NTBCC minutes – Monday 9 March 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 March 2015 at 7.30pm

1 Attendance and apologies for absence

1.1 NTBCC members present

Jonathan Finn NTBCC Ian Mowat NTBCC Christine Ross NTBCC
Gaby Holden NTBCC Carol Nimmo NTBCC Alan Welsh NTBCC
Allan Jack NTBCC Lewis Press NTBCC
Iain McGill NTBCC Richard Price NTBCC

1.2 Others present

Bruce Ryan minutes secretary John Ross Maclean Broughton Spurtle
Lisa Rogers resident Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
E & C Roussot residents Katie Swann Partnership Development Officer, Edinburgh Council
PC Leo Baker Police Scotland Sgt Simon Acheson Police Scotland

1.3 Apologies

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Stuart Cowie NTBCC Ben Macpherson NTBCC
Judy Conn NTBCC Lynn Henni NTBCC

2 Minutes of meeting of 12 January 2015

2.1 Acceptance

The draft minutes were accepted subject to adding Carol Nimmo’s and Jonathan Finn’s apologies (proposed R Price, seconded I Mowat, nem con)

2.2 Matters arising

None

3 Police report

Sgt Acheson and PC Baker reported that

  • Most recent official statistics cover January 2015, but Sgt Acheson has obtained more up-to-date figures:
  • The main issue in the last month for beat 22 (covering north of Princes Street) is an increase in burglaries, especially to businesses. The main method is smashing glass panes in front doors to steal safes and tills.
    (In February: 4 attempts/actuals to domestic properties, 10 attempts/actuals to business premises, targeting small premises rather than chains. In March, 2 to businesses.) There has been 1 arrest; others crimes are being investigated. The messages from these crimes are that people and businesses should check their security precautions are working and put up ‘no cash in premises’ signs. Arrests may lead to reduction.
  • In the last month there has been an increase in youth-related antisocial behaviour in Princes Mall. This may be linkd to half-term holidays. The police are meeting tomorrow with Edinburgh Council and KFC/McDonalds management about this issue.
  • C Nimmo reported chronic speeding in Royal Terrace – how could speed cameras/tests be obtained? World Heritage regulations prevent installation of signs and ‘sleeping policemen’. The cars are very fast and their drivers are not boy-racers. R Price asked whether the new 20mph scheme would have an effect.
    • Sgt Acheson replied that Police Scotland (PS) used to get traffic support wardens to do speed checks but TSWs no longer exist. Unless there has been an identified problem (i.e. accidents), traffic-calming measures are unlikely. PS are also limited and speed gun use only works for a week or so after such a campaign – signs and traffic-calming measures would be more effective. Signage needs to be legal, says A Welsh. Action: Sgt Acheson will raise the issue with relevant colleagues but can’t promise more.
  • A Welsh asked about PS involvement with the George Street stakeholder exercise. It was reported that Diane Bruce represented PS.
  • A Welsh also asked about how PS deals with emergencies such as a recent suicide at the Scott Monument. Sgt Acheson reported that TfE and PS do collaborate.
  • A resident asked for whether more information on an assault in Dublin St on Saturday was available. Sgt Acheson was unaware of this crime, not having been on duty over the weekend, but the number of such crimes has apparently not recently increased.

4 Presentation from Katie Swann of City Centre Neighbourhood Partnership

KS is a Partnership Development Officer for the CCNP, tasked with developing partnership on a local community planning basis. Hence she works with with CCs, other community bodies and the City Centre Leith Neighbourhood Team (CCLNT) to support community engagement. (See http://www.edinburghnp.org.uk for more about NPs.) The CCNP has a board including local Edinburgh Councillors, CC reps and reps from PS, Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council (EVOC) and the NHS. It is also attended by CCLNT manager (Ian Buchanan) and by Anna Herriman.

NPs have existed for about 9 years, consulting on and producing local community plans that focus on residents every 3 years. (See http://bit.ly/1MCPxSx for 2014-2017 City Centre LCP [CCLCP]). Such planning in the city centre local is often challenging because many voluntary groups are based here but their work is not limited to here. The CCLCP focuses on city centre residents and businesses/organisations. Its aims include making the city centre more clean and green, and dealing with antisocial behaviour. KS noted that many activities here are aimed tourists and visitors, not necessarily residents.

KS’s role is bringing relevant bodies together around residents’ priorities them to achieve them – it’s not just the Council providing services. NPs are now focussed on partnership, with CCs having equal footing to other partners. Each CCLCP priority will have an action group that reports to the CCNP board. Such work will include creating a forum for local groups to collaborate on local themes. The next NP public meeting, covering funding for local projects, is on Thursday 26 March 7-8.30pm, at The Melting Pot, 5 Rose Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2PR. CCs and other local groups can apply for up to £5000 to run local projects. The Neighbourhood Environment Programme can also fund relevant local projects. See http://bit.ly/1EnrwLt.

KS would like to bring together city centre CCs, possibly via a joint CC meeting (the CCs should set the format and agenda), or via the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils.

A Welsh asked whether NPs can stand up to powerful organisations such as Essential Edinburgh. C Ross concurred, having attended a ‘green and clean’ NP workshop: there is a large number of volunteer projects in the Old Town but it’s hard to combat powerful organisations here. KS responded that NPs are Edinburgh Council’s statutory bodies tasked with delivering community planning. They have not yet made an impact – the city centre is hard to influence. A combined sense of community needs to be developed. NPs are not involved with major projects such as the Royal High School because they are not statutory consultees in planning. (Spatial/building planning is not the same as community planning.)

C Nimmo asked how George St (GS) fits into CCNP work, noting that small organisations are not involved in meetings about GS – should NTBCC go out and directly contact residents? KS responded that the CCNP is now working more closely with Iain MacPhail but it is still building up its reputation. She suggested that the CCNP board needs more power. It was suggested that the CCNP board needs representatives from (local) businesses.

A Welsh suggested that Edinburgh Council is exploiting public space to make profits, and that CCs have difficulty combatting this – could the CCNP get involved here? Regarding positive examples of NP activity that might help gain gravitas for NPs, KS mentioned work on participatory budgeting (e.g. £eith decides), employment projects and student projects, and Edinburgh World Heritage work.

The Spurtle representatives suggested two issues where NPs might be influential: St Andrews Square and Calton Hill/Royal High School.

5 Planning

5.1 Royal High School

Discussion centred on developing a collective view on the current proposal. The following points were made:

  • Parts of the questionnaire and presentation changed between exhibitions.
  • C Nimmo had attended a walkaround before Christmas. She suggested that the original building definitely needs attention, and that the plans for it are fine but there are serious issues with the proposed plans for hotel buildings either side of it – these would block important vistas. I Mowat concurred with this concern.
  • A Welsh suggested separating the issues, and that altering the original building’s façades was unacceptable. Also, the proposed plans for new buildings were unacceptable, not least because they would be too high and block a listed view. He suggested that NTBCC should put forward proactive suggestions for the site (e.g. an Enlightenment heritage centre) – these would be more likely to be acted upon than just saying ‘don’t do this’.
  • R Price suggested that 5-star hotels need a certain number of rooms of a certain size; hence the size of the proposed new buildings. The proposal is still at PAN stage – a full application is likely before the middle of 2015, so NTBCC should respond in the next 2-3 weeks. This response should accept any worthwhile aspects and object to aspects that NTBCC finds unacceptable. A Welsh suggested that NTBCC’s response should be copied to relevant MSPs because this application is likely to be remitted to the SG’s planning reporter.
  • A Jack suggested that using the original building as a hotel and/or wedding venue is inappropriate – it stands for education. (IM had been told it would become an exhibition centre for what’s best in Scotland.) A Welsh noted that Edinburgh is a UNESCO city of literature – could local famous authors such as JK Rowling, I Rankin and A McCall Smith support the building’s use for relevant purposes? A Jack suggested that NTBCC should be asking what its residents feel. Action: I Mowat and R Price to send poll questions for NTBCC website to B Ryan
  • I McGill noted that plans involved private money breathing life into a building that had been derelict for many years, similar to the St Stephen’s centre that had been saved as a community asset. However, A Welsh stated that the RHS is a national asset.
  • It was asked whether Edinburgh Council would set conditions on the site’s use or disposal.
  • A Welsh suggested that NTBCC’s strategy should bear in mind forthcoming plans for Register House/Charlotte Square

Action: R Price delegated to draft NTBCC’s response.

5.2 42 St Andrews Square

NTBCC has made a submission on this matter: it supports many aspects of the plans but does not support knocking down listed buildings.

5.3 Eyre Terrace/RBS

Planning permission in principle for developing the site up to 4 stories has been granted subject to many conditions. Further detailed applications responding to those conditions are expected.

5.4 Annandale Street/Standard Life building

This application (new-build flats, including affordable housing) will be referred to Edinburgh Council’s Development Management Committee. The current application has many changes from the original plans, including some points made by NTBCC.

5.5 8 Bellevue Crescent (conversion of garage to office at rear)

This is a repetition of previous applications that have been refused at many stages of the planning process. NTBCC will object again.

5.6 Others

  • NTBCC should consider George Street at its next meeting, working with S Beaumont’s assessment of GS.
  • Action: NTBCC members should advise Iain MacPhail if they are planning to attend a relevant meeting on 17 March.
  • A Welsh mention a planning application for extending a hotel on Picardy Place. R Price stated that permission was granted for an extension to the back of 16-22 PP, subject to a legal agreement around a tram contribution. This means that permission does not lapse, hence the project was not started until 6 years after permission was granted. NTBCC sees that there is a process issue here, which is being pursued.

6 Environment

  • C Ross attended a workshop setting priorities to produce a ‘green and clean’ city centre. Edinburgh Council officials had been helpful about various issues such, e.g. waste management team providing information on gull-proof bags and on-street bins.
  • J Finn received a notice that Rose St will have new bins for residents’ waste, but that there may be not enough. Trade waste will be stored on business premises until collection times. It was noted that Cumberland Street is now calmer since other places got their bins.
  • The Water of Leith Conservation Management Plan now exists. This is important because it proposes policy covering NTBCC’s area.

7 Licensing

7.1 Café Piccante

The potential issue here is an application that may lead to 24-hour operation at the ‘non-residential end’ of Broughton St. It is already open, and licensed to sell alcohol, from 4pm until 2 or 3am, hence serving food to shift-workers and homeless people as well as late-night drinkers. There are other outlets in Edinburgh serving food at such hours. The venue has had a DJ for many years. The application requests music outwith licensed hours, to sell food (but not alcohol) from 5am to 4pm, and to sell carry-out food and make home deliveries during their opening hours. Decision: NTBCC to monitor this potential issue but not oppose it just now.

7.2 103 George Street

This venue applied to open at 11am on Sundays. Decision: no action by NTBCC

7.3 24 Frederick St

This application is to increase the capacity of underground nightclub. Decision: no action by NTBCC

7.4 32 Castle St

This would be in a ground floor/basement building, next to TGI Friday, leading to 3 pubs in a row.
Action: J Finn to investigate whether an objection due to potential overprovision is possible and worthwhile

8 Transport

Lothian Buses will be revamped on 29 March 29. This includes changes to buses to and from Penicuik. See http://lothianbuses.com for details. Also, bus route 13 may be funded only on a year-by-year basis.
Action: If people wish it retained, they should lobby their local councillors.

Spokes has a meeting about the ‘bicycle in the city centre’ on 26 March 7:30 at Augustine United Church. See http://www.spokes.org.uk/2015/01/public-meeting-the-bicycle-in-the-city-centre/ for details

9 Edinburgh Association of Community Councils

This body is going through changes. Action: NTBCC members to join the Basecamp group (https://basecamp.com/2876301/projects/8542726) if they wish to join relevant discussions.

Actions: Lewis Press volunteered to be NTBCC representative

10 Local associations

No reports

11 AOB

  • NTBCC’s financial year ends on 31 March.
  • NTBCC’s AGM is on 11 May at 7:15. Action: NTBCC members to consider if they want to take on different roles.
  • NTBCC members’ names will be added to the NTBCC website. See http://www.ntbcc.org.uk/about.

12 Date of Next Meeting

11 May 2015