NTBCC minutes Monday 10 May 2021

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Monday 10 May 2020 at 7pm

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

Edinburgh Council has stated that ‘CCs can approve minutes, and take other decisions, remotely’, as so long as they ensure that ‘remote meetings are as accessible to members of the public and (as) well-advertised as possible’.

1 Technology check

The meeting opened online at 6:45 pm to enable all attendees to connect before the start of business.

2 Attendance/apologies for absence, membership update, précis of meeting

2.a Attendance

Mike Birch NTBCC, RRCTMA Nick Reid NTBCC/India St Association
David Clarke NTBCC Alan Welsh NTBCC
Laura Graham NTBCC Peter Williamson NTBCC, Picardy Residents Association
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Simon Holledge NTBCC/EACC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Carol Nimmo NTBCC Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
Jack Hugh NTBCC Cllr Joanna Mowat City Centre ward
Ken Lochrie NTBCC Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward
Susan Macinnes NTBCC ~17 residents/visitors
Richard Price NTBCC

2.b Apologies for absence

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Susan Duff NTBCC Sheila Warnock NTBCC
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Jenni Inglis NTBCC, FRRCA

3 Minutes of 12th April 2021 meeting (via Zoom) and matters arising

  • Minutes accepted subject to a correction to the attendance-list (proposed D Henderson, seconded D Clarke, ND)
  • Item 2a: C Nimmo has now collected the well-organised NTBCC archive material from A Welsh.
    • Action: NTBCC to triage the archive, then pass it on Scottish Archives
  • Item 4: Office-bearers have not yet arranged a date for the NTBCC business meeting
    • Action: Office bearers to set up Doodle poll to help arrange this.
  • Item 6b: Discussion about Waverley Valley is ongoing
    • Action: P Williamson and S Hajducki to continue this, and report to NTBCC in June.
  • Item 12c: A new head teacher for Drummond Community High School has now been appointed
  • Other actions had been undertaken.

4 Police Report

See full report in Appendix 1. Important aspects include

  • Just 2 house-breaks in the reporting period – one foiled by a domestic CCTV system
  • A spate of car-vandalisms, but the perpetrator was very quickly apprehended.
    • NTBCC members noted other acts of car-vandalism, namely removing wing-mirrors

5 Transport

See full report in Appendix 2. Points were made by M Birch unless otherwise noted.

5.a Spaces for People – update on Broughton Street & other measures in NTBCC’s area

Discussion covered:

  • Cllr Miller and local residents’ very negative opinions about the proposal for the Broughton St roundabout.
  • NTBCC is to keep feeding opinions to Spaces for People and CEC clllrs. This applies especially to proposals to make SfP measures permanent (currently due to be considered by CEC’s Transport & Environment Committee (TEC) in June)
  • SfP has not responded positively to P Williamson’s approaches about Picardy Place
  • Leopold Place (LP) residents are concerned about noise and vibration from traffic, specifically tramwork-necessitated bus-diversions due to damaged road-surfaces. They have contacted Cllrs Doran and Miller (both on CEC Transport and Environment Ctte). Responsibility for such damage clearly lies with the trams team. A decision on what will happen at Leopold Place is due in mid May.
    • LP residents captured vibration data and correlated it with bus movements, and have offered to help East London St (ELS) residents capture similar data there. ELC residents and M Birch are seeking information from Lothian Buses on movements into and from Annandale depot.
    • The trams team is working to avoid additional traffic on ELS, so closures due to work on Picardy Place should not be as significant as first feared. Plans are soon due to go to the all-party oversight group (APOG). This work is due to start in November 2021, not July. It would finish in October 2022, as originally planned
    • Cllr Mowat: I alternate with Cllrs Webber and Whyte on the APOG. Other members include Cllrs Doran, Lang, Miller, McInnes, McVey and Day. Because Cllr Webber is now an MSP, I am likely to take on more APOG work.
    • A Welsh: diversions should not use Abercromby Place, Dublin St, Drummond Place to get to East London St. This would be worse than the original.

5.b Trams TROs – confirm content of NTBCC submission

See NTBCC comments now on NTBCC website. (Comments on the final draft were sought at the meeting.) NTBCC concerns include

  • Removal of left turn from Leith Walk onto London Rd will cause more congestion and pollution as traffic is redirected via the Picardy Place ‘gyratory’ to return to Leith Walk, then turn right onto London Rd.
  • Cycle-lanes and bus-stop juxtapositions being poorly planned, especially at Elm Row.
  • Traffic modelling not taking into account the imminent re-opening of St James, leading to potentially 4000 more car-movements per day.
  • Action: NTBCC to share its comments with LCCC.

5.c Tram Construction – update on traffic management plans for Picardy Place works

See points about diversion etc in item 4.a.

6 Environment

6.a Follow-up from 22 April T&E Committee ‘Communal Bin Review Update’ including gull-proof bags (GPBs)

See submission and background paper in Appendix 3. All points made by C Nimmo unless otherwise noted.

  • CEC effectively gave no notice of the decision to be made by CEC on 22 April. (Recommendation to remove option of GPBs was in the body of the report to CEC, rather than being on the CEC meeting agenda.).
  • This decision would discontinue GPBs, and kerbside recycling boxes, replacing them with fixed communal bin hubs.
    • This change without consultation is seen as an affront to democracy. Only 2 days before, CEC’s Policy and Sustainability committee, including CEC convenor of transport and environment, agreed good consultation is a priority
    • Rather than the current arrangements, , there would be large permanent hubs, mal-affecting streetscapes.
    • Permanent hubs are planned to look like this. However, there is concern that they would end up like the one on Albert St (photo 1, photo 2, photo 3)
  • Hence C Nimmo asked, through a deputation on NTBCC’s behalf, for the decision to be postponed to allow consultation on these changes to be carried out..
    • The rest of the report calling for this decision was an information-update.
  • Cllrs Smith and Mowat tabled an amendment in support of NTBCC’s request, but this was voted down 7:4. No-voters included Cllrs Doran and Cllr Miller (substituting for Cllr Booth).
  • A gull-proof bag steering group has now been established. It includes all city-centre residents’ associations
    • People and organisations outwith the city centre ward can join this steering group e.g some streets in the West End and Stockbridge if they wish.
    • The group will try to find a consensus of opinions.

6.a.i Discussion points

  • This would remove parking places, and negatively affect the World Heritage site by necessitating more communal bins on the street
  • The change is to be introduced using TROs,to which there is more limited scope to object – rather than through
  • GPBs work well in various areas, not just the city centre.
  • The main concern is the lack of consultation, i.e. extremely poor governance. Other aspects of poor governance include
    • Lack of environmental impact assessment, as mandated by para 4.9 of the CEC report.
    • Lack of equalities impact assessment. (For example, removing individual bins / sacks may exacerbate some peoples’ problems.)
    • CEC waste had promised to inform NTBCC of plans in late 2020, but has not done so. (Similar issues have occurred in areas outwith the city centre ward.)
    • Cllr Mowat: while I support spending efficiencies as promised in various CEC budgets, the lack of consultation has been ‘appalling’. CEC needs to show what the effects of its plans will be, and hence show why its decisions are advantageous for residents. I will ask for environmental impact assessment and cost-benefit analysis.
  • A contract for purchase of new bins, and refurbishment of old bins, was approved by CEC Finance & Resource Committee on 4 March.
    • Hence the decision at TEC may have been a fait accompli and difficult now to reverse..
  • Council report acknowledges that recyclable materials are often put in communal landfill bins, whereas recycling rates on streets with GPB’s are higher.
  • Cllr Osler: the report lists the streets that currently have GPBs. The relevant CEC vice-convenor is one of NTBCC’s cllrs.
  • A resident: I sympathise with moves towards operational efficiency to save money. We should consider the safety of workers reaching into GPBs. It is not a shame if waste services are visible – they are just as important as aesthetic concerns. People get used to changes and improved functionalities, no longer worrying about aesthetics.
  • Action: B Ryan/R Price to post deputation and photos on website.

6.b Natural environment

S Holledge: Some members of NTBCC’s Natural Environment Group held a Zoom meeting with Sarah Murphy and Mike Shields of CEC Parks & Greenspaces, on Wednesday 14 April at 3pm, to talk about the set up and operation of ‘Friends of Parks’ organisations, with the focus on forming Friends groups for Calton Hill and Gayfield Square. A number of local residents attended the meeting in addition to the NTBCC councillors.

S Holledge: To continue our series of informal afternoon conversations, we have invited Dr Max Coleman, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Chair of the Edinburgh Biodiversity Partnership, to meet us on Thursday 10 June at 3pm, to talk about biodiversity. (All are welcome.)

Action: Post notice of this meeting on website

6.c Picardy Place roundabout

P Williamson: Update to discussions : CEC officers are open to proper engagement, firstly deciding on 3 possible, viable concepts, then public votes.

7 Planning

All points made by R Price unless otherwise noted.

7.a RBS

  • Planning applications were approved some time ago, but NTBCC has been in discussion with Ediston and Turley (planning agents) about:
    • impact on park and conditions included as part of the approved application about cycle-lanes through the park. There has been useful discussion with all parties, including the Friends of KGV Park , with follow up promised by Ediston but ‘the trail has now gone cold’. NTBCC will continue to push.
    • NTBCC understand that the application for what is actually now wanted (no hotel, more housing) will come forward soon – rumoured to be in a month or so.

7.b IMPACT Centre

There has been positive discussion with IMPACT Scotland regarding an amended application for the Dunard Centre. , Although the original application was approved by CEC , questions were raised by Edinburgh St James developers with a threat of a judicial review of the decision. Following CEC mediation with the parties involved, the devloper’s architects now have a proposal which might fit the constrained requirements.

7.c Railings at West Register House (Charlotte Square)

A large portico here is used by rough sleepers, so it has been proposed to install railings. The relevant conservation statement was challenged by a resident. Hence NTBCC has commented that ‘this needs more discussion with heritage bodies’. Historic Environment Scotland originally had no comment, but have now lodged a report. NTBCC has found precedent for railings, so its opinion is to support railings that are sympathetic to architecture, and meet historic precedent

7.d 39 London St

  • Two applications to turn unused properties here into short-term lets were refused by CEC, but may yet be
    • A very concerned resident asked that the Spurtle publicises any appeal for this application.

7.e Centrum House/Bupa House (Dundas St)

There were many objections to the original application, from NTBCC, residents and heritage bodies. The revised application now lodged does not appear significantly different to the original, so as agreed at April’s NTBCC meeting, NTBCC has reiterated its objection

7.f 5-6 Marshall’s Court

An application for a large building (16 residential units) was refused by CEC. There was concern that the applicant might appeal, but NTBCC understand that there is now further discussion with CEC (the current owner) regarding financial details. .

8 Licensing

See report in Appendix 4. All points made by S MacInnes unless otherwise noted.

  • Many occasional-license applications are for short-term build-outs on George St.
  • For Frederick St (closing date for comments 13 May), Action: S MacInnes to seek clarifying information.
  • St James: 2 applications for un-named applicants
  • NTBCC had objected to an extension of outdoor space at Dublin St/York Place. The application was approved by CEC. CEC’s statement of reasons notes some objections from immediate neighbours, and hence the condition that patrons must be seated to minimise grounds for complaint.
  • Cumberland Bar: despite NTBCC’s objection, based on local concerns, this application was granted on a limited basis.
    • Cllr Mowat: this obtained an extension to its beer garden at weekends until indoors drinking is permitted, following investigation by the licensing board convenor. Residents appear to be happy with this compromise.
    • R Price: details provided were scant. How can we find more details? (We can’t currently visit CEC offices.)
  • Cllr Mowat: CEC’s licensing board does produce an annual report. I can help locate it.
    • In general CEC licensing board cannot act unless it knows of concerns. It tries to balance need for trade and residents’ concerns. Please tell the board of problems via licensing@edinburgh.gov.uk. The convenor is cllr N Work.
    • An online, searchable system is due later in 2021 (details TBC). Legislation does not mandate licensing notifications.
    • Applications are currently very frequent, so NTBCC should check every week.

9 Engagement and communications

9.a ‘Use of Public Spaces for Events’ Working Group (PSMP) update / next steps

NTBCC members who originally contributed to the PSMP ‘collaborative engagement’ (Carol Nimmo, Laura Graham, Steve Hajducki, Deidre Henderson, Simon Holledge, Jenni Inglis and Richard Price) attended a general stakeholders group meeting on 21 April. Further meeting are scheduled for 19 May, 23 June and 21 July.

NTBCC will be represented in the following sub-groups: Application & approval: Steve Hajducki, Richard Price; Area Conditions: Carol Nimmo, Simon Holledge, Steve Hajducki; Engagement & communication: Richard Price, Carol Nimmo; Filming: Laura Graham; Sustainable events – economic: Jenni Inglis; Sustainable events – environmental: Simon Holledge, Steve Hajducki; Sustainable events – social: Simon Holledge, Laura Graham, Jenni Inglis.

9.b Edinburgh Council ‘Winter Festival 2022 Onwards’ consultation discussion (ends 19 May)

  • R Price: Following the consultation, it is assumed that a report will go to CEC Culture and Communities Ctte (C&CC). Facilities required for winter festival etc were a planning matter but this is about size and type of events – handled by C&CC.
    • P Williamson: there was no feedback from earlier consultations. This is unsatisfactory.
    • Cllr Mitchell: this will come to C&CC. Deputations will be welcome. I am concerned by comments being expressed about the quality of the
  • Action: NTBCC members to make their own responses.

10 Treasurer’s report & forthcoming June AGM

M Birch: draft accounts are ready. They will be independently reviewed in time for the AGM (14 June 2021).

11 Any Other Business & news from local residents’ associations etc

  • Action: M Birch to put Bellevue Crescent residents in touch with Leopold Place residents about gathering noise/vibration data
  • NTBCC congratulates former member Foysol Choudhury on his election to the Scottish Parliament

12 Appendix 1: Police report

During the month of April there has still been a drop in calls in the New town area. I would like to highlight the following for your information:

There was one Housebreaking with intent to steal where the culprit(s) were clearly after bikes in a common stair however did not manage to break through the locks for same. There was also a further attempted house breaking in the new town where in the early hours of the morning a door handle was tried to a flat. The culprit has not got in but the occupier was alerted to the presence of the intruder by an alert on his mobile phone via the CCTV technology he had installed. He has been able to provide us with an excellent pictures of the male to further our enquiries and we may never have known of his presence had it not been for this smart security system. The occupier has chased away the intruder thanks to the motion sensor activation. This type of alarm is increasingly helping police to identify offenders and bring them to justice when caught in the act.

There have still been house parties and gatherings being reported although this number seems to be on the decline as restrictions are being lessoned. I have had some great success by engaging the assistance of landlords bringing to their attention when tenants have fallen foul of the COVID guidelines. Lettings agents have taken steps to warn or even evict persons in breach of their contracts. Guarantors were also contacted (mostly parents of young students) and this has also been a useful tool.

There was a notable spate of break-ins to cars in the new town this month by a prolific offender who was recently released from prison and returned to his criminal ways. My colleagues in the Criminal Investigation Team quickly apprehended him, recovering various items and he now has a tag and a curfew so he can’t go causing further bother in the night. He would often break into cars even for the small change visible, anything left on display is fair game to him. Please ensure you leave nothing on display in your vehicle at all as the hassle and inconvenience is not worth it.

13 Appendix 2: Transport report

13.a Spaces for People

As reported at the last meeting, the proposed measures for Broughton Street and other changes along route to Canonmills were approved and implementation has commenced. We continue to seek a change in the design to remove the new loading bay in Forth Street but the initial response from the Spaces for People team was not positive. Please highlight any issues resulting from the changes so that these can be passed to our local Councillors and the Spaces for People team.

13.b Traffic Noise and Vibration Issues

13.b.i Leopold Place

Following discussions with local residents they have submitted a detailed report to local Councillors to support their concerns about the impact of the diverted buses on the levels of noise and vibration they have suffered. This matter has also been raised with the Trams team and a response by mid-May has been promised. Under the Trams Project Code of Practice, the Tram Project is responsible for the repair of roads damaged by diverted or additional construction traffic.

13.b.ii East London Street

From discussions with the Trams team it is apparent that a high priority has been placed on avoiding additional traffic on this street as a result of diversions. This does not address, however, the long-standing concerns regarding the number of buses using this street particularly very early in the morning and late at night. The residents on Leopold Place have agreed to share their expertise in gathering noise and vibration data with the residents on East London Street. As a result of a meeting with the East London Street residents, it was agreed that we would seek further information from Lothian Buses on movements in and out of the Annandale Street depot and once again highlight the issue to local Councillors to seek immediate and longer-term improvements to the road surface.

13.c Tram Works

13.c.i Picardy Place Work and Traffic Management Plans

As a result of discussions with the Trams team it is apparent that they are seeking to reduce the period of time that Broughton Street will be closed. Under the latest proposals, Broughton Street will only be partially closed for 13 weeks in mid 2022. The overall traffic management proposals for the construction of the new tram stop at Picardy Place and the removal of the stop at York Place are under active review within the Council with a view to them being finalised by June. Any work on this section of the Tram route will not commence before November 2021.

13.c.ii Traffic Regulation Orders

We have reviewed the proposed TRO’s for the roads adjacent to the new Tram route and prepared an objection highlighting a number of concerns regarding access, displaced traffic, congestion and lack of adequate segregation between pedestrians and cyclists.

Mike Birch, 9 May 2021

14 Appendix 3: Gull-proof bags documents

14.a Submission to the Transport and Environment Committee April 22nd 2021

From New Town and Broughton Community Council (NTBCC)

With regard to 1.1.2 Approve the change from gull proof bags and recycling boxes to the Communal Bin Hub service (Appendix 2).

NTBCC ask that this committee do not approve this recommendation at this meeting.

NTBCC submit that the committee should approve a postponement by two cycles so that an informed decision can be taken on this issue.


  • There has been absolutely no warning to NTBCC, local resident and gull proof bag, (GPB), users that this recommendation would be coming before the committee today.
  • NTBCC are sure that CEC would not want to be seen to ignore or avoid due process with regard to a major change of direction. There has been no prior notification or engagement with the Community Council most affected by this change.
  • Engagement and Consultation (4.10 – 4.12) should not take place after the decision but should inform the decision if transparency in decision making is to be respected.
  • NTBCC believe that Appendix 2 is both disingenuous and muddled in its reporting and that proper and appropriate consideration should be given to this multi-faceted issue.
  • Heritage Bodies, The Cockburn Association and Edinburgh World Heritage support our submission and should also be given the opportunity of commenting on the major changes proposed within the World Heritage Site and the Conservation area.
  • There is still time for effective discussion with NTBCC and local GPB users within the time frame detailed for the Communal Bin Review.

For the reasons stated above, and to uphold the democratic principal, NTBCC ask that this committee approve postponement of this decision.

Please see attached an NTBCC Communal Bin Review Update Background Paper.

From Carol Nimmo Chair NTBCC

14.b NTBCC Communal Bin Review Update Background Paper

  1. The removal of gull proof bags and the red/blue bins for recycling is a major change of direction but is just tagged on to a routine update about the communal bin review. There has been no prior notification or engagement with the Community Council most affected by this change.
  2. There is reference (3.7) to a report made to the 12 November 2020 T&E Committee Meeting about engagement events that took place between 18 August and 24 September organised by Changeworks and CEC, which states that 667 people were spoken to and that the overwhelming response was positive but none of the events were conducted in areas covered by gull proof bags. None of the comments in the report address gull proof bags.
  3. The report references (4.5) a monitoring report Appendix 2 that shows ‘medium to low presentation rates’ for both GPS and recycling bins. It is not clear how the presentation rate has been calculated. It is also stated that lower presentation rates are associated with proximity to communal bins but does not show any causal relationship. Interestingly it does show that the presentation rates of recycling bins (and thus potentially recycling) were higher in areas covered by gull proof bags.
  4. It is stated special care will be taken to place the minimum number of on street bins to minimise the visual impact across the city’s WHS. This appears to be at odds with the statement that residents will not need to walk more than 50m to their nearest bin. Also there has been no assessment made of the impact of this change on those with limited mobility or would otherwise struggle to carry their waste to the nearest communal bins. Most changes to Council policy require an Equality Assessment to be undertaken usually as part of a wider Integrated Impact Assessment but the report makes no mention of this having been undertaken or planned.
  5. The change is being brought to Committee to seek approval for implementation that is due to commence within weeks. This seems to be premature given that an EIA has not been completed and it is recognised that further engagement is required with stakeholders. There is no reference to inclusion of the other usual statutory consultees to significant changes to the Edinburgh World Heritage site such as HES, EWH or the Cockburn Association. Why have they been overlooked?
  6. It is stated that TRO’s will be required to modify parking restrictions to permit location of additional on-street bins, which will be advertised in June/July 2021 for potential implementation in mid 2022. It is implied that this will provide an additional opportunity to seek public comments but the TRO process only requires Council to legally consider any relevant objections received in relation to traffic management and road safety issues – therefore objections based on siting or appearance of the bins is outside scope of TRO process.

15 Appendix 4: Licensing report

After many months of low activity due to the pandemic situation, this month has seen a resurgence in applications to the Licensing Board. As of today’s date the following applications have been made relating to premises within the NTBCC area:

15.a Occasional Licences

Most of these are fairly short-term for up to a month.

15.a.i St Andrew Square

  • Gaucho
  • The Edinburgh Grand

15.a.ii George Street

  • Alexander Graham Bell
  • Standing Order
  • Hard Rock Café
  • Centotre
  • Tigerlily
  • Las Iguanas
  • Victor Hugo Deli
  • Browns
  • All Bar One
  • Gusto

15.a.iii Castle St

  • No 19 (old TSB building) – Darnley Gins (?)

15.a.iv Frederick Street

  • Edinburgh Gin Shop

15.a.v Dublin Street

  • Little White Pig (several applications covering a period 4 May – 6 September)

15.b Variations of existing licence

15.b.i 61 Frederick Street

This was the Wee Restaurant which closed down but the new applicants appear to be an Amsterdam chain called Greenwoods.

Their application for a variation of the existing licence is “To delete the current Condition on amplified music and vocals, and to replace it with the new Condition agreed by the Licensing Board. Increase on sale hours and add off sales. Also add seasonal variations, deliveries, takeaways, club & group meetings, TV Sport, indoor/outdoor sports as activities amend provisions regarding activities outwith core hours and change premises manager”

NB The final date for objections for this is 13 May 2021

15.c Applications for New Alcohol Licences

  • 106 George Street (old Starbucks on corner of Castle St) – Fred’s Whisky Ltd (Off-sale specialist whisky retailer)
  • St James Centre (2 applications for a café/bistro and a fast food restaurant – no names specified.)

Susan MacInnes, Licensing Committee Convenor