NTBCC meeting minutes 14 August 2023

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, at Broughton St Mary’s church, on Monday 14 August 2023 at 7pm

Actions and decisions are red italic. ND (‘no dissent’) means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.

1 Welcome/introductions/attendance

1.a Attendance

Mike Birch NTBCC Simon Holledge NTBCC Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
David Clarke NTBCC Ken Lochrie NTBCC Cllr Jo Mowat City Centre ward
Annick Gaillard NTBCC Stewart Mills NTBCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Laura Graham NTBCC Carol Nimmo NTBCC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Richard Price NTBCC ~2 residents/visitors
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Cllr Jack Caldwell Leith Walk ward

1.b Apologies

Susan Macinnes NTBCC Peter Williamson NTBCC Cllr Margaret Graham City Centre ward
Nick Reid NTBCC Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward Ben Macpherson MSP Edinburgh Northern and Leith
David Renton NTBCC Cllr Finlay McFarlane City Centre ward Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North and Leith

2 Approval of the minutes of the ordinary NTBCC meeting held on 12th June 2023

Approved as-is (proposed S Holledge, seconded D Henderson, ND)

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

June Item Actor Action status
5.a M Birch Organise meeting to create NTBCC’s submission to CMP consultation. Done
3 NTBCC Arrange a meeting in July about Edinburgh World Heritage Trust. Done, but further meeting to be arranged
5.c M Birch Submit FOI request for Picardy Place plans and completion date Done
5.d NTBCC recommend that people resubmit their comments on ETROs Not done, because ETROs have not yet been readvertised
6.b NTBCC Publicise changed waste-collections arrangements when details are known. Not done, because details not yet available
8.c NTBCC Arrange a meeting with Fly Festival leaders, also involving Old Town CC. Done, but no agreement yet by Fly organisers to not flare propane
11 B Ryan Supply details of Scotland-wide CC forum moves when these become available Done

4 Police matters and proposal for improved reporting

See also paper from S Macinnes and police report (both on NTBCC website).

  • NTBCC is not alone in paucity of police reports – see quote from EACC in S Macinnes’ paper.
    • Action: NTBCC to seek meeting with police to improve reporting
  • There was discussion of increases in violent crime, and whether knives or bottles are used, and of date-rapes.

5 Culture and Communities

See report on NTBCC website.

  • CEC Culture and Communities Committee has a two-month cycle, hence there is much in this month’s report.

5.a Winter festivals

  • S Holledge: See CEC report. NTBCC would have favoured several aspects the (rejected) SNP and Green amendments, such as reaching into the town centres; reviewing with key stakeholders (NTBCC was specifically named here); climate mitigation; paying staff real living wage.
  • Cllr Mitchell: the decision against a joint venture approach was voted for in June. Also, procurement will involve at least 9 town centres. Annual review, focussing on KPIs, will take place. This will be reported in the summer, allowing time for changes to the next festival, via performance improvement plans. (This was why the Liberal Democrat amendment was supported.)
  • Cllr Mitchell: the approach does allow for environmental improvements, if they can be achieved. However, being over-prescriptive would reduce the number of bidders. There is currently insufficient infrastructure to avoid use of diesel generators, or permit use of non-diesel generators. When the transient visitor levy comes in, these funds can be used for local matters such as festival infrastructure. CEC is looking into how it can reduce its subsidies for the festivals. There are break clauses is the procurement documents, so that repetition of past failures can be avoided.
  • C Nimmo: how can CCs respond to the current plans?
  • Cllr Mitchell: if issues arise, these can be covered by the review process.
  • R Price: previously, proposals have been submitted very late. How will this be avoided in the future?
  • Cllr Mitchell: this is covered by the procurement document. If proposals do not arrive in time or relevant KPIs are not met, the festivals will not take place.
  • S Hajducki: the report suggests reduced use of grass surfaces. It would be better to not use them at all, as is done in many other places. (Use of Waverley Bridge rather than Princes St Gardens was suggested.) NTBCC strongly supports using hard standing

5.b Parks and open spaces

  • R Price: there have been discussion about using section 75 money for King George V park.

5.c Nelson monument

  • S Holledge: this has been closed since the pandemic.

5.d Grass-cutting

  • S Holledge: this is linked to ‘no-mow May’.
  • Cllr Mitchell: it builds on existing CEC ‘living landscapes’ policy.
    • Cllr Caldwell: this started in 2018. There is a need for regular reports on it.
  • R Price: previous rewilding schemes have failed, but there are options which may succeed.
  • A Gaillard: grass-cutting can reduce numbers of rats.
  • S Mills: reducing grass-cutting would also reduce use of fossil fuels. There are successful examples in Cramond.
  • L Graham: such schemes need proper management, and advertisement so it’s known what is happening and why.

6 Licensing

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

  • There are no controls on fares charged by private hire cars, unlike taxis.
  • HMO owners refer tenants to CEC website for waste disposal, but this is often confusing.
  • While the judicial review removed some presumptions against issuing STL licenses and requirements for floor-coverings, existing STLs still need to apply for licenses by 1 October 2023, and to have licenses by 1 July 2024.
  • There may be a second judicial review around when planning requirements should apply from.
    • Cllr Mowat: what matters is the planning legislation in force at the date of the decision, so this JR is unlikely to work.
  • I am now posting new alcohol license applications to the NTBCC website, but have not yet received any responses. Various licenses have been granted – see report, Including NTBCC’s stance on licensed hours.
  • There is an application about Gayfield Square:
    • L Graham: there is no way to appeal against this. Planning enforcement is needed. There is no requirement for CEC to advertise applications for such occasional licences.
    • Cllr Mowat: if discrepancies between what exists and what has been licensed occur, CEC will firstly invite the owner to apply for a license for the former.
  • Do takeaway providers who have outdoors tables and chairs need to provide customer toilets?
    • Action: Cllr Mowat to ascertain (Cllr Mowat later reported that they do not.)
  • There was discussion of need for change-of-use permits.
  • S Hajducki: Edinburgh Street Design Guidance appears not to specify how much pavement should be left by outdoors tables and chairs.
    • Cllr Mowat: in general, the minimum is 2 metres. CEC roads will inspect, and have some discretion.

7 Transport

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

  • Are road occupation permits a licensing or a planning matter, and can NTBCC see what has been approved?

7.a Tram works – handover, road safety audit

  • There are questions about what the contractor will deliver, compared to the final plans. Because the trams team has been severely reduced, there are questions over who will enforce around discrepancies.
  • The audit has been competed for stage 3. It is likely that it will increase the defect-work needed.

7.b East London Street petition

  • This petition will be considered by CEC this week. It has 165 signatures so far.
    • Action: M Birch to submit written deputation.
    • Action: NTBCC member to attend this CEC meeting.
  • CEC will discuss repairs to setted streets in October.

7.c Picardy Place – compliance with Edinburgh Street Design Guidance

  • The response to the FOI request was ‘please supply a refined request’. This is a delaying tactic – it is known that the relevant plans exist. NTBCC needs to know whether what is being built is correct. For example, the cycle-path at the top of Broughton St is too narrow because a streetlight has been installed in the wrong place.
    • Action: M Birch to pursue FOI request, and who is responsible for fixing issues.

7.d Participation Request vs. less formal discussions with Transport Officials

  • Quarterly meetings are not delivering what NTBCC wants. There is a lack of statutory involvement of CCs.
    • C Nimmo: CEC requested these meetings, in place of a formal PR, but they are not working.
    • M Birch: a PR could require a lot of work by NTBCC.
    • S Holledge: there are very few successful PRs, because local authorities do not know how to respond to them, or how to engender participation.
    • D Henderson: participation and co-design need to start at the beginning of any process.
    • R Price: because trams etc are nearly finished, NTBCC needs to think of a specific new topic for participation.
    • S Mills: NTBCC’s PR should be based on the recent drop-in sessions on low-traffic zones, and be pragmatic.
    • Action: M Birch to convene NTBCC transport meeting to decide how to improve such engagement.

7.e Other points

  • The deadline for issuing ETROs is now the end of August 2023.
  • CEC has only 18 LEZ cameras, yet there are many more routes into the LEZ, so camera locations may be kept secret.
  • Cllr Caldwell: a consultation on parking for carers should come to the August TEC meeting – I am chasing it.
  • A resident: how long can contractors etc occupy streets?
    • Cllr Mowat: they must apply for more time if they wish to exceed time already permitted. CEC may not have the power to enforce them leaving – I will look into this.

8 Planning

All points made by R Price unless otherwise noted.

  • Action: R Price to issue full planning report.

8.a 108-116 & 118 Dundas Street (22/05886/FUL & 22/05884/CON) Further Hearing on 23 August

  • A DMC hearing on 10 May did not result in a decision notice. Hence the further hearing in August.
  • R Price: all discussion from May 10th has to be disregarded.

8.b Former Smithies site (23/01201/FUL) – 11 flats (10x 2 bed) as approved (To note)

  • Developers are happy to liaise with residents. The approved plans are better than the original ‘ghastly’ version.

8.c Royal High School – funding/downscale

  • M Birch: there will be a meeting to obtain further detail.

8.d Other points

  • K Lochrie: the application for Drummond tennis court lights has been refused.

9 Environment

No discussion

10 Governance

10.a Future planning for Office Bearers

  • C Nimmo: because R Price and I will stand down at NTBCC’s October 2023 AGM, replacements will be needed for chair, vice-chair and planning convenor. Such people must be NTBCC members at the time of appointment.
    • Action: C Nimmo to circulate this need to NTBCC members
    • Action: B Ryan to circulate current CC scheme so NTBCC members are aware of quorum requirements etc
  • C Nimmo: there is uncertainty when the next full CC elections will take place.

10.b CEC upcoming consultation re. community councils boundaries, funding etc

See item 5 of Culture and Communities report for how this consultation came about.

  • S Holledge: I attended the recent unstructured meeting for CC members last week. Now there is a consultation which has very broad questions. I think the main topic is a boundary review, but I am concerned there is insufficient time for this before the next CC elections (due in 2024).
    • S Holledge: the current online consultation is not listed on ConsultationHub home page because it’s not a statutory consultation. A formal consultation will take place later.
  • B Ryan: legislation states that Edinburgh Council can impose whatever it likes in CC schemes.
    • B Ryan: CEC stated on Monday that it has no further budget to enable CCs to improve how they engage with and represent citizens, so all it can really do is change boundaries.
  • S Mills: what would be the point of changing CC boundaries?
    • S Holledge: there are large variances in the numbers of people Edinburgh CCs represent.
    • B Ryan: population changes may call for boundary changes.
    • Cllrs Mitchell and Mowat: boundary changes might deal with, for example, NTBCC overlapping with 3 CEC wards. Many CCs are unhappy because they have to operate across ward boundaries. There are precedents for such changes. The timing will have been decided based on the date of of the next CC elections.
    • Cllr Caldwell: CCs have different numbers of members, in part to deal with population discrepancies.
    • S Holledge/S Hajducki: the scheme does not mention CC boundaries. CEC does not know how they were originally decided. Numbers are not key to CCs working, but senses of community are.
    • Cllr Mowat: CEC used work on ‘natural neighbourhoods’ when changing CC boundaries previously.
    • S Mills: NTBCC should respond to the current consultation, and ask CEC what the criteria for changes are.
  • A Gaillard: NTBCC already lacks full coverage of its area, and this will get worse when CN and RP leave. (NTBCC’s coverage of its north-east area (e.g. Beaverhall/Powderhall) likely will be worst affected when they leave.)
    • D Henderson: NTBCC could engage further with residents’ associations to tackle this.
  • Action: NTBCC to revisit this topic later

11 AGM

  • C Nimmo: this will be an in-person meeting on 9 October.

12 Residents’ open forum/AOCB

  • M Birch: I have drafted the 2022-23 accounts. NTBCC has received its annual grant, but this does not include money for venue-hire. (The amount was based on NTBCC’s 2021-22 costs, which did not include spend on venue hire.) I will pursue this. (M Birch asked the Councillors to also investigate.)
    • D Henderson: because NTBCC has been using C Nimmo’s Zoom account, it will now need to pay for its own.
  • A resident: please advise about licensing for a bar on the corner of Northumberland St and Dundas St.
    • Action: A Gaillard to respond.
  • A resident: it may become necessary for conservation-area residents to spend large amounts of money on insultation, yet this will not reduce energy costs – see reports in https://www.ntbcc.org.uk/insulating-homes-in-a-conservation-area-colonies-windows-guidelines.
    • R Price; these reports arose from a CEC short-term working group. S Holledge attended this, and will attend a further workshop this week.
    • Action: NTBCC to discuss this topic further in September.