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 February 2017 at 7.30pm
In the chair’s absence, R Price chaired the meeting
1 Attendance and apologies for absence
|Judy Conn||NTBCC secretary||Lauren Stewart||NTBCC|
|Jonathan Finn||NTBCC treasurer, licensing convenor||Fran Wasoff||NTBCC|
|Jack Hugh||NTBCC||Alan Welsh||NTBCC|
|Stuart McAllister||NTBCC||Bruce Ryan||Minutes secretary|
|Lewis Press||NTBCC environment convenor||Derek Barbour||Police Scotland|
|Richard Price||NTBCC planning convenor||Stuart Foster||Police Scotland|
|Christine Ross||NTBCC||Alan McIntosh||Broughton Spurtle|
1.1 Apologies for absence
|Susanna Beaumont||NTBCC||Carol Nimmo||NTBCC|
|Christopher Collins||NTBCC||Cllr Marion Donaldson||Leith Walk Ward|
|Stephen Hajducki||NTBCC||Cllr Lesley Hinds||Inverleith ward|
|Allan Jack||NTBCC transport convenor||Ben Macpherson MSP||Edinburgh Northern and Leith|
|Ian Mowat||NTBCC chair||Deidre Brock MP||Edinburgh North and Leith|
2 Minutes of Meeting of December 2016 and matters arising
These were adopted nem con (proposed A Welsh, seconded R Price) subject to correcting police numbers in item 3.
Police Scotland (PS) representatives reported
- In January: 1 house-break-in to a dwelling, 4 house-break-ins to businesses. All of these are under investigation.
- PS are patrolling daily by the ‘big foot’ outside St Mary’s RC cathedral. Some vagrants who had been in this area have been displaced to other areas of Edinburgh. Many others of no fixed abode who are from abroad and who are not actively seeking work have been handed over to migration authorities for appropriate action.
- Although outwith the NTBCC boundary, it was reported that Hunter Square public toilets are now closed because they were the site of drug activities. There was some discussion of the small number of public toilets remaining open. CEC’s plan to use business’s toilets as public toilets has not yet been implemented as far as NTBCC are aware. A comment was made that the sale of public toilets in London Road and other places is unwelcome – they were built using public money on public land and do provide a necessary function to both residents and visitors..
- PS is currently busier than normal due to school holidays.
4 Activities of local street or amenity associations: formation of Picardie Village Association
The PVA representative reported that
- The nascent association had asked NTBCC for its support and advice in November (minutes item 11, final point).
- Since then, PVA has advertised itself to the area (Picardy Place, Broughton St Lane, Forth St, Union St, Hart St, Hart St Lane, Broughton Place, Broughton St [east side] – over 150 dwellings) and had a well-attended meeting.
- PVA wishes to be supportive of the New Town and neighbourhoods therein. It does not intend to usurp Gayfield Square residents’ association. It is now moving to a more formal organisation, and wishes NTBCC’s recognition. It was noted that NTBCC currently has vacancies for local group representatives. Decision: NTBCC agreed nem con that it is generally supportive of PVA and encouraged further updates in the future.
- PVA will meet on 2 March, to discuss issues such as refuse collection/management, planning, community/social activities. PV residents are quite enthused about the area’s historical roots but are not (yet) convinced that street signage about this is desirable. It was suggested that PVA liaises with all adjacent residents’/owners’ associations.
- PVA wishes to engage with and be inclusive of local businesses, not least to reduce friction over business waste.
5.1 NTBCC Licensing committee (LC) policy
LC has recently drafted and circulated a policy document. Action: NTBCC members to read and comment asap, especially in view of Nicholas Fraser (Depute Clerk of CEC Licensing Board [CLB]) addressing NTBCC next month.
LC wishes to have its policy endorsed by the full NTBCC to ensure that objections to applications can be effective and issues due to lack of time can be avoided. (CLB meets at end of the month, and then issues a list of applications. Hence NTBCC gets about only 7 days to submit objections and comments.)
It was suggested that CLB views are weighted to pubs/bars, rather than to residents. CLB is due to be re-elected in the next few months – this may be an opportunity to redress the balance. It was also suggested that CLB is very powerful, because Edinburgh gets much income from tourism, and hence alcohol sales. It was also suggested that CLB is acting ultra vires, and that NTBCC should work with other CCs to create a common front to influence CLB.
It was noted that the Spurtle is organising a hustings for the City Centre ward, and suggested that candidates should be asked about their views on licensing. A comment was made by a local resident that there is a potential policy disjunction between CEC aiming to increase alcohol sales yet closing public toilets.
5.2 Licensing applications (including applications for license variations)
The following applications for variations on NTBCC’s area have been made:
- Ref: 349439, 7 Charlotte Lane
- Ref: 349435, 55a Frederick Street
- Ref: 349437, 51a George Street
- Ref: 349488, 113-115 George Street
- Ref: 349455, 125 George Street (Tigerlily)
- Ref: 349486, 125 George Street (Lulu)
These variations are about playing amplified music (the condition is about live music) and the underlined premises have residential neighbours. Hence Action: J Finn to submit objections; B Ryan to add information on how to object to licensing applications on NTBCC’s website
The communications subcommittee met recently and decided:
- to circulate website statistics each month, comparing itself with neighbouring CCs
- to proceed with a Facebook presence.
- This currently is mostly linked to posts on the website, but longer term aim is to host lighter content (e.g. brief précises of meetings and NTBCC events) as work progresses. The aim is engage with a wider demographic, and hence create online discussion of issues affecting NTBCC’s area. Action: all NTBCC members to ‘like’ NTBCC’s Facebook page, and hence spread its influence
- Currently B Ryan and L Smith are the FB admins – it may be beneficial to have another admin, and to enable other NTBCC members as authors (i.e. they can post on NTBCC’s behalf but not damage or delete the page).
- It was suggested that residents’ associations in NTBCC areas could advertise themselves via the FB page.
- to proceed with a poster advertising NTBCC meetings. Action: B Ryan to circulate final draft
- It was noted that NTBCC can send materials to Essential Edinburgh for advertisement on their noticeboards.
- to improve the advert in the Spurtle, ideally with calls to action.
- to advertise NTBCC in the Edinburgh Evening News as and when worthwhile.
7.1 20mph streets
it was noted that there is concern over potentially un-necessary signage. It was suggested that because drivers are not yet used to 20mph zones, road markings are worthwhile but there may be too much street furniture advertising the 20mph limit. A Jack has written to CEC’s Director of Place about this issue.
It was noted that CEC is trialling closing roads near some school entrances when pupils are likely to be using them.
7.2 Points from the recent Leith Walk (LW) stakeholder group meeting
- Phase 6 (from Montgomery St to London Rd) will be considered at the next meeting (27 February). NTBCC representatives were frustrated that proposals/plans for the different phases are being considered piecemeal. CEC stated that such proposals/plans will be available at the February meeting.
- Draft proposals for Elm Row may include removal of hedges and trees to make the area more ‘pedestrian- and cycle-friendly’. Some NTBCC members expressed concern over this, positing that the hedges provide protection for the shopping area from the traffic and bus interchange on Elm Row.
- It was suggested that CEC should present about LW plans at an NTBCC meeting in the near future.
- It was noted that the TRO preventing right turns from LW into Montgomery St was approved by CEC on 17 January. However, some aspects may go to a public enquiry.
7.3 Other items
- Concern has been raised with CEC over how long it is taking to replace setts (cobbles) in the India St Area.
- Setts that had been missing in Castle St have now been replaced, but some pavement slabs are still absent.
8.1 Localities and Transition Edinburgh
NTBCC attended a meeting organised by Transition Edinburgh for the southeast and city centre locality which was well attended, brought together a range of people (not just CCllrs) and provided learning opportunities. It covered topics such as walking and cycling issues, lack of green corridors linking green spaces, inappropriate architecture/development, waste issues, lack of community engagement, food recycling. This was all in the context of developing locality improvement plans. (These are to be delivered by 2020.) This may lead to boosting CC funding and duties.
It was suggested that the move to localities is an opportunity because they now have projects (and budgets) to deliver. NTBCC will be represented at meetings for the other localities that NTBCC overlaps.
8.2 Waste issues
It was reported that a meeting of the relevant consultative forum was well-focussed, bringing together NTBCC, Leithers don’t Litter, Southside CC, the Spurtle etc. The meeting was aimed at where the major problems are (i.e. the city centre) and provided good exchange of information. L Press has emailed the head of Waste Services to ask to meet again soon because there are more issues to cover, and ask for clarity on potential changes away from gull-proof bags (GPBs) in NTBCC’s area. (CEC has undertaken a feasibility study.) It was noted that
- The head of Waste Services admits that the communal bin service doesn’t work, even after 3 years.
- Different streets in this area have different arrangements, in part due to aesthetics/World Heritage concerns.
- Some residents of streets with GPBs are using neighbouring streets’ communal bins, as are some businesses.
- Communal bins have ended up in places they should not be.
- Some communal bins are not being collected, leading to build-up of refuse in some streets.
- Communal bins may lead to higher volumes of landfill use (and hence more expense) than GPBs.
- The change to communal bins with small folding lids is understood to be due to difficulties sourcing bins with bigger lids. It was noted that small lids prevent dumping of large items of refuse, but cause issues due to open lids.
- Hence NTBCC needs to find out exactly what is being proposed, and to represent residents who are affected by issues and potential changes, especially where changes would be contrary to residents’ wishes.
9.1 Royal High School
NTBCC have been informed that another planning application for converting the school into a hotel is due to be lodged imminently. NTBCC has communicated to the applicant’s agent that the Public Consultation in December had provided insufficient detail to allay NTBCC’s concerns. NTBCC has offered the developers an opportunity to address the CC. There will be a 28-day period for comments/objections to the new application, so NTBCC will be able to consider it properly at the March NTBCC meeting.
9.2 Former B&Q site at 13 Warriston Road
It was noted that the developer of this site would like to meet with NTBCC to understand what would make their plans more acceptable to NTBCC. NTBCC is broadly in favour with the principle of re-developing this site but supports many of the concerns raised by residents from neighbouring properties. CEC’s Transport department has stated that (1) each flat is eligible for one parking permit per flat (ii) 101 parking spaces on the site is adequate, given that they are ‘decoupled’ but acknowledges that this is less than the current Parking Standard specifies. (NTBCC’s position is that all parking spaces should be within the development and the current Parking Standard guidance should be met.) NTBCC will contact the Planning officer again to challenge the recommendation from CEC Transport Dept.
9.3 Other issues
It was noted that Charlotte Square garden owner's, CEC and Essential Edinburgh are now working together on changes to the use of the gardens and public realm improvements – the owners believe that the annual book festival does long-term damage, so propose that some of the festival will take place at the west end of George St, as reported in The Scotsman.
There have been no further developments around plans for the Royal Bank of Scotland site.
It was suggested that NTBCC should keep a close eye on a potential development of a new concert hall behind the RBS building on St Andrews Square (Dundas House) – there may be issues around access and overlooking other buildings in the area.
NTBCC understands (and supports) that the plans to convert Charlotte Baptist Chapel into a theatre are due to go ahead, as reported in The Scotsman.
10 Neighbourhood Partnerships
Action: J Conn to circulate list of CEC contacts
11 Any Other Business