NTBCC minutes – Monday 10 August 2020

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s public meeting, held via Zoom, on Monday 10 August 2020 at 7pm

Actions and decisions are red italic. ND (‘no dissent’) means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.

1 Technology check

  • The meeting opened online at 6:45 pm to enable all attendees to connect before the start of business.

2 Welcome/NTBCC membership update

2.a Attendance

Mike Birch NTBCC, RRCTMA Stuart McAllister NTBCC
David Clarke NTBCC Richard Price NTBCC secretary
Jonathan Finn NTBCC treasurer Sheila Warnock NTBCC, Great King St RA
Laura Graham NTBCC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Cllr Karen Doran City Centre ward
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Cllr Claire Miller City Centre ward
Simon Holledge NTBCC engagement officer Cllr Gavin Barrie Inverleith ward
Jack Hugh NTBCC, Cllr Jo Mowat City centre ward
Allan Jack NTBCC, India St Association Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward
James Kilner NTBCC 9 residents/visitors
Susan MacInnes NTBCC

2.b Apologies for absence

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Cllr Alasdair Rankin City Centre ward
Susan Duff NTBCC Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
Peter Williamson NTBCC, Picardy Residents Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North and Leith
Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary

2.c Membership update

No discussion

3 Minutes of 8th June Meeting (via Zoom) and matters arising

The draft minutes were approved subject to correction of minor typos (proposed D Henderson, seconded L Graham, ND)

3.a Matters arising

3.a.i Item 3.a.iv: possible reduced calls for public transport

Cllr Mowat is still chasing for more information from CEC officers on this. She has only been told that the cycle-ways on Picardy Place should have opened this morning.

Cllr Doran noted that she met with Living Streets – LS is concerned about the North Bridge proposals. She is also waiting for more information from CEC officers, and will share it with NTBCC when she has it.

3.a.ii Item 6a: residents’ association newsletters

Action: J Kilner to supply his RA’s newsletter to B Ryan when it’s ready.

3.a.iii Other items and action-points

These were all either to be discussed later in the meeting, had been completed or were no longer needed.

4 Police report

  • The chair thanked Police Scotland’s rapid responses to NTBCC’s requests for a report (item 14 below), and their attendance at physical meetings.
    • Cllr Osler noted that Police Scotland is in general keen to engage with community bodies.

5 Transport

See also report (item 15 below).

5.a Broughton Street – NTBCC proposal to SfP – next steps

This item was the first point covered in this section of the meeting. (It had been item 5b on the agenda. A Jack noted

  • NTBCC transport committee has published its opinion on changes to Broughton St: the street should become more of a destination and less of a thoroughfare, and there should be consultation with traders etc.
    • NTBCC wants to know how it can formally be involved in relevant planning.
      • Cllr Doran noted that Broughton St is in ‘consideration for the first wave of short-listing’. In this process, CEC officers would supply a proposal to, and request comments from, the local CEC cllrs, community council, the access panel, Living Streets, Spokes, RNIB. No timeline is yet available, but responses will be needed within a week of the proposal’s publication.
      • M Birch questioned the need for such short consultations, stating that this complex issue does not need to be resolved under ‘emergency powers’ related to coronavirus, and requires in-depth consideration.
      • Cllr Doran responded that coronavirus is still present, and that the point of Spaces for People is to enable social distancing, and these proposals are about urgent but temporary changes.
      • Cllr Osler noted that communications issues have arisen around the SfP programme, and that it will be discussed at a forthcoming CEC meeting. Hence CCs should raise such concerns with councillors in advance.
        S Holledge noted examples of poor communication, e.g. proposals published just before the weekend.
    • A resident noted current congestion due to tram-construction, and asked where cross-town traffic should go if Broughton St is closed.
      • A Jack responded that NTBCC does not propose that Broughton Street should be closed, but should be less full of traffic eventually.
    • A resident member of Scottish Fire & Rescue noted that emergency services need access to such streets.
      • Cllr Miller noted that all emergency services are always consulted about such changes.
    • Cllr Mowat noted that Leith St will soon close for a few days to move a crane out of the St James work. York Place will also close for some time. These will add to congestion/traffic-issues on Broughton St.
    • S Hajducki stated that the SfP schemes appear to be piecemeal and ‘knee-jerk’: are overall traffic-levels being considered? He suggested that moving pavement obstructions such as café tables, and enforcement against pavement-parking and cycling are needed.
    • Cllr Doran responded that Broughton Street residents have requested action here, not CEC. It is being considered with 60 other streets in the first tranche. The SfP measures came from the Scottish Government with no consultation. Hence CEC is consulting as well as it can. CEC is acting on street clutter, and is awaiting on legislation banning pavement-parking. There is no suggestion to close Broughton St: proposals are to widen pavements and enable safer cycling there. There will be a risk-assessment of the proposals.

5.b Safer Streets – ‘Spaces for People’ latest news/update

  • A Jack asked how NTBCC can feed into this – does it have to wait for proposals to arrive?
    • Cllr Doran noted that the first SfP input-window had closed at the end of July, but NTBCC can feed ideas to local CEC councillors, who will pass them on.
  • A Jack noted that NTBCC’s main point is a need for strategic consideration of traffic-management in the New Town.
    • Cllr Mowat responded that she has picked up this need. She has recently re-raised relevant questions as part of the Tram All-Party Oversight Group, and was told that ‘there isn’t that much traffic using Leith Walk – it’s not going to be a problem’. She does not agree, and receives frequent questions about Broughton St. Hence she agrees with the need for a strategic/holistic review, including protecting vulnerable road-users such as school-pupils.
      • Action: Cllr Mowat to inform NTBCC of whatever information she receives.
    • Cllr Doran added that such considerations are the point of the city-centre transformation and city mobility programmes. This includes handling the large amount of traffic arriving from outwith central Edinburgh. However, this work requires a long consultation-process.
    • Cllr Osler noted that there are many utility works adding to the complexity of CECC officers’ work on these issues.

5.c Concerns raised re Tram Work Alternative Diversion routing suggestions through NTBCC area

This had been item 5d on the agenda.

  • The chair recalled regular diversions during the original tram-work, and noted that that diversions are presumed to be via Broughton St, Albany St, East London St etc. Now the quietest route is Queen St to Princes St, Waterloo Place and Regent Rd. This would take traffic away from the currently very busy part of city centre while York Place is closed.
  • L Graham noted that closure of Leith Walk near Gayfield Square for tram-works has made crossing the Walk involve an ‘dangerous journey’ to the bottom of the Picardy Place roundabout.
    • Action: Cllr Doran to raise this with Trams team
  • M Birch noted that the Trams Team now understood that diversion-signs on Queen St are inadequate. CCTT is to give the Trams Team detailed input. Hence he requested such input from residents.
  • S Hajducki noted that he had received a circular on the closure of York Place (starting 17 August) stating that diversions would be put in place but not stating what these would be. He has not been able to obtain details from CEC officials. Albany St residents are concerned that the street will become a bus-route and that residents’ parking-places will go.
    • Action: Cllr Doran to investigate. She noted that the diversion would be via Broughton St.
      • S Hajducki noted that Broughton St is not parallel to York Place, so it cannot help east-west traffic.
    • Cllr Mowat noted there are three works leading to this closure: tram-work, St James project and a cycle-lane.

5.d Response to concerns regarding impact of increased traffic in Bellevue Road/Annandale St

  • A Jack noted that several residents are concerned about noise, vibration and disruption from heavy construction-traffic. NTBCC has suggested road-narrowing instead of speed-bumps (which exacerbate such problems).
    • The chair noted that NTBCC has asked for removal of the speed-bumps, but that CEC is loath to do so.
    • Cllr Doran responded that in the McDonald Place area especially, speed-bumps are being replaced with ‘speed cushions’ to reduce noise. CEC officers are negotiating with Lothian Buses about routes.
    • Action: Cllr Doran to ascertain whether/how Bellevue Rd will be helped by this work.

5.e Tour buses

  • A Jack noted that tour-buses are now running, but with tiny numbers of passengers. He asked how CEC can regulate these buses, and ensure they are replaced by electric buses asap, even if this needs CEC to obtain extra powers.
    • Cllr Doran noted that tour-buses must meet ‘Euro 6’ standards to meet low-emissions requirements. Lothian Buses is responding to this need well, despite the effects of coronavirus on its revenue. She noted that there are old tour buses with ‘pollution pouring out the back’ and that this issue must be addressed.
    • Cllr Mowat noted that CEC officers informed her that tour-buses are registered as public transport, There have been complaints about top-deck passengers not wearing masks: she will act on this soon.
      • Cllr Doran noted that SG guidance does not mandate bus-drivers and bus-companies to enforce mask-wearing.
    • A resident stated that cruise-ships are never considered in relation to environmental issues, and stated that a single ship produces as much pollution as 106 cars, so they should be the most urgent concern.

6 Planning

See also report (item 16 below)

R Price noted that NTBCC has made representations on ~5 applications, including a proposal for advertising on Broughton St roundabout. This seems to be part of a pan-Edinburgh monetisation programme. RP understands why CEC might want to do this, but this site is surrounded by listed buildings, and there is precedent against advertising in such areas.

6.a RBS site (Ediston): Latest news / Ediston July newsletter

  • R Price noted that this site is also known as ‘New Town North’. A second round of applications was lodged in July 2020. There has been press-coverage but until today little detail was available on the CEC planning portal. There is now a ‘FUL’ application and an application for demolition of buildings in the conservation area. The latter has now been withdrawn. Ediston did this so that it can submit the complete set of documentation in late August 2020. Hence NTBCC should revisit this in September, and RP has invited Ediston and Turleys to NTBCC’s September meeting.
    • J Kilner noted that plans had been for a ~90-room hotel on Dundas St, but that now appears to be changing.
    • RP suggested that NTBCC holds a separate meeting on this matter, to enable in-depth consideration/discussion.
    • Cllr Mowat added that the consultation period does not start until the plans are publicly available on the CEC portal

6.b Other items noted by R Price

  • The Filmhouse is out of NTBCC’s area, but some members had attended a Zoom meeting.
  • Christmas market: there has been no public progress on this, but RP understands that a report is going to CEC’s Policy and Sustainability ctte in late August. RP noted his disappointment that time for consideration has become short.
    • S Hadjucki noted Cllr McVey’s comments on how the 2020 Christmas market would be very different to those of previous years. He also noted the Cockburn Association’s checklist, including spreading the market, not building on grass, making the event less tacky, supporting local businesses.
  • Waverley masterplan: a document has been published by Network Rail and Arup. This is an ambitious, staged process. NTBCC should discuss this when more detail is available.
    • RP attended a presentation last year: current plans are broadly similar to then, and fit with plans for central Edinburgh. The big idea is to make a 2-level station, hence decluttering platforms, but the room is currently not high enough, so significant changes would be needed to fit in the planned mezzanine level.
  • RHS Inquiry: a report went to the Scottish Ministers a month or so ago.

7 Events

7.a Edinburgh Christmas & Hogmanay

See discussions in other parts of the meeting

8 Engagement/Communications

See also report (item 17 below)

  • S Holledge noted some changes to the website
  • L Graham’s spoke to a proposal to engage via Instagram. LG demonstrated the NTBCC account she has set up, noting that it’s a lighthearted and entertaining curated way of looking at the NTBCC area, in which she has shared snapshots of the area. She suggested there should be 3 maintainers, sharing photos and videos with followers. She has followed some relevant accounts, linked to the pictures she has added. She suggested that the account would show the beauty of the NTBCC area. She suggested that Instagram appeals to a student demographic.
    • D Henderson noted that Instagram enables sharing of hashtags.
    • Action/Decision: L Graham to carry on with this work, with thanks from NTBCC.

9 Licensing

See report (item 17 below)

10 Environment

No discussion

11 NTBCC Annual Report (Apr ‘19 – Mar ’20) for AGM (with AGM date TBC)

  • The chair noted that the report been drafted, and that CEC has encouraged CCs to continue to meet online, and not meet in person yet. The Cockburn Association recently successfully held its AGM via Zoom. NTBCC expects further information from CEC about AGMs in the near future, but expects to hold its AGM in October.
    • R Price asked whether the absence/postponement of AGMs would impede or hinder CEC grants to CCs.
      • Action: Cllr Mowat to chase this

12 Local residents’ associations

No discussions

13 Any other business

  • A resident asked when the Hardie report might be released. Cllrs could not answer this.
  • D Henderson looked forward to discussing the findings from the initial CityPlan 2030 consultation.
    • Cllr Mowat noted that the responses will soon be reported to CEC, as will the prospective timeline. CEC officers will then need to write the plan, taking cognizance of the responses, for consultation starting in December 2020. Once modified to take into account consultation, the plan goes to the Scottish Government for approval in mid-2021.

14 Appendix 1: Police report

Dear Richard and NTBCC participants,

I hope this finds you all well and muddling through these trying times. I have had a review of the month’s activity in CE22 beat which covers your area and can report as follows:

Although still quite quiet compared to this time last year there has been a rise in relation to crime and incidents reported this month as we emerge out of lockdown with some businesses returning, notably licensed premises and shops. Our shoplifters have had a good break and are now back out trying to catch up on lost earnings and they are keeping our initiative team on their toes tracking them down and trying to disrupt their return to the ‘office’ The opening of pubs has also seen associated disorder as persons have been overindulging and then falling out or getting too drunk then needing assistance of police or ambulance, there are only a few nightclubs open thankfully but drinkers seem to be starting and finishing earlier especially on days with nice weather, this means the associated disorder is happening earlier too. There has been a special team of officers detailed with checking the licensed premises to ensure compliance with government guidance and encourage responsible practises from patrons and licensees alike, they have also been checking on public spaces such as the public gardens around the town.

I previously reported on the use of the Old Waverley Hotel on Princes Street as temporary accommodation run by Bethany. This has now closed and persons are back to being accommodated in the previous methods, it worked well and staff based at the hotel did a great job in difficult circumstances. I have been in to visit the Old Waverley staff and they are back in business again with no issues to report from their recent change of use. There have been some calls in the new town regarding noisy parties and concerns re noise and also breaking of Covid guidelines, warnings and guidance have been issued as necessary. Last month there had been some break ins or attempted break ins to business premises but not so this month, with just one break in reported to a rented accommodation in Northumberland Street.

The theft of bikes still continues unfortunately despite some success in arresting those responsible, 5 pedal cycles have been stolen in the New town area and a couple of ‘Just Eat’ hire bikes.

You may have noticed the different use on the top of Princes Mall, which has been taken over by a beer garden and several fast food stalls. This is being well run and covers a lot of the top of the Mall. We have always found that this reduces our calls regarding youth disorder which was a hotspot area with its slightly hidden location, access to free wifi and fast food establishments nearby. Calls have reduced and the bar is well managed and the presence of more people in this area has been beneficial. Mcdonalds in the Mall is opening again soon but with tighter restrictions re who is allowed in and more takeaways than usual, we shall watch this space and see how that progresses and give attention as appropriate.

Finally, there have been numerous speed checks in the New town as part of the “slowdown for lockdown” campaign, colleagues have reported streets still being quite quiet but those drivers checked not travelling at excessive speeds. Several drivers have however been stopped and warned. We do find that the cobbles vastly amplify the sound from vehicles making them sound much faster than they are in reality. However it is good to remind persons about courteous driving and to be visible checking drivers in the city centre.

That’s all for July, I hope this is of some interest and as always should you have any other concerns or matters to bring to our attention please let me know directly or report in the usual manner via 101 or 999.

Kind regards,

PC Susan Purnell, West End Community Policing Team

15 Appendix 2: Transport report

The transport sub committee met on 6 Aug and discussed/agreed as follows:

15.a Broughton Street

  • It was felt that in the long term (3 years +) the street should be developed as a destination, rather than a thoroughfare.
  • In the medium term (next 3 years) there should be provision for loading/waiting/disabled parking, but not general parking; current installations should be made more robust; the official cycle route should be via Dublin St and there should be no cycle lane in Broughton St; and that to offer adequate width, there should be two lanes southbound at the Picardy Place junction.
  • All subject to consultation.

15.b Spaces for People

  • The arrangements should clearly privilege walking and cycling over private vehicles. It was noted that some arrangements were temporary (Raeburn Place), some semi-permanent (George IV Bridge) and some permanent (Princes St).
  • It was suggested that a greater % of the funding be allocated to support facilities for pedestrians who are the most numerous class of street user.
  • Is funding available to realise (some of) the Common Place ideas?
  • It was important that new arrangements delivered smarter, less cluttered streets.
  • There was support for a plan for closing some streets strategically to help control traffic in the New Town (the ‘labyrinth’ concept).

15.c CCTT

  • Signs on Queen St re the diversion at Leith Walk should have a clear traffic management rationale and should be designed to achieve that. The current placings appear random and appear likely to deflect traffic into the Northern New Town.
  • The tram work should be done in sections, so the full length of Leith Walk is not restricted for the duration of the project.

15.d Bellevue Road

  • The road surface should be improved following complaints of excessive vibration and noise including at unsocial hours which appears to be caused by heavy vehicles hitting speed bumps, and an alternative method of traffic calming installed, e.g. road narrowing.
  • We also noted a concern about noise caused by speed bumps in Annandale St and request CEC to address this.

15.e Leith St

  • The Leith St redetermination order (Order 201_rso/17/13) has been confirmed by Scottish Ministers.

15.f Tour buses

  • These have resumed but appear wasteful (as mostly empty) and polluting. Only electrically-powered vehicles should be permitted. The Council should introduce tighter controls as previously urged by NTBCC. We request CEC to implement this.

15.g Waverley Masterplan

  • The members of the sub committee found the plan to be broadly consistent with the high level objectives of the CMP.

16 Appendix 3: Planning report

16.a Current applications

  • 5-6 Marshall’s Court (20/00486/FU) “Development of 26 new residential flats, cycle parking provision, associated works and infrastructure”.

Useful discussion with planning agent earlier in 2020 but overall belief that development footprint / height too much for the site. Objection submitted in March 2020 – status “Awaiting assessment”.

  • Broughton Street roundabout (20/02480/ADV) “Advertising Hoarding On Roundabout at Broughton Street”.

Covered in the Spurtle – objection submitted citing grounds used for refusal of advertising in St Andrew Square. Part of Edinburgh Council tender / contract for ‘sponsorship’ (advertising) on over 50 islands across Edinburgh. 70 objections submitted . Status “Awaiting assessment”.

  • Heriot Row Police Box (20/02262/FUL) “Change of use of police callbox to a coffee and food sale point”.

Covered in the Spurtle – 164 comments with 90 in support ! Representation submitted – voicing some of the concerns raised by local residents & concerns with the technical aspects of the application. Status “Awaiting assessment”.

16.b Pending applications

  • New Town North’ / New Town Quarter – application submitted for redevelopment (/FUL) & also ‘Complete demolition in a Conservation Area’ (20/02303/CON).

Rumours circulating that the applications had been withdrawn.

Enquiry to Ediston – response received

“We did confirm previously that the drawings and Design / Access Statement were issued on 24th July but the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would be issued on 31st August, and that would be the date the application will become live on the portal.

The conservation area consent has been withdrawn, but only so it can be submitted alongside the EIA on the 31st August, as it should run concurrently with the EIA, so all goes live on the portal at the same time.”

So – expectation that full suite of documents will be available late in August.

Have also extended a provisional invite to September’s NTBCC meeting for a presentation.

  • 109/111 Princes Street & frontage on Rose Street (Debenhams) – Pre-application consultation announced but no further details as yet.

“Redevelopment and change of use of the existing premises to form a hotel with rooftop bar / restaurant, active uses at lower floors including restaurant, bar, retail, flexible meeting and event / venue space, health suite / gym, together with ancillary uses, associated works, alterations and demolitions (Use Classes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 11 & Sui Generis)”

  • Edinburgh Christmas (East Princes Street Gardens)

no further progress (at least in public domain) – timescale for following due process for 2020 event is now extremely short. Expect some movement perhaps after the Policy & Sustainability Committee meeting on 24 August (when arrangements / proposals due to be discussed again.

  • Waverley Masterplan – current vision communicated – further consultation expected over the coming months.
  • Finally – no news / leaks on the outcome to the Old RHS Inquiry – submitted to Scottish Ministers against an interesting back-drop ……….

Richard Price 10 August 2020

17 Appendix 4: Engagement/Communications report

The Engagement/Communications Committee met by Zoom on 8 July. There was a discussion about inclusion and diversity in relation to NTBCC, a possible diversity page on the website or a diversity clause in the constitution.

We talked about starting an NTBCC Instagram account to be created by Laura Graham (which Laura will introduce at the NTBCC meeting).

All members were asked to provide thumbnail photos for the website ‘About’ page. To date, 11 members have done this, while 9 have not.

The Five City Centre Community Councils (5CCCC) met by Zoom on 23 June, chaired by Time Pogson of Southside Community Council. This discussed the NTBCC/Old Town Community Council (OTCC) meeting with Underbelly on 25 June, Edinburgh Tourism Action Group/Strategic Implementation Group (ETAG/SIG) meetings, and the Spaces for People Commonplace consultation Mapping tool. The next meeting at 5pm, 25 August, will be chaired by Carol Nimmo.

Simon Holledge 8 August 2020

18 Appendix 5: Licensing report

Whilst there is not much to report this month, it is worth noting that the Licensing Board met on 6 August and the Police presented their annual report.

The senior officers who hold responsibility for licensing within the area of E Division are as follows;

Head of Department: T/Superintendent David Robertson – Specialist Operations Chief Inspector Murray Starkey – Partnerships and Events

The Licensing Department is based at St Leonard’s police station and consists of: Inspector Robert Innes, Sergeant John Young, 3 Police Constables and 4 Divisional Licensing Administrators.

Edinburgh Division Licensing Department works in partnership with the following groups and organisations to jointly improve local licensing issues:

  • Edinburgh Licensing Forum;
  • Licensing Standards Officers;
  • Edinburgh Drug and Alcohol Partnership;
  • Edinburgh Community Safety Partnership;
  • Street Assist;
  • Pubwatch initiatives;
  • Best Bar None initiative;
  • Community Alcohol Partnership initiative (CAP);
  • Security Industry Authority;
  • NHS Lothian;
  • Scottish Ambulance Service;
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service;
  • Immigration;
  • HMRC;
  • Gambling Commission

I think we should try to cooperate with any of these organisations that we currently have no contact with where their objectives are in line with ours.

The full report is here: https://democracy.edinburgh.gov.uk/documents/s25062/Full%20Meeting%20Papers%20-%20Licensing%20Board%20-%206%20August%202020.pdf

Jonathan Finn