NTBCC AGM minutes Monday 14 June 2021

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.

1 Technology check

The meeting opened online at 6:45 pm to enable all attendees to connect before the start of business.

2 Attendance/apologies for absence

2.a Attendance

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Richard Price NTBCC
Mike Birch NTBCC, RRCTMA David Renton NTBCC
David Clarke NTBCC Alan Welsh NTBCC
Susan Duff NTBCC Peter Williamson NTBCC, Picardy Residents Association
Annick Galliard NTBCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Laura Graham NTBCC David Sterratt Broughton Spurtle
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Cllr Gavin Barrie Inverleith ward
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
Simon Holledge NTBCC/EACC Cllr Joanna Mowat City Centre ward
Carol Nimmo NTBCC Cllr Rob Munn Leith Walk ward
Jack Hugh NTBCC ~9 residents/visitors
Susan Macinnes NTBCC

2.b Apologies for absence

Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan Leith Walk ward Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North and Leith
Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith Ward

3 Submission and adoption of 2020 AGM Minutes

Adopted as-is (proposed L Graham, seconded A Welsh, ND)

4 Chair’s annual report summary, convenors’ reports

4.a Chair’s annual report

See chair’s full annual report in Appendix 1. Also available on NTBCC website. Key points were

  • Zoom is NTBCC’s way of meeting – NTBCC has held 10 public meetings this way, and had a business meeting.
  • NTBCC has dealt with larger issues than in previous years, despite the pandemic. NTBCC is very grateful to its members (all volunteers) for their hard work and commitment.
  • NTBCC commends councillors Mowat, Osler, Mitchell for their attendance and contributions.
  • NTBCC thanks the local police for their monthly reports, despite their not being able to attend meetings on Zoom.
  • NTBCC is very disappointed with the disengagement by other councillors [who are ex-officio members] of NTBCC, including those who are members of the CEC administration and those who voted against NTBCC’s opinions.
  • NTBCC is very much based on its committees, which generally match those of CEC.
    • NTBCC transport committee has done much work on Spaces for People. While NTBCC understands the need for rapid consultations, 5 days seemed too short. There is currently concern about SfP measures being made permanent or semi-permanent. Other transport work included the low-emission zone, parking, George St and the City Plan.
    • NTBCC planning committee workload was also heavy, including responding to plans for New Town North (Dundas St, compounded with the Centrum development), Picardy Place, Debenhams hotel (Princes St), Impact centre, Waverley Market, Waverley Valley. These topics cross over other NTBCC committees.)
    • NTBCC environment committee was split into subcommittees so it could cover a wide range of topics, including the public spaces management plan. (This was one of the best consultations by CEC.)
    • NTBCC licensing committee had a quiet year due to the pandemic, but is likely to experience a heavy future workload.
  • NTBCC welcomes those who joined this year. NTBCC said goodbye to
    • Jonathan Finn, Fran Wasoff, (Their licensing work has been taken up by Susan McInnes and Nick Reid)
    • Stuart McAllister, James Kilner, Allan Jack
  • The chair is very grateful to its members, who give so much.

4.b Transport (Mike Birch)

  • NTBCC commented on the city mobility plan in last year, including making a deputation that was generally supportive but noted gaps.
  • There has been lack of engagement with community councils – there is no mechanism for this. For example, the transport forum does not include CCs representatives. Other groups, e.g. Spokes, Living Streets, represent their members’ interests well, but CCs should be enabled to represent their [geographical] communities.
  • NTBCC is a member of Community Councils Together on Trams, which meets monthly with the trams team (TT). TT’s senior management is open, responsive and positive. This is refreshing. It does not mean that NTBCC agrees with all that TT does. For example, NTBCC has concerns over the traffic regulation orders and the quality of traffic modelling.
  • Spaces for people prompted NTBCC to do further community engagement (a public meeting, leafleting etc). NTBCC did make some input on this topic, but believes that not enough has been done in response to pedestrian/pavement issues raised via the Commonplace tool.
  • Issues around traffic noise and vibration remain (especially at the bus depot), but there has been but some progress.
  • NTBCC has tried to increase links with Living Streets.
  • There are many other transport issues.

4.c Planning (Richard Price)

  • Workload here stemmed from the complexity of applications, rather than the number of these.
  • There was good news about the former Royal High School. NTBCC awaits news form CEC about how this will progress.
  • There have been many discussion with the Royal Bank of Scotland developers. It was disappointing that this discussion did not deliver much change.
  • The plans for developing the other side of Dundas St are now before CEC’s development management subcommittee.
  • Other planning work included Powderhall, Debenhams, Jenners.

4.d Environment (Peter Williamson)

  • Ongoing work covers bins, the public spaces management plan. (PW also commended I Buchanan’s engagement on this topci.), grafittie, Picardy Place, green spaces/natural environment (mainly by S Holledge), Gayfield Square park.
  • Some CEC officials have been very helpful

4.e Engagement (Simon Holledge)

  • NTBCC’s engagement committee met three times. It produced a leaflet giving meeting dates, a leaflet on Broughton St for the special meeting on 29 March. It is working on reviving currently dormant residents’ associations and ‘friends of green spaces’ organisations.
  • It has postponed collating NTBCC’s paper archive, and giving this to CEC archives, until the end of the pandemic.

4.f Licensing (Susan MacInness)

  • There has not been much work this year, but recently there was a lot of applications for occasional licenses. Little notice was given for these.

5 Treasurer’s submission of Balance Sheet and Annual Accounts

See full report in the Annual Accounts as distributed previously (appendix 2). The Treasurer noted:

  • NTBCC runs on a budget of ~£1000 per year, thanks to members’ voluntary work and not charging NTBCC for expenses.
  • Grant income was lower in 2020/21 (£1076 vs. £1375 in 2019/20) but payments were also lower mostly due to the lack of any meeting room costs.
  • As a result, the surplus for the year was £346 resulting in a year-end balance of £1101.
  • Significant costs include minutes secretary (£530) and continued liability insurance cover (£112)
  • Depending on future grant income, NTBCC has sufficient reserves for a couple of years.
  • R Price noted that NTBCC benefits from free use of a member’s Zoom account.

The full set of accounts was approved (proposed S Holledge, seconded S Duff, ND).

6 Engagement Officer’s Annual Report summary

See item 4e and engagement report in Appendix 1

7 Election of office bearers

There was only one candidate for each role, and no dissent. Hence each candidate below was elected unanimously.

role candidate proposer seconder
Chair Carol Nimmo Simon Holledge Deidre Henderson
Vice chair Richard Price Peter Williamson Mike Birch
Secretary Laura Graham Carol Nimmo Susanna Beaumont
Treasurer Mike Birch Laura Graham David Clarke
Engagement officer Simon Holledge Peter Williamson Susan Duff

8 Any other business, including provisional date for 2022 AGM

2022 AGM should be 13 June 2022.

9 Appendix 1: New Town and Broughton Community Council annual report for the year ended 31 March 2021

9.a Administrative information

The committee members who served during the period were:-

Chair Carol Nimmo (throughout)
Vice Chair Richard Price (from October 2020)
Secretary Richard Price (from April 2020 to September 2020)

Laura Graham (from October 2020)

Treasurer Jonathan Finn (from April 2020 to September 2020)

Mike Birch (from October 2020)

Engagement Officer Simon Holledge (throughout)

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.

9.b 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.

Each month NTBCC receives an update from the West End Community Police Team, who cover the New Town and Broughton area. Police Scotland are not permitted to access Zoom so this year they have provided us with a monthly written report which has been very informative for community councillors. We are appreciative of their support and continued link with NTBCC.

NTBCC shares the workload among five committees and I am very grateful to the convenors for the work they do and the teams they work with. Remember, everyone is a volunteer and there is no doubt that the community, NTBCC and me personally, benefit enormously for the time, effort and skill-set that these individuals bring to the table (screen?!). I have been constantly amazed and impressed by the quality of discussion, preparation and reporting that each committee has undertaken this year, especially when it inevitably requires even more Zoom meetings. You will find a full list on the NTBCC website of the Community Councillors, Local Interest Group representatives (www.ntbcc.org.uk/about) and the Committee Convenor’s (www.ntbcc.org.uk/committees/) .

Thank you to them all.

Please also see below the committee convenors’ full reports on their activities, which do make for interesting reading.

9.b.i Transport

It has certainly been a very busy year for the Transport Committee and a baptism of fire for new Convenor Mike Birch. The pandemic required an emergency response from the Council to create safe places for walking and cycling to meet the demand and need to maintain social distancing as life in the City began to resume once the first lockdown restrictions were lifted.

NTBCC had supported many of the initiatives proposed to improve the ability of people to walk and cycle around Edinburgh, however we were concerned from the outset that many of the changes proposed did not appear to be based on responding to need but instead were a means of advancing the current Council administration’s existing agenda to transform the city centre.

Initially NTBCC responded to the major route changes within the city centre i.e. the bus gates at the east end of Princes Street and closure of Waverley Bridge, but by the turn of the year our focus was very much with the Spaces for People (SfP) proposals for Broughton Street. The Transport committee had been very actively involved in preparing and proposing appropriate design solutions at an early stage and Mike went to great lengths to engage and consult on NTBCC’s behalf with the SfP team. We were very disappointed with the official proposals when they were unveiled. So much so that NTBCC leafleted the local area and, for the first time in recent history, held a special meeting (on Zoom) to alert and consult with residents and local businesses before making a deputation to the Transport and Environment Committee outlining our concerns.

These concerns are also highlighted in the NTBCC submission in response to the very current debate about making many of the temporary SfP measures implemented across the city permanent. Sadly, it appears that local stakeholder groups like ours appear to have little influence with the Council.

The pandemic, on the flip side, did allow the tram works to proceed at pace after the initial stoppage. This also meant increased engagement with NTBCC who, along with the other community councils along the route, regularly meet with the tram team. Recently the Traffic Regulation Orders for all changes to roads routes were lodged for consultation and NTBCC will be submitting a detailed response for our area-specific proposals. However there continues to be fall-out from the tram project throughout the Broughton area (and beyond) from noise, vibration and bus rerouting and we do our best to help and support residents where we can.

9.b.ii Planning

The Planning Committee continued to be very active during the year. Several largescale proposals had initiated proceedings with the Council’s planning department so NTBCC were involved in the pre-application process for developments on Princes Street, Picardy Place, Powderhall and at the foot of Dundas Street among others. NTBCC had also been involved with the previous application to redevelop of the old RBS site (which was subsequently withdrawn) but following the sale of the site to Ediston, this has now been christened the New Town North (NTN) project. Despite recognition by some that Ediston’s proposal was an improvement, the quantum of development, building heights and massing in such a small area understandably remained of real concern both to local residents and users of the adjacent King George V Park. The NTN team submitted slightly revised plans after concerns were raised by Historic Environment Scotland and others. There followed several meetings by all involved to consult with residents. However, after considering the plans in detail, NTBCC objected to this proposal, supporting the many local residents who had raised concerns, and also made a deputation along with other residents’ groups at the Development Management Committee but the application received approval (albeit with conditions to be met). Both the decision and the weight given to concerns raised was a disappointment. NTBCC continued to work with residents and the developer’s team to ensure as positive a dialogue as possible continued as the project develops but this has been less successful that we had hoped.

There has been a noticeable uptick in the number of significant proposals being brought forwards over the past 6 – 9 months across the city centre and New Town.

It is always interesting to be aware of what the future holds for the built environment of the City Centre, and the planning report makes for an interesting read.

9.b.iii Environment

Over this year the environment committee, under the aegis of Peter Williamson, our new convenor, developed a new working model with three topic areas: natural environment, built environment and place making, each with a separate lead. These groupings more align with the working streams of the council so we hope that our communications can be more straightforward.

This working model emerged from the detailed response prepared by the committee to the Public Spaces Management Plan consultation which had a very wide-ranging remit and which covered many important issues for NTBCC and citizens at large. NTBCC have for some time been arguing strongly against the over-commercialization of our public spaces so it was imperative that we made our case strong and clear. On a positive note, we are pleased that NTBCC, along with other stakeholders from all aspects of public space use, are now actively engaged in developing the proposals to the next stage and helping to shape a formal guidance document for the future.

Over the past eighteen months NTBCC have been trying to engage with the Waste Management Team from CEC about the serious refuse problems in the area with no success. We had hoped to have a discussion with them at our November meeting, as they had asked to make a presentation to NTBCC but unfortunately they postponed. It came as a shocking surprise to find that a Communal Bin Hub Review was on the Agenda for discussion at the Transport and Environment Committee in April. Part of this review is to discontinue the gull proof bag and recycling box collection services for the major streets of the New Town. This will be a fundamental shift to fixed hubs, of several bins each, along the street fronts of these magnificent terraces and forever alter the streetscape and character of the area. On behalf of NTBCC I made a deputation to the committee but very sadly the motion was approved. NTBCC are supporting residents’ groups affected to investigate the legitimacy of this decision and to attempt to persuade the Council to explore this issue further. These hubs will affect all streets in our area so NTBCC will endeavour to engage with the Waste Team for best results where appropriate.

9.b.iv Engagement

Convenor Simon Holledge has continued to engage and link NTBCC with residents and groups across our interests and locales. As he is now also Secretary for the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils (EACC) we are increasingly working together on shared issues, and information sharing. I believe that the revitalisation of EACC will be of enormous benefit to us all going forward.

A prime example was the co-ordination last year between the Cockburn Association and the five city centre community councils working together in response to the business case for the Quaich Project. This year there has been a preliminary meeting with regard to the Waverley Valley project (which we believe will encompass the Quaich project as was). Once again a combined approach with likeminded parties is likely to be very useful.

Specifically, Simon has organised a series of informal talks over recent months covering aspects of the natural environment, neatly combining his role as lead on ‘Natural Environment’ with this committee. More details of these are covered in his update to last year’s Engagement Report, available on NTBCC’s website at https://www.ntbcc.org.uk/ntbcc-engagement-plan-june-2021.

9.b.v Licensing

Unsurprisingly this committee has had a quiet time for most of this year. However, the lid has blown off for new convenor Susan MacInnes and her team with the emergence from lockdown of the hospitality sector and the imminent opening of the St James Quarter.

There have been some issues with the temporary nature of licenses for outdoor drinking, particularly in residential streets, but NTBCC are delighted that a rather nervous, but thriving, bars and restaurant culture is still evident in our city centre. Temporary licenses are supposed to be exactly that so NTBCC will keep careful watch for any changes or developments of and for these applications.

9.b.vi Other business

NTBCC also took part in the Scottish Government consultation on Short Term Lets in the Autumn of 2020 and submitted our response. We then leant that a Working Group was to be set up, but with no representation from any resident or community groups. NTBCC wrote directly to Kevin Stewart MSP, who at the time was Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning. No doubt because of our letter outlining our concerns a change was made (!) and now Deirdre Henderson, an NTBCC community councillor, will sit on the Working Party group representing ‘urban’ residents.

I am also pleased to report that at last, almost two years after the public inquiry, the Government supported the Reporters’ recommendation and rejected the appeals from the hotel developers in relation to the Old Royal High School. This was cause for celebration for NTBCC, and congratulations to Richard Price in particular, who submitted objections, worked with Edinburgh World Heritage and the Cockburn Association and attended the Inquiry, from the first application in 2015. NTBCC await with interest the next stage for this wonderful building.

9.b.vii Hello and Goodbye

This year we said adieu and thank you to Jonathan Finn, who had been our Treasurer, Licensing Convenor and steadfast supporter even from afar (back of a car in Spain via Zoom!). We will miss him but wish him every success with his new venture and hope to see him in the public gallery when he is back in town. Mike Birch kindly agreed at last year’s AGM to take on the Treasurer role and you will find the Financial Report attached.

Fran Wasoff, who had been on the Licensing committee and had stepped up as stand-in for Jonathan Finn as Licensing convener earlier in 2020, decided to stand down from the community council in June.

Allan Jack also decided to stand down from the community council in October 2020 and as representative for the India Street Association. Allan had managed the Transport brief for several years as Convener of the Transport Committee.

James Kilner, (who was a de facto representative for the Fettes Row & Royal Crescent Residents [FRRCRA]), Stuart Mc Allister (as an unofficial representative for the ‘Powderhall Village Owners’) also stood down due to pressure of work over this past year and consistent with his intention to move away from the area.

Many thanks to all of them for their time, commitment and active involvement.

Fortunately, Jenni Inglis joined us as a Local Interest Group (LIG) representative for the FFRCA, and was able to inform NTBCC as a representative of neighbours and objectors to the New Town North development.

We have also had some other changes of representatives from other Local Interest Groups. Ken Lochrie has joined us as an Associate member on behalf of Drummond Civic and Stewart Mills as representative for Great King Street Association replacing Sheila Warnock, who brought great energy to the committee.

9.b.viii Thanks

Special mention must be made to Laura Graham, who stepped up to the role of Secretary after a very long pause at the last AGM! Laura has done a fantastic job in keeping us all in order – with the right attachments on the right day and always with a smile. And thanks to Bruce Ryan, who is the font of all ‘local authority working’ knowledge and Minute Sec extraordinaire.

Thank you to all NTBCC Community Councillors, for your involvement and opinion and reasoned debate. For turning up and speaking out and for filling in tick box consultations or writing lengthy reports. NTBCC is only the sum of its parts – but what great, bright, shiny parts they are.

Carol Nimmo, Chair

10 Appendix 2: Annual accounts report for New Town and Broughton Community Council

10.a Financials

During the period ended 31st March 2021, the New Town and Broughton Community Council received its statutory grant of £925.08 was received on 28 August 2020 from the City of Edinburgh Council & a further supplement of £150 received on 25 September 2020 as contribution towards meeting room costs.

No remuneration or expenses have been paid to any Community Council member during the year, except reimbursement of expenses incurred by members on postage, photocopying, paper and print cartridges etc., incurred in the course of community council work. No expenses were claimed by any member during the year 2020/21.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, ten meetings have been held online using the Zoom platform – all of these meetings have used the Chair’s personal Zoom account. There were no ‘in-person’ meetings held during the year.

2021 2020
Receipts and Payments Accounts £ £
Grants and other income1 1,075.08 1,375
Interest after tax 1.12 3
Total receipts 1,076.20 1,378
Payments relating to main activities;
Administrative expenses 0 0
Rent2 0 360
Advertising3 0 50
Web site hosting4 87.95 12
Secretary’s fee5 450 450
Insurance6 112 112
Date protection registration fee7 0 36
Total payments 729.95 1,020
Surplus/ (Deficit) for the year8 346.25 358
Statement of Balances
Opening bank balance 755 397
Surplus/(Deficit) for the year 346 358
Closing bank balance 1101 755
Current LiabilitiesReserves
Unpaid bills9 108.78 0
General unrestricted funds10 993 755
Closing balance 993 755

10.b Notes

  1. A grant of £925.08 was received on 28 August 2020 from the City of Edinburgh Council & a further supplement of £150 received on 25 September 2020 as contribution towards meeting room costs.
  2. Broughton St Mary’s Church have agreed a credit for unused bookings due to Covid-19 restrictions from April 2020 (resulting in suspension of access to their meeting room). This credit covers 8 bookings previously paid for April ’20 through to December ’20 inclusive, to be used once in-person meetings resume.
  3. No advertising costs were invoiced.
  4. Website hosting renewed for a period of 3 years (payable in advance).
  5. These are paid to an independent minutes’ secretary, not the elected Secretary of the Community Council.
  6. Insurance against public liability (insurance against libel and slander claims relating to the website) was prepaid for the 2021 policy. Cover runs for 12 months from May each year but payable in March.
  7. Costs for Data Protection incurred but not billed during period. This is shown in the Current Liabilities section
  8. All receipts and payments are accounted on the Actual Basis of Accounting Method.
  9. Data Protection Registration Fee (£35) & printing of Broughton Street leaflet (£73.78).
  10. Broughton St Mary’s credit note not included in General Unrestricted funds.

10.c Independent Examiner’s Report to the Committee of the New Town and Broughton Community Council

I report on the accounting statements of the organisation for the period ended 31 March 2021 which are set out above and the accompanying notes thereto.

10.c.i Respective Responsibilities of Committee Members and Examiner

The Committee members are responsible for the preparation of the accounts and consider that the Community Council is entitled not to have an audit. It is my responsibility to examine the accounts and to state whether particular matters have come to my attention.

10.c.ii Basis of Independent Examiner’s Statement

An examination includes a review of the accounting records kept by the Community Council and a comparison of the accounts presented with those records. It also includes consideration of any unusual items or disclosures in the accounts, and seeks explanations from the Committee members concerning such matters. The procedures undertaken do not provide all the evidence that would be required by an audit, and consequently I do not express an audit opinion on the view given by the accounts.

10.c.iii Independent Examiner’s Statement

In my opinion:

To the best of my knowledge and belief the Receipts and Payments Accounts and Statement of Balances have been properly prepared from the records and are in agreement with them.

The accounting statements comply with the constitution of the Community Council.

Colin Anderson ACCA, Independent Examiner

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