NTBCC April meeting – Police report, Communications, Transport & Planning Committee reports

Police report  (with NTBCC emphasis) as received together with Transport & Planning Committee reports as reference for NTBCC’s meeting on Monday 12 April. 
Click the bullet points to see the actual reports.


Report for the period of 8 March 2021 – 8 April 2021 for NTBCC’s area.

Again another quiet month in respect of crime in the New Town, you will be pleased to hear, with only 1 Vandalism, no Housebreakings of a domestic or business nature and 1 minor assault.  But what about the rest of the City I hear you say???

With the ‘Stay at Home’ restriction now lifted and school holiday’s upon us, we have seen an increase in youth calls across the City Centre. I am sure most of you will have read about the large scale disorder in The Meadows resulting in members of the public and police officers being injured.  We now have dedicated officers investigating this, apprehending the culprits as I write this.

As a result of this, we will have a cast of thousands (not literally but as many officers as we can muster!) in the Meadows weekends to prevent any disorder.

Not content with gathering in large groups some youths have damaged buses, which forced Lothian buses to suspend some of their evening routes for safety purposes.  In response to this, my esteemed colleagues became passengers in a decoy bus deployed around the city, resulting in 28 youths being charged for various disorder offences and 500 youths engaged with over the course of the operation.

Discussions are also underway with our Alcohol Licensing Department in preparation for the opening of licensed premises on the 26th April.  This is to ensure we are all aware of the regulations and so everyone can enjoy hospitality safely and responsibly.

We continue to receive reports of Breach of Covid regulations, however, they are decreasing as the restrictions ease…we are almost there folks!

NTBCC Communications & Engagement Committee – April 2021

The Communications & Engagement Committee met on 23 March. It was agreed that the work to consolidate the archives would resume after pandemic restrictions were eased. Carol Nimmo kindly offered to collect those papers now in the care of Alan Welsh.

An NTBCC Transport Committee leaflet for the Zoom meeting on 29 March was distributed to approximately 300 residents and businesses around Broughton Street, and pdfs of the leaflet were sent to all the residents’ associations in the NTBCC area.

Public Spaces Management Plan Group

NTBCC members who contributed to the PSMP ‘collaborative engagement’ (including Laura Graham, Steve Hajducki, Deidre Henderson, Simon Holledge, and Richard Price) have been invited to join the stakeholders group meetings, scheduled on 21 April, 19 May, 23 June and 21 July.

Natural Environment Group

The Natural Environment Group held a Zoom meeting with David Jamieson, CEC Parks & Greenspaces Manager, on 10 March. He was accompanied by his assistants, Andrew Skirving (Edinburgh Million tree Project) and Linda Anglin (Thriving Greenspaces Project). We enjoyed a wide-ranging discussion about Edinburgh’s greenspaces.

To continue our series of informal afternoon conversations, we have invited Sarah Murphy and Mike Shields of CEC Parks & Greenspaces, to meet us on Wednesday, 14 April at 3pm, to talk about the set up and operation of ‘Friends of Parks’ organisations. (All are welcome.)

EACC meeting on Carbon Neutrality Edinburgh 2030: what it means and how we get there

All NTBCC members are invited to attend the EACC Zoom on 22 April at 7pm. Guest speakers include Dr Sam Gardner, Chair Edinburgh Climate Commission, Øystein Leonardsen, Senior Advisor to the City of Copenhagen, Paula McLeay, CEC, Prof. Sandy Halliday, author of Sustainable Construction (2018), and Karine Hertzberg, Special Adviser, City of Oslo.

The Eventbrite link for this meeting is at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/carbon-neutrality-edinburgh-2030-tickets-150301667333

Prepared by Simon Holledge  12 April 2021

NTBCC Transport Committee Update – April 2021

Spaces for People

Broughton Street and Spaces for People – we held a very useful and well attended special meeting by Zoom on 29 March 2021 to update local residents and businesses about the Spaces for People plans for our area and obtain feedback on both the Council proposals and our own response. We also highlighted the ongoing consultation regarding the retention of these measures and encouraged attendees to contact their local Councillors and others to express their views and participate in future plans for our community. Prior to the meeting almost 300 leaflets about the plans for Broughton Street had been distributed mostly on Broughton Street and adjacent roads. Several posts were added to the NTBCC website to highlight the issues and our stance. We understand that the plans for the corridor from Canonmills to Broughton Street have now been submitted for final approval. Subject to approval being given, it is planned that the changes will be implemented from early May

Retaining Spaces for People Consultation – the NTBCC responded to this consultation with both feedback on the quality of the survey and comments on the specific measures implemented or planned in our area. A copy of that response was posted on the NTBCC website which was picked up by the Evening News for an article that appeared on the 8 April 2021. Analysis of the responses to the consultation is due to be presented to the Transport and Environment Committee meeting in June. It is proposed that we indicate our interest in making a deputation to the meeting in support of our views. It is likely that many Community Councils and other groups will be seeking the opportunity to make deputations in view of the strength of feelings on this subject.

Tram Works

Picardy Place Work and Traffic Management Plans – we have not received any further information in response to our request for confirmation of the timing of and consequences in terms of road closures and diversions for this phase of the Tram project, which will relocate the tram stop from York Place to Picardy Place. We have been promised a response by the end of April. We are also in discussion with the Trams team on the impact of the work on Leith Walk on East London Street and other residential streets to the west of Leith Walk.

Traffic Regulation Orders – the expected issue of the TRO’s for the whole route before the end of March did not happen but it has just been announced that a period of public consultation will commence on 13 April for 28 days. The Council has closed its consultation on another TRO that was required to ban the left hand turn from Leith Walk on to London Road. Although the NTBCC supports the improvements to the junction for pedestrians and cyclists we have objected to the TRO, as we were concerned that the banning of the left hand turn would result in further congestion around Picardy Place especially with the reopening of the St James Quarter later this year.

Living Streets

Living Streets Scotland is holding a half-day virtual Walking Summit on 21 April. If you are interested you can register through Eventbrite or the Living Streets website at: www.livingstreets.org.uk/scotlandwalkingsummit

Prepared by Mike Birch 9 April 2021

NTBCC Planning Report – April 2021

Forthcoming applications

IMPACT / Dunard Centre

Although the original application (18/04657/FUL) was approved in April 2019, the owners of the new St James Centre launched legal action against Edinburgh City Council’s decision to approve planning permission in late 2019.  As a result, the original applicants agreed to submit fresh plans for the Dunard Centre that “better accord with the aspirations” of the St James Centre quarter. Mediation between the parties and CEC has resulted in the legal action being dropped, but required that a new planning application for the controversial concert hall to re-submitted.

NTBCC have been aware for some months that a new proposal is being developed but have no details as to the form of these proposals.

We have been contacted by IMPACT Scotland to advise that they are pleased to report that work to develop the new proposed design for the Dunard Centre is progressing well and they would welcome the opportunity to present plans to NTBCC in the near future.  We have agreed a date for the NTBCC Planning Committee (with perhaps local councillors) to see the latest proposals, followed hopefully by a presentation at the June NTBCC meeting.

We are hopeful that this means that the proposal for a new concert hall is back on track.

Current Applications

 ‘New Town Quarter (NTN)’ – the 3 inter-linked applications for the redevelopment of the site were approved (subject to a legal agreement covering Section 75 contributions to the park, education etc.) following a Hearing at the Development Management Sub-committee meeting on 17 February.

Although HES & EWHT had submitted representations raising some concerns (but not formally objecting), neither organisation attended the hearing. The Cockburn Association did attend and reiterated their support for the scheme.

The majority (if not all) of the tree clearance has been completed under separate /TCO applications.

I would expect the Legal agreement covering the various contributions required will be finalised soon – which would then permit the demolition of the current buildings on the site to commence.

There are a number of outstanding issues – the major one being bringing forward the application to remove the hotel from the scheme (which seems now to be the desired scheme). It was clearly stated at the Hearing that the proposal that CEC were ‘minded to approve’ will be superseded in part by a further application (which has already undergone pre-application consultation) to replace the proposal for a hotel with further residential units. This has the advantage of allowing a change in the layout of the block adjacent to the Applecross development to mitigate in part from the overlooking / privacy issues that have been consistently raised – although it’s unclear why this couldn’t be included in the scheme that was approved. The main issue with the amended scheme is a further increase in the number of units (probably a further 75 – 80 flats) which makes the proposal very residential ‘heavy’.

The approval & legal agreement include a number of Conditions & Informatives – most (if not all) of which only require approval from the Planning officer but the exact route & form of the ‘Active travel’ cycle path through KGVP is still under consideration. NTBCC and some of the Friends of the Park were involved in initial discussions but we have yet to see the outcome of those discussions i.e. the final proposal.

109/111 Princes Street & frontage on Rose Street (Debenhams) – 20/05444/FUL & 20/05442/LBC)

Details of this previously circulated to NTBCC & the Pre-application online consultation was hosted on the project website www.111princesstreet.co.uk in September.

The applications were formally lodged in mid-December 2020 – the proposal is for redevelopment and change of use of the current building primarily to a hotel with roof-top bar / restaurant with a variety of uses to the lower floors (restaurant / bar / retail / flexible meeting / event / venue space, health suite / gym). Although NTBCC were granted an extension to the period for comments, ultimately we did not make a representation.

The proposal as lodged appears broadly consistent with CEC’s evolving position for Princes Street, with a reduction in retail – especially away from street level and a more varied Class use being supported.

Main issue raised by both EWH & HES is the impact of the roof-top proposals (increase in height & issues with lighting).

The /FUL application is ‘pending decision’ – however, the more contentious /LBC application is still being assessed.

108 – 116 & 118 Dundas Street (20/05645/FUL & 20/05646/CON)

Scheme as presented at November’s NTBCC meeting by Scott Hobbs Planning & Morgan McDonnell Architecture covering the demolition of Centrum House / BUPA buildings was submitted mid December 2020. NTBCC submitted an objection to the redevelopment (& questioned the need for demolition of the existing buildings). EWHT also responded indicating that the proposal was to the detriment of the WHS OUV & The Cockburn also objected to the proposal (on the grounds of massing / building line and heritage concerns).

A revision to the original scheme has now been submitted following “Detailed post-submission feedback having been received regarding the proposed design from CEC, Edinburgh World Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland, and members of the public.

The revised scheme makes nuanced changes to the following but does not appear to address the fundamental concerns raised by NTBCC & many others.

  1. Visual prominence of the roof – addressed by stepping back of the top storey along Fettes Row by ~1 metre “to create a more subservient roof element. In addition, the top storey massing has been split into different elements, taking account of the rhythm of chimney stacks along Dundas Street.
  2. Lack of a stepped profile on Dundas Street – addressed by pushing back of the top storey of the north-most block by ~0.5 metres & other minor changes.
  3. The ‘full floating’ ground floor – addressed by bringing the sandstone down to ground with pilaster elements, helping to visually support and balance the southern block.
  4. Overall massing of the building – the façade has been split on the Fettes Row elevation with a recessed metal shadow gap to break up the regularity of the residential frontage.
  5. Additional detailing now included, such as sawtooth chamfers at the windows and rusticated tooling at the lower-level facades & inclusion of vertical aluminium cassette panelling to the side of windows to differentiate the elevation treatment of the northern block.

The majority of these seem to be addressing concerns raised by HES & in part, EWHT but do not address the major points raised by others, incl. The Cockburn.

A slight feeling of deja-vu….

The Planning Statement Addendum states “The proposed development presents a considerable improvement to the existing buildings on site, delivering much needed housing and commercial units and contributing to the creation of a sustainable community in this accessible location.”

Final date for comments on the revised application is April 21 – worth noting that any submissions made against the original application will be taken into account in the determination of this revision.

A discussion with the Cockburn is planned but I would propose that given NTBCC’s original concerns do not appear to be addressed by these changes, that our objection should still stand.

12 – 14 Picardy Place (20/05729/FUL & 20/05728/LBC)

Following the presentation on this at January’s NTBCC meeting and further discussion at February’s NTBCC meeting – NTBCC submitted a representation broadly in support – with a few caveats.

There were only 9 comments registered – 6 objecting & 3 in support.

NTBCC were contacted by a local resident (& it was also raised at the March NTBCC meeting) expressing concerns regarding impact of construction activity on the residents on Broughton Street Lane, possible increased use of Broughton Street Lane & concerns with overlooking of the skylights / cupola on the new mews terrace on Broughton Street Lane.

Powderhall Phase 2 (21/00381/FUL)

Phase 2 of 3 phase masterplan –  Phase 2 covers development on the former Bowling Green Site – to include an early years nursery as well as accessible housing for independent living (aged 55 and over) with outdoor amenity space for Broughton Primary School.

Also includes new public entrance square and works to widen St Mark’s Path (to include segregated cycle path).

The application attracted 18 comments (14 objecting). Few comments raised either by local residents or NTBCC members – no representation submitted.

39 London Street (20/05425/FUL & 20/05421/FUL)

20/05425/FUL : Change of use from derelict property to holiday lets (basement and sub-basement). 39 London Street (12 objections)

20/05421/FUL : Change of use from funeral parlour to holiday lets (ground floor). 39 London Street (11 objections)

As raised by a local resident at February’s NTBCC meeting. Both applications brought to the March 17  DMSC meeting – both recommended for approval (items 4.11 & 4.12). Discussion centred on ownership rights for both the under-street cellars but more importantly, the rear garden to the property (accessed from the basement / sub-basement).

Land ownership is not normally seen as a ‘material’ planning issue; nonetheless, DMSC agreed that the application would be ‘continued’ to allow the planning officer to further investigate the land ownership claims (& whether the rear garden is shared & hence the impact on amenity of adjacent residents). The next DMSC is 21 April.

Prepared by Richard Price 11 April 2021