NTBCC minutes – Monday 11 May 2015

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 11 May 2015 at 7.30pm

1 Attendance and apologies for absence

1.1 Present

Audrey Cavaye NTBCC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Judy Conn NTBCC John Ross Maclean
Richard Corrall NTBCC Maureen Housden India St Residents’ Association
Jonathan Finn NTBCC Dorothy Leeming
Allan Jack NTBCC Robin Maid
Iain McGill NTBCC Nicky Munro Heriot Row Association
Ian Mowat NTBCC Allan Alstead Lord Moray’s Feuars
Carol Nimmo NTBCC Lorna Donaldson Resident
Lewis Press NTBCC Stephen Hajducki Resident
Richard Price NTBCC Neil Short Resident
Christine Ross NTBCC Peter Thierfeldt Resident
Alan Welsh NTBCC PC Derek Barbour Police Scotland
Bruce Ryan minutes secretary PC Eddie Police Scotland
Cllr Nick Gardner Leith Walk ward William Gray Muir Royal High School Preservation Trust
Cllr Joanna Mowat City Centre Ward

1.2 Apologies

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Mark Lazarowicz Former MP (Edinburgh North & Leith)
Lynn Henni NTBCC Deidre Brock MP Cllr for Leith Walk ward,
MP for Edinburgh North & Leith
Gaby Holden NTBCC Cllr Karen Doran City Centre ward
Ben McPherson NTBCC Cllr Lesley Hinds Inverleith ward
Robert Hay Moray Feuars Cllr Alasdair Rankin City Centre ward

2 Presentation by William Gray Muir, Chairman, The Royal High School Preservation Trust, of their proposals for the Royal High School building

Mr Gray Muir made the following points

  • The RHSPT’s key catalyst is support from the Dunard fund, which has committed money to enable the proposals, should Edinburgh Council wish to implement them.
  • The basic idea is that St Mary’s Music School (SMMS) would move into the RHS site, selling off its current site at Coates Hall. SMMS is co-educational, non-denominational. Entry is on basis of pupils’ ability and potential. It also provides music facilities for pupils in other schools.
  • RHSPT would purchase the site (on the same terms currently offered to/by Duddingston House Properties) and concentrate on preserving the buildings, leaving SMMS to concentrate on music and education. Many potential donors have recently come forward, so that financing the plans is very feasible, and the school would not be burdened with maintenance costs.
  • Architectural plans have not been produced but the main Thomas Hamilton building would be used for music events (central hall, library, rector’s study), academic teaching (wing classrooms).
  • Circulation would be via a new structure at the back of this original building, so not damaging the valuable south-facing front of the building.
  • There are some architectural challenges, e.g. classrooms are offset from other rooms by half a storey.
  • Other buildings would be retained if possible. The current gymnasium building may be replaced by a new building no larger than the current footprint and lower than the adjacent Hamilton building using modern building techniques to house separate and secure boarding accommodation for the SMMS pupils and visting orchestras. The whole of the west side of the site would be kept as pristine as possible, apart from removing modern prefabricated structures.
  • RHSPT have submitted a PAN but do not wish to interfere with processing of Duddingston House Properties’ current application to turn the RHS site into a hotel. However, in the event that DHP fail to gain the necessary consent, RHSPT have tabled an alternative. Hence no timescale is currently proposed for RHSPT’s plans.
  • RHSPT aim to include: safety for SMMS pupils, by housing them in the eastern end of the site which will be inaccessible to others; public access to the world heritage site via concerts, master-classes and other public performances in the main building; and preservation of the world heritage features on the site. Such public access would ‘expand pupils’ experiences’.
  • A balanced approach would be taken to installing modern technology cladding the interiors of practice and performance rooms. The rooms that would be used for music already have very good acoustic properties.
  • Further details can be found on RHSPT’s website at http://www.rhspt.org.
  • NTBCC’s report on the RHSPT proposals is at http://www.ntbcc.org.uk/royal-high-school-preservation-trust-outline-plans-to-relocate-st-marys-music-school-to-the-former-royal-high-school.
  • NTBCC’s response to the Duddingston House proposal is at http://www.ntbcc.org.uk/here2/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/15_00223_PAN-NTBCC-Representation-on-RHS-proposal-1Apr15-Abridged.pdf

It was suggested that Edinburgh Council should have a seat on the board to maintain a public/democratic link to what is currently a public asset. WGM agreed that the board should evolve appropriately. It was also noted that the site is a national asset. Residents and Residents’ Associations were encouraged to back the RHSPT proposals – there will be a full public meeting on 18 May, possibly in Canongate Kirk.

3 Police report

  • Beat officers will be returning, thanks to on-going Edinburgh Council funding. This will enhance intelligence-gathering. There will be two beat officers per ward, with an extra 8 for the city centre.
  • A monthly report was released last week
  • In April, there were 18 break-ins to houses and businesses in the local beat. Two arrests have been made.
  • A ‘Rack’ team of 100 officers is being successful.
  • I McGill pointed out the Spurtle’s report of disconnection between the Pilrig and Leith police beats. Action: PC Barbour will take this to his superiors.
  • There have been large drug recoveries in the city centre.

Adopted with no changes, proposed C Nimmo, seconded J Finn, nem con

No matters arising

4 Minutes of Meetings of March 2015

Approved without change (proposed A Welsh, seconded Allan Jack, nem con)

5 Planning

See appendix 1 for planning subcommittee (PSC) report.

5.1 St James area

  • There have been some applications concerning the St James area, including
    • An application enabling John Lewis to keep trading during the work. NTBCC did not comment on this.
    • Unite student accommodation in the James Craig building. NTBCC broadly supported this application, which has been approved.
    • John Lewis collection centre. NTBCC did not comment on this application, which has been approved.
  • PSC notes that the original 2008 permission is subject to many conditions. One key question is the balance of between retail, residential, office space and other uses. The key change in the current set of applications is that no offices are proposed. PSC has already commented that offices should be included.
  • City observatory, Calton Hill

PSC attended the exhibition on this application, and recognises that compromise is needed (e.g. demolition of some domes, other interventions) and that for the scheme to be financially viable, public access (e.g. art gallery, café) is necessary, and that the application is very sympathetic. PSC will make a submission. It was noted that the architect, Malcolm Fraser, has a history of making sympathetic renovations.

  • Viewscreen on George Street: PSC objected to this application, which has been refused.
  • Canonmills bridge (Earthy’s): PSC supports original plan for refurbishment, not current application for demolition, and will make a submission saying so
  • Rotunda hotel on former St James Square.

There is permission for a hotel of a certain mass in this location. The latest application is of this mass but has a ribbon architecture feature. (See Evening News report at http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/st-james-quarter-to-get-ribbon-hotel-1-3708241.) PSC had mixed views. About half of NTBCC members found the planned design objectionable, but others spoke more or less in favour. It was noted that whatever is built must be of high quality and lasting construction. PSC will comment accordingly.

5.2 George Street

The current traffic arrangements will soon expire, and the street will revert largely to what it was before. However, the future of the cycle lane is not yet known. NTBCC is in the process of developing its vision for George Street, and NTBCC members have been requested to contribute to this process.

5.3 Other planning matters

Concern was raised that Edinburgh Council’s planning department is too busy to check details of small applications, i.e. the system is not working. It was proposed that NTBCC raises this issue appropriately. R Price noted an example of the planning department admitting that it had not consented to what was actually done, and suggested the Civic Forum as an appropriate route for such concerns.

A resident suggested that the planning department admits to but does not apologise for mistakes, and has no mechanism for correcting its errors, and that an extra ‘line of defence’ was needed around the world heritage area. I Mowat suggested that NTBCC contacts both the planning department and the WH organisation. It was suggested that the planning department over-focussed on economic development, instead of conservation.

6 Environment

London Street had gull-proof bags (GPBs) but that residents have recently opted for communal bins. A Northumberland Place resident stated that GPBs lead to lots of mess in her experience and would prefer communal bins. IM recommended she take this forward with a local councillor.

It was reported that some replacement communal bins’ slots are too small, but that lids can be released using a button. However, the bins do not carry instructions about this, nor do they have foot pedals. It was suggested that Edinburgh Council wishes to encourage smaller refuse sacks, which use bin-space more efficiently. Residents reported bins on their streets being used by residents from elsewhere. It was noted that Edinburgh Council will respond to requests for changes.

It was reported that the trade waste scheme is not yet working – bins are presently outside all the time. J Finn noted that trade waste bins on Rose Street are being over-filled and that, because they are not on council property, the council cannot prevent this unless identifiable refuse ends up on council property. JF reported that environmental wardens (EWs) had told him they were powerless to act, even when this leads to health and safety issues. It was suggested that EWs’ powers were investigated, and that Essential Edinburgh be asked to intervene – they will be at NTBCC’s next meeting.

7 Transport

It was suggested that cycle lanes may well be retained on George St – the camber on Queen Street is inappropriate for cycle lanes – and that current plans for Charlotte Square may affect George St and its cycle lanes. I Mowat is due to meet Old Town CC and West End CC to discuss public space matters later in May.

A Cavaye mentioned the section of Frederic St between Queen St and George St – much of the cobbles have been tarmacked over. Action: Cllr Mowat will be asked to look into this. It was reported that damaged streets in this and nearby areas are causing damage to buses.

It was reported that some setts on Rose St have not been repaired well, leading to injuries.

Traffic will be monitored in Abercromby Place, Heriot Row east and Drummond Place

8 Licensing

NTBCC decided last month not object to change of use of 32 Castle St.

NTBCC members were asked whether they wished comments to be lodged about the following proposals

  • 1 George St (Standard Life building) introducing conference facilities
  • 112 Hannover St (Jekyll and Hyde pub), opening 10 am, making internal alterations
  • 48 Howe St (a Thai restaurant) opening hours 12 noon to 1 am
  • 24 Royal Terrace (Ailsa Craig Hotel) introducing off sales. Action: C Nimmo follow this up
  • 113 George St (the Living Room) remaining open until open to 2 am. Action: J Finn to oppose this, following NTBCC’s 1 am closure guideline

An objection has been submitted about 25a Dundas St, which would become an off-licence with music, to the detriment of neighbours.

9 Activities of Local Street or Amenity Associations

No items

10 Any Other Business

L Press attended a recent Edinburgh Association of CCs meeting. He will attend the resumed AGM on 21 May (7 to 9pm, City Chambers). It was noted that EACC has done good things in the past.

Decision: NTBCC will spend £40 to join the Cockburn Association

Decision: NTBCC will increase its insurance premium by £25 per year to cover for defamation including legal costs, e.g. accidental libel on the website

11 Appendix 1: Planning Committee Report March/April 2015

11.1 Planning Sub-Committee

A fully quorate F2F Planning Sub-committee held in March (5) & April (5 – incl. new members)

11.2 Pre-Application Notifications & Associated Applications with Major Developments

11.2.1 14/03550/PAN 42 St Andrews Square, 19-23 South St Andrews Street, West Register Street & West Register Street Lane

South-east corner of St Andrews Square & Register Street / West Register Street, includes ‘Grade A’ offices, serviced apartments (or a hotel), and Class 1 (Retail), Class 2 (Professional offices), Class 3 (Restaurant/café).

Public Exhibition (27/11/14) with Chris Stewart architects and Scott Hobbs as agent. Representatives from Gareth Hoskins, Chris Stewart group and Morgan McDonnell presented at January NTBCC meeting.

NTBCC supported the developer’s aspirations. NTBCC representation to the PAN submitted – with objection to demolition or gutting of listed buildings on West Register Street &42 St Andrews Square roof top extension. Supportive of the vision to create a more vibrant entrance to the proposed St James Quarter development with various food / drink establishments fronting Register Lane & the ground floor of 42 St Andrews Square and the restoration of the banking hall. Transport comments covering recommendation to minimize vehicle access, manage trade waste more appropriately and unclear if provision for cycle route along West Register Street is necessary.

11.2.2 14/01177/PPP 7, 11, 13 Eyre Terrace, Edinburgh (Scheme 2)

Permission in principle for Mixed Use including retail (Class 1), Financial, Professional & Other Services (Class 2), Food & Drink (Class 3), Business (Class 4) Hotels (Class 7), Residential (Class 8 & 9 & Sui Generis) ; Car Parking, Access and Other Works, Approval of Siting + Maximum Height of Principal Building Block ; Points of vehicular & Pedestrian Access / Egress.

Application ‘minded to grant subject to legal agreement’ at DMC subject to many conditions which will be handled by the Approval of Matters in Conditions (AMC) process. We’ll await subsequent applications with interest.

11.2.3 Edinburgh St James

  • 14/05263/AMC Approval of matters specified in condition 23 (i), (iii), (vii), (ix), (x), (xi), (xvi) and (xvii) of Planning Permission 08/03361/OUT relating to number of residential/commercial/business units, design of external features and materials, pedestrian and cycle access arrangements, treatment to adopted roads or footways, car parking venting, servicing, surface water and drainage, and hard and soft landscaping details St James Centre Edinburgh EH2 3S

NTBCC Planning Committee attended the Cockburn Case Study meeting on the above and had sight of the Cockburn representation.

Summary of NTBCC representation (copy on website) :

  • Desirable to further improve vitality of Leith Street
  • No objection to removal of Greenside link
  • Concerns over public realm and proposed use of Little King Street (exclusive vehicle access for residential apartments) & future impact of relocated Picardy Place tram stop on pedestrian flows through LKS.
  • Regret absence of offices in latest plans.
  • Support Cockburn Association proposal for sustainable development – design should accommodate change of use of retail to offices or other.
  • Concerns over impact of construction and amount of spoil to remove to Leith Docks. (4 levels of car parking proposed with final level requiring significant excavation into bedrock).
  • 14/02070/AMC Application for approval of matters specified in condition 23 (ii) of planning permission 08/03361/OUT for the precise location and extent of individual uses. St James Centre Edinburgh EH2 3SS

Application lodged in 2014 detailing the precise areas allocated to each Class use/ NTBCC did not make a representation but application now superceded by 15/02054/AMC. Expect that the 14/02070 will be withdrawn.

  • 15/02054/AMC Application for approval of matters specified in Condition 23 of Outline Planning Permission 08/03361/OUT for ‘the precise location and extent of individual uses’. St James Centre Edinburgh EH2 3SS

No major changes vs. 2014 AMC – marginally more Retail & Ancillary Services, less Parking, cinema, food & drink.

  • 15/01742/AMC Application for approval of matters specified in condition 23(iv), (v), (vi), (viii), (xii), (xiii), (xiv) and (xv) of Permission 08/03361/OUT relating to cycle parking facilities, showers/lockers, signing of pedestrian/cycle routes, car parking bays, external lighting, hours of deliveries/collections, waste management + hours of operation. St James Centre Edinburgh EH2 3SS

No detailed analysis concluded as yet but NTBCC intend to comment by 22nd May.

  • 15/01858/AMC Application for approval of matters specified in Condition 23 of Outline Planning Permission 08/03361/OUT relating to design of the central hotel building (Block C) and associated landscaping and external lighting. 1 – 3 St James Centre Edinburgh EH2 3SS 15/01858/AMC

See separate handout – comments due by 22nd May – NTBCC Planning Committee initial thoughts/comments:

Supportive but not unanimous

  • Looks to the future
  • Exciting/has ambition
  • Bold new design/not bland

Concerns – unanimous

  • Although building consistent with quantum of development approved under 2008 Outline PP; ribbon feature has the effect of making the square too small for the proposed building, too much apparent bulk

Concerns – not unanimous

  • Unsympathetic to WHS – does it need to be?
  • Interferes with listed views
  • Concern over quality of development & whether it will age gracefully
  • Does this echo quality?
  • 15/01659/FUL Alterations to department store including reconfiguration of existing entrance, creation of new entrance and provision of temporary and permanent plant. 69 St James Centre Edinburgh EH2 3SP

JL proposed changes to permit trading during the construction of the St James development. Summary available on Spurtle website – essentially adding an additional entrance on Leith Street & changing revolving doors at ‘prow’ to more conventional doors. Rumour that ground floor (carpets) may become a Waitrose outlet No NTBCC representation made.

  • 14/05147/FUL Change of use from student accommodation to Class 1 (Shops), Class 2 (Financial, professional & other services) and/or Class 4 (Business) uses and residential apartments, proposed alterations and ancillary works.
    27, 29, 31 James Craig Walk Edinburgh EH2 3BA

Proposal to redevelop from existing student accommodation (in use since 2002) to 6 ground/lower ground floor commercial units & 20 residential flats. Proposal includes significant restoration of the building exterior to its original form as well as managing the change in street level elevation from current (& historic) through new entrances. NTBCC representation made – broadly in support.10 comments. Approved at DMC.

  • 14/05143/FUL Change of use to Class 3 (Food and Drink) and Class 4 (Business) uses, proposed alterations, erection of extension and ancillary works.
    3 St James Place (aka St Andrews House) Edinburgh EH2 3JH

Extension to existing listed building towards JL to form significant contemporary extension & associated public realm improvements to Little King Street. No NTBCC representation made. 2 comments lodged including The Cockburn Association who opposed the contemporary extension. Approved.

11.2.4 15/00223/PAN Change of use, alterations to and restoration of principal Former Royal High School building and pavilions (original Thomas Hamilton designed school buildings), demolition of ancillary buildings, including the former gymnasium and gatehouse, new build development, new/improved pedestrian and vehicle access, landscaping, parking and public realm works to create a world class hotel of international standing. New Parliament House 5 – 7 Regent Road Edinburgh EH7 5BL

Development proposal is generating significant community interest including an AHSS-sponsored discussion on 23rd February. Public Exhibitions (4 days) now finished.

The Public Exhibition on 5th/6th March had more developed plans. The ‘do nothing’ option is unacceptable and there is an urgent need to ensure that the buildings do not deteriorate further but on balance, this scheme cannot be supported and a strong representation made to the developers emphasising the over-development of the site & the unviability of the proposal for a luxury/prestige hotel. Copy on website.

We await future developments with interest…

11.3 Planning Applications / Representations

11.3.1 14/01419/FUL Garage at rear of 8 Bellevue Crescent & 14/00049/REVREF

NTBCC has not yet objected (retrospectively) to the Enforcement Officer’s decision regarding the original application despite clear guidance from DPEA & the Local Review Board.

Further application in January (which is essentially a duplicate of the previous) has been judged as ‘decline to determine’.

11.3.2 15/00700/FUL Proposed change of use of domestic lock up garage to form studio office accommodation. Garage 32 Metres Southwest Of 8 Bellevue Crescent Edinburgh

Further application lodged – similar to previous refused applications. NTBC has made a strong representation against the proposal. Decision pending.

11.3.3 15/01828/FUL Proposal to fully refurbish existing Grade-A listed City Observatory, Transit House, Playfair Monument and boundary walls. Create new gallery/office, restaurant + entrance kiosk. Proposals also include: demolition of existing Crawford and Cox domes, WC block + aerial house and removal of collapsed Tweedie Dome. Proposals also include new hard + soft landscaping to coherently link the various elements of the scheme. City Observatory 38 Calton Hill Edinburgh EH7 5AA

NTBCC broadly in support of this & corresponding LBC application. Draft response available – comments due by 29th May.

11.3.4 15/00669/ADV Freestanding Forum Display Structure with Digital 84″ Screen facing west and LED backlit panel facing east Proposed Advertising Hoarding 10 Metres South Of 73 George Street Edinburgh

NTBCC submitted an objection to this specific application (there were 3-4 others in city centre locations). 8 comments incl. NTBCC. Application refused along with others in the city centre.

11.4 Update on Previous Planning Applications / Representations

11.4.1 ENA-230-2093 Batleys Cash And Carry, 30 McDonald Place, Edinburgh, EH7 4NH

Applicant appeal to DPEA regarding refusal for Sunday trading was unsuccessful. No further updates.

11.4.2 14/04840/FUL Proposed extension at rear of coffee pavilion in St Andrew Square Gardens. 43 St Andrew Square Edinburgh EH3 2AD

NTBCC representation submitted. In summary, ‘NTBCC fully supports opening St Andrew Square gardens to the general public and believes this forms a valuable additional public space in the city, which will become even more important when the adjacent, already consented, developments are completed. However, NTBCC believe that the gardens should be maintained as far as possible as an oasis of “tranquillity at the heart of the city”. We believe that this application is contrary to this.’ 4 comments received – no changes logged – decision remains pending.

11.4.3 14/02786/FUL 1-6 Canonmills Bridge (currently Earthy’s)

Change of use from class 3 to retail, erection 6 flats and 3 town houses and minor alterations to elevations

Original representation submitted by NTBCC against the 2009 application but subsequently granted in May 2013. NTBCC proposed refurbishment of existing premises rather than demolition & redevelopment (which has now happened). Subsequent application to vary elevation details in 2014. In December DMC recommended refusal of current application (‘detrimental to the character of the conservation area’).

11.4.4 15/01786/CON Complete Demolition in a Conservation Area. 1 Canonmills Bridge Edinburgh EH4 5LF

New application to demolish the existing premises located at 1-6 Canonmills. NTBCC unclear as to the legal status but plan to object to the demolition as the existing premises are held in high regard by the wider community.

11.4.5 09/00715/FUL 16-22 Picardy Place

Concerns raised by the process adopted for this application which was ‘minded to grant’ subject to a legal agreement being put in place for a Tram Contribution to CEC. Normally, permission lapses after 3 years if no development is started – in this case, the Legal agreement has taken over 5 years and has now been approved. Outstanding question via Councillor Mowat to Head of Planning as to proposed changes to process to prevent this occurring in the future. Further follow-up planned but no progress currently.

11.4.6 Disposal of Common Good Land for Scottish National Gallery

NTBCC have been consulted on the proposal (although technically outwith our area) to dispose of a small area in Princes Street Gardens to permit an extension of the National Gallery. Essentially this would extend the National gallery eastwards by ~5m and relocate the existing path in line with the Weston Link. We believe that the land would be ‘gifted’ to either the Scottish Government or the Board of Trustees. Gareth Hoskins Architects are again involved in the design of this extension. NTBCC had no objection in principle to the proposal.

11.5 George Street proposals

NTBCC Planning Sub-committee met to consider what we would propose for George Street public realm improvements given the position regarding the current CEC trial and are now developing a position for input into the latest proposals. There has been much internal discussion to gain concensus and we will table our thoughts in the next month or so.

The final quarterly stakeholder meeting confirmed as 15 June 2015 10:00-12:00 at the Assembly Rooms, Drawing Room. We believe that all are welcome, including members of the public, and anyone with an interest in the future of George Street.

As previously discussed, NTBCC Planning Committee also want to engage more closely with Essential Edinburgh to better understand their aspirations etc. both with George Street, St Andrews Square gardens and possibly Charlotte Square gardens. Once details finalized, we will communicate though the website.

11.6 Second LDP Consultation

Representations to the delayed Second Local Development Plan have been considered. NTBCC made four, relatively minor, representations to the LDP.

The main concern is being voiced by CCs outside of the City Centre – mainly due to the plans to release more greenfield sites for housing development to meet the Scottish Government targets. We will communicate further once the updated plan has been further reviewed.

Richard Price

May 2015