NTBCC meeting minutes 13 February 2023

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, at Broughton St Mary’s church, on Monday 13 February 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/Admin/Apologies

1.a Attendance

Mike Birch NTBCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Annick Gaillard NTBCC Cllr Jack Caldwell Leith Walk ward
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Cllr Margaret Graham City Centre ward
Simon Holledge NTBCC Cllr Finlay McFarlane City Centre ward
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Cllr Jule Bandel Inverleith ward
Ken Lochrie NTBCC Cllr Jo Mowat City Centre ward
Susan Macinnes NTBCC Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward
Stewart Mills NTBCC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Carol Nimmo NTBCC Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North and Leith
Richard Price NTBCC ~15 residents/visitors
Peter Williamson NTBCC

1.b Apologies

Laura Graham NTBCC David Renton NTBCC Cllr Vicky Nicolson Inverleith ward
Jack Hugh NTBCC Alan Welsh NTBCC Ben Macpherson MSP Edinburgh Northern and Leith
Nick Reid NTBCC Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward Angus Robertson MSP Edinburgh Central

2 Minutes of ordinary meeting held on 12 December 2022 and minutes of business meeting held on Monday 16 January 2023

  • The December 2022 ordinary meeting minutes were accepted as-is (prop Stuart Mills, seconded D Henderson, ND).
  • The business meeting minutes had been circulated only to NTBCC members. There was no dissent from the minutes.

3 Police report

PC David Lee, PC Sarah Fairbairn reported:

  • Most recent police work has been traffic initiatives (around drivers’ behaviours, to protect people), e.g. at Albany St, on the banned left turn from Leith Walk onto London Rd, Royal Circus North, North Charlotte St, Waterloo Place.
  • Other work has been on youth behaviours, e.g. at Waverley Station, St James Centre, to identify the main individuals.
  • Crime statistics for January (These may be incidents, not the numbers of calls about potential crimes, as reported in other CC police reports.)
    • 2 drink drivers
    • 2 vehicles seized for lack of insurance
    • 1 vehicle theft
    • 1 housebreaking (into a building site)
    • 2 attempted housebreakings
  • Action: B Ryan to ascertain whether numbers of calls reported in other CC reports each relate to single incidents.

3.a Q&A

  • C Nimmo: are some perpetrators of youth incidents from outwith the city centre?
    • Yes – some come from the Lothians.
  • C Nimmo: Does St James Centre have a good security team?
    • Yes: it also has a team-member who liaises directly with police. Most trouble here is youth-on-youth antisocial behaviour.
  • A resident: The new signage for the temporary change in traffic priorities at Albany St / Dublin St for those approaching from Broughton St is hidden by parked cars. Can this be improved?
    • M Birch: I have raised this recently with CEC, and that the change in priority is encouraging faster traffic here. Also, cyclists coming up Dublin St (a national cycle route) now have to stop at the junction with Albany St. The reasons for the changes are not completely clear.
    • Cllr Mowat: I have also raised this. Dublin St was closed last week for subsidence investigations but is now open.
    • K Lochrie: the temporary traffic lights here take too long to allow pedestrians to cross.
    • D Henderson: Albany St had two traffic lights previously, but now has just one, so the street is now blocked. Crossing the street is very dangerous.
    • Cll Mowat: the bin is a(n unintentional) traffic-calming measure.
    • R Price: can the junction be made give-way both ways rather than keep changing the painted lines?
  • A Gaillard: why has no-one been fined for turning left from Leith Walk into London Rd?
    • Fines have been imposed, but police may be abstracted to other things. Maybe satnavs do not yet show the ban.
  • A Gaillard: are noise complaints categorised by cause, e.g. DJs. Some calls about noise are not being logged by police.
    • All calls are logged.

4 Transport

See also report in appendix 2.

4.a East London Street (ELS) – bus routing

4.a.i Points made by CEC councillors, NTBCC members, Deidre Brock MP

  • M Birch Thanks to ELS residents for attending. Councillors have been trying to resolve issues with Lothian Buses (LB).
  • Cllr McFarlane: CEC has completed a noise survey: noise levels are high. More clarity on the precise meaning of the findings is needed. We shared the report with LB, then met with LB 2 weeks ago, along with MSP and the MP’s representative.
    • LB is owned by CEC but cannot order it to do things, so is looking for other resolution methods.
    • Cllr Mowat: this stems from a Transport Act from the 1980s. Changes to legislation may happen in the future.
    • We told LB that its communication has been poor, and it is not acknowledging the scale of the problem.
  • Cllr Mowat: we did get more information on why LB believe that the problem exists. For example, when North Bridge is fully reopened (April or May 2023), there should be a 50% reduction in bus-use of ELS. LB did not deny the issue but didn’t suggest an immediate fix. Nor did LB supply the level of detail requested.
    • I have written to CEC’s transport convenor about some possible resolutions, e.g. use of Green St, reopening of Leith Walk (which is delayed due to delays in tram-work).
  • Cllr McFarlane: LB has stated that it wishes to return to 2019 traffic levels, but we would like to achieve even lower levels. Buses cannot turn in Queen St because of the chicanes. CCWEL is also contributing to the issue, as may big public events. LB did not mention North Bridge earlier, just problems caused by tram-works.
    • Once North Bridge, Leith St and CCWEL are open, CEC should re-measure noise levels, then hold LB to account.
  • Cllr Mowat: we did point out LB’s poor communications and broken promises. We did get a commitment of a report, and I am disappointed that this has not been fulfilled. I will pursue this.
  • M Birch: LB was due to report on the steps it would take to tackle the issue. It has not yet done so. How can LB treat elected representatives this way? LB is being completely disingenuous, and is not answering questions – NTBCC and residents have made many efforts to engage with LB. Airport buses have nothing to do with North Bridge. Some buses coming south are not bound for the depot, and so do not have any reason to use ELS.
    • Cllr McFarlane: LB has said that airport buses should not be on ELS. An off-service LB bus was being tested on ELS recently, despite us making it clear that LB should instruct its drivers to not use ELS whenever possible. Clearly LB’s internal communications are poor.
    • Cllr Mowat and I will also push for ELS to be fixed, because its condition is exacerbating noise levels.
  • M Birch: there are three aspects to the issue: the immediate problem with LB, the noise survey and other traffic studies, long-term solutions.
  • D Brock MP: what was said about issues with buses on Waterloo Place?
    • Cllr Mowat: buses currently cannot make 2 left turns, so are forced to use Waterloo Place.
    • M Birch: this only affects a few buses. CCWEL work is also a factor. We accept that circumstances such as this may occasionally cause rerouting of buses but the general situation is unacceptable.
  • Cllr Caldwell: LB has said I must wait for 4 weeks to meet with them about my ward. Green St is in NTBCC’s area but in my ward. It has 2 speed bumps, so I am nervous about proposed solutions involving it.
    • Cllr Mowat: Green Street would be used by buses heading for their shifts between 3am and 7am.

4.a.ii Points made by residents

  • LB is not telling the truth. Before Christmas, LB said that its use of ELS would reduce significantly once Leith Walk is open. (Minuter’s note: it was not yet open at the time of this meeting.)
  • I am woken every day very early by the buses. There was a reduction in noise in 2019, and electric buses are quieter, but now buses are driving very fast and hence causing more noise.
  • Why are buses using ELS at all? There is no need for this.
    • Cllr Mowat: some bus drivers use ELS to avoid the Picardy Place gyratory and its many traffic lights, in part because they must not drive more than 5·5 hours per day. The key to solving the issue is to remove such impediments.
    • A resident: drivers – including cars and trucks – will continue to use rat-runs they have discovered.
  • The problem also affects London St and Drummond Place, which have also become car rat-runs.
  • Could CEC planters be used to block ELS?
    • M Birch: a long-term plan is needed to manage traffic along ELS and other streets in our area.
  • Would the low-emission zone mitigate the issues caused by buses?
    • Cllr Mowat: no: all LB buses will be LEZ-compliant by the time the LEZ commences.
    • M Birch: other heavy vehicles may not be LEZ-compliant, and the forthcoming LEZ may displace traffic onto ELS.
  • Are the traffic survey data recent/up-to-date?
    • M Birch: as far as I know, the data are from 2019. NTBCC asked for surveys of traffic volumes and speeds, as well as noise. Can CEC undertake this?
    • Cllr McFarlane: the recent survey only covers noise levels.
    • M Birch: hence NTBCC formally requests measurement of traffic noise, volume and speeds, also atmospheric pollution from traffic. There is a primary school in the area, but we are flying blind without data.
  • It is now well-nigh impossible to walk across ELS.
  • A clear set of actions is now needed, rather than just restating the problems. While we are grateful for elected representatives’ and NTBCC’s efforts, plans by some ELS residents include creating a resident group, reinstating petitions on buses and road surfaces and further social media work.
  • While I suffer from the bus noise too, we should recognise that LB and its drivers are an asset to the city.
  • I represent an ELS association that has ~130 voters. An ELS building is being structurally surveyed because it shakes when buses pass. It is only 24 years old, yet there is falling masonry, possibly due to bus-caused vibration. I am astonished by CEC’s lack of control over LB. I observe many out-of-service buses going both ways along ELS – this is puzzling. I agree facts are needed to make robust plans. The 5·5-hour factor is a smokescreen – LB should be able to manage matters so it’s not tempting drivers to speed. Part of ELS is cobbled (setted): it should all have been tarmacked – it’s not in the World Heritage area but ELS is in serious disrepair..(although parts of ELS are within the New Town Conservation area).
    • Cllr McFarlane: I agree LB is an asset, and that CEC doesn’t directly control it, CEC does control road-management, and so should look at the depot’s whole context.
    • M Birch: an experimental traffic regulation order could be introduced by CEC relatively easily. There should be a meeting of NTBCC, CEC etc to agree a plan of action within a week. These should also cover surveys and longer-term management of streets in the area.
    • Action: MB/NTBCC to arrange this meeting.

4.b Trams to Newhaven – key issues/update

  • M Birch: I somewhat sympathise with LB because Leith Walk should have been fully open before Christmas. Full opening is now due this week (i.e. 2 months late)
    • Trams team (TT) has made many public statements about testing and full operation beginning on schedule. This may well happen but the public realm work is very unlikely to be finished, and this would impact local businesses and residents.
  • M Birch/ P Williamson: TT is due to do the public realm work at the centre of Picardy Place. Final designs are not yet available, so NTBCC cannot access their fitness for purpose. Also NTBCC is not aware of a safety audit for the final design, yet the work is due to start soon. Changes to the design in response to safety audit will cause more delay.
  • Otherwise the tram project is suffering from shortages of labour and materials to complete public-realm work.

4.c Transport and Environment Committee report – planned consultation regarding City Mobility Plan

M Birch: Many plans are due to go out to consultation. (See appendix 2, item 7.c) NTBCC will take part in review of the consultation materials. So far, CCs are not recognised as transport stakeholders as they are for planning issues..

4.d Meeting with CEC regarding Active Travel issues

  • M Birch: last year NTBCC submitted a participation request but put it on hold on the basis of quarterly meetings with D Narayan and R White. There has been much talk but we now need to see action to fulfil the intent of the participation request.
    • P Williamson: these CEC officers are helpful but CEC’s organisation causes confusion over and above that caused by staff shortages.
  • Decision: D Narayanan and R White from CEC to be invited to a subsequent NTBCC meeting

4.e EV Charging Points – concerns over fines

  • M Birch: people are being charged £1:00 minimum even if they obtain no electricity, and fined if their vehicles stay connected for more than 30 minutes . The costs are generally not well known, and the signs stating them are very small, and invisible at night. I recollect that CEC had committed to making such information more widely available.
    • Charges are levied by ChargePlace Scotland.
    • Cllr Osler: the issue is that people are not aware of being charged until they receive end-of-month bills. I have raised this, and was told that signage would be improved. There is a debate on how to raise awareness of charges.
  • Cllr Mowat: surely the app could give people 5-minute warnings.
  • Action: NTBCC to collect information on what is actually happening, then feed it to CEC councillors.
  • Action: CEC councillors to pursue relevant changes/actions.

4.f Invitation to be extended to Daisy Narayanan and Ruth White to attend NTBCC meeting

  • Agreed – see item 5.d

4.g Q&A

  • A resident: how much extra pollution has been caused by extra congestion caused by the tram project(s)?
  • Another resident: why is George St westwards still blocked at Hanover St?
    • Cllr Mowat: I believe this is due to traffic lights at the junction not being synchronised. I will pursue a full answer.

5 Culture and Communities

See report in appendix 3

5.a Full Council motion by Cllr Hal Osler (Lib Dem) on Trees in Princes St Gardens

  • Cllr Osler: the point of this motion is to consolidate existing CEC policies on tree-protection and get follow-up, i.e. actually look after trees. The current tool is planning enforcement – a blunt tool – so conditions should be in actual agreements, e.g. with winter festival providers.
    • R Price: how does the motion fit with the soon to be presented final report covering events in public spaces, and the report that’s due to go to CEC?
    • Cllr Osler: I’ll know when I see it. Some previous reports have not been fit for purpose.
    • S Holledge: I am collating a list of relevant guidelines and principles.
    • Action: Cllr McFarlane to pursue relevant matters.
  • Cllr Osler: the ‘festivals’ all-party oversight group met last week. Festivals and similar matters go through various CEC committees but these can only make decisions on aspects that fit their briefs. APOGs cannot make decisions but can raise questions, e.g. lack of engagement with CCs.
    • R Price: festival organisations are asking for permissions at the last minute, time and time again. This is poor.
    • D Henderson: festival organisations are stating their expectations of Edinburgh – they seem to be bullying. Are they making any effort to engage with CEC?
    • Cllr Osler: festival organisations do not need to engage with CEC, but can go via the Scottish Government (SG).
    • Cllr McFarlane: short-term lets were not mentioned at all at the end-of-year Fringe review.
    • Cllr Mowat: CEC tried to engage to find a modus operandi but the festival organisations just pulled SG strings.
    • Cllr Caldwell: CEC’s regulatory committee has not been approached by festival organisations at all.
    • Cllr Osler: the key issue is safety for visitors and residents. This is not an action against festival organisations.

5.b Full Council motion by Cllr Ben Parker (Green) on ‘Nature Emergency’

S Holledge: Cllr Parker is emerging as a specialist on climate change, bio-diversity and thriving green spaces. NTBCC has not yet taken a position on these issues. He has agreed to meet with NTBCC members on 22 March (4:30 pm) for an informal discussion, based on written questions.

6 Communications

6.a Plan to increase NTBCC membership

Held over to next meeting

6.b Update from Engagement & Communications Committee meeting

Held over to next meeting

7 Environment

7.a Environmental issues for non-gull-proof-bag streets

  • C Nimmo: communal bins are being misused across NTBCC’s area.
    • P Williamson: this is not new.
    • R Price: the TROs are in place for the N1,N2 etc. area, so where are the new bins? The layout of current communal bins is poor, any many have been filled with recyclable waste.
    • Cllr Caldwell: they will be in place in N1 (McDonald Rd etc) in May at the very earliest. Quite a few areas are being improved simultaneously, so new TROs are needed for Leith Walk etc.
    • B Ryan: surely CEC worked out how many bins are needed, bought them and has them ready for deployment.
    • Cllr Caldwell: CEC did this, but is waiting on line-markings etc being removed.
    • P Williamson: there is a communication issue around bin roll-out.
    • M Birch: does CEC have the necessary trucks to service the new bins?
    • Cllr McFarlane: I believe CEC has sufficient trucks, including some electric vehicles.
    • Action: Cllr Caldwell to keep NTBCC informed of progress and presence of appropriate trucks
  • An ELS resident: I often have to pick up litter coming from the New Town. This has occurred since before the gull-proof bag (GPB) roll-out. How will CEC take account of this?
    • A resident: people have been told they can put rubbish in any bin, so are dumping rubbish in my street’s bins.
    • Cllr Mowat: originally CEC planned for ‘containerisation’ on all streets, but there was outcry because of stringent decisions on siting of bins in the World Heritage site, e.g. siting them on the garden-sides of roads, thus necessitating crossing of roads to put waste in bins. So roll-out was paused to allow a report to come to CEC. There is now a trial of green GPBs (in GPB-only streets) for Dry Mixed Recyclables, so the status quo prevails for now. Research has shown that people do use other streets’ bins. Hence CEC does not yet have a full wase-management solution.
    • Cllr McFarlane: ELS is in the city centre ward but out with the World Heritage area.
    • Action: Cllr Mowat to look into the anomalously small number of bins on ELS.

8 Planning

  • A McIntosh: can CCs do anything about pop-up venues getting alcohol licenses then starting trading without planning permission? For example, Bar Hütte was refused planning permission but was given 28 days’ grace. So can licenses be made dependent on planning permission being in place?
    • R Price: an organisation got away several times with trading for 56 days: the normal 28 days’ grace, then a further 28 days before enforcement took place. So it achieved its business aims without needing to follow regulations. There seems little point in making objections to such applications.
    • Cllr Mowat: this frustrates me every year, but planning and licensing are separate CEC committees.
    • D Henderson: can licenses be refused under ‘fit and proper’ regulations if organisations do not follow rules?
    • Cllr Mowat: SG has now decided that tables and chairs outside venues do not require planning permission
    • Action: Cllr Mowat to inform NTBCC of details relevant o conservation areas etc

8.a National Planning Framework 4 now adopted by Scottish Government: implications for current local development plan

Action: R Price to add relevant content to NTBCC’s website

9 Licensing

See report in appendix 4. See also discussion in item 9.

  • A Gaillard: HMO licensees now need to provide contact details and neighbour notifications annually.
  • A Gaillard: Edinburgh is the local authority area with the greatest alcohol outlet availability in Scotland.
  • A Gaillard: there is now no cap on the numbers of nights properties can be short-term lets.

10 Treasurer’s report

Held over to next meeting

11 Any other business


12 Appendix 1: Cllr Caldwell’s report

12.a Trams to Newhaven open issues/updates in the NTBCC/ward 12 Leith Walk boundary

  • Met with the Transport Convenor to discuss options on the London Road left-turn ban. In the meantime a camera has been installed and it has been indicated there’s a reduction of drivers illegally turning. I have requested the data to back this up.
  • It appears that a significant proportion of drivers breaking the turn are private-hire cars and taxis so have sought information from Licensing on what we can do there. I appreciate we all have thoughts on the left turn, but we cannot tolerate deliberate manoeuvres that put pedestrians in danger.
  • Trams to Newhaven acknowledge the pavement driving challenges on Haddington Place. Met with them and stressed my view re the need for physical infrastructure however it’s not in the current budget but they are exploring.
  • Elm Row landscaping completion has been delayed to May. It will start from the North (Montgomery Street) and move south when it does restart. The construction timeline on their website has been updated.
  • I am following up with Road teams about how we can effectively collect traffic data post-tramworks on streets like Easter Road (it’s a bit academic now due to ever changing nature of local road network) but note the NTBCC requested measurements of some kind at Picardy Place on your initial TRO response that Mike sent through. Will liaise with City Centre Councillors to see if anything is planned there.

12.b Non-tram open issues/updates in the NTBCC/ward 12 Leith Walk boundary

  • Some mixed, food and glass recycling has disappeared for residents on McDonald Road, Haddington Place and Hopetoun Crescent, so am chasing to get it back ASAP as the Communal Bin Review has not yet started rollout in Zone N1 – it will be early summer at the very earliest.
  • Attended the PAN and encouraged nearby residents to attend for the new PBSA proposals at Dunedin Street.
  • I am awaiting an update from the Active Travel team re the installation of dropped kerbs at Beaverhall Road. Some have already been installed but believe the ones at the Dunedin Street junction are still on track for before the end of the financial year.
  • I am seeking an answer from Lothian Buses regarding the number 10 continuing down McDonald Road and Broughton Road now that Leith Walk will be reopening two ways, as a number of residents along the ‘temporary’ route have told me that it has had a positive impact on their public transport options.
  • I believe the Annandale Street communal bin issue should now be resolved but urge residents to contact me immediately if they start overflowing again.
  • LeithChooses results virtual announcement is this Wednesday. Although I’m not aware of any organisation based in NTBCC explicitly applying, a decent chunk of people from the area used McDonald Road Library as a postal voting point.

13 Appendix 2: Transport Committee Update (M Birch)

13.a Tram Works

Despite having been advised that full access to the whole length of Leith Walk for two-way vehicular traffic would be available from the week commencing 19 December, this did not happen. Full access is now expected to be available during the week of 13 February but we will continue to monitor progress. This milestone will be important in that it should allow all buses to revert to their normal routes but this has not yet been confirmed by Lothian Buses.

We have still not yet received a response to the concerns regarding pedestrian safety and the public from the Trams Team but this has now been promised for this week. We have had follow up discussions with them regarding the pavement area at the corner of Blenheim Place and Baxter’s Place. We are continuing to press for changes to the design to reduce the risk of accidents caused by the step that runs through this space. Both Living Streets and Edinburgh Access Panel have been contacted to gain their support for this position.

13.b East London Street

Despite there being no restrictions that would prevent buses from the Annandale Street depot using the normal access/egress routes they are still using East London Street. Councillors McFarlane and Mowat met with senior Lothian Buses management in January and have been promised a report showing the steps that Lothian Buses intend to take to return to pre-2019 traffic volumes along this street. We hope that they will be able to provide a significant update at our February meeting.

In December, CEC arranged for a consultant to conduct a noise survey along East London Street. The results of this survey have shown significant noise levels in excess of WHO guidance. Again we are hoping for an update from local Councillors regarding the survey and any resultant actions at our February meeting.

We continue to seek a meeting with Roads department staff to investigate options for a long-term improvement of East London Street and other streets in the New Town impacted by traffic diversions and city centre congestion should be held.

13.c City Mobility Plan

At the February TEC meeting, four further sections of the City Mobility Plan were approved to proceed to formal consultation. These are:

  • Updated Circulation Plan that sets out current and future street space allocation between different modes of transport.
  • Public Transport Action Plan to encourage greater use of rail, buses and trams as part of the goal of achieving a reduction in car miles
  • Parking Action Plan that proposes extensions to the current controlled parking areas and better enforcement.
  • Active Travel Action Plan that seeks to improve the ability of pedestrians and cyclists to travel across the city with measures such as dropped kerbs, improved crossings and further segregated cycle paths

We have highlighted that consultation should involve Community Councils as key stakeholders. We have agreed to participate in a review of the planned consultation materials prior to their issue.

13.d Travelling Safely

The Experimental Traffic Orders for the continuation of many of the Spaces for People measures including those for the Canonmills to Broughton Street corridor were approved in November and currently run until 20 May 2023. If we have any objections to these ETRO we must submit our comments before that end date otherwise there is potential for these becoming permanent changes.

13.e EV Charging Points

It has been brought to our attention that people overstaying their time on the newly installed charging points are incurring a penalty of £30 and others are being charged £1 even if they are not able to connect properly. Neither of these charges are well known or clearly posted. We will be raising these concerns with local Councillors.

13.f Active Travel Participation Request

We had a further meeting with senior officers in the Council regarding various issues including:

  • Picardy Place
  • Travelling Safety ETRO
  • Public Realm issues after Trams Project
  • Future of Active Travel Forum
  • Implementation of LEZ

I will issue a separate note of the status of those issues. It is proposed to invite Daisy Narayanan and Ruth White to a Licensing report

14 Appendix 3: Culture and communities report (S Holledge)

There were two motions relating to Culture and Communities, at the City of Edinburgh Council full meeting on 9 February

  • Item 8.3 by Cllr Ben Parker (Greens), which passed with all-party support except Conservative (who voted for ‘no action’), declared ‘A Nature Emergency, akin to the Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019, recognising the current state of nature, its inherent value and the crucial role its recovery and restoration will play in realising climate targets.’
    • Ben Parker has been specialising in climate change and biodiversity and we have been in touch over both the motion, and previously the ‘Thriving Greenspaces’ project on which we expressed an opinion at the end of December.
    • Ben has kindly offered to meet interested NTBCC members, probably on Zoom, at a date to be agreed in March or early April. This would take the same form as previous afternoon discussions with council officers (David Jamieson etc.), HES etc. The intention would be to discuss what specific, concrete measures could follow from the declaration.
  • Item 8.4 By Cllr Osler (Lib Dem) concerned with tree protection in Princes Street Gardens was passed unanimously. Full (and rather complicated) text at <https://democracy.edinburgh.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=45518>.

15 Appendix 4: Licensing report (A Gaillard)

15.a Regulatory Committee

15.a.i Short Term Lets (STL) Licensing

  • Secondary letting – AKA Short Stay Commercial Visitor Accommodation (SSCVA) – also requires Planning permission.
  • Other type of STL – namely Home sharing &/or Home letting – require Licensing permission only.
  • Timeline
  • Since 1 October 2022, new hosts cannot operate until they have a licence.
  • Existing hosts and operators had until 1 April 2023 to apply for a licence, but this may get extended to 1 October 2023[1] – subject to the City of Edinburgh Council receiving confirmation from the Scottish Government, update dated 7/12/22 on CEC website refers.
  • All hosts and operators need to have a licence by 1 July 2024.

15.a.ii HMO Conditions consultation (closed 30th Dec)

  • Based on responses received, the committee decided to make the frequency an annual requirement for licence holders, with regards to these two standard conditions:
    • Provide the Council with an emergency contact number (HMO11)
    • Give neighbour notifications (HMO12)
  • Further details are available here: 7 – Houses in Multiple Occupation HMO Raising Standards.pdf

15.b Alcohol licence registers

15.b.i Licensing Board

Last meeting: 30 January, next meeting: 27 February

15.b.ii Licensing Board Policy consultation (closed 20/12/22)

  • NTBCC’s response was submitted on 14/12/22 and shared with the Edinburgh Licensing Forum too.
  • 71 responses were received via the Consultation Hub + 4 responses by email. Although the numbers may appear low, there are significantly higher than those received previously – the 2018 consultation had attracted 42 responses in total.
  • The Board held a policy specific meeting on 10th February via Microsoft Teams, which was also webcast. The intention was to provide transparency on what the Board may consider as part of their next Statement of Policy – it was not a decision making meeting. Responses were consolidated and shared with Board members ahead of that meeting.

15.b.iii Agenda for Licensing Board on Friday, 10th February, 2023, 9.30 am

  • Many of the points raised by NTBCC (see response above) were acknowledged by the Board.
  • Points to note – as related to the Board’s assessment of overprovision:
    • Work conducted by the University of Edinburgh and Alcohol Focus Scotland in 2018 revealed that Edinburgh was the local authority area with the greatest alcohol outlet availability in Scotland (defined as the average number of outlets within an approximate 10-minute walk from the population centre).
    • The previous Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 allowed for the categorisation of premises as hotel, pub, restaurant, etc. This was removed in the current Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and replaced with premises being categorised as onsales &/or offsales instead. The Board acknowledged that it would be helpful for the previous categorisation to be re-introduced, but were advised by the Clerk that this would be difficult because of the nature of the data recording – and its focus on categorisation of onsales/offsales only – but also because of the many ‘hybrid’ premises in Edinburgh which operate as one type or another, depending on the time of day (&/or night).
      The Board confirmed their intention to explore some sub-categorisation beyond onsales/offsales further however.
    • The Board acknowledged that their current policy on overprovision had little impact on their decisions for the last 5 years (that the current policy has been in effect) and intends to hold an evidence session, specifically on overprovision – date TBC.

15.b.iv Applications decided on 28/11/22

  • NTBCC received statement of reasons (SOR) on all these:
    • St James Place (St Andrews Hall) – Provisional Premises licence application 474741
    • St James Quarter (Unit 4.02A) – Provisional Premises licence application 474742
    • 38 George Street (Caffe Centro) – Variation of Premises licence application 477708
    • 95 GF George Street (Fat Hippo Restaurants) – Variation of Premises licence application 476148

The rationale underpinning successful rebuttal of presumption against grant in the overprovisioned City Centre (section 8.5 of the Board’s current policy) was the same in all cases: The Board took the view that ‘the premises filled a gap in existing provision’.

15.b.v New applications

These are as received in December only; none were received in January and those received this month don’t appear to raise much concern but I’m awaiting further details to confirm.

  • 24-25 Princes St (Black Sheep Coffee & Cocktails)

Provisional Premises licence application 483403, for a ‘Licensed coffee shop/restaurant on ground and first floor of a commercial building on Princes Street on the corner of South St Andrew Street in Edinburgh city centre.’ with nnsale hours until 1am daily, and Offsale hours until 22pm daily.

Cocktail bar disguised as coffee shop?! NTBCC objected (but confirmed support for an unlicensed coffee shop). The application will get decided at a Board meeting – date TBC.

  • 4 BF Picardy Place  23-27 Broughton St Lane (The Keller Taproom)

Variation of Premises licence application 469823, to amend Onsale hours to start at 1pm instead of 5pm daily, while still ending at 3am daily; and to add Offsale hours from 10am to 10pm daily. The premises consist in a new micro brewery with retail, dispatch and collection of products, as well as a multipurpose late night entertainment venue incorporating bar, nightclub and function suite.

NTBCC objected to operations extended from 10hrs to 17hrs daily (Onsale & Offsale hours combined). Onsale hours starting earlier would be supported if they were to terminate by as much earlier – i.e. 23:00 daily. The application was discussed at the 30th January Board meeting and subsequently continued to a later meeting (possibly 27th February) so as to allow for a site visit by Board members.

  • 7-15 Rose St (ex- Fopp Music store)

Provisional Premises licence application 483403, for a ‘Bar, with a focus on music situated on Rose Street’

This would bring the first MOJO Bar to Scotland. The chain currently is concentrated in the north of England, and specialises in hen and bachelorette parties – i.e. the ‘focus on music’ would appear ancillary. Hours requested are 11am to 1am daily – Onsales only.

NTBCC objected and invited the Board to clarify what they would consider as a suitable ‘role model’ for the city centre of Edinburgh – noting that another recent licensing application by the same operator was resisted in Newcastle, by both the Police and the council’s Head of Licensing: Premium cocktail bar MOJO could be coming to Newcastle and help bring The Gate ‘back to life’ – Chronicle Live

The application will get decided at a Board meeting – date TBC.

15.c Civic & Miscellaneous licence registers

15.c.i Licensing Sub-Committee

15.c.ii STL applications since 1/10/22

A number of applications for Home Letting were applied for the whole of 2023. This aligns with the council policy, whereby a cap on the number of nights for which the accommodation may be used for home letting was not introduced at this stage. The relevant context is on p33-34 of (Public Pack)Agenda Document for Regulatory Committee, 29/09/2022.

However this brings the following concern: without a cap on the number of nights, how will the applicant demonstrate that the accommodation would still consist of their only, or principal home? One example would be a for a retired couple, whose children would have left the family home, and who would plan to spend a number of months abroad every year.

[1] Further details re the postponing of the deadline from 1 April to 1 October 2023 are available on p 5 & 8 of agenda item 6.1 – Business Bulletin – 6 Feb 2023.pdf