The Annual Report & Accounts (as a draft) will be presented at the New Town & Broughton AGM on Monday 14 June. – we welcome questions / comments from residents.
If you are interested in attending, please register via Eventbrite here
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE NEW TOWN AND BROUGHTON COMMUNITY COUNCIL
The New Town and Broughton Community Council is one of Edinburgh’s 46 Community Councils, established under statute, to represent the views of the community within the New Town and Broughton area, the boundaries of which are set by the Edinburgh Scheme for Community Councils.
Chair’s Annual Report – New Town and Broughton Community Council – June 2021
Last year, I started this report in the third week of the UK’s first lockdown, having held our first ever virtual committee meeting on Zoom. Twelve months later, and three lockdowns later, Zoom meetings are our ‘modus operandi’ and the work of NTBCC has gone on apace. We are all now experts on-screen, using the hand signals and chat functions and very familiar with the phrase ‘you are still on mute’.
Inevitably there was a slight hiatus in work streams across the board as we all found a new way of working but it was not long before it was almost business as usual for NTBCC. In many respects it was even harder to keep up with the level of activity emanating from the Council, as Emergency Measures were very quickly put in place to allow for speedy reactions to help the City deal with the pandemic and the sudden change to our daily lives. These measures often meant that there was very little time to consult or consider the value or relevance of all the proposals brought forward. However, I must commend the community councillors and local interest group representatives on NTBCC for their energy and dedication to the workload this year as we continued to try and represent the views of the community on many fronts and in very different times.
In this past year NTBCC met on Zoom ten times. We were unsure initially if Zoom meetings were valid under the governance protocol for the Council, so although we had held a trial Zoom meeting in April without members of the public being involved; it was June before we officially convened on-line. There is traditionally no meeting in July but there has been a meeting every month since, with both the delayed AGM and a business meeting in October too. Interestingly, we have had good attendance numbers from members of the public, arguably higher than in-person meetings. In many ways the virtual media platform is very suitable for public meetings as it is accessible for most (but we do recognise that not everyone has the ability or necessary equipment to take part), it allows the public to take part in specific sections of the meeting and attendees can be more comfortable (and there is no danger of getting rained on!) There is a downside though – not getting to meet people in the flesh and the connection and relationship building that this allows. It does look like a mix of meeting styles will be the way forward. Using Zoom also made it easier for our local Councillors to be ‘present’, and we must thank Cllrs Mowat and Osler for their very regular attendance.
However we must record our disappointment in the extreme lack of interest shown in NTBCC by the councillors who represent the governing group in CEC. Several times it would have been helpful to our discussions to have heard from them, and, more importantly, for support from them with regard to decisions made.
Councillor input is invaluable in giving us relevant and appropriate background information when we discuss Council proposals, consultations and decisions. Their attendance also gives residents an opportunity to raise important issues directly with their elected representatives, which is much appreciated.