NTBCC minutes – Monday 16 December 2019

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held in the Garden Room, Broughton St Mary’s church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 16 December 2019 at 7.30pm

Actions and decisions are red italic.

1 Attendance and apologies for absence

Michael Birch NTBCC, RRCTMA Richard Price NTBCC (part of meeting only)
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Andrea Simpson NTBCC, Drummond Civic Association
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Sheila Warnock NTBCC
Jack Hugh NTBCC Peter Williamson NTBCC, Picardy Residents
Allan Jack NTBCC, India Street Association Cllr Joanna Mowat City Centre ward
Stuart McAllister NTBCC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Carol Nimmo NTBCC chair ~15 residents / visitors

1.1 Apologies for absence

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Fran Wasoff NTBCC
Susan Duff NTBCC Allan Welsh NTBCC
Jonathan Finn NTBCC treasurer Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
Laura Graham NTBCC Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward
Simon Holledge NTBCC engagement officer Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith
James KIlner NTBCC

2 Chair’s introductory remarks

The Chair apologised for changing the advertised date of the meeting to avoid a clash with the Cockburn annual lecture: in future, advertised dates would be adhered to. From the New Year, meetings will be on the 2nd Monday of the month with a new running time of 7pm-9pm.

3 Minutes of meeting of 11 November and matters arising

The draft was approved as circulated (proposed D Henderson, seconded P Williamson)

3.1 Matters arising

D Henderson noted that although the police had said speed checks would be held on Abercromby Place, none appeared to have happened.

M Birch queried whether a public entertainment licence had been obtained for the Christmas Market in East Princes St Gardens.

Responding to a question on proposed changes to city centre parking, Cllr Mowat explained that the effect of TRO/19/29, broadly speaking, was to convert pay spaces to ‘shared use’ spaces which could also be used by residents, and to introduce double yellows to prevent parking on corners used to cross roads especially where the pavement is ramped for wheelchair users. There was general agreement that the maps provided by CEC for the consultation had been inadequate.

M Birch proposed that, for the purpose of clarity and understanding, no Latin phrases should be used in the Minutes. This was seconded by P Williamson.

4 Police report

No Police Scotland officers attended due to the focus on Operation Winter City in the city centre.

5 ‘New Town North’ PAN consultation : ex-RBS site – initial discussion

  • At the invitation of the Chair, residents, including some from Fettes Row and Royal Crescent, made comments on the PAN presentation for the ‘New Town North’ project proposed for the former Royal Bank site on Dundas Street.
  • A spokesperson for the Fettes Row Association said that there had been insufficient detail, for example ‘multi-purpose facilities’ had not been defined, and that a clearer presentation was required; it was said that attendees had been referred to the website for further details however this was actually no clearer; the proposals did not seem even to comply with the conditions set by statutory consultees such as Historic Environment Scotland; and it was a ‘sham consultation’ and ‘the whole thing should be restarted’.
  • The proposed building heights appeared to be as tall as the Fettes Row pavilions, but should not rise above the level of the terrace; it represented an over-development; and there was inadequate infrastructure.
  • It was commented that the low number of parking spaces provided might lead people to use surrounding streets. There was some discussion of the factors involved in managing parking levels around new developments in cases such as this.
  • In response, Cllr Mowat said in her experience there were no ‘silver bullets’ in planning decisions and many policies came into play, including what had previously been on the site concerned. The key factors were the quality of the objection, identification of any breaches of policy, and providing viable alternative suggestions. DH suggested the Save Leith Walk campaign was a good model and could be a source of useful advice.
  • It was suggested that it might be effective for the various residents’ associations involved to form a single ‘umbrella’ organisation.
  • R Price suggested it would be useful to hear the developers’ responses to any comments they’d received in the PAN process and the agent acting for Ediston/Orion has offered to share the comments received to date.
  • The Chair said the community council would comment as soon as possible, preferably around the turn of the year and a draft response would be circulated; and that the developers should be invited to present to NTBCC on changes to the plans following the PAN process.

6 ‘Edinburgh Tourism Strategy 2030’/ETAG : draft strategy consultation discussion/response to consultation

  • M Birch spoke to the response he had drafted on behalf of NTBCC which had been circulated to members in advance of the meeting. He said the key concern was that the strategy only reflected the interests of the tourism sector. However other elements such as CEC’s wider responsibilities and the views of ordinary citizens must be integrated so that the final strategy was comprehensive and reflected the views and interests of all relevant stakeholders.
  • R Price said that as it stood, the strategy was far from complete and needed to be re-orientated.
  • It was also observed that it should take account of environmental concerns and seek to promote sustainable tourism.
  • Action: It was agreed that MB should incorporate comments as appropriate and submit a response on behalf of NTBCC.
  • It was also suggested to offer ETAG (or representatives) the opportunity to come to a future NTBCC meeting.

7 Planning

7.1 Powderhall Development 19/04682/PAN

R Price had attended Leith Central Community Council meeting earlier on 16 December at which a presentation had been made on behalf of the parties involved (CEC representatives included David Robertson, Neil Watts & Elaine Watson (from Communities & Families) as well as a representative from Collective Architecture) on the latest thoughts regarding the development – focusing mainly on the Bowling Green site. They confirmed that following the most recent consultation, the proposed nursery (with inter-generational living) would be located on the front of the site, adjacent to Broughton Road. The nursery capacity remains at ~120 pupils. The 20 – 25 inter-generational units would be Social housing.

The full presentation can be seen here: https://leithccc.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/powderhall_presentation.pdf

The remaining area to the rear could become green space for Broughton Primary (similar to the area currently allocated to ‘Broughton Botanical’) with ongoing discussions as to the financial arrangements governing this. The intent would be that the area to the rear is maintained by a separate arrangement and not the responsibility of CEC. The proposal would be that this area is fenced with controlled access.

Key steps in the forthcoming months would be :

  • Further RCGF funding application for redevelopment/refurbishment of the Stable block.
  • A further pre-application consultation (expected February 2020) for the wider site
  • A full planning application for the Bowling Green site – again in February/March 20202.

R Price also reported that the view of Leith Central Community Council is that the land to the rear of the proposed nursery should be open to all – given that Leith Walk is densely populated with little open space being available. NTBCC’s position is that the proximity of this site to the wider spaces of St Mark’s Park and the current arrangement between Edinburgh Council & Broughton Primary – that they would support the area to the rear of the nursery being managed / maintained by a separate body and with controlled access (rather than open to all).

  • The presentation at Leith Central Community Council also summarised current thoughts on the wider site including the Waste Transfer Site (WTS):
    • ‘Area 2’ (Bowling Green) : 120 place nursery site + 20/25 units for inter-generational social rent with remaining area management under discussion.
    • ‘Area 3′ (Stable block) : further funding application to secure a change of use of the building to artist’s studios / events space together with a café & courtyard. Also understand that CEC committed to bridge funding gap.
    • ‘Area 1’ (ex WTS site) : 200 – 230 residential units (with some family accommodation i.e. 3 beds), 10% wheelchair accessible & overall at least 35% affordable. This may require a joint venture partner (possibly private sector to enable development of the wider site.

8 Transport

8.1 Issue Raised Concerning High Volume of Buses Using East London Street

  • An East London St resident raised concerns about the volume of buses using East London St.
  • It was said that although the street is designated a ‘no bus zone’ by CEC, it is used by an estimated 150-200 buses a day. The issue had been raised with CEC’s Transport & Environment committee in February 2019 and a traffic count requested however it seemed no action had been taken.
  • Members noted the concern and there was discussion of what regulations might apply to buses returning to the Annandale St depot; and the role of the setted surface of the street, and the speeds at which the buses were travelling, as factors which might contribute to noise. Cllr Mowat noted that the East London St issue had been raised at committee and agreed that the ‘no bus use’ designation was inaccurate. It was agreed to invite a representative of Lothian Buses to attend NTBCC and to add the East London St issue to the agenda for that meeting.
  • The convener of the Transport Sub-committee said an update on questions raised regarding the East/West Cycle route in York Place/North St David St (CCWEL) had been prepared and would be circulated to NTBCC members after the meeting.

9 Licensing

10 Environment

Nothing in addition to topics covered above.

11 Localities/local residents’ associations

Nothing to report.

12 Any other business

None raised.