Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, at Broughton St Mary’s church, on Monday 10 April 2023 at 7pm
Actions and decisions are red italic. ND (‘no dissent’) means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.
URLs have been added by the minutes secretary.
|Cllr Jack Caldwell
|Leith Walk ward
|Cllr Jo Mowat
|City Centre ward
|Ben Macpherson MSP
|Edinburgh Northern and Leith
|Deidre Brock MP
|Edinburgh North and Leith
2 Approval of the minutes of the ordinary NTBCC meeting held on 13th March 2023
Approved subject to correcting the date in the title-block, correcting the name of the CC in item 5, and removing names of commenters from item 7h (proposed M Birch, seconded P Williamson)
3 Matters arising from previous minutes (and not included on agenda below)
- C Nimmo: A resident has queried coverage of refuse issues in the New Town in the February 2023 minutes (presumably item 7a). However, these minutes have been approved as accurate, and are compiled from an audio recording of the meeting.
- NTBCC is aware that there are issues with people taking rubbish to bins they should not use, but also that the trial of new refuse collection methods is being picked up well.
- Hence: Action: NTBCC to elicit the exact status of the bins in question, i.e. who is allowed to use them
- A resident: the bins near my house on East London St are dysfunctional and so need to be replaced. I have not observed much ‘illegal’ tipping.
- Cllr Mowat: if people send to CEC or me photos showing fly-tippers’ addresses, which will undertake enforcement.
- Action: P Williamson to follow up with the querying resident about the issues she reports.
4 Police matters
- No police representatives or written report
- S Macinnes, C Nimmo, L Graham K Lochrie to decide tactics to obtain police reports
See also report on NTBCC website. All points made by M Birch unless otherwise noted.
5.a East London Street – latest update from Lothian Buses
- Numbers of out-of-service buses using ELS and other afflicted streets appear not to be decreasing. Lothian Buses’ letter to a resident reiterates points previously made to councillors, and mentions ‘evening buses’ while a large part of the problem is about out-of-service buses returning to base late at night. The letter provides no assurance of future improvements. If full service on North Bridge is restored on 21 April, it will move one of LB’s main excuses for the high number of ELS buses – so long as drivers are actually told not to use ELS. A petition is being created.
- A resident: LB drivers are approachable and engaging. They have discretion over which routes they use [to go from and return to base] so they naturally use the quickest route. It would be welcome if LB attended CC meetings, or even address in writing the points people have made to them.
- Another resident: I observed buses from 6am to 7am. 1 bus went to the bus station but 23 came along ELS. This pattern is typical. Buses were travelling slowly and were hence noisy, although electric buses are quieter than diesel buses. The routes they took implied that drivers have not been instructed to avoid ELS.
- Cllr Mowat: LB has not clarified to me whether drivers have discretion on how they get to or from their routes. I will try to obtain clarification. CEC was very recently notified of forthcoming roadworks at North Bridge/Waterloo Place junction. I will find out implications for traffic. I have met with Cllr Arthur to demonstrate the issues. ELS needs reconstruction as part of short, medium and long-term plans. Relationships are being damaged by LB’s lack of responsiveness.
- Work on CCWEL at York Place is due to go on to May. This may also affect traffic flows.
- A resident: it would help if all of ELS was tarmacked – cobbled speedbumps are very noisy. They need to be bigger and more obvious to drivers if they are to slow traffic. It would also help if only electric buses could use ELS.
5.b Tram Project Walkthrough – TtN response
- When the walk-though actually happens, we will raise issues such as floating bus-stops, continuous footways, Picardy Place junctions which appear to NTBCC to not follow Edinburgh street design guidance. I will forward relevant responses from the trams team to councillors.
- There was discussion of turns from Leith Walk, and a note that some are currently not in their final form.
- Action: S Hajducki to represent NTBCC on the rescheduled walkthough with Cllr Day.
- Action: Cllr Mowat to find out who signed off problematic parts of the design, e.g. lack of egress from Leith Walk
- Action: NTBCC members of CCTT to raise such issues with Trams team at the next meeting.
- Cllr Caldwell: Councillors have been pushing on this. The turn onto Albert St is currently closed due to a collapsed sewer that is taking a very long time to fix.
5.c City Mobility Plan – Future Consultation/summary of recent meeting with CEC
- NTBCC is concerned that the CMP is too large for the resources available, and that its very wide scope will lead to lack of detail emerging from the consultation due to start on 14 April. There are also concerns about how actions in the plan will be prioritised, e.g. whether new projects will take precedence over maintenance of existing infrastructure.
- S Hajducki: CMP has been in development since 2010 so it should now have detail of how to achieve the currently vague ambitions. Action plans should be about implementing identified, widely beneficial features, based on public opinion. They should be drawn up by experienced, qualified professionals.
- P Williamson: it is important that CEC has a proper transport strategy and clear goals, but the work to create these has not yet been done. Also, CEC does not have the necessary financial and skill resources.
- Some elements of the current plans are woolly but others are quite detailed, e.g. there are names of some individual streets that will receive dropped kerbs or speed restrictions. It is not clear how these were chosen. Some actions that were in previous versions of plans but have not yet been achieved are in the new plans, but others have been dropped without comment. Hence much more work is needed to finalise plans.
- Cllr Mowat: Edinburgh’s planning architecture has become complicated. The strategic development plan was rejected by the Scottish Government due to lack of transport plans, but then SG got rid of SDPs. CEC then brought in a city centre focused transport plan, which have not yet been implemented. Now further consultation is happening, rather than implementing plans that have been considered, consulted on and agreed. Current plans seem to be all about tourism and hardly about residents.
5.d Leith Walk/London Rd junction – Police response/residents’ concerns
- Drivers have been observed turning left from LW onto LR, and CEC cameras are present, but there has been no police action. The reply to an FOI request in January seeking relevant correspondence and traffic modelling included information NTBCC already had but no modelling. Please can councillors press for this? It is not clear whether the ban on the left turn is based on needs around the pedestrian crossing. The current situation may well be adding to congestion on LW and Picardy Place.
- C Nimmo/S Hajducki: this may also be adding to the ELS problems. It would help to alter the traffic light phasing.
5.e ETROs for SfP
- NTBCC needs to decide between now and May which measures it wishes to continue or be removed. CEC has no budget to convert measures to permanent versions but has worked out costs for removal of existing measures.
- Cllr Mowat: final decisions will be taken by CEC’s regulatory committee, not its transport committee.
- M Birch: CEC has worked out costs for removal of each measure.
- R Price: CEC had retained small amounts SfP money for removing measures. However, plans are hard to find and proposals are difficult to understand because they only state road-markings, not bollards, and need comparison of the ETRO with previous plans.
- Action: M Birch to arrange meeting of NTBCC transport committee to develop NTBCC’s response
- Cllr Caldwell/ M Birch: TROs are a poor consultation method – people can only react to planned physical changes (traffic, not aesthetics etc. People can object to TROs only on traffic management and road safety grounds.
- S Mills: protection afforded by cycle-lanes is very welcome, especially when travelling uphill. NTBCC should ask for them to be retained.
- D Henderson: a consultation on these has just finished, but it did not enable actual objections to parklets. I am concerned that they will remove disabled parking places.
See also report on NTBCC website. All points made by P Williamson unless otherwise noted.
6.a New Committee remit
- We have aimed to minimise overlap with other NTBCC’ committees’ remits but some is inevitable. M Birch (NTBCC transport convenor) has also joined the environment committee.
- We believe that we are receiving relevant CEC papers rather late. This may affect other NTBCC committees.
- Cllr Mowat: papers are published 7 days before CEC committee meetings – this affects CEC members too. Report structures are due to be revised so recommendations are on the front page. CEC committee agendas are determined by reference to rolling work programmes which state ‘XYZ report is due on <date>’. These logs are publicly available with other committee papers and end-of-year ‘washups’. Hence people can know agendas 2 cycles in advance.
- R Price: it is also important to be aware of CEC’s list of proposed conusltations.
6.b Picardy Place – what’s happening?
- M Birch/R Price: we have asked for the plans for PP but as far as we are aware these are not yet finished. We will raise this at the CCTT/TT meeting. This work should have been completed in March.
- P Williamson: and yet the consultation in August 2022 stated there was limited time to complete the plans.
- M Birch: anti-terrorist bollard issues are part of the reason for the delay.
See also report on NTBCC website. All points made by R Price unless otherwise noted.
7.a 72 – 74 Eyre Place appeal (PPA-230-2408 & PPA-230-2409) and other DPEA matters
- Due to lack of determination in time by CEC, the developers have appealed to Scottish Government reporter/DPEA. NTBCC is working with residents, e.g. to obtain CEC videos. There will be an unaccompanied site visit.
- There are 3 other matters in NTBCC’s area with the DPEA:
- Enforcement against an STL at Marshall’s Court. A Gaillard will attend a site visit on behalf of NTBCC.
- Bar Hütte – the issue here is noise that may affect nearby residents.
- 20 Dublin St Lane South: this should be residential but has never been used as such. An STL application was refused by CEC, but the owners appealed to DPEA.
7.b Dundas St
- See information in ‘Other applications currently being assessed’ in report.
7.c Dunedin Street: 6 April PBSA Pre-consultation discussion
- I have met with the applicant. The architecture looks OK. There is much student accommodation in NTBCC’s area.
- We have raised the shuttle bus from the student accommodation at Lidl as a model for this application.
7.d Former Smithies site (23/01201/FUL) – 11 flats (10x 2 bed) proposal
- The proposal for this site is architecturally poor, but is limited to 2 stories plus a penthouse. NTBCC will engage with the developers.
7.e Drummond Tennis Club – new applications for 8 x luminares
- This application for 6 floodlights is now closed for comments, but NTBCC has submitted comments and supported residents in making objections. The application is very similar to one that was withdrawn in 2022. 80% of comments are objections.
- A resident: noise travels very much in this area. The lights would be bad for wildlife.
7.f Short-term lets
- NTBCC has objected to ~50 STL applications. CEC is now clear about what is and is not acceptable.
- Recently, national planning framework 4 has become part of all Scottish local development plans, so (for example) 21 Queen St has been refused using NPF4 grounds. This may have implications for other STL applications.
- A resident: the SG reporter is now considering a submission about Marshall’s Court. A flat here is being used as a party house, but the overall area is looking better.
7.g Former Hertz office (Picardy Place)
- This site is currently a shambles. NTBCC will meet with the developer next Monday.
- C Nimmo: the application is for 52 bedrooms.
7.h Princes St
- There is a PAN for Princes St to replace the former Next store, near to Debenhams.
7.i Broughton market
- There is a proposal to convert offices into serviced apartments.
8 Culture and Communities
See also report on NTBCC website. All points made by S Holledge unless otherwise noted.
8.a ‘George Street & First New Town’: Workshop 19 April 12:00-2:00pm
- ‘shared space’ coverage at the forthcoming workshop may be about cycling and other forms of traffic. The workshop may be used to decide outstanding issues. It is curious that NTBCC and heritage bodies have been invited but not other stakeholders (e.g. George St Association).
- Cllr Mowat: Jeremy Balfour MSP has been approached by accessibility groups who fear that access to the GS will be lost. He is arranging a meeting at Scottish Parliament on 10 May. NTBCC wishes to attend this meeting.
8.b ‘Nature Emergency’ – 22 March Cllr Parker discussion – key highlights
- The main take-away is that Cllr Parker wishes to change CEC’s culture. Consistency will be key to this.
8.c Uses of public spaces
- NTBCC hopes that there will be a process for deciding which key principles (worked out earlier) will be applied.
See also report on NTBCC website..
- C Nimmo: there are no new applications that are concerning.
9.a Statement of Policy – Evidence sessions: 20 April (Community Councils)
- Action: A Gaillard to attend the CC-focussed evidence-gathering session.
10 Treasurer’s Report – End Year 2022/23
All points made by M Birch unless otherwise noted.
- NTBCC’s financial year runs to 31 March, so the following (unaudited) figures are to 31 March 2023.
|This is more than previous years, and results from catching up with amounts owed to the Broughton Spurtle for advertising in previous years.
|This is enough for the 2023-24 financial year
|The is the remainder of the amount raised for gull-proof bag campaigning, and is extra to the £1370 balance.
- Overall, NTBCC is in a healthier, clearer position than before, but there are ongoing costs, e.g. information commissioner, insurance, minutes secretary, IT.
- Action: M Birch to arrange auditing
- It has been agreed with Broughton St Mary’s that credit from 2020 will be used up by September 2023, assuming meetings alternate between this venue and online. After September 2023, NTBCC will pay BSM’s new rate.
- The big ‘sanctuary’ room used for the 2022 AGM will not be available for the 2023 AGM.
- Approved accounts must be filed by 1 November, so an October AGM may lead to some pressure.
- C Nimmo: due to changes due in October, it seems inefficient to change office bearers etc in June and then rechange a couple of months later.
- Hence it is sensible to move the AGM to October
- B Ryan: there are no rules about specific AGM dates in the Edinburgh Scheme for CCs.
- Decision: hold AGM on 9 October (proposed R Price, seconded L Graham, ND)
11 Residents’ open forum
- A resident: work in Fettes Row has been followed by cracks appearing in buildings. The developers deny they are to blame, so the residents are hiring a structural engineer.
- R Price: it will help if pre-work surveys were taken.
- Cllr Mowat: CEC surveyors visited last week
- A resident: a Frederick St shop plans to sell alcohol and food late at night, which may lead noise and nuisance.
- Cllr Mowat: it will need the appropriate licenses. You should receive appropriate notifications of the applications.
- Action: R Price to obtain details from residents, then ascertain possible actions.
- L Graham: a resident has been unable to find [state] school paces for her children.
- Action: L Graham to put this resident in contact with Cllr Mowat.