scattered through the development), site viability and access, scale/massing and respect for the surrounding context.

Action: NTBCC planning committee to consider its response.

6.d Info: Recent meeting regarding options being considered for the ‘Jenners’ building

R Price and C Nimmo noted

  • The new owner is considering how to repurpose the building, including potentially restoring the interior, retaining some retail use and installing an up-market hotel and food-outlets to maximise use of the views.
  • Intent is that the hotel facilities will merge with the retail offering and food / drink outlets proposed.
  • Sports Direct currently have a lease on the building and own the ‘Jenners’ name.
  • The physical ‘Jenners’ naming on the building is listed, so will not be removed.

7 Transport

See also summary in appendices.

  • C Nimmo noted that plans for the forthcoming three-lane closure of Leith Walk have not been published, and that there will be major tram-work changes to Picardy Place. Near-simultaneously, 16 months’ of work on North Bridge will start.
    • Cllr Mowat stated that they will be published on or just after 14 February. Diversions will be installed in March.
  • A McIntosh noted that out-of-service buses are now using Hopetoun Crescent, as well as East London St.
  • A resident noted that the bus-stop by the Queen’s Hall has been moved, impacting elderly / mobility-impaired
  • There is lack of signage to nearby bus-stops when stops are closed. Indications on apps are not very effective.
  • It was noted that there are issues with ‘floating’ bus-stops.
  • Action: NTBCC to raise these issues with Lothian Buses, ideally in advance so that LB can respond electronically where possible.

7.a Info: City Mobility Plan – consultation sessions / initial thoughts

A Jack noted

  • The City Mobility Plan consists mostly of existing plans, including the tram extension, city transformation plan (NTBCC broadly supports this), low-emission zones, open streets initiative (NTBCC supports this, and would spread it outwith the city centre), 20mph zones, bike-schemes, changes to bus-routes etc. Hence NTBCC is basically broadly supportive, but there is currently an opportunity to give feedback on practical issues while the delivery plan is being developed.
    • Hence a representative of Lothian Buses has accepted an invitation to NTBCC’s March meeting.
  • Some concern was expressed whether all the different transport plans will work together effectively.

8 Licensing

J Finn noted

  • There are no new applications or licence variations in NTBCC’s area this month.
  • From last month,
    • Papavero in Howe Street has not been allowed to add the new amplified music condition, so the old condition that ‘all amplified music and vocals shall be controlled so as to be inaudible in neighbouring residential premises’ applies. (The new condition would have required complainants to demonstrate that noise is a nuisance.)
    • The Shoogly Peg in Rose Street has had outdoor drinking restricted to 10pm. NTBCC had been concerned that they had requested the outdoor area to be included in the overall licence, which would have allowed outdoor drinking until the bar closed.

A McIntosh noted that there have been many Section 50 provisional applications for licensing) on recent planning schedules, and asked how this fitted with CEC policies, particularly on areas of overprovision.

  • Cllr Mowat responded that these applications are about the premises, and that S50s are needed to apply for licenses, and that overprovision is not part of planning considerations.

9 Environment

P Williamson and J Hugh noted that

  • NTBCC’s subcommittee will meet on 25 February.
  • Members attended the CEC waste forum on 16 January, after a struggle to be allowed to attend. It was very poorly attended. CEC officials present were helpful but discussion was unfocused. Minutes have not yet been supplied.
    • The main discussion was new on-street bins, to be covered by the next CEC transport and environment committee.
    • There was a commitment to discuss bin types and placements with local communities.
      • J Finn noted that many new, larger, bins had recently appeared on Rose St.
      • Cllr Mowat noted that this is to do with the new communal bins strategy, to improve collection and recycling.
      • J Hugh reiterated the need to educate the public and businesses to use bins and recycling facilities properly.

There was discussion about lack of collection of folded cardboard placed by [recycling] bins.

10 Engagement

S Hollege noted

  • NTBCC has now produced posters advertising meetings. Distribution was arranged. D Henderson is recording locations.

11 Localities / local residents’ associations

11.a Info: EACC meeting

C Nimmo and R Price attended this meeting, which covered City Plan 2030 and the city mobility plan.

12 Any other business

  • J Hugh noted an ‘infill’ development in Annandale St. There are concerns over the height of the new building. There was discussion of the original intentions for the area.
  • R Price noted that there have been 5 notifications of events in West Princes St gardens in the last week. These include the Virgin fireworks / SCO concert, Summer Sessions and Oktoberfest. The response date for these notifications is 14 February.
    • Action: R Price to summarise these and ascertain NTBCC’s consensus, then submit comments if appropriate.
  • R Price will chair NTBCC’s March meeting.

12.a Treasurer’s report and annual report for AGM

J Finn noted that he needs to prepare the accounts for 31 March, for presentation at the AGM in May.

  • Actions: all NTBCC convenors to send paragraphs about their areas to C Nimmo, C Nimmo to compile these into annual report.

J Finn noted he is intending to stand down as treasurer, and therefor seeks a volunteer who can observe the annual report process.

13 Appendix 1: transport summary

Please note that we will submit questions this month to the representative from Lothian Buses who will attend our meeting in March. On the long list so far (will need to refine, condense and prioritise later):

  1. Emissions issues (pollution/ conversion to electric, hydrogen) (SH)
  2. Testing of electric buses (RP)
  3. Bus stop relocation arising from Picardy redesign
  4. Operation of proposed interchange hubs
  5. Future development of bus tracker system
  6. Plans for integrated ticketing
  7. LB view on location of citytour buses (Waverley Bridge)
  8. Route changes consequent on tram extension project
  9. East London Street issues (volume of bus use; classification of street as ‘no bus use’; noise issues; LB proposals to improve the situation – Mr MacCallum)
  10. Stockbridge diversions consequent on gas works (AW)
  11. City Mobility Plan bus questions (reduction in overall number of buses esp on Princes St; ‘redesign of bus networks’; ‘changing radial nature of routes’; ‘large capacity buses to take people round the centre’; ‘tram/bus integration of ticketing and routing’; digitisation of ticketing system; timescale – ‘comprehensive review of bus routes by 2022’ and ‘new strategy agreed by 2025’, ‘reducing bus congestion and penetration of key streets’; combined effect on punctuality, journey times; how to improve strategic collaboration with Trams, TfE)
  12. New bus stop in Queen St opposite SNPG (traffic congestion) (DH)
  13. LEZ – LB perspective esp Queen St inclusion.(NB an update on the review is due at T&E on 27 Feb).

I’d be grateful for notice of any other (pressing!) issues we may wish to add to the long list within the next week or so, in order that we can give LB ample notice.