Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s AGM, held via Zoom, on Monday 09 November 2020 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’.
The meeting opened online at 6:45 pm to enable all attendees to connect before the start of business.
1 Attendance/apologies for absence, précis of meeting
|Mike Birch||NTBCC, RRCTMA||Sheila Warnock||NTBCC, Great King St RA|
|David Clarke||NTBCC||Alan Welsh||NTBCC|
|Susan Duff||NTBCC||Peter Williamson||NTBCC, Picardy Residents|
|Jonathan Finn||NTBCC||Bruce Ryan||Minutes secretary|
|Laura Graham||NTBCC||Alan McIntosh||Broughton Spurtle|
|Stephen Hajducki||NTBCC||Cllr Jo Mowat||City centre ward|
|Deirdre Henderson||NTBCC||Cllr Hal Osler||Inverleith ward|
|Simon Holledge||NTBCC||Mike Wilson||Old Town CC|
|Jack Hugh||NTBCC||Rhiannon Martin||Scott Hobbs Planning|
|Susan MacInnes||NTBCC||Paul Scott||Scott Hobbs Planning|
|Carol Nimmo||NTBCC||Guy Morgan||Morgan McDonnell Architecture|
|Nicholas Reid||NTBCC, India St Association||Eirini Christopoulou||Morgan McDonnell Architecture|
|Richard Price||NTBCC||16 residents/visitors|
1.b Apologies for absence
|Stuart McAllister||NTBCC||Deidre Brock MP||Edinburgh North and Leith|
1.c Précis of meeting
R Price agreed to do this (Post-meeting note: on website 22 November)
Also proposal to continue to seek volunteers for this or instigate a rota of NTBCC members.
2 Ratification of changes (office bearers) as proposed at 19 October business meeting
The following changes were ratified ND
- R Price becomes vicechair
- M Birch becomes treasurer.
3 Minutes of 12 October meeting (via Zoom) and matters arising
It was agreed ND to approve both the AGM and ordinary meeting minutes now (i.e. certify that they are a true record of the meetings without needing to remember details for 12 months), with the AGM minutes to be adopted at the next AGM.
- AGM minutes approved (proposed R Price, seconded L Graham, ND)
- ordinary meeting minutes (proposed P Williamson, seconded S Warnock
4 Police Report
See full report in Appendix 1. Key points include:
- 3 domestic house break-ins, with significant amounts of jewellery stolen, all unsolved, in an apparent spate
- instances of vandalism, including a spate of windscreen-smashing.
5.a MMMARS/Morgan McDonnell/Scott Hobbs Planning presentation ‘Demolition/mixed-use redevelopment of 108-114 and 116 Dundas Street’ (20/03923/PAN)
See also www.108-116dundasstreet.co.uk/proposed-development. ‘Slides’ mentioned below are screenshots of slides presented via Zoom screen-sharing. The chair noted that the site is opposite the former RBS site, on the west side of Dundas St.
The presenters stated
- A PAN was submitted on 15 September. Public consultation is ongoing, due to close on Friday 13 November
(Post-meeting note: period extended to 20 November)
- A ‘face-to-face’ session (but virtual) was held last week.
- There has been a ‘good level of response’ so far.
- A planning application and a ‘conservation area consent’ application should be submitted by the end of 2020.
- The project team consists of
- Client and applicant: MMMARS Dundee Ltd (19A Rutland Square, Edinburgh EH2 2BB)
- Architect: Morgan McDonnell Architecture Ltd (5 Advocate’s Close, Edinburgh EH2 1ND)
- Planning consultant: Scott Hobbs Planning (24A Stafford St, Edinburgh EH3 7BD)
- Structural and civil engineer: Will Rudd Davidson (43 York Place, Edinburgh EH2 3HP)
- Mechanical and electrical engineer: RYBKA (24 Rutland St, Edinburgh EH2 2AN)
- Heritage consultant: Nick Haynes (historic environment consultant, Edinburgh)
- N Haynes has looked into the heritage of the site, as seen in slide 1:
- In the mid 19th century, the site was meadowland just outside the recently built Second New Town (2NT).
- Due to Edinburgh going bankrupt in the 1830s, there was no consolidated plan for extending the 2NT, so the area containing the site was used for small industrial holdings.
- Just before 1900, the site was a laundry, with small-scale single-storey buildings nearby.
- In 1900, a victorian tenement was built on the corner of Henderson Row and Dundas St
- Slide 2
- The current buildings were built in the 1980s. They sit back ‘quite significantly’ from the street and pavement lines on both Fettes Row and Dundas St.
- The developers propose to address this set-back in their plans.
- The plans include demolition of the existing buildings, which they believe are ‘civically poor’.
- They would be replaced with new buildings of similar height and scale, and which complete the urban block following the victorian tenemental line (on the lower stretch of Dundas St) and sit back to the ‘predominant building line’ (Fettes Row).
- The new buildings would be similar to Georgian buildings nearby.
- Slide 3 and slide 4 show the form of the proposed buildings. Most would be residential, with a commercial ground-floor on Dundas St, as well as possible office space.
- Slide 5 shows the proposed differentiation between the Dundas St and Fettes Row blocks. This would follow the principles of the victorian tenements, with sandstone mass ‘that floats above an open, glassy commercial frontage, giving some street activity’. The Fettes Row block would be ‘more akin to the other side of [that] street’, being ground-based and ‘coming up from the basement well as a sandstone block’. The design would separate the two different ‘languages’ with a recess.
- Slide 6 shows a rear view of the proposed buildings. The commercial element continues through to the back.
- Slide 7 shows a view from above Dundas St. Slide 8 shows a view along Dundas St from the corner of Henderson Row.
- Slide 9 shows a view the other way along Dundas St, from the corner with Abercromby Place. Slide 10 shows a view in the same direction, but closer to the proposed new buildings. Slide 11 shows a view of the corner of Fettes Row and Dundas St.
- Slide 12 shows some ideas for precedent: sandstone on the two main elevations, using ‘contemporary language’.
- However the two blocks would have different characters (slide 13): Dundas St’s block would float over the glassy commercial frontage; there would be a gap between this block and the ‘sturdy gravity-based’ Fettes Row block. The latter would have ‘tooling’ on the ground and lower-ground elements, as a nod to the Georgian buildings. There would be set-back lighter-weight, metal-clad rooftop pieces. There would be emphases of the string-coursing on both blocks, and on the verticality, referencing nearby victorian buildings.
- Slide 14 shows that the developers propose a landscaped garden-deck at the rear, using soil from the site to create a self-seeded brown roof, to encourage biodiversity. The well at the front would be paved in York stone.
- Slide 15 shows more about plans for sustainability and biodiversity.
- Slide 16 shows ideas for access: car-parking (located where the existing car-park is); access from Henderson Place, over-provision of cycle-storage, electric car charging-points; other access from Henderson Row. There would be three commercial units on Dundas St: probably cafés and a small office that connects to a lower office
5.b Q&A (NTBCC & members of the public)
- A resident (of 120 Dundas St – the block next to the proposed development): ‘the proposal is for a 21st-century banal block right in front of our kitchen windows. This and the development across the road will crucify one of the most attractive parts of the new town. Where is the developers’ consideration of the area’s prevailing characteristics?’
- We are following urban design principles on the building-line. There is a gap between this building and the resident’s building. We have to follow regulations on this gap.
- We have checked that our proposal meets CEC’s guidance on daylight and sunlight. We will also recheck the building-line before submitting the application.
- The same resident: ‘this talk of the building-line is nonsense. The maps shown earlier show there was no historic building-line. The site was fields and then a laundry, then industrial units. I have been here since the 1980s and this is probably the time when the area has been most attractive. Why did CEC approve the Applecross development on the corner that doesn’t come right to the pavement, when CEC would not allow this now?’
- S Hajducki: I agree that the building-line is an issue. The present block is set back at the corner, presumably to meet past planning requirements. It forms a break between the Georgian architecture on Dundas St’s hill and the later, more mixed architecture to the north. If the new block is pulled right forward (because it has no well), the end elevation is very prominent. There is a strong heritage argument for maintaining set-back, to make a break between the World Heritage area and the victorian and modern city to the north of the WH area.
- A Welsh: the existing building is set back probably because the whole site has concerns: there is a major fault beneath it. There is also an underground stream here. Has the site been investigated properly?
- The site investigation work is ongoing – it’s a requirement for the planning application. We won’t build on constrained land.
- D Clarke: concerns such as those expressed by the resident are important. I suggest such residents collectively submit their concerns about the light issues.
- A resident: what investigation of re-use/repurposing the existing building has been done? Will the developers share their pre-application report with NTBCC, prior to submission to CEC (as specified in the Edinburgh (planning) Concordat)?
- We looked at re-use. Our practice does much re-purposing work, especially with listed buildings. However, an extensive exercise on these buildings did not work – hence the proposal for a new build that would complete the urban block better than the existing buildings do.
- Resident: you’ve not said why re-use wouldn’t work. Is this published anywhere?
- It will be part of the planning application. This will include a heritage statement. The current block makes a negative contribution to the area’s character – as confirmed by Historic Environment Scotland. Hence this is an opportunity to create a positive benefit for the conservation area.
- We are happy to share the report as described.
- Another resident (also 120 Dundas St): ‘I am shocked that our main morning sitting-area would be blocked out by a very close side-wall. There are concerns about the massing and harshness of the design – it will negatively change the area’s character. It will block some views of the new town.’
- Another resident: ‘I agree with the concerns of my Fettes Row neighbours. I live opposite the quirky RBS data-centre, and oppose the tendency to uniformity. Is it proposed to demolish this site at the same time as the RBS work is done?’
- The time-frame isn’t yet fully fixed, but it’s entirely separate to the RBS development. This site’s work may start in about 2 years, but this is only an estimate.
- Another resident: ‘Wwe concur with the residents of #120. This development would take our light and view, and hence severely devalue our properties.’
- We are listening to such concerns. The proposal includes a set-back to protect daylight and sunlight, in accordance with design rules. We have not finished work on this aspect, but will protect that which must be protected.
- A Welsh: this site is on the boundary of the World Heritage area, but the proposals are completely unsympathetic to the georgian architecture of the new town. I believe that the building on the corner with Dundas St was the very first building in the new town to receive a grant for conservation. Hence the proposals are a ‘slap in the face’ for conservation of the new town.
- B Ryan: I will save the other questions appearing in the chat, and forward them to the developers if possible.
- C Nimmo: the slides shown earlier are online at https://www.108-116dundasstreet.co.uk/proposed-development.
- D Clarke: given how much the residents are upset about the proposals, I suggest that the developers’ liaison has not been successful.
- R Price: can the developers meet with the residents to discuss specifics?
- Developer: we can liaise with the residents of #120 when more detail has been developed, closer to submission.
- R Price: can you do this can you make any changes now, to make the proposal more acceptable?
- Developer: we propose to make the application in mid-December, so much work remains. Once we can show residents our precise ideas and details), we would be happy to meet with residents – but this is some weeks away.
- R Price: NTBCC would be happy to facilitate such engagement.
6.a Safer Streets – ‘Spaces for People’ latest news/update
See Transport report in Appendix 2 and NTBCC’s July submission on Broughton St (Appendix 3)
- M Birch: There is a CEC meeting on Thursday of this week to review an update from the Spaces for People (SfP) team, looking at work done so far and making recommendations for additional temporary changes. Partial closure of South Bridge was considered earlier but was not implemented in the first tranche of SfP work. It is now recommended that this is implemented: a bus-gate for north-bound traffic on South Bridge to allow pavement-widening and cycle-lanes. Also, bus-stops would be moved to North Bridge, and apparently, another bus-gate would be installed on North Bridge. No detailed designs for any of this are yet available, to the best of MB’s knowledge. They should be made available to elected members before the CEC meeting.
- M Birch: changes on London Rd are part of a fairly significant set of changes along the A1 to the London Rd/Leith Walk junction. This includes introduction of a segregated cycle-lane. NTBCC was not sure whether this is 1-way or 2-way, and highlighted that pedestrian changes (e.g. crossing at Leopold Place) were not included in the proposals. There seems to be a missed opportunity because currently cycle-traffic from Meadowbank would go along London Rd to Leith Walk, where they then have to negotiate the tram-works. There has been no response to NTBCC’s suggestion that cycle-traffic could use Montrose Terrace and Regent Rd. NTBCC is concerned that the current plans would add a cycle-lane to the already congested London Rd, when Regent Rd is wider and would tie into the existing cycle network around Princes St.
- M Birch: NTBCC has also previously discussed and commented on proposals to widen the pavement and install an uphill cycle-lane on Broughton St, and change the pedestrian crossing at the Broughton roundabout [at Mansfield/Traquair]. (These comments were based on analysis of responses to the Commonplace tool data.) The update to the SfP programme is also intended to consider other changes across Edinburgh resulting from this data. NTBCC has also been contacted by ‘Better Broughton’ (BB) – a recently formed group of ‘local people living and/or working in and around Broughton Street’) regarding improvements in Broughton and Bellevue. I suggest a arranging a meeting between NTBCCC transport ctte and BB, to understand BB’s specific proposals.
- Cllr Mowat: The CEC meeting on Thursday will also cover covid’s effects on the business case for trams. (Cancelling the tram-work would lead to severe financial implications for CEC.) I have also just obtained the South Bridge plans – they include bus-corridors on South Bridge and North Bridge. These would function from 6:30pm to 7:30am. The plans would take pressure off Queen’s Drive which would arise if more was closed.
- Action: Cllr Mowat to forward plans to M Birch.
- D Clarke: Does CEC have a co-ordinated approach to arterial cycle-routes? It’s not apparent that there is one.
- Cllr Mowat: my first response to SfP was ‘can we have the network map to understand impacts?’ I feel that CEC is trying to introduce as much as it can, but we need to remember that we are trying to maintain a road network. Currently it seems that cycle-traffic is going into too many dangerous junctions. On Thursday, I will make the point about London Road and push again for a network map, with the aim of getting a network of safe routes across Edinburgh.
- S Holledge: I have very serious concerns about how the Commonplace data about Broughton St has been used by CEC. The data do not seem to justify introduction of a cycle-lane here. NTBCC Transport ctte should meet before Thursday to consider making a deputation to the CEC meeting.
- R Price: Where are we in the process? I assume that relevant stakeholders will be consulted about the Broughton St proposals, but this needs actual detailed proposals to be published. However, the proposals for the Bridges have already been consulted on. So are new proposals being brought forward for consultation, or is this a fait accompli?
- Cllr Mowat: the Bridges proposals (including new left turn at Chambers St and other changes) are in the meeting-papers as ‘for approval by the CEC ctte’. The Broughton proposals are at an earlier stage. I will ask for a proper consultation on these.
- A Welsh: how does the national cycle-route fit into these changes? It goes along London Rd, and it’s very difficult to change such routes. I support the use of Regent Rd etc for cycle-traffic.
- Cllr Mowat: there wouldn’t be a change to the national route – there would be addition of the Regent Rd route.
- A Welsh: if the national route is unchanged, why discuss another route?
- Cllr Mowat: to introduce segregation. My concern is ‘what happens at the junction just now?’
- P Williamson: I concur with the suggestion of an NTBCC transport ctte meeting before Thursday.
- S Holledge: I understand that CEC believes that consultation on Broughton St has already been done using the commonplace tool, and so Thursday’s CEC meeting will involve making a decision, without further consultation.
- Cllr Mowat: commonplace has identified needs here, but no plan has yet been presented. More than the standard 5-day SfP consultation is needed. I will write to the committee that there are different views (and share that with NTBCC), hence a conversation with the community is needed. The area might need 2 schemes: a short-term one while tram-works progresses [and a long-term one for after trams are running].
- M Birch: there would be benefit from an early discussion by NTBCC transport ctte and other NTBCC members, to feed into CEC’s meeting.
- Cllr Mowat: currently, deputations are written
- C Nimmo: from the recent EACC meeting, it appears that CEC has to come up with another 10 ‘new’ SfP projects, so we are at the start of processing these
- S Holledge: the papers do not mention any further consultation, hence my concern.
- R Price: no detail has been brought forward about Broughton St proposals, so I expect NTBCC will be able to comment on proposals when they are brought forward.
- D Clarke: NTBCC should represent all viewpoints, including those of the ‘cycling lobby’.
- C Nimmo: Spokes etc are very organised and good at being heard and at outreach. Unfortunately, residents’ groups are not like this, so one of NTBCC’s roles is to hear what others are saying.
- S Holledge: I hope that NTBCC will develop a moderate, sensible approach representing all groups, and avoid a situation where various lobbies don’t listen to (and actually attack) each other.
- M Birch: only 4 schemes are being presented for approval (including the Bridges). The others are recommendations.
- S Holledge: so is CEC seeking approval of its dubious methods of interpreting commonplace data?
- C Nimmo: I recommend submitting a deputation covering NTBCC’s concerns about data-interpretation.
- Action: M Birch to arrange meeting of NTBCC transport committee and other interested NTBCC members
- Cllr Mowat: The CEC meeting on Thursday will also cover covid’s effects on the business case for trams. (Cancelling the tram-work would lead to severe financial implications for CEC.) I have also just obtained the South Bridge plans – they include bus-corridors on South Bridge and North Bridge. These would function from 6:30pm to 7:30am. The plans would take pressure off Queen’s Drive which would arise if more was closed.
6.b Initial NTBCC views on Report as submitted to 12 November 2020 Transport & Environment Committee on linkage to ‘Common Place’ tool (including possible proposals for Broughton St.)
See above discussions and report in Appendix 2.
6.c Update from Transport Sub-Committee convener (incl. current Tram works)
See above discussions and report in Appendix 2
6.d Further update: concerns raised wrt increased traffic in Bellevue Road/Annandale St
See also report in Appendix 2
- M Birch: CEC’s Trams Team (TT) has said that it plans to re-open McDonald Rd, allowing right turns onto Leith Walk. This should make a significant difference to the number of buses using East London St. TT has also committed to not closing McDonald Rd again until Annandale St is available for all 2-way traffic.
- M Birch: TT has also provided some long-awaited traffic modelling done in 2019 to assess impact of tram-related road-closures. I am currently reviewing it, and would appreciate contributions from people with relevant experience.
- M Birch: the TROs are now expected in December or probably January, to avoid clashing with winter holidays.
7 Public Spaces Management Plan (PSMP): discussion on developing response by NTBCC
- R Price: this consultation opened in mid-October, and runs until 23 November. The website covers 4 topics. It sets out a base position and asks for comment on this. The number of comments submitted is very small, implying a major problem with this consultation’s effectiveness. It is unclear where this consultation sits within NTBCC’s committee structure. Hence I recommend
- Make the point about low level of engagement with this consultation, so the period for responses could be extended. The schedule appears to be set by CEC’s culture and communities (C&C) ctte. CEC officials are due to report on the consultation for C&C’s January meeting because the following C&C meeting is in June. It is strange that consultations are limited in this way.
- NTBCC should consider in detail the 3 topics relevant to it, and comment appropriately.
- Cllr Osler: having seen NTBCC’s work on this subject, I’ve asked whether the consultation can be extended, and whether a CEC officer could speak with NTBCC. The CEC officer agreed that there is much material on the consultation web-page, so the officer is happy to talk people through it (Action: Cllr Osler to pass on contact details). The officer currently needs comments by 23 November, to enable drafting the report for January. The officer could ask for a delay until the March C&C meeting, but this would reduce public consultation if this is to be reported to the June C&C meeting.
- R Price: [reiterated tiny number of comments, e.g. none on Princes St gardens and other parts of NTBCC’s area) – this is not an effective consultation!
- C Nimmo: please explain how time for consultation would be reduced.
- Cllr Osler: this is an initial consultation with stakeholders. It’s complex because stakeholders such as NTBCC have much more knowledge. There will be a further public consultation afterwards (following the draft report being submitted to the C&C ctte).
- C Nimmo: so the stakeholder consultation needs more time.
- R Price: the final decisions could be made in later C&C meetings – there are several each year.
- Cllr Osler: we want this matter dealt with, and protections in place before the next festivals programmes are created – there have already been delays due to COVID. Even if the final report is delivered to the June C&C meeting, further changes may be needed.
- R Price: It would be better for NTBCC if the consultation ended later, so the report goes to the March C&C meeting.
- Cllr Osler: NTBCC should state this directly to the CEC official. However, then C&C convenor and co-convenor will decide timings, including considering knock-on impact.
- Cllr Mowat: there are also stakeholder interviews feeding into the stakeholder consultation. I am keen that this exercise is completed because it underpins many important matters.
- S Holledge: EACC has already encouraged other CCs to consider this consultation. I had hoped that CCs could meet about this but the schedule makes this very difficult. I suggest that NTBCC arranges a dedicated meeting on this.
- C Nimmo: I concur with this idea – NTBCC can do such things very well.
8.a Update from Environment Sub-Committee
See also report in Appendix 4.
- C Nimmo: NTBCC will consider this first because those interested in individual issues are likely to interested in wider environmental work, including how such topics impinge on (for example) NTBCC’s work on transport. I encourage NTBCC’s environment ctte to meet soon, including members interested in the public spaces management plan (PSMP).
- S Hollege: I concur. What is the deadline for PSMP submissions?
- C Nimmo: 23 November, but we hope to get a week’s extension.
- There was discussion of possible meeting dates
- Action: P Williamson to arrange a meeting
8.b Draft NTBCC proposal on Managing Graffiti by Environment Sub-Committee Convener
See also report in Appendix 5.
- P Williamson: given NTBCC’s many interests, is graffiti another issue it should work on? NTBCC could make a submission. The gist of the report is that CEC does not have a graffiti strategy, and is not involving residents in discussions. It appears that no action on graffiti on private property is likely.
- A Mackintosh: CEC’s position is reactive, not proactive. Unless there is early-years education that tagging (and similar) have no merit, such issues will continue.
- D Henderson: I could send the paper for communication with school-pupils.
- Actions: S Holledge to feed back on report; P Williamson to draft a submission based on report and feedback.
8.c Communal Bin Review – update
- C Nimmo: this requires yet another NTBCC meeting, ideally next week.
- L Graham: there has been a tent in Gayfield Square for the last 10 days. I have asked the police to remove it. Police have advised that they will monitor the situation. The tent is unoccupied. What do others advise?
- C Nimmo: it took quite a while to remove the ‘campsite’ outside the Scottish Parliament (SP).
- S Duff: There are Edinburgh bylaws restricting camping to recognised sites, but it’s unclear whether police or CEC enforce these. However, removal of the SP campsite provides a precedent.
- R Price: it is necessary to understand why people are camping. For example, a charity helped people camping in George V park move on (Post-meeting note: it may have been Cyrenians).
- S MacInnes: The only noteworthy item from the latest list was a proposal about the Lord Bodo pub at 3 Dublin St – it wants to extend its licensed premised onto its external basement patio. We have submitted an objection.
- S MacInnes: N Reid attended the licensing board meeting about the St James license-applications. All applications passed.
- N Reid: the legislation includes clauses on improving the lives of residents and tourists, and granting licenses that fill gaps in areas of overprovision. I tried to show that this meeting set a precedent for future applications, but we were only allowed to speak to the precise points in our submission.
- M Birch: the 25 ~additional licenses granted significantly increases overprovision. Does this make it more difficult for new applications to succeed?
- Cllr Mowat: the licensing board (LB) considers overprovision in the sense of ‘large vertical drinking establishments’ that pressurise police and residents. LB restricts bar: restaurant area-ratios to 80:20. Other licenses were to allow drinks with meals. LB’s consideration was in depth. It would be difficult for a big bar to obtain a license but LB/CEC does not wish to inhibit new cafés and restaurants.
- S Holledge: this committee will meet on 3 December. It hopes for a volunteer to handle NTBCC’s paper archives.
11 Local residents’ associations/local interest groups
- L Graham: there is lack of interest in Gayfield Residents’ Association, but remain optimistic it will revive.
12 Any other business
12.a More on planning
- M Birch: NTBCC should congratulate R Price and C Nimmo (and others) for their work on the Royal High School – the application to make it a hotel has been rejected.
- Others supported this ‘magnificent’ job, and NTBCC’s involvement.
- M Birch: concerning planning application for George St and Castle St, I note a comment in the report on atmospheric emissions. This appears to have been ignored
- R Price: I made a similar comment on east Princes St gardens. I agree that diesel generators should be managed and placed under CEC conditions, so I am happy to make a relevant submission to DMSC.
- A resident: I concur that RP should be congratulated. NTBCC has objected to the full planning proposal about the RBS site but I am concerned that the PAN proposal that involves flats rather than a hotel may have slipped by NTBCC. The decision-notice for this proposal mandates following the Edinburgh (planning) Concordat, so will NTBCC get an opportunity to comment on the PAC report? There is much deviation from the local development plan in the proposals. The views of communities and Historic Environment Scotland have been ignored in proposals. Hence it is important for NTBCC to comment on PAC reports before they are submitted.
- The same resident: A historic planning permission in principle about designated Open Space on Eyre Terrace has just been considered again by CEC. It appears that the original CEC decision that it was ‘minded to approve’ subject to conditions has just been extended again, and that NTBCC has not acted here.
- R Price: I am aware of this resident’s questions about a response to a recent question on this topic. These may have been missed due to NTBCC’s recent changes. However, more generally, NTBCC has objected to previous PANs being approved (e.g. the Christmas market which it believed was a pointless exercise), but the PAN process was approved regardless.. Concerning the RBS PANs, the developers are following the Edinburgh Concordat better than most, and NTBCC will be able to comment on the PAC reports – and these must be submitted with the main applications. In the past, developers have been happy to engage with NTBCC until it raised objections. PANs tend to be easily approved by CEC. NTBCC will consider the amended proposals for the RBS site when they come forward.
- R Price: I share your concerns about the 2014 Planning Permission in Principle (14/01177/PPP) – this was approved subject to significant conditions, e.g. a section 75 agreement. However, I’m not sure of the PPP’s current status.
13 Appendix 1: police report
Please see below figures for the period of 12th October 2020 to 9th November 2020 for your area.
In addition to these figures we continue to attend noisy parties and persons breaching Covid regulations whereby Fixed Penalty Tickets have been issued.
13.a Domestic Housebreakings (3)
- Between 1355 hours on 08/10/20 and 1100 hours on 13/10/20 – Royal Circus. Gaining entry by unknown means, entering and stealing £12500 worth of jewellery from within. Unsolved.
- Between 0750 hours and 1750 hours on 14/10/20 – Northumberland Street. Attempting to gain entry via sash window using a tool, then forcing wooden door with bodily pressure, entering and stealing £4214.99 worth of jewellery and electrical goods from within. Unsolved.
- Between 1800 hours on 17/10/20 and 1100 hours on 18/10/20– Fettes Row. Forcing common stair door open by unknown means, entering and stealing a £1000 mountain bike from the communal area. Unsolved.
13.b Business Housebreakings (1)
Between 0257 hours and 0304 hours on 25/10/20 – West End Store, Queensferry Street. Kicking glass door until smashing, entering, stealing £3000 worth of cigarettes and £400 in cash. Solved.
13.c Vandalisms (7)
- At 2100 hours on 17/10/20 – Jamaica Mews. Smashing ground floor window by throwing wine bottle at same. No damage value noted. Unsolved.
- At 1429 hours on 20/10/20 – Princes Street. Grabbing complainer’s guitar and smashing to the ground. £300 damage. Solved.
- At 0400 hours on 24/10/20 – Jamaica Mews. Smashing living room window by throwing bottle at same. No damage value noted. Unsolved.
- Between 2230 hours on 31/10/20 and 1125 hours on 01/11/20 – Moray Place. Smashing window of black BMW. £423 damage. Unsolved.
- Between 2230 hours on 31/10/20 and 1125 hours on 01/11/20 – Moray Place. Smashing windscreen of Blue Subaru. £400 damage. Unsolved.
- Between 2230 hours on 31/10/20 and 1125 hours on 01/11/20 – Doune Terrace. Smashing windscreen of Silver Honda. £210 damage. Unsolved.
- Between 2230 hours on 31/10/20 and 1125 hours on 01/11/20 – Doune Terrace. Smashing wing mirror of grey Ford fiesta. £150 damage. Unsolved.
13.d Assaults (3)
- At 2121 hours on 17/10/20 – Princes Street. Kicking, punching and pulling hair. Solved.
- At 0053 hours on 23/10/20 – Princes Street. Punching to the nose. Solved.
- At 1920 hours on 24/10/20 – South St Andrew Street. Slapping to the head twice. Solved.
13.e Other initiatives
Between the 31st October and the 7th November 2020 Operation Crackle (appropriately named) was the dedicated police response to Halloween and Fireworks night with a busy couple of weeks all over the city in particular youths setting off fireworks and various bonfires identified and extinguished by the Fire Service. Thank goodness it is over for another year!
14 Appendix 2: NTBCC Transport Committee Update – November 2020
14.a Key Issues for 9 November Meeting
14.a.i Spaces for People
Transport and Environment Committee due to meet on Thursday to review update from Spaces for People team which includes recommendations for additional temporary changes including:
- Partial closure of South Bridge and changes to North Bridge
- Segregated cycle lane along London Road
- Pavement widening and uphill cycle lane on Broughton Street
This latter change has been prioritised by the Council following its analysis of the results from the Commonplace tool. The meeting on Thursday will also consider feedback on the changes that have been implemented to date and various other initiatives including additional efforts to remove pavement clutter.
We have been contacted by the Better Broughton group regarding potential improvements along length of Broughton Street and Bellevue from Canonmills to Picardy Place. Plan to arrange a meeting with representatives from the Transport Sub-Committee to identify areas of common concern.
14.a.ii Tram Works
Regular monthly meetings of the affected Community Councils with the Trams Team have continued with positive interaction on a number of topics including:
- Reopening of Macdonald Road to allow right hand turn on to Leith Walk to reduce the number of buses using East London Street to exit Annandale Street bus garage.
- Impact of closure of Leith Walk and resultant diversions on traffic levels in adjacent residential areas – traffic modelling provided and under review
- Traffic Regulation Orders for length of tram extension have yet to be finalised. Currently expect these to be issued in December/January for formal public consultation
14.b New Committee and Longer Term Issues
Currently six people (M Birch, S Hajducki, P Williamson, J Hugh, S Holledge, S Warnock and C Nimmo) have indicated a willingness to be part of the Transport Committee. If anyone else would like to join this group please let me know. I plan to arrange a Zoom meeting in the next couple of weeks to confirm our focus areas for the next year.
As well as the immediate points above, the following are some of the longer term issues that that we need to monitor and respond to:
- East London Street – Impact of high numbers of buses on residents
- Pedestrian Crossing Priorities
- Implementation of Parking Action Plan
- Electric Vehicle Charging Points
- Enforcement of Speed and Parking Controls
- Removal of Pavement Clutter
- Implementation of the Low Emissions Zone
- Impact of the City Mobility Plan on future of Edinburgh especially in City Centre
- George Street and First New Town Proposals
- Picardy Place development proposals
15 Appendix 3: Submission (by email) to City Centre/Leith Walk Ward Councillors and SfP (19th July 2020)
15.a Broughton Street Improvements – Proposed Input into the ‘Spaces for People’ process
The New Town & Broughton Community Council is aware of the many comments submitted through the Spaces for People ‘Commonplace’ interactive tool in respect to improvements on Broughton Street and is supportive of any measures that would make Broughton Street safer for pedestrians and support local businesses.
Now that proposals for many of the designated ‘town centres’ and some other streets have been brought forward by Edinburgh Council, NTBCC urge the Council to look further ahead and prioritise proposals for Broughton Street as soon as possible and take the opportunity to develop the street as a destination rather than as a thoroughfare.
We note the original proposal by Mark Lazarowicz on social media and his amended proposal, which is attached as a .pdf document (taken from his email response to NTBCC after seeing the minutes of the June NTBCC meeting). Mark’s proposals have been a welcome stimulus to debate. NTBCC’s initial view is that there is insufficient space to expand pavements on both sides, as well as retain two lanes of traffic and the required number of loading bays to support the many local, independent businesses – as well as create a proposed segregated cycle lane. In our view, this would result in a cluttered appearance, and encourage vehicles and (northbound) cycles to speed within their segregated spaces.
NTBCC’s current view is that –
- Traffic should be reduced to two lanes (except at the junction with Picardy Place heading south)
- Cycles should be encouraged to use the much safer Dublin Street, which also provides a direct link with the North St Andrew Street cycle lane and is the designated NCN 75 route. This would have the added advantage of encouraging cycles to avoid, where possible, the Picardy gyratory. Implementation of the long-awaited crossing at the junction of London Street and Drummond Place should be expedited to further improve this.
- ‘Dwelling’ should be encouraged in the expanded footway, to attract trade for local business and improve the ambience for pedestrians in what is one of Edinburgh’s most attractive and characterful streets.
- Pavements should be extended along much of the street on both sides, removing the 13 Pay & Display spaces (retaining an appropriate number of Blue Badge spaces) and, following consultation with local businesses, remove some of the loading bays (from the current 13 on Broughton Street) to, for example, 4 on the east and 3 on the west side. Another option would be to consider time windows for deliveries – similar to proposals elsewhere.
- The pavement could be wider on the eastern, sunnier side to encourage ‘dwelling’ (following a principle employed in the plans for George Street). Extension of the footway should if possible avoid plastic ‘wands’, which are obtrusive and unsightly and can be hazardous when moved out of position by vehicles or high winds.
- In the longer term, low bollards as deployed on George IV Bridge should be used to prevent vehicles encroaching on pavements. We recommend that all bus stops be retained.
- The street suffers from speeding traffic and the roadway should be made safe for cycling with physical traffic calming measures in both directions to enforce the 20mph limit. The main enemy of cycling in Edinburgh is speeding traffic.
NTBCC believe these proposals are consistent with the weight of opinion expressed on the Spaces for People ‘Commonplace’ tool for Broughton St. We believe that there should of course be further consultation and discussion with residents and local businesses, preferably by the SfP team. However, given the concerns expressed by some regarding the consultation process, NTBCC will also try to gauge the views of local businesses as well as input from residents’ associations.
With Leith Walk (and perhaps Leith Street as well) to be inaccessible from Broughton Street much traffic from the north-west city centre (Canomills/Bonnington) will seek alternative routes. We ask the Council to take mitigating measures to ensure that appropriate alternative routes are identified and signed.
15.c Wider traffic reduction
As stressed in our responses to the Mobility and City Plans, measures to reduce the number of private car journeys in the central area – already the case in most historical European cities – should be urgently fast-tracked. Parking capacity throughout the Conservation Area should be reduced, perhaps coincident with the Edinburgh St James’ Centre parking becoming available. Many of the measures proposed in the City Mobility Plan to reduce traffic in the city should be brought forward at the earliest opportunity.
We hope that this will be helpful input to progress improvements for Broughton Street to make it safer for pedestrians as well as supporting local businesses, consistent with the Spaces for People initiative.
Richard Price, Secretary, New Town & Broughton Community Council
16 Appendix 4: NTBCC Environment Committee – proposals for the future
The following are the proposals for the future of the New Town & Broughton Community Council, Environment Committee that flow out of the meeting of the Committee held on 25 February.
Those who attended the meeting were J Hugh, A Jack, S Holledge, S McAllister and P Williamson. There were apologies from S Hajducki and C Nimmo.
The proposals here are draft for confirmation and for comment and suggestions, particularly by those not able to attend.
16.b Remit of Environment Committee
The Environment Committee will cover the following broad issue areas:
- Waste – Collection and Processing
- Pollution, including air quality, and water and sewerage
- Parks and greenspaces, including private greenspaces
- Trees (protection, planting, and ecosystem services etc)
- Built environment, i.e. placemaking
16.c Committee’s priority areas for 2020
The Committee will concentrate on the following issue areas in 2020 with the following members taking the lead.
|Priority Areas For 2020|
|Waste Collection||S McAllister, J Hugh, P Williamson|
|Parks and Greenspaces||S Holledge|
|Graffiti||S Holledge, P Williamson|
Further lead persons need to be identified. It is intended that the first step would be for the designated leads to set out a brief plan of what actions require to be undertaken. This will be done in liaison with other Committee members, and the plans will be presented to the Council at a regular meeting for discussion.
The Community Council would receive updates on progress with the Plans for discussion at appropriate intervals.
It is acknowledged that new priority issue areas may arise in the course of the year.
16.d Membership of the Committee
It is proposed to seek two additional members for the Committee to reflect the scope of its work. This should be done to achieve a greater gender balance.
16.e Method of operation of Committee
It is intended that the Committee develop proposals, drawing on the knowledge and expertise of its members, for adoption by the Community Council. Proposals will be presented in the form of papers by the designated lead(s) that will emphasise the actions that the Council should take, in addition to background information.
The Committee will identify ‘key contacts’ among Council officials Council with whom the Committee will liaise directly to progress its work. This will include the Committee holding meetings with these Council contacts. It is hoped to develop long-standing relationships, accepting that these may already exists and only need confirmed.
16.f Future meetings
It was agreed to hold the next meeting in April. It was also acknowledged that meetings could be held during the working day, especially if there are to be meetings with Council officials.
16.g Immediate actions
The following immediate actions result from the meeting on 25th February and are set out below. The table will be used to keep Committee members up to date
|Environment Committee Action Plan|
|001||Organise April meeting date||Peter Williamson||5 March|
|002||Seek additional members||Community Council Meeting||9 March|
|003||Identify additional leads for priority issue areas||Community Council Meeting||9 March|
|004||Develop plan for each priority issue area||Appropriate leads||Next Committee Meeting|
|005||Produce list of ‘key contacts’||Peter Williamson||20 April|
Peter Williamson, 2 March 2020
17 Appendix 5: NTBCC report on ‘Graffiti Strategy for Edinburgh’
The Council’s Culture and Communities Committee considered the Graffiti Working Group Findings Report in January 2019. On 15 September the Committee considered an update report on the actions taken and strategy proposals developed following the Committee’s consideration of the Working Group Report.
17.b Position In September paper: background
The paper acknowledges that graffiti is a serious problem in the City, specifically graffiti tagging. The City of Edinburgh Council has responsibility for the management of the local environment but there is no statutory responsibility for the removal of graffiti. There are statutory instruments available to local authorities to address graffiti on private property, but there is a reluctance to use these because this would place responsibility on the victims of antisocial behaviour/crime. Other options are considered preferable. In Scotland, graffiti without permission is treated as vandalism and can be prosecuted under section 52 of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995.
Following the submission of the Graffiti Working Group Report in January 2019, a Graffiti Project Officer was appointed in June 2019 to take forward the Report’s recommendations.
The Council does not presently have a dedicated graffiti removal team. The Cleansing team have two jetting vehicles with four dedicated operatives who undertake the removal of graffiti across the city but this is just one of the team’s many responsibilities. The team only actively removes graffiti from Council assets and has limited capacity to remove graffiti from private property.
The Council ‘can’ remove graffiti from private property that is threatening, obscene, racist, homophobic or otherwise constitutes an attack on people protected by equalities legislation so long as the Council is aware, the owner gives consent and a waiver is signed. Otherwise, graffiti on private property is the responsibility of the owner to remove. In these instances, the removal of graffiti from private property would be rechargeable by the Council, requiring the responsible party to agree to a submitted quote and to sign a waiver. Property owners are also encouraged to seek additional quotes for any works.
The Council currently does not have a dedicated team to carry out investigations into instances of graffiti, pursue its removal or carry out research into those responsible, or to provide guidance on street art, murals, and graffiti management.
17.c Position In September paper: progress and proposals
A review of current funding and future funding needs is being undertaken with the aim of establishing a dedicated and separate Graffiti Management Team to address all graffiti issues, including Council assets, private property, and historic structures on or adjacent to publicly adopted land. The approach taken to management of graffiti is described as ‘global’ in respect of the structures and assets included. It is said that the Graffiti Management Team will be ‘capable of removing all graffiti on or adjacent to publicly owned or adopted land and without additional cost to those affected by unwanted/illegal graffiti.’
The cost of the team has been estimated at £530k per annum. The expectation is to have stakeholder buy-in for up to 50% of the total annual cost. It is recommended that this is initially on a rolling agreement and reviewed over the cycle, with potential for a longer-term agreement if proven successful. Utilities have already been engaged and other stakeholders may include Education Bodies, The National Trust, Scottish Canals, The Scottish Government, Responsible Social Landlords, Business Improvement District’s (BID’s) and Rail Operators. The commitment of stakeholders at this stage is not known. However, alternative funding is also being explored, in particular the Transient Visitor Levy.
In the case of Council property and assets the Council will aim to remove ‘offensive’ graffiti within 24 hours and other graffiti within 10 days, although the status of these ‘targets’ is left uncertain and it is stated that ‘it may be necessary to extend these timescales for operational, financial or other reasons.’
Where the graffiti is on either premises or property which does not belong to the Council, removal of this will be the responsibility of the owner. There is in the Draft Management Policy contained in the Report the highly ambiguous rejoinder that ‘In certain circumstances the Council may be able to help.’ The same draft policy adds: ‘Where the graffiti is offensive, the Council can help you if you provide permission to do so. There is no charge for this service.’ Special conditions will apply in the cases of historic monuments and structures, not least because of specialist requirements.
In terms of preventive measures, two initiatives are put forward:
- Tolerance Zones where the local authority and Police can exercise ‘a degree of tolerance (blind space).’ (These zones are ‘ideally located within or close to a city centre, unmanaged by the local authority (in terms of the graffiti space) and has high footfall with no through or heavy vehicular traffic. Policies and procedures have still to be developed for these.
- Legal Walls that offer ‘a valuable showcase for street art and experienced graffiti artists’ that it is said will increase community engagement and lift the vibrancy and economy of the locations where they are installed.’ These spaces are to be ‘managed by stakeholders, in partnership with the local authority’ and ‘work in a similar way to local authority approved murals but without the same guidelines or restrictions.’ Policies and procedures have still to be developed for these.
However, these two measures are presented as closely connected: ‘Tolerance Zones and Legal Walls are interventions intended to provide a safe space for the development of creative skills, skill sharing, and the potential to learn from other more experienced graffitists, while presenting the opportunity to open dialogue with other users of the space.’
The January Working Group Report stated: ‘There has been no consultation or engagement to date on this report. If a formal policy were to be drafted on graffiti, it is likely that a public consultation would be required to consider the varied number of views on the subject.’ However, the matter of public consultation is not mentioned at all in the 15 September Report. There is only a statement that ‘Stakeholder consultation and engagement has been undertaken with a number of bodies, including Police Scotland, the University of Edinburgh, HES, Spectrum Arts, utilities companies’ plus a list of Council services.
17.d Discussion Points from the Paper
The following points emerge from the recent Committee paper for the Community Council to consider.
- The position on any additional funding is still in the process of being worked through, and what is proposed for the future is largely dependent upon this.
- (Possibly for the above reason) the ‘strategy’ set out in the Report is rather tentative and ill-defined, although it also appears that generally an evolving approach is being adopted rather than the production of a definitive strategy document.
- The Report does not reference evidence of the causes of and remedies for graffiti. This means that it is difficult to judge the overall merits of the ‘strategic model’ underpinning the proposals, a point made at the September Committee by Councillor Osler.
- (Similarly) there is no discussion of the scale of the problem (the Council do not currently systematically measure this), and so it is impossible to judge the adequacy of the response.
- There is no substantive shift in policy away from the position that graffiti on private property is essentially the responsibility of the owner for which, with the possible exception of offensive graffiti, there is no means of enforcement or any substantial means of support.
- It is not stated why public funds for the removal of graffiti are allocated only to Council property rather than by reference to other criteria such as nuisance, offense, size of the defacement or type/ location of property.
- There is no serious consideration of alternative uses for c£500k per annum to address the problem, especially a dedicated removal service.
- There is no assessment of the willingness or otherwise of owners of private and other public premises to take action and spend money to remove graffiti and hence how far the total problem will be addressed.
- The proposal to create spaces where graffiti will be permitted gives no consideration that this could legitimise such activity for some people and whether those in the neighbourhoods affected would view this positively.
- There is no mention of removal kits being made available to community groups to allow them to tackle the problem in their neighbourhood. (There was uncertainty at the Committee whether such kits are still available from the Council.)
- There is a poorly defined linking or conflating of street art with graffiti when they could represent entirely different intentions and expressions.
- There is seemingly no commitment to involve residents and businesses to gain their opinions both on the problem of graffiti and on community art.
Many parts of the New Town and Broughton area suffers to a notable degree from graffiti, and even causal observation indicates that it is growing worse. The Community Council should consider what overall priority to afford the matter, make representations on the current Council strategy, consider its role in community/neighbourhood initiatives, and seek to reflect local views and options on this matter.
Peter Williamson, Chair, NTBCC Environment Committee