The following deputation was presented to the Council’s Transport & Environment Committee on 14 October following discussions with local residents and with NTBCC members, along with several other deputations from a wide range of community groups in relation to Agenda Item 7.1 ‘Active Travel Measures – Travelling Safely Update’ .
The community council’s principal concern is continuing lack of engagement in the process of reviewing the various measures introduced under the Spaces for People programme. These schemes have been in place in many cases for over a year and based on previous reports to committee, have been supposedly reviewed several times over that period of time. We have never been approached for comments about implemented schemes in our area. As a Community Council we believe that we can provide useful input from residents and businesses about how these measures are working but there is no process for us to do so. We understand the reasons why some of these schemes were introduced with little consultation but we are struggling to understand the rationale for this continued lack of engagement. We believe that in many cases the choice between retain or remove is too simple. There will be features of even the best scheme where improvement is possible and likewise in schemes scheduled for removal there will be elements that should be retained. We urge the Council to put in place an effective and transparent engagement process that allows for local input to be considered prior to extending/modifying measures under an ETRO or indeed removing measures.
Our second concern is that the temporary measures are not suitable for long-term use. As noted many of the measures have been in place for over a year and if retained under an ETRO (Experimental Traffic Regulation Order) could be in place for around three years. For example, pavements have been extended but nothing has been done to make these areas either suitable or safe for those with mobility issues or visual impairment. From a recent discussion with a local resdient who escorts a blind person to church each week, she described the difficulties now being experienced without proper pavements, lack of tactile paving and the absence of audio signals on temporary crossings. We believe that if measures are to be retained then the design should comply with the Edinburgh Street Design Guidance to ensure that they are fit for purpose.
Overall the NTBCC are broadly supportive of the measures in our area but there are some issues that we would want to highlight.
Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s AGM, held via Zoom, on Monday 14 June 2020 at 7pm
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’.
Items 1 to 6 and item 8 were chaired by Carol Nimmo. Item 7 was chaired by Bruce Ryan.
Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Monday 8 March 2021 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’. Continue reading
Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting
(Construction Phase) via Google Meet on Thursday 25 February 2021 at 5:30pm Continue reading
Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Monday 11 January 2021 at 7pm Continue reading
Another well attended virtual meeting – peaking at 47 attendees including yet another excellent turnout of NTBCC members as well as local City of Edinburgh Councillors Mowat, Osler and Mitchell and our MP, Deidre Brock – their presence, as always, very much appreciated. It was a time to say farewell to one of our long-standing Community Councillors, Jonathan Finn, who has recently served as both Treasurer and Licencing Convenor. We also welcomed Ken Lochrie, who was formally adopted as a new Associate member as a temporary representative for the Drummond Civic Association.
After the problems that some people had accessing the meeting last month, we were all relieved that normal Zoom service returned. As always the agenda was very packed but due to the excellent marshalling of our Chair, Carol Nimmo we managed to finish the discussion within two minutes of the scheduled time!
The Police Scotland report highlighted several burglaries of business premises and further cases of vandalism occurring within the New Town as well as their continuing efforts to respond to reports of Covid-19 breaches but no details of the number of fixed penalty notices were provided. There was also mention of Operation Watchnight for Hogmanay, which was unsurprisingly reported as being the quietest in many years.
Much of the meeting was taken up with Planning issues. Richard Price, who as always is on top of all matters to do with Planning in our area, provided an excellent summary of the status of the key planning applications. We also had a brief presentation from the team responsible for the plans to develop 12-14 Picardy Place into a new 67-bedroom hotel with an enclosed rear courtyard bar and restaurant (incorporating The Outhouse bar). This presentation coincided with the formal submission of the planning applications but the developers had already presented to the NTBCC Planning committee in late October but it was helpful that a wider audience got an early sight of the final plans and the opportunity to ask the developers questions about the impact on neighbours and the environment.
Transport Committee Report (January 2021)
Spaces for People
London Road – The initial work required to create a segregated cycle lane along London Road between Easter Road and Leith Walk has been completed with the removal of the parking bays and the addition of new road markings. Further work will be required to put the temporary bollards in place and provide new signage. Following the discussion at the last Community Council meeting I have written to Leith Central Community Council seeking their support for improvements to the Leopold Place pedestrian crossing.
Broughton Street – together with Jenni Inglis, I met with David Hunter from Living Streets for a walkabout around our area and Broughton Street in particular. We highlighted some of our concerns about pedestrian access and it was agreed that we would arrange a formal street audit in January. No date has yet been set. Better Broughton made a presentation at our December meeting and have submitted their proposals for changes to Broughton Street to the Spaces for People team; some of which are aligned with our own thoughts. It is important that we develop our own more detailed proposals based on our previous submission to the Council. We have received no further contact from the Spaces for People team regarding the suggested pre-proposal discussion.
Regular monthly meetings of the affected Community Councils with the Trams Team will resume at the end of this month with both the draft Traffic Regulation Orders (still not issued for public consultation) and follow up to the Traffic Modelling data review on the agenda. Tram works that were shutdown over the Christmas and New Year period resumed on 5 January.
Mike Birch January 2021
Planning Report (January 2021)
Major Applications – Current
‘New Town Quarter (NTN)’ – Initial application submitted at the end of August for redevelopment of the former RBS site on Dundas Street – incl. 144 ’Build to Rent’ (BTR) residential units, 117 private residential units and 88 Mid-Market Rent (MMR) = 349 residential units in total. The 88 MMR units meet the 25% ‘affordable units’ requirement on site – in addition, incl. with office space, retail / leisure space & a 116 room hotel.
Main application was 20/03034/FUL accompanied by an application for ‘Complete Demolition in a Conservation Area’ (20/03661/CON).
A 3rd application specifically covered the access from the development into King George V Park (20/03655/FUL) – ‘Formation of Path & Associated Landscaping’. Proposed removing 5 trees (3 defined as viable) to allow a wide split entrance into the park in the south-west corner, for pedestrians (steps) & cyclists / ‘wheelers’ by a ramp.