NTBCC minutes – Monday 9 February 2015

Minutes of the ordinary meeting of New Town and Broughton Community Council, held in the Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s Church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 9 February 2015 at 7.30pm

1 Attendance and apologies for absence

1.1 NTBCC members present

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Ian Mowat NTBCC Alan Welsh NTBCC
Judy Conn NTBCC Ben MacPherson NTBCC
Iain McGill NTBCC Richard Price NTBCC

1.2 Others present

Bruce Ryan minutes secretary John Ross Maclean Broughton Spurtle
PC Paul Shipp Police Scotland Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
PC Jair Guerra Police Scotland Cllr Joanna Mowat City Centre ward
Andrew Haddow resident Iain MacPhail Edinburgh Council City Centre
Programme Manager
Caroline Roussot resident

1.3 Apologies

Audrey Cavaye NTBCC Gaby Holden NTBCC Cllr Deidre Brock Leith Walk ward
Stuart Cowie NTBCC Allan Jack NTBCC Cllr Lesley Hinds Inverleith ward
Jonathan Finn NTBCC Carol Nimmo NTBCC Marco Biagi MSP Edinburgh Central
Lynn Henni NTBCC Christine Ross NTBCC Mark Lazarowicz MP Edinburgh North & Leith

2 Minutes of meeting of 12 January 2015

2.1 Acceptance

The draft minutes were accepted without change (proposed A Welsh, seconded J Conn, nem con)

2.2 Matters arising

2.2.1 Final point in item 5 (Planning) in January minutes

A Welsh has been in hospital, has not received relevant documents and so has been unable to investigate. There was concern that a licensing application for 34-38 York Place did not appear to follow on from a planning application. Actions: A Welsh and R Price to flag this to Edinburgh Council Licencing and Planning staff respectively, Cllr Mowat to investigate.

3 Police report

PCs Shipp and Guerra had been asked to stand in for Sgt Belfall at very short notice. They provided crime statistics for the city centre, comparing April to December 2014 to the same period in 2013. Crimes of violence decreased 5•9%, housebreaking decreased 22%, break-ins to businesses increased around 80%. Overall crime numbers increased 1%. (The PCs could not provide actual numbers of crimes.)

The PCs noted that December is generally busy for police due to the ‘night-time economy’ and that housebreaking (HB) is always a priority target. Inspector Page is creating an HB action plan, as are all ‘community Inspectors’, and HB is being targeted across Edinburgh division, using statistics, trends, targeting specific offenders etc. A Welsh asked whether there are specific crime hotspots and, if so, whether figures for these could be obtained.

The PCs were unable to provide figures on stop-and-search but stated that it may only be done using statutory powers, and consensual searches of people younger than 11 must not occur. (See also BBC reports at http://bbc.in/1Dg7cMd and http://bbc.in/1DUoKMz.) Action: PCs Shipp and Guerra to look for S&S trend data.

A Welsh mentioned that he had observed drug-dealing in hospital recently.

Action: B Ryan to share crime prevention flyers given to Leith Harbour & Newhaven CC via NTBCC website.

4 Presentation from Iain MacPhail of Edinburgh Council on proposals for trial of later festival operating hours for outside tables and chairs in the City Centre ward

Mr MacPhail (IMP) made the following points during his main presentation or in response to questions:

4.1 Tables and chairs

  • Edinburgh Council’s (CEC) Transport and Environment committee has approved in mid-January a report reviewing summer 2014 tables & chairs (Ts&Cs) arrangements on George Street (GS). There had been a short experiment allowing Ts&Cs until midnight during the Festival, rather than 10pm, in a small, defined area. Inspector Emma Croft had produced statistics showing there had been no extra complaints or arrests due to these Ts&Ts, i.e. the underlying trend doesn’t change during the Festival.
  • So the report recommends allowing the same arrangement in 2015. Ts&Cs will be permitted until midnight within 150 feet of test venues, but with additional safeguards, i.e. establishments must apply for permission for such late-night Ts&Cs – such applications can be objected to. Hence Ts&Cs use will be on an opt-out basis.
  • Insp Croft has also found that that there is no cause for concern over antisocial behaviour in the city centre during the festival – there are fewer than 1 such crime per day, and this figure is lower in August.
  • IMP wants evidence-based decisions. He has also spoken with Business Improvement Districts, West End and Old Town CCs and Festival operators.
  • IMP will take concerns about Ts&Cs on narrow streets such as Thistle Street back into the current public space manifesto considerations. He agrees that narrow streets and lanes such as Rose Street Lane are different to wide streets such as George Street, and wishes to ensure joined up work by CEC.
  • I Mowat suggested that IMP and colleagues should develop a specific list of streets where Ts&Cs are permitted later. For example, the area around St Stephen’s Church (which is likely to be a fringe venue) should not be subject to late-night revelry because it is residential. IM also suggested that late-night Ts&Cs are only allowed to operators who have good track records. Cllr Mowat suggested that potential late-night Ts&Cs venues should be mapped better, and such venues should be published, and that Ts&Cs are allowed via public entertainment licencing process rather than the normal licensing process, and so asked what legitimate objections could be made. Action: Iain Macphail to circulate ways to make such objections.
  • IM also asked about fairness, e.g. a basement venue only being licensed until 10pm, but a nearby venue being allowed Ts&Cs until midnight. A Welsh suggested that Ts&Cs at night were simply advertisements –no-one actually uses them.
  • IMP also noted that a wide-ranging public spaces manifesto consultation will cover such matters. (See item 6 of January minutes.) He hopes that this consultation will proceed in March. It would audit each locality holistically, joining up varieties of permissions processes and considerations (Ts&Cs, pavement widths, A-boards) to set appropriate uses for each space. The current draft manifesto proposes trial arrangements for Castle Street, testing a prescriptive approach and the clarity thereof.
  • IMP noted that the current draft manifesto suggests Edinburgh Council explores charging for rental of public space. It doesn’t want to sell space to the highest bidder, but cost could be used to limit Ts&Cs.
  • R Price asked what drives the policy on late-night Ts&Cs. IMP said it was about making the city centre more festival-friendly, and providing parity for existing businesses via appropriate licensing processes.

4.2 George Street (GS)

  • A mid-year report will go to Edinburgh Council’s Transport & Environment committee in March. The key item for 2015 is to look at the design of GS in the long run, bearing in mind the developments in St James area. There is now a design brief for GS – a designer will be procured to gather all interested parties, to take up to 2 months to gather and agree design principles for GS. Over summer 2015, a group of 10 experts (including a CC representative) will then apply these to George Street and report to the T&E committee on the 4 most likely options. S Beaumont asked whether a facilitator rather than a designer was needed, to which IMP responded that this process had worked in other areas, e.g. Grassmarket.
  • IMP suggested that NTBCC could feed in to this process before the T&C meeting on 16 March.

4.3 George Street (GS)

IMP is also now about to procure independent traffic research – the current in-house work is not delivering information as needed. The new research will cover traffic flows on GS, Queen St, Heriot Row, Abercromby Place and Albany St, Drummond Place, Great King St, Hamilton Place. A Welsh suggested that NTBCC Transport etc could be involved. Another company has recently found a 20% drop (2005–2014) fall in vehicles using York Place, Leith St and Leith Walk at peak times.

5 Licensing

5.1 57A Frederick Street

This venue is currently licensed until 1am but wishes to extend it to have live bands, corporate events etc. Concern that this will lead to more noise had been raised by J Finn. However, the venue is in a basement immediately below offices rather than dwellings, so Decision: no objection to be submitted

6 Environment

6.1 Edinburgh Living Landscapes initiative

(See also http://bit.ly/1A1LnOs.) J Conn reported that this aims for more sustainable, environmentally friendly and economical management of green spaces, e.g. of tiny spaces that might otherwise be overlooked. For example, planting perennials on roundabouts is green, improves looks but reduces maintenance costs. Other places that could benefit from this are being sought. Edinburgh has its own plant nursery – raising staff skill levels could make a large difference Edinburgh landscapes. Cllr Mowat noted that a lot of Council processing had been needed to allow Granton residents to do community growing at the end of housing blocks, even though this would do away with mowing costs. A MacIntosh noted that such gardening is ahead extensively in the New Town, bringing communities together. Cllr Mowat noted that grants are available for such projects. It was noted that John Frate is instrumental in planting in the NTBCC area. It was suggested he could speak to NTBCC about this. Action: J Conn & S Beaumont to provide text advertising this inititative, B Ryan to add this to NTBCC website

6.2 New trade waste arrangements

This will start at the end of April. Letters about this are being sent to residents and CCs..

6.3 New recycling trials for tenements in Broughton area

(See also http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20001/bins_and_recycling/1023/new_recycling_service and http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20001/bins_and_recycling.)

J Conn noted that this mean an end to blue and red recycling boxes, and that arrangements will be simpler – only 1 recycling bin. It was noted that overflowing bins and missed collections can be reported by via
(0131) 529 3030, http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20001/bins_and_recycling/1051/report_a_missed_bin or wasteccl@edinburgh.gov.uk. Cllr Mowat asked to be copied in on such reports.

7 Planning

Please see Planning Committee report at http://www.ntbcc.org.uk/planning-committee-report-february-2015.

R Price reported on 4 items:

7.1 St James Centre (StJC)

There have been two applications for peripheral uses: student accommodation on James Craig Walk and the John Lewis collection centre (JLCC). NTBCC has submitted a broadly supportive representation about the former application, because it is moving away from being student accommodation towards extensive restoration. However there are concerns about a pend giving access to West Register Street. NTBCC’s planning committee (NTBCC-PC) did not reach consensus over the JLCC and so made no submission.

The main development had received outline permission in 2009: further information was to be provided later. This process is happening now. Although the official window for submissions has now closed, a submission from NTBCC will be accepted this week. NTBCC-PC has submitted its concerns over

  • design for Leith St: the current design isn’t fully consistent with the aim more vitality here
  • the public realm in Little King St: the developers want exclusive access for the flats, contrary to consequences of the tram stop moving from York Place to Picardy Place
  • the developers potentially not being able to let all the retail units: so there should be sustainable development to enable change of use.
  • the impact of the construction, especially the spoil to be removed to make underground car-parks being removed via Leith docks.

Other NTBCC members were unhappy with the current design of the centre (including the materials) being potentially extremely unsympathetic to listed buildings such as Register House, and concerned that any hiatuses in development would have unfortunate consequences. See http://www.ntbcc.org.uk/st-james-plans-gather-pace for a summary of NTBCC-PC’s position.

7.2 42 St Andrews Square/West Register Lane

(See also January minutes item 4 at http://www.ntbcc.org.uk/ntbcc-minutes-monday-12-january-2015/)

NTBCC-PC will submit an objection because it does not support removal of listed buildings here, even thought this would hinder the developer’s aspiration, and believes that the Victorian tenement façade is valuable and cannot be mated with modern buildings. NTBCC-PC also does not agree with extending the roof (especially with modern materials) and removing the mezzanine floor, and is concerned that pedestrianisation plans are not good enough.

See http://www.ntbcc.org.uk/here2/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/14_05263_AMC-NTBCC-Representation-9Feb15-Final1.pdf for NTBCC-PC’s submission.

7.3 Royal High School

See also http://www.broughtonspurtle.org.uk/news/dark-register-and-royal-high-schools-hidden-atrisk-status.

I Mowat had attended an exhibition about plans for the RHS – there was coyness about the aims of this development. There is another exhibition at 6:30 on Monday 23 February at St Andrew’s & St George’s West Church, George Street, EH3 2PA, organised by the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (www.ahss.org.uk). IM suggested it is hard to match accessibility and privacy. There will be another public exhibition on 6 March.

7.4 George Street

S Beaumont and NTBCC-PC colleagues are working on document outlining NTBCC’s position on GS. She and S Cowie will walk the length of GS to inform this. This document will consider GS holistically, noting how NTBCC can input into its evolution, considering junctions with cross-streets, traffic, effects of StJC etc. A Welsh expressed concern over the variety of shop-fronts on GS. I Mowat requested NTBCC members to bring their thoughts to the March meeting.

8 Transport

No report

9 Edinburgh Association of Community Councils

R Corral was due to report on meetings about the future of EACC. EACC is asking what Edinburgh CCs want.

10 Neighbourhood Partnerships

The City Centre NP is discussing new sub-groups. It wishes to facilitate a meeting of city centre CCs to discuss common issues, and see how the CCNP can help CCs. Katie Swann will address NTBCC about this in March.

11 Activities of local street or amenity associations

The Drummond Civic Association had successful AGM. A pedestrian crossing will be installed on Drummond Place.

12 Any other business

  • A Welsh noted that the cobbled part of Frederick St (between Queen St and George St) is badly damaged and patched. Cllr Mowat responded that she is trying to get funding for road repairs.
  • Grass has not been re-seeded at path edges on St Andrews Square, leaving muddy patches. StAS is managed by Edinburgh Council, but this has been sublet to Essential Edinburgh – that organisation will be invited to NTBCC when its new head is in place. It was suggested that periods of use should be followed by equally long periods of recovery. Cllr Mowat suggested the need for a parks manifesto, with each park being allowed only a certain number of events, and recalled IMP’s in-progress public space manifesto. (See section 4.1 of these minutes.)
  • B Ryan is planning a few small improvements to NTBCC’s website. NTBCC members were asked whether their names should go on the ‘about’ page at http://www.ntbcc.org.uk/about.

13 Date of next meeting

9 March 2015