NTBCC minutes – ordinary meeting Monday 8 May 2017

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held in the Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s Church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 8 May 2017 at 7.30pm

Nem con means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.

1 Attendance and apologies for absence

Foysol Choudhury NTBCC Christine Ross NTBCC
Judy Conn NTBCC secretary Fran Wasoff NTBCC
Christopher Collins NTBCC Alan Welsh NTBCC
Jonathan Finn NTBCC treasurer, licensing convenor Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Cllr Marion Donaldson Leith Walk ward
Jack Hugh NTBCC Cllr Joanna Mowat City Centre ward
Stuart McAllister NTBCC PC Stuart Foster Police Scotland
Carol Nimmo NTBCC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Lewis Press NTBCC environment convenor John Ross Maclean Broughton Spurtle
Richard Price NTBCC planning convenor 4 residents

1.1 Apologies for absence

Allan Jack NTBCC transport convenor Cllr Gavin Barrie Inverleith ward
Ruth Davidson MSP Edinburgh Central Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
Ben Macpherson MSP Edinburgh Northern & Leith Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward
Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith Cllr Iain Whyte Inverleith ward
Cllr Karen Doran City Centre ward Cllr Amy Mcneese-Mechan Leith Walk ward
Cllr Claire Miller City Centre ward Cllr Susan Rae Leith Walk ward
Cllr Alastair Rankin City Centre ward Cllr Lewis Ritchie Leith Walk ward

It was noted that Cllr Miller was previously a member of NTBCC, and so there is now a vacancy on NTBCC.

2 Minutes of Meeting of 10 April 2017 and matters arising

Adopted (prop A Welsh, 2nd I Mowat, nem con) subject to adding information re Leith St monitoring, and police statistics

3 Police

PC Foster reported the following statistics and points

Assaults: 23 reported, all were on license premises. 20 solved (i.e. arrest(s) made, suspect(s) charged) Business housebreakings: 3 reported, investigations ongoing
Serious assaults: 2 reported and solved Attempted housebreakings: 1 reported
Domestic housebreakings: 2 reported, investigations ongoing Vandalism: 3 reported, investigations ongoing

3.1 Operation Gopik, rough sleeping and begging

  • 10 community police officers (CPOs), along with UKBA staff, deported 10 Romanians (who agreed voluntarily to this), who had been sleeping rough in Roseburn, this morning. This was the largest incidence of Op Gopik so far. Police officers tend to patrol around 4am/5am to see who is sleeping rough, usually finding 1 or 2. UKBA staff ensure that deportees are identified. The majority of foreign rough sleepers want to return to their home countries, but UKBA will know if they come back from its ID procedures
  • A resident suggested begging has got worse in city centre. It was noted that there is no primary legislation or CEC bylaws against begging per se, but that beggars who commit other offenses can be moved on. CPOs and CEC staff find out where beggars are staying. It was suggested that Edinburgh adopts Newcastle city centre’s bylaw against ‘begging, chugging and mugging’, and that charity ‘beggars’ could be shut down if they are unlicensed.
  • It was noted that there is no need for begging because support is available, but Edinburgh’s generosity is attracting beggars from elsewhere in Scotland. PC Foster requested that police are informed about offensive incidents.
  • It was asked who is responsible for dealing with offensive beggars, e.g. one operating in Picardy Place. PC Foster replied that police cannot remove him because they have no evidence (e.g. CCTV footage, sufficient witnesses). Cllr Donaldson concurred that there is no relevant CEC bylaw, but asserted that the issue springs from austerity. PC Foster suggested that suitable bylaws would need to go through the Scottish Parliament.
  • It was suggested that beggars who operate next to phone boxes, blocking most of the path, are a health and safety issue. PC Foster stated that the police can use relevant laws to deal with such issues
  • It was noted that bail conditions are being used to prevent offenders returning to Hunter Square.
  • It was suggested that begging is not a significant problem compared to (lack of enforcement against) unlicensed advertising, café tables and chairs on pavements inconveniencing pedestrians.
  • Action: C Nimmo to convene working group, including C Ross, F Choudhury, S McAllister.
  • Action: Cllr Donaldson to advise relevant CEC ontact
  • J Hugh asked about vandalism incidents, reporting £1500 worth of damage to his car. Action: PC Foster to feed back

4 Licensing

No items

5 Environment

L Press noted

  • CEC’s former head of waste services (G Barwell, now head of place management) will address NTBCC in June re waste strategies.
  • Edinburgh’s waste consultative forum (several city centre and south side CC reps, Leithers don’t Litter, the Spurtle, New Town clean streets, G Barwell and other CEC technical managers focussing on waste) met last month. From this:
    • The new bulk uplift is working quite well: use has increased while fly-tipping has decreased
    • People can now request uplift of a single item £5. (Previously, it cost £26 to uplift 1 to 6 items.)
    • Action: B Ryan to put URL on NTBCC’s website.
    • The number of uncollected bins has decreased significantly, as has the overall number of complaints. However, the number of complaints around communal bins is much higher than for other waste systems. CEC is aware that there are persistent, repeating problems. Installing sensors that detect when bins are full works well but CEC does not currently have budget to scale this out.
    • Budget for improving the appearance of communal bins and refreshing food-waste bins has been allocated.
    • Opinion on recycling streams is sought. The forum had suggested that the current split into glass, other packaging, etc is about enough. (The Scottish Government suggests that paper should also be split out, but CEC prefers to all packaging to be in the same bins.) It was suggested that more segregation might lead to better economics, and that waste streams can cope with up to 10% of taint. (Above this, waste loses its value and becomes landfill.) Decision: NTBCC prefers the ‘all packaging together’ option

5.1 Discussion points

  • It was suggested that proactive education about recycling is needed, because the [reactive] complaints mechanism is working, and that complaint data should be used to pinpoint where education or other relevant action is needed.
    L Press responded that such improvements are in consideration by CEC, which recognises needs for increased bin capacity and/or collection frequency, and that increased collection frequency would have more side-benefits. Action: L Press to report on progress.

    • It was noted that many communal bins have 3200 litre capacity, and that the next available capacity is 5400 litres, and suggested that such large bins are an eyesore in an otherwise attractive Georgian city.
    • It was also noted that some people are sleeping rough in communal bins across the UK, and hence being killed as the bins are emptied. This would be another reason for refuse banksmen walking their ‘beats’.
  • Concern over CEC workers vandalising recycling boxes and communal bins was reported. LP responded that such concerns should always be reported, and that the issue was raised at a meeting about collection of communal bins, where it was noted that banksmen are not always walking pavements to ensure collection is performed properly.
  • It was suggested that the issue is mostly a city-centre problem, possibly exacerbated by CEC having bought collection vehicles that are no longer manufactured, and that wheely bins which work well in most areas of Edinburgh.
  • There is public interest in gull-proof bags, and NTBCC’s working group has noted that CEC wants to containerise (install communal bins) in all streets, but that there is no deadline for the current review, and possibly no rush to implement policy because of the concomitant practical problems.
  • It was suggested that residents’ associations who are active get the waste collection options they want, so dissatisfied residents should organise themselves.
  • NTBCC’s Environment committee will support any residents’ associations’ proposals for changing waste collections. It believes that CEC’s policy should change from blanket containerisation to doing what’s required in each area. Action: NTBCC members to canvass residents re CEC policy.
  • It was noted that a CC noticeboard on Broughton St is broken. Action: C Ross to find who has financial responsibility

6 Planning

R Price noted 3 significant ‘retrospective’ items:

6.1 B&Q site in Warriston Road

  • NTBCC objected to elements of this application. Permission has now been granted subject to a section 75 agreement being made. There was good discussion between CEC and the developer to react to comments, leading to a ‘pretty good’ final plan that will lead to the site being much better than it is now.
  • However NTBCC is concerned about parking on the finished site: CEC had wanted to limit on-site parking to 101 spaces for 180 flats (i.e. 56%). NTBCC was concerned because the site is on the edge of the controlled parking zone and near to private parking. CEC transport committee supported limited parking, but also said that each flat is entitled to 1 space. Hence RP believes that the policy not fit for purpose. However, this application is now a ‘done deal’.
  • It was also found that all nearby medial practices are full/closed. This was raised by NTBCC to no avail. Cllr Mowat had suggested that section 75 could be used, but this is problematic. (Education has a fixed formula for section 75 contributions, but the NHS has not specified its requirement.) Cllr Mowat also suggested using the Local Development Plan, but it is at 1st draft stage, and is more relevant to large sites than to smaller ‘infill’ sites.

6.2 RBS site

  • There has been complete silence from the agent and from CEC. RP has recently spoken with the relevant planning officer, who aims to submit a report to CEC’s development management committee by 16th This may be beyond the non-determination limit.

6.3 Royal High School

  • Nothing overt has happened recently. Determination is due on 20th Actions: RP/planning committee to speak with newly-elected CEC councillors. RP to put NTBCC’s objection on website

6.4 Other planning matters

  • NTBCC’s planning committee to respond to consultations on (1) Edinburgh Design Guidance (2) Old & New Town heritage management plan
  • J Hugh reported his gratitude for the planning seminar on 25th
  • It was reported that a building on Moray Place had suddenly ‘grown’ a glass ‘box’ on its roof. This was reported to CEC, whose enforcement officer found it to be illegal. The owner has so far declined to remove the box, so is subject to an enforcement order. Actions: RP to check DPA website, and with Moray Feuars’ office.

7 Transport

  • Action: C Nimmo, F Wasoff and C Ross to press ahead with discussions with CEC over diversions and monitoring
  • It was reported that the pavement at the top of Leith St is very narrow, but many people are trying to cross the street, while traffic is moving through amber traffic lights, leading to high danger, and that the pavement is ‘narrowed’ further due to café tables, chairs and advertising boards. Cllr Mowat responded that CEC is aware of this issue, but NTBCC should put in a complaint anyway. Action: B Ryan to collect video evidence as he cycles through this junction.
  • It was reported that some rubble from demolition is currently being left on the site, and that strain gauges are being fitted to Register House etc due to the deep excavations. There is much rubble to be removed – it currently travels via Leith Walk.
  • A resident asked who is responsible for pavements – an electric wheelchair user got stuck in Scotland St due to lack of ramps. Action: Cllr Mowat to follow up
  • The increased frequency of some bus services was commended.
  • L Press reported emails from residents whose properties have been struck by bin lorries (one 3 times in 2 months), and so is concerned that there may be a systemic problem of large vehicles in small streets. (Cllr Mowat noted that small lorries can’t handle large bins.) Action: L Press/ NTBCC transport ctte to follow this up with G Barwell next month

8 Communications

  • It was noted that L Stewart and C Miller have resigned from NTBCC, so a new Facebook admin is needed. Actions: NTBCC comms committee to meet in June, F Chaudhury to advise whether ELREC can help.
  • It was also noted that NTBCC now has two vacancies, so NTBCC could benefit from a student member who is interested in digital communication. Action: B Ryan to supply Napier University’s volunteer base contact details
    I Mowat to contact relevant parts of Edinburgh University.

9 Activities of local street or amenity associations

  • The Northumberland & Nelson Streets Residents’ Association AGM is on Sunday 21st May 3pm, at the Scottish Gallery in Dundas St. They aim to be registered as a local interest group, which would give them a seat on NTBCC.
  • It was suggested that NTBCC sends a letter to Standard Life supporting the absence of rubbish in St Andrews Square.
  • Concern was expressed over the pubs on Waverley market. Cllr Mowat was concerned how these were permitted.

10 Any Other Business

  • It was suggested that NTBCC keeps pressuring CEC about AirB&B and party flats. Cllr Mowat responded that CEC is petitioning the Scottish Government (SG) for the right to license and use planning permission in this area, which currently slips through gaps in legislation, that SG is considering the implications of the sharing economy, that Andy Wightman MSP is also working on legislation, and that all parties on CEC support SG looking at this.
  • A resident asked about NTBCC’s future program, noting that the joint health and social care boards were not a council election topic, and requesting a presentation about health and social care. It was noted that Edinburgh Association of CC pushes this topic, and that it fits with many NTBCC concerns, e.g. licensing.

11 Date of next meeting

12 June 2017