NTBCC minutes – Monday 12 March 2018

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held in the Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s Church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 12 March 2018 at 7:30pm

Actions and decisions are red underlined italic. Nem conmeans that no-one spoke or voted against the item.

1 Attendance and apologies for absence

Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Christine Ross NTBCC
Jack Hugh NTBCC Fran Wasoff NTBCC
Allan Jack NTBCC transport convenor Alan Welsh NTBCC
Stuart McAllister NTBCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Susan MacInnes NTBCC Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward
Ian Mowat NTBCC chair Cllr Joanna Mowat City Centre ward
Carol Nimmo NTBCC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Richard Price NTBCC planning convenor ~18 residents and visitors

1.1 Apologies for absence

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Jonathan Finn NTBCC treasurer, licensing convenor
Foysol Choudhury NTBCC Cllr Claire Miller City Centre Ward
Chris Collins NTBCC Cllr Alastair Rankin City Centre Ward
Judy Conn NTBCC secretary Cllr Karen Doran City Centre Ward
Lewis Press NTBCC environment convenor Cllr Marion Donaldson Leith Walk ward

2 Minutes of meeting of 12 February 2018 and matters arising

Approved subject to correcting month in title (proposed A Welsh, seconded C Ross)

3 Police

I Mowat reported on behalf of PC Liam Coleman

  • The start of March was very challenging due to the inclement weather. There was a high volume of calls, and community police officers (CPOs) also delivered 24 medical prescriptions in the city centre.
  • CPOs perform welfare checks on rough sleepers each morning. 3 have been found temporary accommodation.
  • CPOs will be working with partner organisations to count rough sleepers 14 March. CPOs aim to minimise antisocial behaviour and risks to individuals.
  • Noteworthy crimes in the last four weeks:
    • 5 domestic house break-ins, 3 serious assaults, 8 thefts of pedal cycle, 5 attempted thefts from cars.
    • The attempted thefts from cars were all in the same weekend, so may be linked.
    • Items of value and windscreen suction pads (and the marks they leave) for SatNavs etc should be hidden to reduce such thefts.
    • Enquiries are ongoing; there will be police presences in the ward.
    • Cycle theft is a priority for CPOs, who will work with partners, including Essential Edinburgh.
    • CPOs have been working with taxi examiners: 50 taxis have been checked, 4 taken off the road.
    • There is a road safety campaign this week, focussing on the 20mph speed-limit.
    • Antisocial cycling is being tackled via Operation Close Pass.

4 Filling NTBCC’s two vacancies

  • I Mowat reported that 4 people have shown interest in joining NTBCC.
  • Action: office-bearers / convenors to review applications. Decisions to be made in April if possible (agreed nem con)

5 The renewal BID by Essential Edinburgh

I Mowat & Cllr Mowat reported

  • BID = business improvement district.
  • They are created under legislation, to raise additional funds to improve certain areas. This is done by businesses in these areas paying 1% extra rates (levies) towards improvement of the area. All businesses in the area vote on whether to establish a BID. If majorities (both of votes and rates) vote in favour of a BID being established, this binds all businesses in the area into the BID, and makes levies compulsory. BID levies are collected by the local authority. BIDs are supported by BID Scotland. Each BID management organization is accountable to its member businesses.
  • The management organisation of Edinburgh’s city centre BID is called Essential Edinburgh (EE).
  • Cllr Miller had notified I Mowat that a vote is due on whether this BID should be continued [for another 5 years]. She reported via email that ‘EE is not required to have any involvement from councillors but it has previously provided one place on its board for a councillor, and most recently this has been Gavin Barrie. Our other role is in enabling a BID ballot to take place, as local authorities are required to administer the ballot and collect the BID levy on behalf of the BID, therefore the councillors are asked whether we are content that a ballot is held.’
  • CEC has confirmed that CCs can’t put community involvement conditions into the set-up of the BID, at least not at this point. IM suggested that NTBCC should consider engaging EE once the BID is confirmed to see if they would consult with NTBCC regarding matters such as use of public space.

5.1 Comments from NTBCC and others

  • (A Welsh) EE is about business, NTBCC is about residents, so NTBCC should not be involved with EE at all.
  • (J Hugh) NTBCC is up against a highly organised and financed body, which has done some unwelcome things, so NTBCC should have a view here.
  • (C Nimmo) Are there any options apart from EE? (Cllr Mowat responded basically ‘no’.)
  • (A Jack) NTBCC, as representatives of the local community,should have some control of EE’s activities, so it is accountable to residents.
  • (Cllr Mowat) BIDs should use their levy funding to provide additional services. They are still subject to usual checks on licensing etc. However, there are EE activities that are opaque, e.g. St Andrews Square. She would be happy to work on improving EE’s consultative processes.
  • (A Jack) Concerning George St, it is difficult to find out what is done by EE and what by CEC. (Cllr Mowat concurred, saying it would be beneficial to havemore dialogue to obtain clarity. However, CEC never cedes responsibility, even when it delegates to EE, e.g. to run St Andrews Square.)
  • (J Hugh) EE is about footfall and increasing business revenue, while NTBCC is about quality environment. CEC councilors, i.e. elected representatives, should have ‘a finger on the button’.
  • Cllr Osler stated that there is impact on tourism, so cross-party representation of various CEC committees will be set up to create an overall plan on this matter. (C Nimmo noted that this implemented commitments made by candidates at May’s hustings.)

6 Planning

6.1 Edinburgh Academy

I Mowat declared an interest – he has a child at Edinburgh Academy (EA) – so withdrew from this debate.

Henderson Row and Perth St residents reported that they intend to object to the planning application because:

  • The application does not mention B-listed buildings and gardens in the New Town Conservation Area that would be affected.
  • Several questions were unanswered at the Pre-consultation
  • Proposal breaches several Edinburgh planning policies and design guidelines.
  • While the application includes many positive features for the school, it is of an inappropriate scale and density, and would impact residential amenity and space, and resident’s views.
  • Because the proposal is constrained by the proximity of the boundary walls and noise constraints, no natural ventilation via windows is possible. Instead, ventilation for the various buildings would be via a subterranean plenum under the new buildings with an intake incorporated into the existing listed wall facing the rear of Henderson Row. This would necessitate demolition and rebuilding of a B-listed wall, incorporating a large (approx. 6m x 1.5m) intake grill. This is not mentioned clearly in the application, and does not appear to be included in the listed building consent.
  • Full-height glazing within 18m of residential housing would compromise residents’ privacies.
  • Flues from the planned chemistry lab could impact residents’ views, while emissions could be blown by prevailing winds into residents’ properties. There is no detailed information on whether emissions would be harmful.
  • Removal of 12 trees would impact visual amenity, particularly on Henderson Row.
  • The plans may lead to acoustic issues, which could be a statutory nuisance.
  • Massing of the proposed new buildings could affect daylight in extensions of residential properties.
  • During the building of the planning buildings, noise and dust would strongly impact on residents.

The residents have not seen the Academy’s development ‘Masterplan’, and wish to see various ‘missing’ information (e.g. listed building consent) before CEC considers this application. They will also ask for a site visit.

6.1.1 Comments from NTBCC and others

  • (C Nimmo) This development was not mentioned in any detail in the masterplan presented to NTBCC in 2016.
  • (R Price) EA is trying to make full use of its property. Some development may be acceptable, but this proposal goes too far. There are 4 applications for this proposal, currently all closing on 23 March, but the specific content of some of the applications is not clear. He also noted that an application in 2014 to demolish a boundary wall was refused.
  • (S Hajducki) The residents should ask for a more detailed sun-path diagram.
  • (the residents) There will be a public meeting on Saturday in Saxe-Coburg church hall – all are very welcome.
  • (Cllrs Mowat, Osler) CEC officers can schedule site visits, and CEC committees can ask for them. They are conducted by planning officers and CEC councillors. So people objecting to applications should inform councillors on the planning committee of all issues in advance, relating these to CEC policies.
  • (a visitor) Believes that the masterplan is in the current application. However, the development footprint in the masterplan is smaller than in this application.
  • (Cllr Osler) CEC can only consider the actual application.

6.2 Others

  • There will be a second consultation event on Impact Scotland: Thursday March 15 at 3pm, in St Andrews Square.
  • The saga of the unapproved conversion of a garage to other uses in East Scotland St Lane continues, as reported in the Spurtle. Elevation of this issue to CEC’s Legal department was supported by NTBCC.

7 CEC’s proposal to transfer Gaelic Medium Education to Drummond Community High School

A DCHS parent reported that

  • CEC has firmly committed that pupils living in the school’s catchment area can continue to attend. However, CEC also said that GME might temporarily share Drummond – but only if it can be expanded so that a full GME school can be developed beside the EME school.
  • However, the Spurtlereported that Lothian Buses will keep their existing site, so there is no opportunity for development of a new school.
  • So the parents are optimistic that DCHS will stay as it is currently.

Cllr Osler stated that there had been an unfortunate clash between two reports. CEC does not offer that siblings of children at any CEC school can also attend that school, but children who start at DCHS will be able to continue their education there.

Cllr Mowat stated that the issue originated when DCHS had a low number of pupils, but James Gillespie’s HS (JGHS) was full. This is no longer the case. There will be a special meeting of CEC’s education committee on 29 March.

R Price asked whether the DCHS parents would still be concerned if an extension was built where the bus depot is now. The parents replied that there would still probably be practical issues, e.g. around timetabling separate GME and EME use of the school gym.

A parent of a pupil at a GME primary school stated that they wish better provision for GME, and has been working with CEC on this for over 8 years. However, she currently is not aware where her P5 child will go to high school.

8 Licensing

F Wasoff has submitted an objection to a licensing application for 13b Dundas St (immediately adjacent to residential buildings) over potential noise issues. This objection was consistent with NTBCC’s position on noise and two recent objections consistent with NTBCC’s position were upheld by CEC.

9 Environment

L Press reported via email: ‘The CEC Waste & Cleansing forum earlier this month was cancelled/postponed due to the bad weather, and no date has been set for the next meeting of the forum. I will contact the Environment subcommittee if I am informed of a date for that.’

10 Transport

B Ryan reported that there new, large potholes had appeared on Princes St in the wake of the recent snow. Cllr Osler responded that potholes on such important roads would be fixed quickly. (Some appeared to have been patched within a week of the meeting.) The best way to get action is to tweet photos to @Edinburgh_CC, and send them to CEC councillors.

10.1 Picardy Place

I Mowat reported that he had attended a meeting on the design of the new system at PP. Issues included

  • removal of the left turn from York Place into Broughton St. However, modelling implies that this may be beneficial because traffic could exit Broughton St more quickly, hence causing less congestion on York Place and Picardy Place. However, there are no actual traffic counts to substantiate this.
  • There has been no decision on the location for the replacement of Paolozzi statues that were in front of the cathedral.
  • CEC wishes to present to NTBCC in April about its trams plans.

C Nimmo reported about a meeting about collaboration of the Picardy Place issues.

  • Attendees included Spokes, the Cockburn Association and Edinburgh World Heritage.
  • There is now a ‘coalition’ to look at the bigger picture of the city centre, and get earlier input into CEC plans, potentially leading to better representation of residents. Cllr Osler responded that she is lobbying for better representation in the design of PP, and joined-up work by CEC. (Currently, any application may pass through CEC’s licensing, planning, culture & communities, transport & environment, economy & housing committees. The latter two have most power, so are the ones to lobby.)
  • A Welsh stated that Edinburgh Civic Forum works well. It brings together CCs and CEC officials, who can be questioned.

10.2 Other points

A Jack reported that NTBCC’s transport committee’s main concerns centre on safety and air quality.

  • The committee will ask CEC how its 20mph limits will be enforced – enforcement seems weak currently.
  • The committee also understands that restricting parking in the city centre transfers parking issues to peripheral areas. It will raise this point with CEC, which is still working out the details of its parking plans.
  • The committee also wishes CEC to be clear about the status of residential streets: what decides whether a street is residential, and what should this status mean in terms of air quality and traffic speeds?

C Nimmo added that there had been discussion of whether car traffic would return to Leith St when it reopens. The committee wishes dialogue with Cllr Macinnes to argue for car use of Leith St.

11 Communications

Action: all NTBCC members to display posters advertising NTBCC wherever possible – and inform S Macinnes where posters have been placed.

12 Neighbourhood Partnerships and local residents’ associations

It was noted that although NTBCC’s area is mainly in the South East Locality, some of it falls into the North East locality (being the Leith Walk Council Ward). – in addition, a small area adjacent to Stockbridge/ Inverleith is in the North West Locality.

C Ross reported watching the webcast of SE locality meeting, to no avail. Cllr Osler responded that localities are still developing their aims and procedures, but many matters need to be referred to CEC committees.

I Mowat has been invited to speak at the Great King St Residents’ Association AGM on 24 April.


Nelson and Northumberland St Residents’ Association AGM will take place on Sunday 20 May, at the Scottish Gallery, Dundas St (2pm start). It will consider whether Heriot Row can join the association.

The Cockburn Association’s mini conference on Airbnb will take place on Wednesday 14 March (2pm to 5pm).

NTBCC had been invited to the Polish Club at 11 Drummond Place, but this was postponed due to the snow.