Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Monday 14 February 2022 at 7pm
Actions and decisions are red italic. ND (‘no dissent’) means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.
Edinburgh Council has stated that ‘CCs can approve minutes, and take other decisions, remotely’, as so long as they ensure that ‘remote meetings are as accessible to members of the public and (as) well-advertised as possible’.
1 Technology check
The meeting opened online at 6:45 pm to enable all attendees to connect before the start of business.
|Mike Birch||NTBCC, RRCTMA||Richard Price||NTBCC|
|David Clarke||NTBCC||Nick Reid||BTBCC|
|Annick Gaillard||NTBCC||David Renton||NTBCC|
|Laura Graham||NTBCC||Peter Williamson||NTBCC, Picardy Residents|
|Deidre Henderson||NTBCC||Bruce Ryan||Minutes secretary|
|Stephen Hajducki||NTBCC||Alan McIntosh||Broughton Spurtle|
|Simon Holledge||NTBCC/EACC||Cllr Max Mitchell||Inverleith ward|
|Jack Hugh||NTBCC||Cllr Joanna Mowat||City Centre ward|
|Ken Lochrie||NTBCC||~15 residents/visitors|
2.b Apologies for absence
3 Minutes of 13 December 2021 ordinary meeting
Accepted as-is: proposed L Graham, seconded D Renton, ND
4 Police report
See PDF on NTBCC website or text in appendix 1
Action: K Lochrie to contact police again about the informative reports NTBCC wants, using the LHNCC newsletters as a model.
4.a What are the current response times for the police in non-emergency situations?
Action: K Lochrie to pursue this
5 Presentation: 72-74 Eyre Place – CASL / Scott Hobbs / Fletcher Joseph
No presenters attended – apologies received after the draft agenda was issued.- therefore no formal presentation
All points made by R Price Unless otherwise noted.
6.a Eyre Place (22/06729/PAN) – next steps
- This proposal is at pre-consultation stage. Because it’s for more than 50 units, it counts as a ‘major’ application, and so must go through pre-consultation. The online consultation was originally planned to start this week but has been delayed to 23rd An online presentation will be live from then to 16 March. There will be a ‘virtual feedback event’ on 3 March.
- The site was the former Jewsons building. Permission for demolition was not needed because the site is outwith any conservation areas.
- The proposal is for student housing here, despite ‘City Plan2030’ designating this site for residential development.
- Local residents stated:
- We are trying to understand community views about the proposals. There is a group of ~50 people who want to be involved in responding.
- We are undertaking a survey to measure support and opposition, and gather concerns. So far, 98% oppose current plans. Residential accommodation would have been welcome.
- People can get involved via https://www.eyreplace.co.uk.
- Cllr Mitchell: the developer is keen to engage with residents
- A resident: King George V Park would become even more over-used. The current RBS application includes 2m2 of green space per resident. Hence NTBCC should demand worthwhile amounts of green space for every development.
- R Price: student accommodation does not require green space, residential accommodation does.
- R Price: relevant guidance calls for active travel between accommodation and study. A shuttle bus between the existing student accommodation in Beaverhall Place and Edinburgh University has run for ~5 years. This indicates this site is not well connected to by public transport places for study and perhaps is unsuitable for student accommodation?
- There may be some grounds for objections based on ‘over-provision’: also as the site is 0·27 ha, i.e. the over the 0·25 ha threshold, it should not be exclusively student accommodation. (They should contain some residential accommodation.)
- D Henderson: this goes against the 20-minute neighbourhood idea.
- A Macintosh: City Plan 2030 mentioned improving bus services on Broughton Rd. So ‘insufficient transport’ arguments may not be future-proof.
- R Price: the application would be submitted in March-April. This would include feedback and responses gathered during the PAN stage.
6.b Forth Street/Broughton Street Lane (Supercity Aparthotel) – 22/00147/FUL
- This application covers the current home of Radio Forth (a grand building (also listed) on Forth St [FS]) and a (less good-looking, unlisted) adjacent building accessed via Broughton St Lane (BSL).
- The application (which is not ‘major’) is to create an apartment-hotel. Comments to the application are due by 18 February.
- There are some welcome aspects to the proposals, but these would bring another hotel in the area.
- S Hajducki: a nearby hotel is currently used to house homeless people, i.e. more hotels are not needed here
- The Forth St façade would not be changed by the proposal. However, mews residents on BSL may be affected.
- There is concern that the height of the BSL building would provide unwelcome precedent for further high new buildings.
- The Cockburn Association favours use of the site for residential accommodation, and a lower building height on BSL.
- P Williamson: local concerns include opposition to a hotel here, and the potential design and scale (which may overshadow Forth St buildings). However, others look forward to improvements to BSL. I’m encouraging people to make their views known, and favour residential use. I recall that residential development of 12-14 Picardy Place was not economically viable, so I suspect the FS/BSL owners will say the same.
- C Nimmo: the FS door would be shuttered, creating a blank emptiness here. The main entrance would be on BSL. Yet 12-14 Picardy Place provides a precedent against this.
- P Williamson: the FS entrance has been unused for several years. FS residents do not want the main entrance here, but BSL residents would. There would be some use of the FS entrance.
- S Hajducki : most of this side of FS is residential or used for small businesses that do not generate much traffic. 1960s ‘mistakes’ should not be used as precedents for scale/height, especially due to the BSL mews housing.
- R Price: the hotel would be serviced via BSL. Upgrading BSL would be very welcome, but it is very narrow and has pends either end. Hence it should become a one-way street. It may be possible to restrict servicing in the planning permission, and to rationalise waste-collection on BSL.
- There was discussion of how traffic would use the lane, and of road-safety issues.
- A resident: can hotels be made to contribute to improvement of the lane?
- A McIntosh: the new owners are a hotel business, so calls for residential use are futile. Their business model requires an extension here. They claim that the BSL building’s cladding would ‘respect’ neighbouring architecture.
- A Gaillard: FS would have a ‘managed access entry’, but it is not clear what this means. There would be a servicing hours management plan, but this may not be enforceable. The pends limit the size of vehicles here. Transport modelling would be helpful. ‘Section 75’ conditions could be used to improve BSL Levels 3 and 4 of the BSL building are not listed.
- Action: R Price to submit NTBCC’s input
6.c 5G masts/recent pre-planning notification East London Street & general
- R Price: recent relevant applications concern the Lady Haig Poppy Factory (Warriston Rd, where antennae on a disused chimney would be enlarged to host 5G – this application has been approved as ‘permitted development’); the listed telephone exchange on East London St (ELS) already has 4G masts on its roof; the proposal would increase the size and number of masts. I suggest this is better than adding brand-new masts to Gayfield Square (GS).
- A Gaillard: GS was the first approval for 5G masts in the world heritage site. There have been approvals in Edinburgh conservation areas, e.g. a 2-year approval for Drumsheugh Place. An application for Princess St was withdrawn.
- I have complained about the GS approval: this is ongoing, and has alerted CEC planning to relevant issues. However, GS did not need listed building consent. (Princes St did.) Hence there may be a gap in the process, i.e. lack of consultation for listed buildings.
- An application for Logie Green Rd (Lady Haig Poppy Factory) was approved on Friday. There is also now an application to use Greenside parish church. However, this mast would be inside the church tower, hence invisible, and not causing listing concerns.
- L Graham: notification is only required if masts will be less than 20m from neighbouring residential properties. A potential issue is that residents may be notified, but tenants may not inform their landlords.
- D Henderson: The ELS mast is next to Drummond Community High School, which was notified.
- A Gaillard: applications are on behalf of installer Hutchison, but operators differ.
- Action: NTBCC to continue to discuss this matter elsehow
6.d Fettes Row: storm doors
- A resident: there is an application to install storm doors at 23b Fettes Row. This results from there being only one main drain in Cumberland St Lane for this area, and other drains being sub-optimally sited. 23b FR is being damaged due to lack of appropriate drainage, and water running down paved areas.. Hence CEC needs to relocate drains to conserve local buildings. This is a longstanding issue.
- R Price: many gullies here are blocked. Edinburgh World Heritage is investigating climate change and such effects.
- S Holledge: this has been referred to CEC.
- Cllr Mowat: this issue is becoming more apparent. Run-off is inevitable in this sloping area. I have raised the issue several times. CEC has developed a new plan to work with Scottish Water. (Both have relevant responsibilities.) One concern is where to site storm drains in a heritage site. There are other means to tackle this issue.
7.a Convener/restructuring of licensing committee
- S Macinnes has now stepped down as NTBCC licensing convenor.
- Hence NTBCC licensing is now A Gaillard (convenor), D Renton, N Reid.
7.b Increased and improved communication between CEC and NTBCC
- Action: A Gaillard to work towards this
- Relevant contacts on CEC licensing: Nick Fraser (clerk), Gordon Hunter (policy), James Mitchell.
- Cllr Mowat: CEC licensing will have a new IT system by the end of 2022. Statute prevents it doing notifications, but it will provide a better back-office system
7.c Remit of licensing sub-committee
- This will include ensuring NTBCC is aware of forthcoming matters, and respond as appropriate. The remit may also include short-term lets.
See report in appendix 2. All points by M Birch unless otherwise noted.
8.a EV Charging Points (TRO/21/24) – response & next steps
- CEC will go ahead with EV plans for ELS, using delegated authority. (There were insufficient objections to cause a committee decision.). I have submitted an FOI request about the number of objections, and their handling, also asking for road safety and any other impact audits. The proposed location is opposite a primary school, so NTBCC has raised such concerns. It is very poor that such decisions are not challenged. Work has now started, with notifications only being on lamp-posts.
- India St plans received sufficient objections, so this application will go to committee in March. NTBCC will send a deputation if the recommendation is to proceed.
8.b Increased transport along East London Street
- NTBCC has submitted a Participation Request. CEC has today announced a meeting to discuss this.
- Consultation ends this month. No NTBCC objections have been clearly taken into account, so NTBCC should reiterate them, highlighting the flawed consultation process and CEC’s own impact assessment.
- CEC has decided against redesign of public realm at Elm Row, so there will be two 1-way cycle lanes through a public area, without segregation from pedestrian routes. NTBCC/CCTT, Living Streets, Spokes, Edinburgh Bus Users Group, Edinburgh Access Panel are unanimous that the design suits no-one. CEC may redesign after the trams are complete.
- There are safety issues for with Leith Walk cycle lanes and pavements due to lack of segregation.
- There is new traffic management on Picardy Place, including closure of the top of Broughton St and the west-bound lane on York Place. Hence traffic is diverted along Princes St and through the northern New Town. Hence buses were diverted out of York Place, hence 500 buses per day along unsuitable (residential) streets.
- Concerns have been passed to the Trams team and Lothian Buses. LB has been responsive, but there are delays.
- The York Place tram stop is being demolished, so trams are now terminating at Shandwick Place.
- Action: anyone to inform NTBCC/CCTT and the trams team of any problems
- A Gaillard: it’s been better since traffic lights were installed at the top of Leith Walk.
- L Graham: Gayfield Square is now a rat-run, endangering primary school pupils. No-entry signs are being ignored.
- M Birch: the police requested this opening. The trams team is pursuing this issue.
- D Henderson: concerning the Dublin St/Albany St/Abercromby St junction: drivers on Dublin St cannot see if other vehicles have right of way. This is causing poor driving. Signs on the pavement have fallen over.
- D Renton: signs on pavements obstruct wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
- M Birch: I had asked for this junction to be fully signalised. Trams team may now reconsider this.
- K Lochrie: white lines on road surfaces are being worn away, hence drivers are speeding. Can CEC fix this?
- K Lochrie: the Drummond Community Association stopped a major increase of bus traffic in Drummond Place.
9 Engagement and Communications
9.a Update from Engagement & Communications Committee meeting (from S Holledge)
- The second NTBCC walkabout was held on 15 December. It started from Drummond Place and included the roads east of Dundas Street. We found road surfaces and drains in generally much better condition than in the Gayfield and Broughton Street area, covered in the first walk.
- The extensive new development behind the gutted facade of 15-16 Abercromby Place, with a glassed-in penthouse on the top of the building (16/02439/FUL / 19/01716/FUL), was noted. Clearly against WHS norms, this was apparently not picked up in the planning process and we understand it was unfortunately approved by default.
- The NTBCC Communications and Engagement Committee met on 10 February. (Present: Deirdre Henderson, Simon Holledge, Ken Lochrie, Carol Nimmo, apologies from Bruce Ryan, Laura Graham). We discussed the following:
- NTBCC meetings notices: it was decided to print and laminate 50 copies of an A5 only notice.
- NTBCC hybrid meetings: technology requirements were examined, i.e. the need for an absolutely reliable and fast internet connection, and equipment that guarantees that in-room and online participants can both see and hear each other clearly. Various potential locations mentioned were Drummond High, McDonald Road Library and Fire Station. First New Town venues are assumed to be too expensive
- Police reports: we reviewed the latest pdf offering from the police and discussed a follow-up asking for more substantial reports. Ken Lochrie has kindly offered to liaise with the police.
- Edinburgh World Heritage: we discussed the issue of governance and community council representation.
- Walkabouts: the next one was fixed for Wednesday, 30 March, possibly in the north of our area. The use of flags and hi-viz jackets printed with the NTBCC logo, was once more pondered.
9.b Edinburgh World Heritage – obligation and requirements
- S Holledge: there are concerns over NTBCC’s relationship with EWH and its protection of the site.
- A resident:
- There are concerns are about community involvement with the EWH site. This was created under a UNESCO scheme which requires national management plans for WH sites. That is, the management plan is not devolved, but Historic Environment Scotland is the statutory advisor to the UK Government, via DCMS.
- EWH was granted this status in 1995, and EWH Trust was created in 1999, to advise on policy and monitor it.
- In 2007, UNESCO added a requirement for meaningful involvement of human communities to its scheme. However, EWHT is not doing this well: there is no evidence of local community involvement, unlike (for example) Bath.
- Hence a group of residents being set up to sort this. People are very welcome to join this group.
- Action: NTBCC to decide how to tackle this matter, and raise awareness of this matter on its website
9.c Future NTBCC meetings – live/hybrid/changeover?
Held over to March NTBCC meeting
- On 19 January, the NTBCC Natural Environment Group hosted an informal Zoom conference with Lila Angelaka, Senior Technical Officer at Historic Environment Scotland. The subject was ‘Energy efficiency in listed buildings in the world heritage site’. Members of RRCTMA and Great King Street Association also attended.
- Our exhaustive discussion covered Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), double glazing of windows, and floor, wall and roof insulation.
- Technical notes were published after the meeting and there is a video recording — both are still available.
10.a Picardy Place Public Realm – proposals/discussions/involvement
- P Williamson: Work seems to have halted. NTBCC environment (and other members) will meet online at 7am on 28 February.
10.b Communal Bin Hub Review/TEC 27th Jan update – next steps
- C Nimmo: the CEC agenda item was ‘hidden’ in a business bulletin. However, NTBCC made a deputation, as did the Cockburn Association, Edinburgh World Heritage, Stockbridge and Inverleith CC and West End CC.
- However, no change to the plans or mitigation was agreed, apart changing the colour of some bins.
10.c TRO/21/16 – Zone N1 CBH rollout – discussions with Waste Management Team
- C Nimmo: NTBCC has been invited to meet with transport and heritage bodies on 1 March. NTBCC is challenging lack of invitations to residents’ associations.
11 Any other business
- D Henderson: Drummond Community High School is seeking invigilators. See DCHS’s tweet.
- A McIntosh: members and residents are welcome to support DCHS’ inclusivity work via the Tesco scheme (tokens at the checkout).
- A McIntosh: the Spurtle will soon confirm whether to hold a council election hustings.
12 Appendix 1: text of police report
12.a Looking Back
During January 2022, two business housebreaking and one domestic housebreaking occurred. Enquiries are still ongoing into each incident with one positive line of enquiry to date.
The number of reported assaults which took place during the month reduced by roughly a third from December. This may be attributable to COVID19 restrictions placed on the closure of nightclubs and restrictions placed on licensed premises.
Reported thefts in the area reduced considerably during January in comparison to the previous month. The vast majority of these incidents took placed within business premises.
There has been issues regarding Youth Anti-Social Behaviour at St James Quarter and the Omni Centre. This has resulted in directed patrols as well as partnership working between Police Scotland and management at both locations.
There were four reports of vehicle crime, three in relation of theft of a motorcycle and one car broken into. One male has been charged in relation to one of the thefts.
One Protest took place in January outside Bute House which was facilitated by Police Scotland and passed without incident.
12.b What We’re Noticing
Again, the changes of restrictions relating to Covid19/Omicron has had an effect within the City Centre. After an initial slow start to month, footfall and traffic within the city centre has picked up with fewer people working from home.
The Night Time Economy has also returned to life following the re-opening of nightclubs and reduced restrictions within licensed premises. Operation Nightguard involving weekend patrols of the city centre during Friday and Saturday nights to handle any issues arising from the night time economy will continue. A number of individuals have already been issued with Think Twice conditions which prevent them from attending at licensed premises in the city centre.
12.c Looking Forward
Covid19/Omicron is still continuing to impact on everyone’s day to day life despite the lessening of restrictions. Day to day policing will continue as normal and currently there appears to be less strain on Police resources.
It is anticipated that the City Centre will continue to get busier as restrictions lessen and the (hopefully) better weather approaches. As a result, we expect call volume to increase.
If there are any issues which we feel you should know about, we will of course update you in the forthcoming newsletters, but if there is anything you would like us to address, or crime prevention information you would like us to provide, please let us know and we will tailor the content accordingly.
We are looking forward to a monthly newsletter that has no mention of restrictions or coronavirus but until then, please stay safe.
12.d Advice and Support
If you want to start a neighbourhood watch or simply join as an individual to receive messages/targeted alerts from important information providers such as Police Scotland, then log in to : www.neighbourhoodwatchscotland.co.uk
Maximum of 10 easy steps sign up process, whether you list as a coordinator or simply as a member.
You can then log in to the sign in section of the website where you will be given access to your member administration area. From there you can update your own details, create or manage a neighbourhood or home watch scheme, report information to police, neighbourhood watch and much more.
12.d.i What happens after I give information?
After receiving your call or a completed anonymous online form, we create a report that brings together all the information you gave us, making sure it doesn’t contain any information that could identify you.
12.d.ii Who is my report sent to?
Your report is sent to the relevant authority with the legal responsibility to investigate crimes, make arrests and charge people in order to bring them to justice. This could be your local police force or an agency such as the UK Border Agency or HM Revenue & Customs.
February is LGBT History Month and Police Scotland remains firmly committed to supporting our LGBT+ officers and staff, and protecting the safety of LGBT+ communities across the country.
LGBT History Month is focused on combatting prejudice against LGBT+ people, and raising awareness about LGBT history and related civil rights movements. We can agree that much progress has been made however, the global campaign for equality and acceptance continues.
The Chief Constable has committed to take action to ensure Police Scotland is a welcoming and inclusive organisation where people know they belong and can fully be themselves.
More information can be found at: https://www.lgbthistory.org.uk
12.e About Us
- Local Area Commander: Chief Inspector Murray Tait
- Inspector David Duthie
- Sergeant Cameron Walker
- Sergeant Bob Richardson
- Plus 8 officers allocated to community issues in Edinburgh’s City Centre.
12.f Contact Us
- 101 for non emergencies
- Email: contactus@Scotland.pnn.police.uk
- Web: scotland.police.uk
- Twitter: @EdinPolSE
- Facebook: Edinburgh Police Division
13 Appendix 2: transport report
13.a Electric Vehicle Charging Places
As reported previously, we submitted comments to the TRO consultation regarding the three EV charging places proposed for our area. Despite supporting in principle the plans for installing on-street charging, we have formally objected to the locations on India Street and East London Street; both of which we consider unsuitable for the planned Rapid chargers.
Last week, it was discovered that a decision had been taken under delegated powers to ignore the objections for East London Street, as there were less than the minimum number of material objections required for it to be referred back to Committee. We contacted local Councillors to seek their assistance to pause this work but disappointingly work started here today to install the chargers opposite the primary school. We have submitted a FOI to obtain information on the objections and their consideration as well as other supporting documents.
We understand that a decision on the India Street installation will be made at the Transport and Environment Committee in March. We will await with interest the papers for the meeting before deciding whether a deputation is required.
13.b Tram Works
13.b.i Elm Row Public Realm
Following discussions at the Trams Board on 27 January, we were advised that there would not be any redesign of the public realm so that it will be built with two one-way cycle paths crossing the pedestrian area with no proper segregation. This is of particular concern given the two busy bus stops in this area. We understand that the Council are considering options to reconstruct the area after the trams project has been completed.
13.b.ii Picardy Place Work and Traffic Management Plans
We have been in active discussions with the Trams Project team and Lothian Buses regarding the impact of the new traffic management arrangements at Picardy Place that have seen a large number of buses being diverted off their normal route along York Place. In particular residents along Drummond Place and East London Street were seeing several hundred additional buses using their streets with consequent increase in noise and vibration as well as concerns for safety in particular for pedestrians. The current phase of work with the closure of Broughton Street at the junction with Picardy Place will continue for several months. We will continue to monitor the impact on local residents and businesses who are both encouraged to report any problems on the dedicated Trams complaints telephone line (0131 322 1122), by email (email@example.com) or Twitter (@tramstonewhaven).
13.c Spaces for People
As reported previously we have submitted a Participation Request under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 in order to ensure that we have the opportunity to better contribute to any future decisions regarding pedestrian and cyclist safety in our area but especially from Broughton Street to Canonmills. This Participation Request builds on the work that we did last year that set out a long-term vision for ‘Broughton High Street’. Today, we have been contacted by officers from the Place organisation requesting a discussion to clarify our intentions. They also advised that the public consultation on the ETRO to allow the measures introduced under Spaces for People to be retained for a further trial period of 18 months will commence shortly.
13.d Low Emission Zone
The Council have published their final plans for introducing a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in the City Centre that will be submitted to the Scottish Government for approval but before which there is a further period of public consultation. Given that none of the comments that we made in our previous response have been addressed in the final plans, it is proposed that we resubmit them and also highlight that the Council has not taken seriously the feedback that it has received or even addressed the concerns that were raised by the Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA). The IIA undertaken prior to the last consultation identified that the current scheme would result in higher pollution is the areas adjoining the proposed boundaries of the LEZ and yet no mitigating measures have been proposed.
Mike Birch, 14 February 2022