NTBCC minutes – Monday 13 November

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held in the Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s Church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 13 November 2017 at 7.30pm

Actions and decisions are RED ITALIC UNDERLINED. Nem con means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.

1 Attendance and apologies for absence

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Christine Ross NTBCC
Judy Conn NTBCC secretary Fran Wasoff NTBCC
Jonathan Finn NTBCC treasurer, licensing convenor Alan Welsh NTBCC
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Jack Hugh NTBCC PC Derek Barbour Police Scotland
Allan Jack NTBCC transport convenor PC Chris Green Police Scotland
Ian Mowat NTBCC chair Cllr Claire Miller City Centre Ward
Stuart McAllister NTBCC Cllr Marion Donaldson Leith Walk ward
Carol Nimmo NTBCC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Richard Price NTBCC planning convenor Anna Herriman City of Edinburgh Council
Over 14 residents and visitors

1.1 Apologies for absence

Chris Collins NTBCC Cllr Lewis Ritchie Leith Walk ward
Lewis Press NTBCC environment convenor Cllr Gavin Barrie Inverleith ward
Susan MacInnes NTBCC Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
Cllr Karen Doran City Centre ward Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward
Cllr Joanna Mowat City Centre ward Cllr Iain Whyte Inverleith ward
Cllr Alasdair Rankin City Centre ward Ruth Davidson MSP Edinburgh Central
Cllr Amy Mcneese-Mechan Leith Walk ward Ben Macpherson MSP Edinburgh Northern & Leith
Cllr Susan Rae Leith Walk ward Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith

1.2 In memoriam

I Mowat informed NTBCC of the death of Bill Dunlop (former NTBCC treasurer).

1.3 Data protection

I Mowat informed meeting participants that email addresses were collected only for circulating NTBCC information, and that email addresses would be discarded if the owners so wished.

2 Minutes of Meeting of 09 October 2017 and matters arising

Approved subject to noting F Wasoff’s apologies for absence (proposed A Welsh, seconded C Nimmo)

2.1 Matters arising: Item 4 (RBS site)

Action: Cllr Miller to ascertain whether people who had submitted comments on previous versions of the plans will be notified when the new plans are submitted.

Action: R Post to post on NTBCC website as soon as plans have been submittted

It was noted that if people wish to photograph or video presentations, NTBCC should be informed in advance.

3 Police

PCs Barbour and Green reported as follows:

  • They are 2 of 9 Community Police Officers (CPOs) coving the city centre.
  • 4 x housebreakings (dwellings) – all currently unsolved. MOs are
    • climbing secure rear car park gate, forcing rear basement flat patio doors using unknown instrument, entering, searching, thereafter forcing interior connecting door to upper townhouse, thereby activating alarm, egress as entry, nothing apparently stolen.
    • smashing window glass 3ft x 2ft by unknown means, entering, searching, nothing apparently stolen
  • 4 x housebreakings (business) – all solved
  • There were reports of youth disorder in the Barony Park area. Three 16 yo youths were traced and charged in relation to drug possession. Crime prevention work has been undertaken in a local shop where youth issues were encountered. No further youth issues reported.
  • 20mph speed limit
    • This was introduced by CEC, who led the campaign through education. Unfortunately as a result of the demands on the community police officers they could not enforce this as they would have liked. PS Mason at the West End is looking at ‘Community Speed watch’ which will entail members of the community being trained to use the speed gun. Persons found exceeding the speed limit will have Vehicle Registration Numbers passed to police to issue written warnings. On a third occasion a visit will be made to the Registered Keeper of the vehicle by police.
    • Action: NTBCC to inform PS Mason of volunteers
  • A road safety meeting will be held by the road policing department.
    • Use of 'Pop up Bob' (a cardboard cut-out of a police officer) has been rated highly by Fife police.
  • ‘Your View Counts’
    • Police Scotland are surveying on local policing priorities. Actions: PS to supply survey, B Ryan to put it on website
  • ‘Drug Dealers Don`t Care’
    • Action: PCs to forward posters to B Ryan, B Ryan to put these on website and forward to NTBCC members etc
  • Vehicle crime
    • There has been an increase since the start of October of break-ins to vehicles by smashing windows. Valuables left in plain sight have then been stolen. These included SatNavs, cash, iPods. Citizens are advised refer to Police Scotland website for advice on how this can be avoided.

3.1 Questions and answers

Asked about crimes against people, the CPOs responded that other city-centre CCs felt that these were an artefact of the ‘night-time economy’. There were no outstanding robberies. I Mowat asked for information on crime trends.

Asked about specific locations of crimes, the PCs offered to supply such data in future.

A Welsh reported that a nearby area contains 3 homes for senior citizens, a library and a school, but there is often parking on double yellow lines and double parking– AW fears this may lead to fatalities, especially during farmers’ markets on Sundays. Action: CPOs to inform their colleagues in the relevant area (Drylaw). The CPOs also noted that they cannot issue parking tickets for these reasons, but CEC traffic wardens can – they now also work on Sundays.

Concerning rough sleeping, the CPOS reported that they are working with Streetworks, CEC and Bethany Trust to promote use of night-shelters. These are open longer and have increased capacities, but are full most nights. There are very few calls to police about rough sleeping at present.

4 Anna Herriman on George St and New Town design project (GNT)

Ms Herriman reported as follows

  • She submitted a report to CEC’s Transport and Environment Committee on 5 October to change the scope of the George St project (GSP).
    • GSP had included a 15-month Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) removing traffic from GS, and occupying the area with on-street furniture.
    • The focus of GSP was design principles for GS itself.
    • However, CEC officers reviewed capital projects for the New Town area in the light of these emerging principles, and realised that a holistic approach to the New Town area (GS, Castle St, Hannover St, Frederick St, Charlotte Square [CS] and St Andrews Square [SAS]) is necessary. There is currently a TRO for changes to CS, and SAS is halfway through a refurbishment process. Sustrans has also funded an active travel scheme between the Meadows and GS. Other relevant considerations include how people move through the centre of Edinburgh.
    • Hence the scope of the project has increased to take in such area.
  • Hence while a preliminary design in being created, CEC is aiming for a coherent vision and programme for the city centre, rather than individual projects. Action: A Herriman to forward relevant reports to NTBCC
    • So CEC has commissioned White Young Green (WYG) and LDA Design to create a preliminary design.
    • This is not yet going to TRO stage because funding for the complete programme is not yet available and because what is required initially is a blueprint/masterplan – delivery will be phased as money becomes available.
    • WYG and LDA were chosen for their track-history of place-making. There is concern that St James may pull footfall from the area without such considerations, also though some shoppers prefer to avoid shopping malls.
    • WYG and LDA also have strong track-records in engagement and project management.
  • WYG and LDA’s current task is to undertake consultation, working in under supervision of CEC officers.
    • Hence there will be major public events in the Assembly Rooms in early December, to develop objectives from the current GS design principles. CEC wants very wide public participation.
    • Thereafter, these will be translated into design options, which will be consulted on in January and March.
  • Following this, a draft preliminary design will be published, and advertised in a 2-day long drop-in event.
    • CEC recognises that some aspects will take priorities over others, but AH stated that the hierarchy will be determined by public input.

4.1 Discussion

During this section, AH took pains not to commit to any specifics – these are due to emerge from the design process.

  • It was noted that 3 sections (of 8) of GS are closed off (1 is due to current Leith St closure) potentially conflicting with aspirations for active travel.
    • AH responded that active travel (walking and cycling) will be a key consideration, to overcome the current weak north-south and east-west cycling connections. However street-use should be flexible, instead of over-engineered and under-used ‘white elephants’ such as Castle Street’s pedestrianized area.
  • Asked about conditions on Sustrans funding, AH responded that Sustrans offered up to £80,000 towards project development costs. AH informed Sustrans from the start that this is a place-making project, which Sustrans is happy with, because they agree on the needs for accessibility, support for active travel and safety for all users.
  • AH concurred that currently there is pressure on current bus routes.
  • It was suggested that management was as important as design, and Essential Edinburgh’s influence was questioned.
  • There was concern about the ‘disappearance’ of the manifesto for civic spaces. AH agreed to include it in the process.
  • There was concern that CEC’s long-term expectation is not visible, but hidden by noise from Essential Edinburgh etc, so people could not respond to it. In this NTBCC member’s view, Edinburgh needs both quiet and noisy spaces.
    • AH responded that during the ETRO closure of GS, there was a feeling that GS became heavily commercialised by bars and restaurants, so it was not a reactive public space. Instead, heavy structures carved up the public space, which was not quite what CEC wanted. AH noted that GS’s public space has been useful for seasonal events.
      • An NTBCC member was concerned that advertising boards on pavements etc misaffect public spaces.
    • Another member asked what had happened to previous design principles (the ‘James Craig plan’) – are these being abandoned and new ones created? Also, are street users being consulted and sales patterns being researched?
    • Another member suggested that CEC needs to take a holistic view of uses so both tourists and residents are accommodated. This member also stated that AirB&B is causing large problems.
    • Another member added that the work should include not just GS, the squares and cross streets but also Rose St etc
    • Another member asked what had happened to the TRO about CS.
      • AH responded that this TRO has not yet been enacted – she could give more information at a future meeting.
    • A resident stated that he and his peers are stakeholders, but needed a central information point.
      • Ah responded that she would like to develop a web presence to publish data, including a street-life assessment that was carried out during the ETRO. However, there are procedural barriers to publishing such data online. Press releases and invitations to events will be widely published. AH also has a stakeholder emailing list, but this is not yet opt-in; data-protection principles forbid adding to this list email addresses given to her for other purposes.
      • A physical noticeboard was suggested.
      • Action: AH to add minsec@ntbcc.org.uk to her emailing list, B Ryan to collate GS information on NTBCC website.
      • Action: NTBCC members to email Anna.herriman@edinburgh.gov.scot, so AH can add them to her emailing list.

5 Picardy Place

  • Public engagement events dates were noted – see post on NTBCC website.
  • A resident reported that, in correspondence with CEC’s Director of Place, questions had not been answered about parameters and timescale, and that the approach was technical, taking no account of environment or resident input.
    • Cllr Miller responded that councillors had also found difficulties in obtaining information from officers. Many decisions have been made under delegated authority (i.e. delegation from councillors to officers), so matters were not coming into the public domain because they were not considered by CEC committees. Hence councillors had brought it all back to the Transport and Environment Committee. She concurred that consultation so far has been limited, and has focussed on elements of the design rather than the whole design. Cllr Donaldson concurred, and noted that cost is also a factor.
    • Cllr Millar also noted that there are constraints due to the Growth Accelerator Model (GAM) and funding stream concerns, and suggested that the consultations due to take place can only tweak existing designs.
    • It was suggested that the GAM could be renegotiated to create a win-win-win situation for the developers, CEC and the Scottish Government, not least because this could lead to a better space outside the new St James centre.
    • It was also suggested that councillors aren’t controlling officers, and that this is leading to frustrations with the process spilling over into criticisms of the outcomes (i.e. the actual plans for PP).
    • Another resident stated that relevant groups have not been allowed to see the full plans for PP, and asked whether they would now be forthcoming. It was noted that PL had stated that further information would be forthcoming, but this had not yet happened.
  • Another resident noted that pavement work outside John Lewis follows existing plans, rather than waiting for the results of consultations. It was suggested that this work was enabled by tram-related TROs. Action: Cllrs Miller and Donaldson to ascertain legal basis for the current work. Cllr Miller later reported
    • ‘the contractor has confirmed that the pavement on Leith Street has been reinstated in line with the consent from the Council for the development of Edinburgh St James. The pavement outside the former revolving entrance at Little King Street is currently being reinstated as per the agreement between the developer and the retailer to enable access to the shop in advance of the festive period. Once the design for Picardy Place is finalised, this will then be reviewed and amended as required.’
    • The plans will be published on CECs consultation hub by the end of this week and stakeholders will have the opportunity to download this information for analysis. We will circulate a link to the consultation hub as soon as it is live.

6 Planning

6.1 Royal Bank of Scotland

R Price suggested that there should be 21 or 28 days for comment, and neighbourhood notification. He has heard nothing more about plan-submission. Action: RP or B Ryan to post on website when plans are submitted

6.2 Royal High School

R Price reported that an appeal has now been launched. He and/or I Mowat will meet with Cockburn Association (CA) and Edinburgh World Heritage tomorrow to co-ordinate this. CA has retained an advocate. C Nimmo noted that previously-submitted objections will be carried forward unless objectors expressly retract them.

Action: NTBCC will encourage CA to use Counsel, and co-operate with CA.

6.3 Scottish Chamber Orchestra (IMPACT Scotland)

R Price stated that he is in favour of the idea of replacing a car-park and office block with significant building that will be the new home of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Some concerns were expressed about lack of detail in the initial proposed designs However, detailed designs are likely to be published so this is not seen as a major issue. Action: R Price to submit comment in favour of these plans.

6.4 Other items

  • CEC has devised possible changes to planning training for CC members. Action: J Hugh and R Price to submit feedback
  • I Mowat has responded generally favourably to the Calton Hill management survey.

7 Edinburgh Council proposed parking permit diesel surcharge

See CEC consultation hub for background, opportunity to submit views. Views expressed by attendees included:

  • NTBCC member: parked cars do not pollute – this is simply fundraising by CEC, not an application of ‘polluter pays’.
  • Resident: we should be looking into discoursing future purchases of diesel cars.
  • Resident: diesel cars near primary schools are not a good thing because they cause asthma etc.
  • NTBCC member: There is also a Scottish Government consultation on low emission zones, which may be relevant
  • NTBCC member: revenue raised by such measures should be hypothecated for anti-pollution measures.
  • NTBCC member: due to recent encouragement to buy diesel cars, there should be a notice period
  • Resident: this policy will not reduce emissions
  • NTBCC member: this is a fig-leaf action by CEC, because Edinburgh is failing EU standards, specifically on particulates. (This member suggested that diesel cars emit more particulates.)
  • NTBCC member: parking permit costs increase with CO2 emissions: Diesel cars emit less CO2. In view of lack of space in Edinburgh, perhaps costs should vary with size of vehicle.

Action: NTBCC transport and environment committees to decide NTBCC’s position(s) on this issue

Action: I Mowat to circulate J Hugh’s draft response to low emission zone consultation, NTBCC members to submit their views

8 Licensing

8.1 3a Dundas Street, Edinburgh [El Paso Tapas Bar]: Reference 363430

  • This application seeks to ‘replace amplified music condition with new condition. Commence on sales from 10:00 hrs Monday to Saturday and 11:00 hrs Sundays; add off sales; include live performances; dance facilities; outdoor drinking; takeaways and deliveries as additional activities’.
  • NTBCC members were concerned that responsibility for noise concerns would shift from the licensee to neighbouring residents, and that noise from the proposed additions would unreasonably disturb a residential neighbourhood.

Action: F Wasoff to submit objection

8.2 29-33 Dublin Street, Edinburgh [Stac Polly restaurant], Reference 369360

  • This application seeks to ‘to increase on sale hours, add off sales, add seasonal variations, TV sport, live performances, outside drinking, takeaways, outside catering as activities, allow activities outwith core hours, amend details to children and young person’s access to premises’.
  • NTBCC members were concerned by the vagueness of the application (e.g. no details of how late outside drinking would occur), and by the possiblilty of disturbance to nearby residents.
  • Action: F Wasoff to submit objection, including request for clarity on exactly what is being sought

8.3 CEC licensing policy

CEC is due to review its licensing policy. For NTBCC to comment on this, it needs a fuller licensing committee. It was suggested that variation applications must state current licensing conditions and full details of sought variations.

Action: J Finn, S Hajducki, I Mowat, C Nimmo, C Ross, F Wasoff to undertake this, including deciding which parts of current policy to support and deprecate. J Finn to circulate his draft commentary

9 Environment

C Nimmo reported that she and L Press (NTBCC environment convenor) attended CEC Waste Forum (WF).

  • ‘Smart refuse trucks’ are due soon: these will report to HQ on their progress, etc.
  • Waste Forum meetings will now be properly minuted.
  • CEC cuts may lead to bin collections not occurring on Mondays, and longer shifts on other days. (Cllr Donaldson stated that savings are needed, and that there will be some redundancies.
  • Very few people use food waste bins, so better education and collections are needed.
    • It was suggested that large on-street bins discourage recycling.
    • A resident reported that her food waste bin is collected weekly.

A resident stated that AirBnB and similar rental systems lead to flats not being kept well, partly because cleaners leave refuse outside these flats instead of putting it in bins. In some cases, renters are breaking into flats because they have come to the wrong address.

  • I Mowat suggested that residents should contact local councillors, MPs and MSPs, and encourage the actions being undertaken by Andy Wightman MSP about flat-rentals being subject to ‘change of use’ and business registration.

Action: Cllr Donaldson to forward a relevant briefing

10 Communications

I Mowat reported that NTBCC’s communication committee had met recently, and that posters and a generic NTBCC business card are in progress. Further actions will be undertaken in the January business meeting.

11 Neighbourhood partnerships

No items

12 Local residents’ associations

It was reported that there have been problems with gull-proof bags (GPBs). These include refuse collectors only partially emptying GPBs (hence leaving much refuse), and only taking top compost bags out of recycling containers. It was suggested that this is because the collectors’ trucks are too small. Contact with the relevant CEC official has been made.

13 AOCB

Cllr Donaldson noted that CEC’s budget consultation is now live. Action: B Ryan to advertise this on NTBCC website.

14 Date of next meeting

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