NTBCC minutes – Monday 8 September 2014

Minutes of the New Town and Broughton Community Council meeting held on Monday 8 September 2014 in Broughton St Mary’s Church Centre, Bellevue Crescent, Edinburgh. 

Members Present:  Ian Mowat, Chair;  Judy Conn; Lynn Henni; Allan Jack;  Carole Nimmo; Christine Ross;  Richard Price;  Alan Welsh.

Ex-officio members present:   Cllr Joanna Mowat

Police Scotland:  PCs David Scott  and Naomi Henderson

Members of the Public:  Alan McIntosh and John Ross Maclean (Spurtle);  Allan Alstead (Moray Feuars); Lewis Press (Claremont Court Residents Association); Saleem Shafi.

Apologies:  Audrey Cavaye;  Stuart Cowie; Gaby Holden;  James Igoe;  Iain McGill; Richard Corral, Susanna Beaumont, Mark Lazarowicz MP, Cllrs Karen Doran, Alastair Rankin, Deidre Brock, Lesley Hinds.

Presentations:  Gareth Hoskins (Gareth Hoskins Associates), Fraser Littlejohn (Montague Evans) and Gareth Thompson (CDA Architects) re 6-7 St Andrew Square  and Iain Macphail, (CEC City Centre Programme Manager) re transport.

  1. Minutes of the last meeting on 4th August: The minutes were accepted as a true record on the proposal of Carole Nimmo who was seconded by Alan Welsh
  1. Police report: There was a discussion about the value the CC placed on obtaining from the police regular information about crime in the New Town and Broughton.  PC Scott admitted that in the immediate wake of the formation of Police Scotland it had been difficult to provide even approximate figures and it was still not easy to extract statistics from the overall information compiled by the police for the precise area covered by the CC.  Ian Mowat, Chair, emphasised that specific figures were not required; an indication of trends would always suffice.  PC Scott was able to say that over the past month the number of housebreakings appeared to have remained within normal limits with approximately 50% solved.  Coinciding with the Edinburgh Festival there had been the usual annual spike in thefts from individuals and incidents of public disorder.  He said it would not be appropriate or helpful to the businesses concerned for him to comment on the spate of  break ins to local commercial premises mentioned at the August meeting of the CC.   While making clear that the police were not wishing to help market a commercial product he mentioned a potentially useful property marking system available from Smartwater and Smartwater’s  current  introductory offer.  Further information and packs should be available from all police station.
  1. 6-7 St Andrew Square: There was a presentation as part of the Pre-Application Notification (PAN)  process concerning the development by Standard Life of part of a large site on St Andrew Square and South St David’s Street.  Consented schemes applied to the site overall and the PAN concerned only 6-7 St Andrew Square, an important 1960s building which had recently been de-listed by Historic Scotland, thereby freeing it up for total redevelopment (the existing consent had insisted on replication of the original frontage).  A mix of uses – retail on the ground floor, offices and  a roof top restaurant –  was proposed.  The CC welcomed the opening up of the ground floor to retail use and the suggested use of the roof.  As the de-listing of the building had  disposed of any scruples  members might have had about the principle of demolishing such a building discussion focused on the aesthetics of the various elevations proposed, with different views prevailing.   The CC welcomed the fact that the developers were considering ways of enhancing the public realm in the vicinity of the scheme, with an emphasis on creating a better pedestrian/traffic balance, but regretted that little by way of concrete proposals was so far available for discussion at this stage.  A target of 6-7 weeks had been set for submission of a planning application.
  1. Transport:

George Street – Iain Macphail, City Centre Programme Manager, spoke about how the CEC proposed monitoring the success or otherwise of the recent changes to George Street, which were set to remain in place until September 2015.  A private firm had been engaged to carry out a survey of views, starting within the next couple of weeks.  The survey would be randomised but 10% of respondents had to be residents of the New Town and 10% drivers. In collaboration with Edinburgh World Heritage information boards had been set up and an email address was featured with an invitation for people to submit their opinions.  The survey would  be backed up with monitoring of traffic movements in and around George Street and  of air quality. The results would be collated in November 2015.

Young Street – complaints had been received from Young Street residents of an unacceptable increase in traffic along this narrow street.  CEC monitoring had confirmed the increase but Iain Macphail disputed that it stemmed from the George Street changes.  An Experimental Traffic Regulation Order had been proposed which it was hoped could help by reversing the existing one way system in Young Street from west-east to east-west.  The CC had divided opinions on this ETRO.

Hope Street – A proposal to open up Hope Street to two way traffic as part of a general re-think of traffic in the West End. was due to be put to the CEC Transport and Environment Committee.

Picardy Place – the roundabout is included in the entire site covered by the outline planning consent granted to TIAA Henderson Real Estate for their St James Quarter development.  Iain Macphail was at pains to indicate that the CEC was in no way abdicating responsibility for the management of traffic round this crucial city centre hub in putting the initial onus on Henderson to come up with proposals. He insisted that the CEC saw regular inclusive meetings as vital.  They should include all stakeholders – for example, Henderson, St Andrew Square developers (those responsible for recent PANs on both the east and south sides), all bodies concerned with the Leith Walk improvement programme and the National Cycle Network.  CEC would base traffic modelling exercises on all of Henderson’s proposals in order to estimate the knock on effects on streets like London Road or even the Mound of changes to traffic circulation in Picardy Place.  Ian Mowat asked if the CC could be kept in the loop about the progress of discussions on Picardy Place as the CC would struggle if suddenly confronted, unprepared, with a massive planning application for the St James Quarter including, as it would, Picardy Place.  Familiarisation with progress through regular updates would ease consideration of the application when it was finally lodged.  Iain Macphail said he would be happy to come to the CC meeting on 13th October.

20 mph consultation – comments by 17th October. Ian Mowat flagged up a meeting on 16th September at 7pm in the City Chambers. Most thought 20 mph was a desirable maximum speed in the New Town streets which are mainly residential. There was an inconclusive discussion about whether this limit could usefully apply to the arterial streets which are also bus routes – Dundas Street, Howe Street, York Place and Broughton Street- the transport committee was to consider further and bring forward a proposal for the October 13  meeting.

Transport Forum – the CEC was looking for nominations for a representative on the Forum.  Carole Nimmo agreed to have her name put forward. 

  1. Planning: Richard Price, Planning Convener, mentioned two PANs over and above 6-7 St Andrew Square PAN.  The CC had already commented, broadly in favour, on one relating to the erection of flats at  52/52A Annandale Street, replacing a utilitarian call centre.  The CC hoped to meet the developers of  a site including the ex-”Romanov” building  on the corner of St Andrew Square and West Register Street, the subject of another PAN.  Possible wide ranging uses for the site were proposed – residential, serviced apartments, retail, office, restaurant – with public exhibitions on 4th and 5th November. The CC had objected to changes to the front and rear of the building at 30 Dundas Street in a Tesco application. Strong objections had  been made to construction of a road at Sandy Bank – application now withdrawn.  A scheme for a basement at Gayfield Place to which the CC had objected had been granted consent.  The application for 34b Haddington Place (previously subject to a PAN) had now been submitted with comments due by 3rd October.
  1. Environment:

Waste management – the CC had noted a number of complaints from residents who were disturbed by the recent arrival of large general waste containers on their streets without any apparent prior consultation.  By way of indicating that consultation had in fact taken place the CC had posted on the CC website a Services for Communities report to the CEC Transport and Environment Committee.  This report provided details of consultation but as it was dated November 2011 and related to talks going back to 2010 it was hardly surprising if any consultation had been forgotten or no longer seemed particularly relevant to residents.  As it happened waste management staff had now met some residents, notably from Albany Street, and  had turned out to be gratifyingly accommodating of differences and flexible in response.  However, an increasing amount of dissatisfaction was also being voiced locally about poor  practice in the collection of rubbish from the already existing bins.  Given the unavailability of the current leader of the waste management team in the World Heritage Site, her predecessor Angus Murdoch had agreed to attend the CC meeting on 13th October  and take questions.   The CC noted the helpful activity of the NewTownCleanStreetsCampaign which was encouraging people to tweet photos and news of litter, overflowing bins, burst bags etc directly to the CEC street cleaning task force, generating, it claimed, a high level of prompt action.

Green Flags – Hopetoun Crescent Garden had just been awarded its fourth Green Flag and the King George V Park its first.  This is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the UK.

  1. Licensing – Alan Welsh mentioned only one application to which it seemed appropriate to object – extension of licensing hours until 1am, including the outdoor space, at 176 Rose Street. The CC had always taken the view that 10 pm should be the deadline for outdoor drinking.
  1. Treasurer’s Report: None this month.
  1. City Centre Neighbourhood Partnership: Lynn Henni who represents the CC on the NP Board reminded members that the next open meeting would be held on 13th November, but she could nto attend. IM noted and would nominate a substitute for the NP Board, although all CC members were encouraged to attend.  Safer Communities would be the focus.
  1. St Stephen’s Church: on account of some complaints from neighbours about noise the clock chime had been silenced. Historically, responsibility for the clock had rested with the City Council but the situation was now unclear as the building had been sold.  Cllr Mowat hoped that the matter could be resolved in some way.  Could the chime perhaps be timed to be silenced at night?
  1. Date of Next Meeting: 13th October 2014 at 7.30pm at Broughton St Mary’s Church, Bellevue Crescent, the Drummond Room.