NTBCC minutes – Monday 11 August 2017

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held in the Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s Church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 14 August 2017 at 7.30pm

Actions and decisions are red italics. Nem con means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.

1 Attendance and apologies for absence

Judy Conn NTBCC secretary Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Jonathan Finn NTBCC treasurer, licensing convenor Cllr Marion Donaldson Leith Walk ward
Jack Hugh NTBCC Cllr Hall Osler Inverleith Ward
Ian Mowat NTBCC chair Cllr Alastair Rankin City Centre ward
Susan MacInnes NTBCC Sgt Scott Casey Police Scotland
Carol Nimmo NTBCC PC Heather Clark Police Scotland
Richard Price NTBCC planning convenor Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Christine Ross NTBCC Nick Fraser Edinburgh Council legal/licensing
Fran Wasoff NTBCC 9 residents
Alan Welsh NTBCC

1.1 Apologies for absence

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Lewis Press NTBCC environment convenor
Christopher Collins NTBCC Cllr Karen Doran City Centre ward
Andrew Haddow NTBCC Cllr Joanna Mowat City Centre ward
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Cllr Claire Miller City Centre Ward
Allan Jack NTBCC transport convenor Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan Leith Walk ward
Stuart McAllister NTBCC

2 Minutes of ordinary meeting of 12 June 2017 and matters arising

Approved subject to noting that P Schaufuss is formerly of the Festival Ballet (prop. F Wasoff, 2nd A Welsh, nem con)

  • Transport (item 6). I Mowat has contacted SWECO but has not received a response. He will chase this.
  • Communications (item 9). B Ryan has not yet completed his action. To be completed in September.
  • Communications (item 9). R Price has rejuvenated the noticeboard. Cost £60 including VAT.

3 Police

Sgt Casey and PC Clark reported that Edinburgh police have been very busy due to the Festival. The following are crime figures for NTBCC’s area for 01/07/17 to 14/08/2017. None had been solved by the date of this meeting.

  • 6 housebreakings (3 to businesses, 3 to domestics)

  • 1 attempt housebreakings
  • 2 housebreaking with intent to steal (where premises were broken into but nothing was stolen)
  • 8 people have been arrested on warrant.
  • 4 theft of motorbikes
  • 1 robbery


A crime prevention initiative aimed at preventing housebreakings to homes and businesses, and theft of motorbikes is planned – details to follow when available.

Police Scotland (PS) is trying to take a ‘reasonable approach’ to nuisance buskers, including a ‘yellow card’ system. A second incident will result in £40 fixed penalty. A third incident will result in seizure of equipment. The notices requiring ‘no busking after 9am, no amplification at any time’ cannot be enforced without complaint/unreasonableness. 3 yellow cards have been issued so far. They could be issued to shops which are playing music.

PS is trying to enforce 20mph rules as part of their everyday activities, but is stretched due to the Festival. Traffic wardens cannot issue speeding penalties. Concerning illegally parked taxis. PS have reported ‘countless’ occurrences.

A Welsh asked whether PS had been involved in plans relevant to the imminent closure of Leith St, in particular about likely parking issues. PS representatives were not aware of such planning – they do not enforce double-yellow lines.

Concerning café tables and chairs on pavements, a resident was advised to contact Edinburgh Council if there are issues.

Concerning ‘boy racers’ in Queen St, PS are aware of this issue, and ‘will get there’.

Concerns were raised about people sleeping rough at the rear of Bellevue Church. PS advised calling 101 when this issue was actually occurring. PS representatives admitted that 101 is not ideal but that users should persist with it. Issues can also be emailed to edinburghcitycentreCPT@scotland.pnn.police.uk Action: B Ryan to put this on NTBCC website. Cllr Osler reported that in Inverleith, the approach is to signpost rough sleepers to appropriate services. Subsequent to the meeting Police advised that officers attended over the weekend as part of their early morning patrols and arrested one male.

R Price asked about Waverley Mall. Apparently, incidents have reduced due to the Festival.

PS advised that it is an offence to cycle on the pavement, whether or not caused by cyclists avoiding cobbled streets in the new town, and that PS should be called if cyclists are aggressive. A cycling action day was suggested.

4 Community council roles in liquor licensing: Nick Fraser, Depute Clerk of the Licensing Board

Mr Fraser reported that community councils have the following roles, which have been in place since September 2009:

  • representational – as the voice of the public in the CC area
  • consultative – CCs are statutory consultees on new applications and applications for variation of existing licenses.
  • consultative – about licensing policy, via the licensing forum
  • applicant – e.g. for their own events, or to seek review of ‘problem premises’.

4.1 Applications for liquor licenses

Applications for licenses for new premises and for variations of exiting licenses must be dealt with by the licensing board (LB). It meets on the last Monday of each month – meetings are entirely public, but are not currently webcast. Meeting papers are all on the relevant part of CEC’s website. There are no LB pre-meetings: all LB decisions are made in public.

New applications must be notified to neighbours whose properties are within a 4m radius of the applicant premises, and to the relevant CC. CEC also has a role in the application process, via its building standards, environmental health, etc functions. The health board and the police also have roles here. Hence LB must copy applications to police, but is not obliged to do so for other parties. CEC also sends out basic details, and applications can be inspected at CEC offices.

Applications are listed on CEC’s website for 21 days, and site notices must be displayed by applicants in the vicinity of their premises for the same period. Objections must be made within this period.

Applications for new premises must describe the premises (restaurant, bar etc), the proposed operating plan (hours, capacity, activities sought), the layout plan including where alcohol will be served. Off-sales plans must show where alcohol will be displayed.

Any proposed change to a licensed premises that would increase its capacity or hours, or add a new activity, requires a major variation application. This can only be granted by the LB, and the relevant CC is involved in the statutory process, as are notifications for neighbours within 4m radius of the premises. (This includes flats immediately above premises.)

  • CEC may extend radii to 10m. If anyone believes he or she should have received a notice, he or she should contact LB.

4.2 Objections and how the board functions

Objections to new or major variation applications should be submitted within the 21 days stated on notices. LB may ignore late objections, but is very likely to consider them if there is good reason (e.g. in the interests of justice). The current and previous boards have generally accepted late objections if there were good reasons for lateness, e.g. due to CC meeting schedules. This may involve postponing consideration of applications. It is possible to submit a basic objection, then follow up with details later.

LB’s running order is (1) police (2) CEC licensing (3) CEC building standards (4) objectors (5) applicant (6) cross-examination. When a decision has been made, objectors are entitled to receive written notification within 7 days. Objectors can then ask for a statement of reasons, which will detail the reasons behind the decision. There is no entitlement to appeal, except via judicial review.

LB must consider whether there are grounds for refusal according to statute. If there are not, applications must be granted. So objections should clearly refer to statute/grounds. Possible grounds for objections are

  • Inconsistency with licensing objectives
    • Prevention of crime and disorder
    • Securing public safety
    • Preventing public nuisance (noise would fall in this category)
    • Protecting and improving public health
    • Protecting children and young persons from harm
  • Unsuitability for the sale of alcohol (with regard to location, character and condition of the premises)
  • Overprovision
  • The ‘fit and proper person test’ of the applicant.

Hence objections should be specific and tied to the actual application. It is worthwhile that CCs negotiate with applicants (prior to submission of applications) unless they are going to object outright. (NTBCC has done this at least twice.)

4.3 Licenses

New premises licenses have no expiry dates. Provisional premises licenses have 4-year lifespans. Occasional licenses last up to 14 days.

If an application is for a licensee at existing licensed premises, there would be a transfer application (where the police may bring up any issues they have with the new would-be licensee). Licenses pertain to premises, not people.

4.4 LB and policy

The current LB is about to consult extensively on its statement of policy.

  • Each LB must have one of these. The previous LB’s statement will endure until this LB’s statement is published.
  • The current LB has met twice. An initial report on its consultation timetable and consultation topics is due in Sep/Oct.
  • The finished statement must be published in or before early November 2018. It will then endure until the next CEC elections. (After those elections, a new LB will create its own statement.)

Policy must include standard conditions for licenses, such as

  • inaudibility/audible nuisance
  • capacity of premises
  • on- and off-sales
  • information to be provided by applicants
  • use of outdoor drinking areas (including times of use of these areas)
  • trading times, which may differ for different types of premises (e.g. 1am for pubs, 3am for nightclubs)
  • adult entertainment in licensed premises.

4.5 Overprovision policy

  • LB must state its assessment of whether there is overprovision, either within the whole of CEC’s area or in certain areas. (The current statement specifies that Grassmarket/Cowgate is an overprovision area.)
  • Statement of an overprovision area creates presumption against new licenses. For example, an overprovision statement could create a presumption against new applications for certain types of premises.
  • Overprovision is becoming a focus for this LB. As well as the Grassmarket/Cowgate area, the current policy contains a number of other overprovided areas,(none in NTBCC area) and 7 areas of serious special concern. (One of these is the Old Town and Leith Street.) These don’t create presumption against grant of licenses. (That became a ‘bone of contention’ at the outset of the previous board, with PS and NHS Lothian having strong opinions on this issue.)
  • Because overprovision was an important issue for the previous LB, it will continue to be so for the current LB.

CCs (and others) may propose topics for inclusion in the policy. It was suggested that other LAs’ policies are examined for potential additions to CEC policy. Mr Fraser suggested that proposals are submitted (to the LB clerk and convenor) when the consultation timescale is published, but there is nothing to prevent proposals and other submissions being submitted now. The current LB has 10 CEC councillors, including Cllr Mowat. Its chair has a casting vote.

4.6 Licensing Forum (LF)

LF is a statutory body that meets every 3 months. It is a statutory consultee in the licensing policy process. It also holds the LB to account. For example, it may require the LB to produce more information on policy matters.

  • It has a maximum of 21 members, who are appointed by CEC. Membership comprises representatives from the trade, police, health, CEC licensing standards, social work/education/health, and the community.
    • There is currently space for 5 community representatives. (It was noted that currently there are none from the city centre.) The intention is to have one from each of the four localities, and another from the city centre ward.)
  • LF meetings are public. CCs could get more involved by contacting CEC’s licensing team – they facilitate LF meetings.
  • A new LF, with a new constitution, is expected in September 2017. (A report is due to be submitted to CEC in September.) It will be considered by CEC’s Director of Place, whose officers draft the new constitution.

4.7 Off-sales, tables & chairs on pavements outside premises

It was asked whether off-sales includes tables & chairs on public pavements outside premises. It was noted that off-sales is sale of alcohol in sealed containers for consumption off the licensed premises. (Mr Fraser noted that tables & chairs permits stem from CEC’s ‘roads authority’ function, not its licensing function.) It was hence suggested that it is possible to buy alcohol within licensed parts of premises for consumption on those premises’ unlicensed areas. Mr Fraser offered to provide more detail, and noted that Edinburgh has bylaws on alcohol consumption, but has never prevented it. He also noted that ‘most’ premises apply for both alcohol licenses and tables & chairs permits covering the same areas, and that current policy provides for a 10pm cut-off for outside drinking.

It was suggested that reclamation of public pavement for pedestrians could be included in the new policy. Mr Fraser responded that this policy area is ‘improvable’ – it may be that there are too many regulatory regimes in this area.

4.8 Notice periods

It was noted that due to various schedules, notice periods are effectively 10 days (not 21) and that lists of applications are not currently emailed to CCs. Mr Fraser promised to bring this up with CEC licensing staff.

4.9 Charlotte Baptist Chapel

It was noted that NTBCC had submitted an objection to occasional license for CBC, but had received no notification of the result. Mr Fraser responded that NTBCC can request a statement of reasons for this (and any) licensing decisions.

5 Planning

  • The amended Royal High School -> hotel application has a hearing on 31 August. (The appeal about the previous application has been sisted.) NTBCC will have 10 minutes to present its case, as will a relevant residents’ association. (Other relevant ‘anti-hotel’ parties met recently, but accidently omitted to invite NTBCC.)
    • RHSPT has performed an IPSOS survey to attempt to counter the developers’ survey that supports the hotel pans.
    • NTBCC’s objections stand, despite the improvements in the amended plans. Actions R Price to submit and present NTBCC’s objections, C Nimmo to forward to R Price a relevant traffic report.
  • C Nimmo mentioned that there were two very similarly named operations conducting demolitions in Gayfield area. R Price responded that these were working on a non-listed building in a conservation area.
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland application should be determined in August, not but is not on the DMC agenda for 16th R Price has received no further information on this application. In response to a resident’s question, it was noted that material changes to plans should be published.
  • There is an application to make the temporary village on top of Waverley Mall less temporary, namely 150 days of activity per year for 3 years (rather than quite short periods in summer and Christmas, granted annually). It was questioned whether the police favour this because it reduces antisocial behaviour, and stated that legislation requires that nothing goes above the level of the pavement here, to protect views. The deadline for objections is this week. It was suggested that this application creeps towards permanence, and that there should be some checks and balances.
  • CEC’s refusal of the ‘glass box’ on a building in Moray Place has been appealed, but there is an enforcement order. It was suggested that NTBCC should submit a statement about preserving this conservation area.
  • There are two applications for hotels in St Andrews Square
    • Malmaison’s application has been submitted. It was suggested that this application is broadly acceptable, but the level of intervention in the interior is questionable.
    • An application for a 42-room budget hotel (where the job centre used to be in South St Andrews St) has rooms crammed into the building, has no waste provision area and (it was suggested) is inappropriate for this area.
    • Actions: R Price to submit appropriate comments/objections.
    • It was suggested that commercialisation of the area can be considered under planning if planning applications are submitted, and that NTBCC’s planning and environment committees collaborate on this issue. Action: IM to circulate draft of relevant piece, suggesting that the square is used more lightly, focussing on appropriate events
  • The Paolozzi sculptures will move to Hillside Gardens. It was asked whether a planning application is needed for this.

6 Environment

C Ross reported that

  • NTBCC’s environment committee has considered St Andrews Square, and that Cllr Miller (convenor of southeast locality) is interested in this issue. CR has contacted her to say that NTBCC has concerns about the square and the St James project, including the handling and fate of the concrete from the current demolition.
  • NTBCC representatives now attend CEC’s waste and cleansing consultative forum, which meets next on 11 October. Relevant issues include reduction of permanent staff, turnover of management, on-going problems with bins. CEC manager Murray Black has asked the public to send in photos of bins whose lids are missing. Photos can also be tweeted to @edinhelp. Action: B Ryan to put this on NTBCC’s website.
  • It was noted that Northumberland St’s container is located in a dangerous place, but CEC has not responded to complaints. It was requested that CEC cllrs look into this.

7 Transport

The main relevant issue here is the imminent closure of Leith St diversion is main things. Calton Brae is already closed in preparation for this. It was reported that very large cement lorries are using (and getting stuck on) Nelson St.

  • It was suggested that alternative routes for ambulances may be problematic during this closure, but other members suggested that this matter has been handled quite well. Traffic monitoring has been requested to find out whether traffic levels become unacceptable.
  • It was noted that during the tram works, there was good communication between NTBCC and residents’ associations. Action: I Mowat to find relevant information, NTBCC to consider communications with RAs at its next meeting,
  • It was suggested that Information the top of Leith Walk, and the Leith Walk programme, should be communicated.
    Action: B Ryan to put link to Leith Central’s information collation on NTBCC’s website. R Price to draft a supplement.
  • It was suggested that NTBCC should inform itself about the tram feasibility report.

8 Communications

Action: R Price to provide minutes of NTBCC’s last communications meeting.

9 Neighbourhood Partnerships

Action: C Ross to attend next NP meeting in August. These meetings are open to all.

10. Any other business

NTBCC received its grant (£1075) from CEC on 1 August.

11. Date of next meeting

11 September 2017