Have your say! Protection and maintenance of Edinburgh’s setted streets

(adapted from an email from Edinburgh Council)

The City of Edinburgh Council is working in partnership with Edinburgh World Heritage and Historic Environment Scotland to develop a strategy for the protection and maintenance of setted streets.

Stone setts add significant historic and cultural value to the streets of Edinburgh and are an important feature of our cityscape.

We have a duty to protect the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site, Conservation Areas and other historic parts of the city. This protection includes the setting of Edinburgh’s many listed buildings, where setted streets are an integral part of their identity and authenticity.

However, when setted streets are not properly maintained, they can have implications for walking, cycling and driving. Damaged setts are often replaced with alternative materials like tarmac as a temporary solution. This can result in an unsightly and uncared for appearance.

Have your say

To help inform the strategy we’d like to know what you think about setted streets and their value to the city. We are also interested to know what impediments, if any, you think setted streets can have on our movement.

You can give us your views until Wednesday 11 October 2017 on our Consultation Hub.

Public Information Session on Changes for Picardy Place

We have been involved in various forums over the past 2 -3 years on plans for Picardy Place. It is a key element linking the new St James Centre development, the ongoing Leith Walk Improvements and the agreed Leith Street works.

We have continually called for a joined-up and transparent presentation on the “behind the scenes” plans BEFORE elements of the work are agreed and consented.

We made comments on the original proposals for creating a hotel site on the council-owned land which currently houses the Picardy Place roundabout. Our concerns are that Edinburgh Council’s desire to create a marketable space on the land fronting St Mary’s Cathedral (driven by the desire to maximise profit from this site) could result in a scheme which does not provide the best outcome for the residents of Edinburgh.

“Together Edinburgh” – a partnership formed by the Edinburgh St James developers, Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Futures Trust (essentially a Scottish Government agency) – have announced a public information session titled “Picardy Place is Changing” – their flyer can be seen here.

This public information session is at the Valvona & Crolla VinCaffe on Multrees Walk on Saturday 23 September between 10:00am and 4:00pm.

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Community Choices fund: new money for participatory budgeting

(adapted from an email from Citizen Participation Network.)

New: Community Choices Fund announced for 2017/18

The Scottish Government has announced the £1.5 million fund will be open for applications until 21st July 2017.

First launched in 2016/17, the Community Choices Fund has supported participatory budgeting (PB) in Scotland.

For 2017/18, £1.5 million of the Community Choices Fund is available in two categories of £750,000 each:

  • Category one for Public Authorities which includes Local Authorities and other Public Bodies.
  • Category two for Community Organisations and Community Councils.

The fund aims to support PB activity which will significantly expand opportunities for more local people to make decisions on local spending priorities and contribute to local participatory democracy.

Targeted particularly at work in deprived areas, the fund aims to build on the support provided by the Scottish Government for PB since 2014 as part of a broader agenda around democratic innovation and engaged citizenship.

The closing date for applications is midnight 21 July 2017.

More information: https://pbscotland.scot/blog/2017/6/9/community-choices-fund-announced-for-201718

The Scottish Planning System – response to Scottish Government’s Consultation on Planning Reform

In January 2017, the Scottish Government published a consultation paper ("Places People and Planning") which provided details of the proposed changes to the planning system in Scotland. This was in response to an independent review of the Scottish planning system in May 2016, Empowering Planning to Deliver Great Places”.

NTBCC submitted comments to the initial independent review in August 2016 (which can be viewed here) as well as responding to these latest Scottish Government (SG) proposals, titled "Places People and Planning" ; this April 2017 NTBCC submission can be viewed here.

Overall, NTBCC were disappointed in the SG response to the Independent review’s recommendations. Planning should and can provide a long-term perspective, tackling important issues such as development delivery, health, inclusion, environmental quality and climate change. But the SG response is too vague; containing too many aspirational proposals and too much “sloganeering” with too few practical detailed actions. The importance of creating “place” is barely touched on. Despite statements about increasing “people” involvement, too many of the suggestions imply drawing control into the centre. We believe that considerably more work is required to redress these issues and we hope that following further consultation, a more meaningful proposal will emerge.

Key NTBCC comments to the latest SG proposal include :

  • Questioning the lack of defined role for Community Councils in “Community Partnerships” (which are aimed at aligning community planning and spatial planning) and further examination of Community Councils’ status within the formal planning process.
  • Concern over the very limited statements covering the role of planning in achieving high quality place making, urban design, landscape and architecture. We believe that the aims should be rewritten to include protection and enhancement of our distinctive places and high quality environment; ensuring that changes are in keeping with and of comparable quality with the established townscape.
  • The real or perceived effectiveness of the Pre-application consultation process and the need to lower the threshold for what constitutes a “major development”.
  • Raising many concerns with the current planning process which undermine public trust e.g. questionable decisions following appeals ; accountability of Councillor’s decisions (no record of individual votes) ; attritional approach to gaining approval by some developers by resubmitting almost identical applications; lack of enforcement (adequate powers exist but local authorities frequently too timid or risk-averse to exercise them) ; concern over the decision-making process where the local authority is also party to the development.
  • Questioning the absence of proposals to extend the right of appeal to objectors in certain cases e.g. when an application has been approved (often on appeal) contrary to the officials’ recommendations and to the council’s own adopted policies ; or where the local authority has a financial or other interest.
  • Support in principle for an infrastructure levy for specific developments but with some caveats.
  • Support for increasing planning fees for larger developments to reflect the added complexity but noting that this needs to provide a more dedicated service.
  • Ensuring that the planning service is properly trained and resourced to deliver good planning.

Thanks to Stephen Hajducki for drafting this response for NTBCC.

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Choose Youth Work – voting open!

(adapted from an email from Loraine Duckworth, Partnership Development Officer)

Young people in Edinburgh are being asked to vote on projects to deliver youth work across the city. During February 2017, Edinburgh Council invited groups to apply for up to £10,000 to spend on youth work activity that will benefit young people between 11-25, either locally based or citywide.

The applications were screened at the beginning of March by a group of young people and Council officers, based on priorities that were decided by young people following a consultation in 2016.

This is the first year of a three year programme, with 60k to allocate this year, rising to over 100k in year 2, and over 500k in year 3.

A total of 16 projects will now face a public vote. It is now up to you to decide which of these projects you would like to see being delivered. If you are aged between 11-21, and live in Edinburgh, you can vote for your three preferred projects.

Voting opens at 12noon on Friday 10 March and closes at 5pm on Monday 27 March 2017.

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Places, people and planning: consultation on the future of the Scottish planning system

The Scottish Government is consulting  on proposals to change the planning system. NTBCC encourages residents with concerns about the current system to read the proposals and tell the government what you think. Responses to this consultation are invited by 4th April 2017. To read the proposals and to make a response go to https://beta.gov.scot/publications/places-people-planning-consultation-future-scottish-planning-system.

NTBCC is also keen to represent your views - so if you wish please also tell us what you think of the government proposals via our contact page: http://www.ntbcc.org.uk/contact. Thank you!

Consultation event for victims & witnesses to crime

(adapted from an email form Loraine Duckworth, Partnership Development Officer)

What: Consultation event for victims & witnesses to crime

When: Monday 16 January 2017, 6pm to 8pm

Where: Fort Community Wing Sports Hall, 25 North Fort Street, EH6 4HF

Edinburgh Council’s Community Safety Services are consulting on the Scottish Government’s new model for community justice which aims to reduce crime, keep communities safe and promote social inclusion and citizenship. People who have been witnesses or victims of crime are invited to go along to the above event.

If you have any questions or could distribute flyers, please contact Suzan.Ross@edinburgh.gov.uk.

Loraine Duckworth | Partnership Development Officer | The City of Edinburgh Council | Place | City Centre Leith Team | 329 High Street | Edinburgh | phone: 0131 529 7403 | Mobile: 07739188437