Brief Thoughts from NTBCC’s August meeting

Despite a 5 star preview by the Broughton Spurtle , free entry and a running time in excess of 2 hours, the NTBCC’s one and only festival appearance was unsurprisingly (or surprisingly ?) not a sell-out......

But don’t despair, there’s another chance to experience this in September (2nd Monday, same time, same place…..).

The headline act was an update on the Powderhall Consultation from Edinburgh Council and Collective Architecture. Also notable was the final appearance of a long-standing community councillor & past Chair. The performance also included a guest spot by Police Scotland and after the main act, were discussions on the latest from the George Street & First New Town (GNT) forums, the coalition of “Community Councils Together on Trams” (CCTT) and the upcoming consultation on proposals for West Princes Street Gardens as well as updates on other Planning, Licensing & Environment news. We also welcomed the attendance of Cllr Mowat and our local MP,Deidre Brock.

Police Scotland focussed on the ongoing spate of cycle thefts in the area and stressed the need for good, secure locks as an effective deterrent (as they said “although a quality cycle lock may be expensive, you only need to buy it once”). Also mentioned were ongoing thefts from vehicles, often for small amounts of cash. A CC member also raised a significant problem on Regent Terrace of theft and damage to cars, with more than a dozen incidents reported in 2018 so far. Finally, another example of a “skimming device” was found (at Barclay's Bank on Princes Street) but they urged vigilance when using ATM's more generally.

The Powderhall team showed the results from their June consultation, with almost 300 people attending with almost 100 questionnaires being completed and over 50 inputs for the ''What is your experience of living in the Powderhall Area' Place Making tool. Major concerns raised regarding Powderhall today were problems with traffic /parking and social interaction. The team are clearly focussed on continued community involvement to shape the proposed new uses for the site. It’s likely to include significant affordable housing,  new nursery space as well as new community space. More details on this can be seen here. It was suggested by Cllr Mowat that the team could bring the resulting Place Brief being developed to the Council's Development Management Committee to further strengthen community engagement.

On George Street, we discussed thoughts from those that has attended recent forums and also how it fits with the soon to be announced “Edinburgh , Connecting Our City, Transforming Our Places” consultation. For George Street specifically, support was voiced for ‘an urban design, not traffic lead’ approach, maintaining the classical symmetry of the street,  and acknowledging  that some reduction of traffic (& parking) & street clutter is desirable. It was also questioned whether inclusion of the east-west cycle route  along George Street could be retested as part of the wider consultation. Proposals for relocating statues at junctions to aid traffic flow was generally regarded as a non-starter.

We welcomed the withdrawal of planning applications for the RBS site and Canon Mill (as reported earlier on our website) and the recent site visits at Baxter’s Place and the Edinburgh Academy.

Finally, we thanked & said goodbye to Ian Mowat  for his many contributions over more than 10 years as a community council member as well as many years as Chair.

Full minutes of the meeting will be available in the coming weeks on the NTBCC website.