NTBCC meeting minutes 12 June 2023

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, at Broughton St Mary’s church, on Monday 12 June 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.

1 Welcome/introductions/attendance

1.a Attendance

Mike Birch NTBCC Stewart Mills NTBCC Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
David Clarke NTBCC Carol Nimmo NTBCC Cllr Jo Mowat City Centre ward
Annick Gaillard NTBCC Richard Price NTBCC Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC David Renton NTBCC PC Eilidh Barr Police Scotland
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Peter Williamson NTBCC PS Emma McNaughton Police Scotland
Simon Holledge NTBCC Cllr Jack Caldwell Leith Walk ward Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Ken Lochrie NTBCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary ~7 residents/visitors
Susan Macinnes NTBCC Cllr Finlay McFarlane City Centre ward

1.b Apologies

Laura Graham NTBCC

2 Approval of the minutes of the ordinary NTBCC meeting held on 8 May 2023

  • Approved as-is (proposed D Renton, seconded R Price, ND)

3 Matters arising from previous minutes, and not included on agenda below

  • Item 4: S Macinnes and C Nimmo have met about police reports. More detail and data would be welcome.
  • Item 5.b: A Gaillard recommended that the LSOs carried a site-visit to both 13 Antigua and 1 Gayfield Square as part of NTBCC’s written representation to provisional licence application 496504.
  • Item 6.c: Cllr McFarlane advised that benches are due to be replaced at Gayfield Square and the Pilrig wheel
  • Item 7.b: Sensors will be in the bins that are to be installed, but will not be fitted to existing bins.
  • Item 11. Action: NTBCC to arrange a meeting in July about Edinburgh World Heritage Trust.

4 Police matters

See also report on NTBCC website. Police representatives reported:

  • There is are decrease in reported crimes since last month and against this time last year.
  • People are encouraged to make their properties secure.
  • There was a major incident outside the Omni centre in May. However, this appears to be a one-off.
  • There was an incident of careless driving of a tourist bus on Princes St. An enquiry is ongoing.

4.a Q&A

  • D Renton: what is being done about powered scooters? Unless they are from registered hire-firms, they are illegal – and there are no such firms in Edinburgh. There is much powered-scooter use on Leith Walk
    • Legislation has not yet caught up with this issue. We have observed an increase in scooter-use in the city centre. Police are trying initiatives based on safety education, as part of other road-traffic initiatives. We believe they should be on the road, not pavements.
  • D Clarke: what is the police policy on pavement-cycling? This is rife on routes downhill to Stockbridge.
    • Such incidents would be offences of ‘riding on the pavement to the annoyance of others’ or ‘careless cycling’. We are aware this is not a localised issue. We will stop perpetrators where we can. We can give warnings and, if such behaviour persists, escalate to court proceedings.
  • B Ryan: please ensure all police report content is accessible by visually impaired people.

5 Transport

See also report on NTBCC website. All points made by M Birch unless otherwise noted.

5.a ‘Actions to deliver Edinburgh’s City Mobility Plan’ consultation (9 July 2023)

  • This consultation closes on 9 July (i.e. before NTBCC’s next meeting). It is very simplistic, giving few opportunities to express opinions. NTBCC should submit written comments on what is and is no in the plans, e.g. integrated ticketing.
  • S Mills: I also attended a drop-in session. Pulling the 5 separate plans together into one makes sense. However, community councils and residents’ associations are not being advised in timely mannaers or used as knowledge-assets or routes to successful delivery of such projects.
  • Action: M Birch to organise meeting to create NTBCC’s submission.

5.b Trams to Newhaven – Remaining public realm/snagging issues

  • Trams are now taking fare-paying passengers, and public-realm issues are being resolved, albeit slowly.
  • However, there are hundreds of defects (most of which are not safety-critical). It is not clear who will address them because the trams team is being demobilised. Fears that such issues would fall to CEC have materialised. CEC has advised that tactile paving will be fitted by CEC on continuous footways, but there are other outstanding issues..

5.c Picardy Place – latest news

  • This should have been finished before trams started taking passengers. CEC now say work will be completed by August. CEC has not been forthcoming about plans and actual completion date.
    • Action: M Birch to submit FOI request for these.
  • A McIntosh: the original budget for PP was £2·7m but Scottish Government has awarded 3·3m.
    • M Birch/R Price: this may be due to inflation and/or hostile vehicle mitigation (measures to protect pedestrians).

5.d ETRO consultation delay/extension for comments

  • Corrected versions need to be published. This week’s TEC meeting has motions seeking clarification, e.g. around costs and reasons for errors in the original versions. The original works can only be in place for 18 months, so if there are significant objections, the works may need to be removed.
    • Cllr Osler: comments in response to original versions of the ETROs should be carried forward to the new versions. However, resubmission of comments is receommended.
    • Action: NTBCC to recommend that people resubmit their comments.

5.e East London Street petition

  • This is awaiting validation before appearing on CEC’s website. NTBCC hopes that the petition will go to the August TEC meeting.
    • Cllr McFarlane, Cllr Mowat: Cllr Arthur advises that repairs to diversion routes will not be funded from the trams budget. However, relevant CEC staff are very aware of the needs for such repairs. Such repairs were undertaken in the West End some time after building of the original tram-route, so these repairs need to be agreed.
    • M Birch: a traffic survey on ELS is needed, now that Leith Walk is fully open to traffic.
    • Cllr Mitchell: there will be an opportunity to secure repairs when setted streets are discussed by TEC in October.
    • There was discussion of the merits of setted surfaces versus tarmac resurfacing.

5.f Canonmills/Brandon Terrace etc resurfacing

  • These plans are not widely known. This work will be welcome – but will be disruptive, including diversions through Brandon Terrace. NTBCC has asked for monitoring and fixed diversion routes. Part of Warriston Road will become
    2-way during these works.

    • Cllr Mitchell: this will be done section by section. There will be a pause in work for the festival.

5.g Parking dispensations

  • This topic will be discussed at the next TEC meeting, but no such dispensations will be in NTNCC’s area.
    • Cllr Mitchell:/Cllr Mowat/Cllr Osler: there are wider dispensations, partly instituted during the pandemic: residents can park in ‘pay and display’ spaces. However, dispensations coming from the pandemic will end for in August.
  • M Birch: there is still a large under-provision of residents’ parking places.
    • There was discussion of which parts of different zones would become shared use.
    • Cllr Osler: we have asked for a plain-English guide to parking rules.
  • M Birch/a resident: one reason for reintroduction of pay and display is to enable tradespeople, but this contradicts work to reduce traffic.

5.h Other transport matters

  • A resident: there is no left turn off Leith Walk to go east, e.g. to Portobello. Is this permanent? it is not clear which lanes should be used to access Broughton St, Queen St, Leith Walk etc, so manoeuvring is not safe.
    • Cllr Caldwell: the intended route is via Picardy gyratory, north-bound Leith Walk, then turn right onto London Rd. Other options have been discussed, but the justification of this route is tripling the time for pedestrians to cross the LW/LR junction, and increasing time for traffic-flows from York Place. I have asked for better signage.
    • Cllr Mowat: the left-turn ban was made some time after the plans for the gyratory were approved.
    • Cllr Caldwell: it does not help that Albert St is closed until December, to fix a sink-hole.
    • M Birch: NTBCC has objected to the ban, but was told that it would reduce saturation of Annandale St. it will become clear that this design doesn’t work.
    • R Price/M Birch: relevant traffic modelling should be redone: the original TM did not include St James Centre.

6 Environment

6.a ‘George Street & First New Town’ – TEC update 15 June (including proposal for trees)

  • S Holledge: I attended last week’s stakeholder meeting, which covered the operational plan and the design. The former is becoming more sophisticated but the latter changes rather than develops. We do not yet have the underground survey data, which may affect the design. The latest design includes small numbers of root-trained trees at either end of GS, to minimise tree heights. However, pruning and pollarding are used elsewhere, to minimise maintenance. The types of trees matter, because this will affect aesthetics. Stage 4 will soon start: this is about tendering and subcontracting.
    • R Price: tree-planting should be done fully/properly (to match heritage/aesthetics) or not at all.
    • S Holledge: GS is a multiperiod street with an irregular roofscape, which should be considered in tree-planning.
    • D Henderson: the small number of trees in the plans is to permit event spaces.
    • Going to stage 4 – detererails for tendering and subcontracting

6.b Waste management (time extension of GPB trial/proposal for STLs)

  • C Nimmo: the current trial in 9 streets will continue for at least 6 months, in part due to awaiting a further report. Green (recycling) sacks will now be collected weekly. Black (landfill) sacks will become smaller, to match other bin arrangements. Glass collections (using blue boxes) will continue to be fortnightly. However, it is unclear when these changes will occur. The under-resourced issue is food waste, a lot of which is going into landfill.
    • M Birch: arrangement of food-waste collections may take until September. Meanwhile education is needed.
    • Action: NTBCC to publicise changed arrangements when details are known.
  • C Nimmo: TEC passed a review of communal bin-hubs in May, with one amendment about missed streets. Roll-out is progressing slowly.
    • Cllr McFarlane: this will cover prevention of mis-use of bins by others.
    • M Birch: food-waste is converted into fertiliser and gas. There is a good video on CEC website.
    • There was discussion of the supply of clear bags, and the fate of land-fill containing food-waste.
    • It was noted that if waste contains used pizza boxes, such consignments must go into landfill, exacerbating issues.
  • R Price: CEC wishes to require commercial STLs to use commercial waste-collection firms.
    • Cllr Mowat: this requirement will be in the licensing terms.
    • A Gaillard: clarified that this related to commercial STLs and not home letting &/or home sharing STLs, meaning that people (e.g. neighbours) wouldn’t always know the difference and therefore what type of waste-collection applies for a given STL i.e. commercial or residential.
    • There was discussion of ways to record offences and enforce proper arrangements.

6.c Use of communal bins – NTBCC position (re concerns raised by an ELS resident)

  • C Nimmo: an ELS resident has seen other people dumping rubbish in ELS bins – this also occurs elsewhere. However, this problem has reduced at ELS due to work by ward councillors. NTBCC does not wish to impede recycling.
    • R Price: in ‘mixed’, landfill bins are full. Roll-out of green bins need to be faster.

7 Licensing

See also report on NTBCC website. All points made by A Gaillard unless otherwise noted.

7.a ‘HMO Best Practice Guide 2023’ consultation (10 August)

  • The intention of this review is not to increase bureaucracy but to deal with poor practices.

7.b Alcohol licensing

  • The drafting of the revised statement of policy is ongoing. Overprovision has yet been addressed.
  • There only was one new application [for a variation] which was not concerning.
  • Consideration of the W hotel application has been continued to the next meeting.
    • The site visit focused on where in the hotel bars & restaurants would be. The W Hotel plans to open on 14th
    • Concerning licensing outdoors, Bar Hütte is expected not to return once the hotel opens. Hence issues for residents should be reduced.
    • The hotel wants longer licensed hours, like hotels in central London (e.g. Mayfair), but these are generally away from residential areas.
  • Gayfield Square was not on the agenda for the May Licensing Board meeting, it may be discussed at either the June or the July meeting.

7.c Civic licensing

  • Judicial Review of the CEC licensing scheme found that it was unlawful in parts.
    • One of the contravening conditions is that secondary STL must have carpets, regardless of whether the property has neighbours downstairs or not. Another issue is the rebuttal presumption against granting of STL licenses, which brought planning considerations into licensing matters.
    • Cllr Mowat: the judgement states that some matters are to be determined by planning mechanisms, i.e. CEC licensing has over-reached itself. The judgement also makes clear that planning permission is required. Hence CEC will need to revise its guidance, including clarification of where carpets are needed. Part of the legal decision suggested that the Council should consider that if a property has been granted planning permission then this should not be considered as part of licensing.
    • Henderson: there is a planning loophole where a property can gain planning permission automatically if it has been operating continuously for 10 years through the Certificate of Lawfulness planning process. However, this does not consider or allow anyone to comment on the application or consider the impact on amenity for neighbouring properties.
    • There was discussion of reputable licensees.
  • Licensing of tables and chairs is now handled by CEC transport. There is a large backlog.

8 Culture and Communities

8.a ‘Use of public spaces for filming and events’ C&C update 11 May

  • S Holledge: there is near-agreement on the text of 17 key principles. Guidelines have not yet been developed, yet some key principles expect adherence to guidelines. The former good structure has been lost.
    • Another key principle states that in exceptional circumstances, applicants can ask for departures from the key principles, if they justify this and put mitigations in place. However it is not yet clear what would be exceptional.
    • Cllr McFarlane: this topic will be discussed at the events APOG this week. It is possible that the guidelines will be abandoned because they are too restrictive. It is not clear who will decide what might constitute ‘exceptional’.
    • Cllr Osler: Existing ‘area conditions’ remain in place while CEC tries to formulate a general policy.
    • D Clarke: do the nascent principles cover on-street filming? Film-companies have been overbearing.
    • D Henderson: there is a code of conduct and a charter. However, these are out of date, and CCs are not being informed. Also, CEC cannot currently charge companies commensurate with issues caused by filming.
    • Cllr Osler: information about filming is not provided to cllrs until very late

8.b ‘Edinburgh Christmas’ – response to Cllr McVey’s motion: C&C 8 June

  • Cllr McFarlane: the prime contractor for Xmas 2024 will be decided at APOG this week. (This approach has been agreed.) The next C&C meeting will cover contractual timelines.
    • Cllr Osler: the joint-venture idea was rejected on expense and risk grounds. KPIs must come to committee before invitations to tender are issued. In previous contracts, communications have been very poor, and better relationships with contractors are needed. This is the reason for the long lead-in time, post-Xmas reviews of performance, and break-clauses. There has been consultation on what the event(s) should comprise.
    • Cllr McFarlane: meanwhile, the 2023 event will be as in previous years.
    • Cllr Osler: there are two contracts: Xmas and Hogmanay. CEC does not fund the former but does fund the latter. This payment does not include Xmas markets and other ‘add-ons’.

8.c Other C&C matters

  • Cllr McFarlane: the leaders of the Fly festival would like to speak with NTBCC.
    • Action: NTBCC to arrange a meeting, also involving Old Town CC.

9 Planning

See also report on NTBCC website. All points made by R Price unless otherwise noted.

9.a ‘Conservation & Adaptation’ consultation – ended 11 June

  • This covers similar topics to the SG Phase 3 consultations, e.g. energy efficiency for permitted development.
  • NTBCC has responded to this consultation, as have many others. NTBCC may also submit a textual response

9.b Pre-consultation at 19 Hanover St/Rose Street Lane (Retail/Hotel)

No discussion

9.c Scottish Government Phase 3 consultation – PDR (energy efficiency) 23 August

No discussion

10 Communications

10.a EACC consultation 23 June

  • R Price: I have drafted a potential response for NTBCC to submit. NTBCC needs to be sure that EACC represents it.

11 Residents’ Open Forum/AOCB

  • R Price: NTBCC should meet separately about the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust.
  • Cllr Osler: The Sottish Government will not change the timings around determination of planning matters.
  • R Price/D Henderson: an economic assessment of short-term lets has shown they can be good but not better than other things. They just move economic benefits away from hotels without increasing tourism income.
  • B Ryan: this week, there was a move to build a Scotland-wide CC forum. I will supply details when they are available.