NTBCC minutes – Monday 14 December 2020

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Monday 14 December 2020 at 7pm

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

Edinburgh Council has stated that ‘CCs can approve minutes, and take other decisions, remotely’, as so long as they ensure that ‘remote meetings are as accessible to members of the public and (as) well-advertised as possible’.

Technology check

The meeting opened online at 6:45 pm to enable all attendees to connect before the start of business. Despite this, there were meeting-passwords issues that delayed or prevented participants joining.

1 Attendance/apologies for absence, membership update, précis of meeting

1.a Attendance

Mike Birch NTBCC, RRCTMA Carol Nimmo NTBCC
David Clarke NTBCC Nicholas Reid NTBCC, India St Association
Susan Duff NTBCC Richard Price NTBCC
Jonathan Finn NTBCC Sheila Warnock NTBCC, Great King St RA
Laura Graham NTBCC Peter Williamson NTBCC, Picardy Residents
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Mark Lazarowicz Better Broughton
Simon Holledge NTBCC Martin McDonnell Better Broughton
Jack Hugh NTBCC Piotr Mazur Better Broughton
Jenni Inglis NTBCC, FRRCRA Shona Littlejohn Better Broughton
James Kilner NTBCC 11 residents/visitors~
Susan MacInnes NTBCC

1.b Apologies for absence

Susannna Beaumont NTBCC Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward
Stuart McAllister NTBCC Cllr Jo Mowat City Centre ward
Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North and Leith

1.c Membership update

  • Jenni Inglis was welcomed as a new voting member, representing Fettes Row & Royal Crescent Residents’ Association.
  • James Kilner resigned from NTBCC, effective from the end of this meeting. He was thanked for all his contributions.

1.d Précis of meeting

M Birch to do this

2 Minutes of 9 November meeting (via Zoom) and matters arising

Accepted as-is (proposed L Graham, seconded S MacInnes, ND)

2.a Matters arising

  • Due to inability to attend, Cllr Mowat could not report on her actions noted in the November minutes.
  • Other actions had either been carried out or are covered below.

3 Police Report

See full report in Appendix 1. This was supplied the day after the meeting.

4 Transport

See also appendix 14 of November minutes and CEC report at http://www.ntbcc.org.uk/here2/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Spaces-for-People-Update-November-2020.pdf

4.a Presentation from representatives from ‘Better Broughton’ followed by Q & A

4.a.i Presentation

M Lazarowicz: he and other residents of this area wish to improve it, in the absence of other groups specifically focusing on Broughton St (BS). Better Broughton (BB) has developed some short-term and long-term ideas around active travel, less pollution and congestion, better place[making]. BB held a virtual public meeting recently. BB now has a website at https://betterbroughton.wordpress.com.

Short-term/temporary proposals (connected with Spaces for People) include expanded pavements, an uphill cycle-lane to facilitate passage through and to BS. BB recognizes that BS is narrow and so cannot accommodate all possible uses. Hence BB has a use-hierarchy with pedestrians at the top. The proposed cycle-lane would also help reduce speeding.

S Littlejohn: BS is not being used maximally as an asset in terms of community development – the local vibrancy is challenged by high traffic levels, in part due to the tram-works and coronavirus. BB focuses on place-making, and is exploring ideas such as the ‘15 minute neighbourhood’, place standards and ‘Totally Locally’. Potential local spending is significant, but is checked by traffic levels. BB is also keen on a longer-term consultative process. BB is now aware that BS will be closed during tram-works on Picardy Place. It hopes that local business will be supported during this (as have Leith Walk and Constitution St businesses), and suggests that there are opportunities for (1) a local collective website that would show independent retail offerings and the history of the area; (2) investing in conversation with local businesses to maximise benefits from the tram and St James quarter work.

4.a.ii Q&A

  • M Birch: I agree that local issues are not just around transport, but overlap with environment and planning issues. What is BB’s background and membership. How does BB plan to work with other local groups?
    • M Lazarowicz: a couple of us were involved with Living Streets Edinburgh and Spokes. BB now has a core/steering group (the four BB representatives at this meeting). BB only formally started about 5 weeks ago. Development of governance is in progress. It does not aim to take away from other local groups, but there is no local group specifically focussing on BS. (There were such groups but these appear to have ceased.)
  • M Birch: to what extent has BB used SfP/commonplace tool to develop its proposals?
    • M Lazarowicz: proposals came from a combination of a relevant report, a CEC report, BB’s own ideas, comments sent to BB. The overall process was informal.
    • M Birch: the majority of comments on the commonplace tool are about pedestrian experience, so it is welcome that this is high on BB’s priorities.
    • M Lazarowicz: 110 people requested wider pavements, 75 mentioned traffic, 50 want a cycle lane. BB believes its proposals are in tune with this.
    • M Birch: NTBCC is also pleased that CEC has prioritized this area for further action.
  • M Birch: BB aims to improve the lot of [local] pedestrians and cyclists.
    • M Lazarowicz: we won’t get all that we hope for but welcome the debate and input from others.
  • P Williamson: It’s not correct that there is no organization representing Broughton St. The Picardy Residents’ Association (PRA, now about 4 years old) does cover Broughton St.
    • M Lazarowicz: Apologies. I was not aware of PRA’s remit re BS. BB is about people who live on, work in and use BS.
    • P Williamson: PRA welcomes working with others but wishes to avoid confusion over who does what, and what is being proposed. Can BB and PRA meet soon about aims?
    • M Lazarowicz: absolutely
  • S Holledge: Has BB done an audit of BS to understand potentials for improvement, and what the space will support?
    • M Lazarowicz: a BB member has done a partial one. A full community consultation necessitates a full audit.
    • S Littlejohn: BB has not been going long enough to do a full audit.
    • S Holledge: a full detailed audit might lead to different proposals for the area.
    • M Lazarowicz: that’s hypothetical, but BB is open to suggestions.
  • J Inglis: have you thought of pulling things together under a local place plan, (as per Planning Scotland (2019) Act)?
    • M Birch: the new local development plan provides an opportunity for local place plans, but this is a long-term matter. The current focus is on short-term initiatives.
  • D Clarke: this is a good initiative, coming from grass roots. Co-ordination matters
    • L Graham: concerning the ’15 minute neighbourhood’ idea, other big cities are doing this but Edinburgh is rather hilly. I support a greater focus being given to pedestrians. (I cycle, but not in Edinburgh because it’s too dangerous.)
    • S LittleJohn: BB aims not to be polarised, e.g. pedestrians or cyclists. It supports all active travel, including wheeling. BB is not a cyclist-only group.
    • Martin McDonnell: A reason for creating cycle lanes is the current danger just mentioned, as is finding less hilly routes.
    • Piotr Mazur: Pedestrians are at the top of the hierarchy, but cycling is important to sustainability and community building. Concerning street audits, I was involved in one recently that found similar issues to the ones being raised. An audit is necessary but we have not had the resources yet.
  • C Nimmo: NTBCC covers the first, second and third new towns. During lockdown, absence of cars made this a great place to live. If traffic lessens on BS, it will be by displacement into other parts of the NTBCC area – a huge issue for NTBCC. BS is an important vehicular route, and so it faces many challenges.
    • D Henderson: Public transport is very important as well as Drummond Community High School attracts pupils from across Edinburgh as it provides specialist services.
  • M Birch: thanks to BB representatives for speaking this evening. Thank you for making definite proposals. It is now time to improve the area both in the short term and the long term, including a vision for the area.

4.b Other SfP updates from 12th November TEC from Transport Committee Convenor

  • M Birch: BS is clearly part of this topic. We have received final plans about London Rd. The section between Easter Rd and Leith Walk will have a west-bound cycle lane. Some questions still need to be asked, especially around how this cycle path will fit with tram-construction on Leith Walk.
  • We have received some traffic modeling information. This highlighted provisional plans to close both Queen St and Broughton St. However, this section is being further reviewed. NTBCC is also concerned about East London St: there is a significant issue here about traffic coming from the bus garage. Other closures would have led to significant additional traffic.
  • TROs for all of the tram-route are due in January. Consultation will happen but the Tram Act 2006 limits scope for change. That is, objections can’t go to the Scottish Government reporter, only to CEC.

4.c Other issues

  • M Birch: the commonplace tool showed a pedestrian crossing on London Road needs improvement. (It has a small central reservation and two sets of lights, leading to people being congested on the reservation and hence unable to socially distance without going onto the road.) CEC responded that it could not act here due to tram works. However CEC ignored the tram works when considering the cycle lane on London Rd.
    • Action: M Birch to approach Leith Central CC for joint work on this.

5 Public Spaces Management Plan

See also meeting-note in Appendix 2

  • S Holledge: NTBCC is now familiar with this very complex pre-consultation, focusing on use of public spaces for events and filming. One criticism of the process so far is that it focuses on events, rather than management. But the CEC culture and communities convener now wishes it to live up to its full title. NTBCC now has a 6-member team, and is working on the topics in the consultation. It will pull these together into an NTBCC document around 20 January 2021.
    • C Nimmo: towards the end of this process, the team will ask for the full CC’s input and support.

5.a Update following The Cockburn Association / EACC meetings on PSMP

  • S Holledge: I have the recording of the EACC meeting. Let me know if you want to see this.

5.b NTBCC input to PSMP

See above

6 George Street & First New Town Project

  • S Holledge: I am very positive about the direction of this process: from 2025, there will be no buses on George St; cycling will be in the main traffic area; the design is now simpler and more attractive. There is some controversy over the greenery to be introduced.
    • C Nimmo: much of the symmetry will be reintroduced.
    • S MacInnes: the decision to remove buses may not be final. I am not totally impressed with answers about thinking through displacement of traffic, but I am impressed with thoughts on landscaping. It is unlikely that fairground rides will be here in the future. There will be more chances to comment in the future.
    • C Nimmo: while implementation of the project has been postponed, decisions are being rushed by CEC, and CEC does not welcome other views.
  • D Henderson: My worry is the displaced traffic as I live just outside the boundary and the bus jams on Princes Street, as happens during the fringe, when George St is closed. There will be more traffic with the opening of St James, especially on Queen St.
    • S MacInnes: I agree – I raised this issue in both sessions I attended. The ‘expectation’ of reduction in traffic doesn’t match up with the huge car park being provided in the St James development.
    • S Holledge: CEC expects traffic reduction throughout the city centre but NTBCC may think this is a little naive.
    • D Clarke: are any data available?
    • S Holledge: some plans are coming through, with expectations of people moving from cares to bikes, but no data.
    • M Birch: this is a good question. I asked what will happen when St James opens, with much additional traffic. All traffic modeling for trams is out of date, so decisions are not based on relevant data.
    • C Nimmo: Can we ask for a meeting with CEC on this?
  • R Price: the majority of George St traffic is buses and service vehicles, rather than private traffic. (Cross-streets do have private traffic). Buses would need to go via Queen St and Princes St.

7 Environment

7.a Summary of agreed Committee Structure

See also paper in Appendix 3

P Williamson: NTBCC handles a wide range of environment topics via its environment committee, but now divides them into topics, each with an individual lead:

  • natural environment (including parks and green spaces): S Holledge;
  • built environment: S Hajducki
  • local place-making: P Williamson

The committee will meet early in 2021 to work out its agenda, which issues fit under each topic and to agree priorities.

7.b Communal Bin Review – update including Residents’ Associations input

C Nimmo: I recently met with representatives from many Edinburgh residents’ groups. CEC has moved a consultation on this to the beginning of 2021. However, pre-consultation engagement is anticipated.

8 Planning

See also report in Appendix 4.

8.a Latest Powderhall (ex-Bowling Green area) – Public Event 8/9th December

  • P Price: there has been much consultation about this area over the past 3-4 years. There are 3 main areas: category-B listed stable block on Broughton Rd; bowling greens; waste-transfer site (now demolished, and used for tram-construction). The stable block is due to become community space and artists’ studios. CEC now has budget from regeneration and other funds. A relevant planning application was approved in late 2019 – this will improve matters.
  • The current consultation is about the bowling greens and the redundant condemned pavilion. CEC is close to bringing forward an application to relocate Broughton Primary School’s nursery into a new-build on the bowling green. This will be based on intergenerational living, i.e. sheltered housing above and adjacent to the nursery. The buildings (3 and 4 stories in an L shape) will be behind trees on Broughton Rd. The plans appear to be broadly OK and supported.
    • Other elements include work on the path to St Mark’s park. This is currently fenced on both sides, narrow, used by many to access the north Edinburgh cycle-routes. Many utilities run under the path so it can’t be built on. SO the proposals will be to widen it, and create a plaza which is the only vehicular access point to the site. The wider development on the waste transfer site will also be car-free. (Unfortunately the relevant slides were inaccessible.)
  • Resident: I have the police box on Broughton Rd – this is in the path of this development. The development itself is good, and fits community needs. Where will the site’s vehicular entrance be? (This is not shown on available plans.) Consultation documents show my box being rotated by 90° and moved, but it’s not shown where on actual plans. Since the consultation, I have been told that a CEC official will speak with me tomorrow, so please advise how I can engage with this. I have many questions over the vague and unavailable details – I have been told nothing.
    • R Price: I don’t know more than the plans I shared with the resident this morning. The official is from CEC’s 21st-century housing. Also CEC education is involved. So the resident’s request to speak with CEC was worthwhile. The consultation has some firm ideas but may be aiming too high. I don’t understand why changing the police box and the entrance is needed. So I suggest talking with CEC, aiming for a mutually agreed way forward. If this is not possible, the resident and NTBCC should talk again.
    • L Graham: are police boxes (and their orientations) protected/listed?
    • R Price: this is post-PAN – a full application may arrive this month. R Price: some are listed.
      • Action: R Price to check whether this box is listed

8.b Update on 108-116 Dundas Street (20/03923/PAN) Pre-consultation

  • R Price: The developer has now summarised the points raised at NTBCC’s November meeting, responded to them, and added this to its ‘pre-application consultation’ (PAC) report, following the Edinburgh Concordat. However, this report is short and lacking detail. The developer has updated its website to cover points raised via such consultation.
    • However, there is no real response to concerns about the building line: the website says that no important organisations have raised this issue. However NTBCC has heard that this is a big concern to local residents. When the PAC report was discussed by CEC’s DMSC, this issue was raised by Cllr Mowat, as was the row of trees here (symmetrical with one on the other side of the road). Hence CEC planners need to take due regard of these matters.
      • Action: R Price to put a link on NTBCC website to the comments by Scott Hobbs planning about this site, and circulate the PAC report.
      • Action: NTBCC must then state whether it adequately reflects the consultation outcomes.
    • Resident: Thank for noting our concerns about loss of trees, building line and lack of consideration of keeping the existing building.
    • R Price: the developers stated that they are happy to meet with locals to understand concerns. Details are TBC
  • J Kilner: where will the large rubbish and recycling point move to? It is right next to Centurum House on Fettes Row? It’s a big, heavily used recycling point.
    • R Price: good question, but I don’t know the answer.

9 Engagement/Communications

See also report in Appendix 5

S Holledge: the engagement/comms ctte recently discussed NTBCC’s paper archives and a new flyer stating 2021 meetings. The latter will be laminated and distributed.

  • R Price: I’m surprised that dates were decided by this committee and not by the full NTBCC. NTBCC should not state it will meet and then not do so.
  • C Nimmo: NTBCC needs to meet more often now due to volume of business. These are preferred dates.
  • L Graham: meeting online is welcome, e.g. when I’m in N Ireland. (S Duff seconded this, speaking from Fife and noting numbers of residents attending online.)
    • S Holledge: we hope for hybrid meetings to facilitate these.
    • C Nimmo: there are some advantages to in-person meetings. Recent big issues may have boosted attendance.
    • D Clarke: chairing hybrid meetings is tough. Also, NTBCC will need to consider audio quality.
    • R Price: I agree that hybrid is a worthwhile aim. However, NTBCC needs to consider how to do it, because it’s not straightforward and may require finance. NTBCC could ask CEC for relevant budget.
    • Edinburgh Quakers have just invested in relevant technology. Has NTBCC’s normal venue?
  • Vote: NTBCC should meet 11 times in 2021 (not July) was carried.
    • There was a suggestion to advertise now only the first 6 months’ meetings.

10 Licensing

See also report in Appendix 6

  • S MacInnes: the agenda for this week’s licensing board was not easily available.
    • There will be a police-requested review of the opening of St Vincent bar. Its off-sales impact NTBCC’s area.
    • NTBCC objected last month to a bar at the top of Dublin St extending its licensed premises. Decision is not available.
      • R Price: do pubs need licenses for off-sales?
      • S MacInnes: yes, and presumably do so. The problem is ‘informal beer gardens’, including lack of sanitation.
    • J Finn: It has just been published that future licensing board meetings will be on the last Monday of each month.

11 Local residents’ associations/local interest groups

  • J Inglis: there is a consultation on the former RBS site on CEC’s planning portal due to slightly amended plans. These appear to be a bit better, but there is still much deviance from the local development plan. RCFRRA hopes that NTBCC can ask for an extension to time for comments. The chief planning officers has reported on the change from the formerly planned hotel to current plans for flats. and some cllrs have raised issues around green space. The developers must now respond to these. Has NTBCC received the PAC report?
    • R Price: NTBCC did not comment on this PAN. (There are widely diverging views on the hotel.) I will ask on Thursday.

12 Any other business

  • A resident: concerning graffiti, J Kilner’s solution has worked. We painted over graffiti and it has not reappeared.
  • R Price: concerning deputations to CEC. The written ‘deputations’ are not working. Transport and Environment ctte received 102 pages but just confirmed that members had read them, rather than engaging with them. Hence we need to get our cllrs to enable online deputations.
    • M Birch: I have experienced this too. A CEC official tells me that the process is being reviewed, so saying this now would be timely. EACC should state this too.
  • C Nimmo: RRCTMA will have carols on Zoom tomorrow night.

13 Appendix 1: police report

This month has seen a continued theme of many calls regarding house parties and indoor gatherings contrary to COVID guidelines which will be partly due to the closure of the pubs and entertainment venues and also extra vigilance due to great public concerns over the spread of Corona virus. These are investigated and education given where appropriate but should repeat offenders be found tickets and fines are being issued. We are in my humble opinion past the point of more education when this issue has been with us for far too long now. A more robust approach is being taken where circumstances merit.

Outdoors has also seen more calls re groups gathering. in the New town this has perhaps been linked to some licensed premises serving alcohol to take away. We have been investigating issues in relation to a couple of such premises and have been giving attention and liaising with management, the licensing board and Licensing standards officers. Some parts of the town lend themselves to informal gatherings such a sets of stairs etc and people’s needs to be sociable are leading to problems for locals. Police and partners interventions seem to have eased matters here but we are keeping a watching eye on this.

There have also been youths gathering in the town again from all over the city and drinking and causing a nuisance. They are perhaps standing out more due to the lack of other persons around of an evening in the town and we have had extra patrols on a Friday evening when this is most problematic. Possible sources of alcohol have been visited to prevent the drink being obtained and other alcohol has been seized and poured away. Calton Hill has seen such visitors and likewise the gardens off Queen Street (for which we have keys when the need arises).

A drinking den was set up at York Lane behind a hotel being used for homeless accommodation, again residents cannot meet up in the accommodation so had set up a tarpaulin and make shift furniture for informal gatherings. We have since removed same and visited with the hotel and local residents and the occupier of the parking area to address same and again continue to patrol here to deter this kind of activity. It turns out our police van can fit a surprising number of wooden pallets….

There was an attempt HB at Forres Street with a door forced but no entry gained. Also there was a break in to shop premises on Hanover Street but our hapless criminal wore a bright red coat and was caught nearby carrying lots of goods from the shop, he was locked up accordingly. Another good result was the recovery of a stolen electric bike from Heriot Row by officers on a special operation targeting bike crime, another prolific offender arrested.

14 Appendix 2: notes of meeting on PSMP (2020_12_01)

14.a Division of labour:

  • C Nimmo, L Graham: legal issues, including the Common Good Register/Land.
  • P WIlliamson: financial and business issues, such financial sustainability, investment, subsidies, TVL, impact on and opportunities for local business etc.
  • R Price, S Hajducki: community, residents and general social issues.
  • S Holledge: air and noise pollution and other environmental issues.

14.b Registration

We each register with the ‘engagement’ at https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/sfc/b24acf90 using our own names.

14.c Writing

We write short ‘ideas’ and circulate them to the PSMP group, waiting (say) 24 hours before posting on the website. (Please don’t be shy about copyediting each other’s work — opinions look a lot better without typos!)

14.d NTBCC submission

We intend to consolidate all our contributions into a single NTBCC submission document. Richard has kindly offered to be the editor of the submission, but may need our assistance in processing the information.

14.e Meetings

14.f Work style

We will be working by email. If anyone thinks we need to come together for a Zoom discussion, please say so.

14.g PSMP Team

C Nimmo, L Graham, R Price, S Hajducki, P Williamson, S Holledge

15 Appendix 3: Environment committee paper

At the NTBCC Business Meeting on the 19th September the scope of the Environment Committee was discussed but not resolved. There was talk of a follow up meeting, but this has not yet been organised. I offered to put some thoughts down on paper, which follow below.

There is certainly an issue about the potential breadth of the remit of the Committee in terms of subject areas that need to be covered. As has been raised, there is also however a need to make sure that NTBCC members are not spread too thinly across several Committees.

I therefore suggest as a possible way forward that the following changes are implemented:

  • The Committee’s name is changed to the Physical Environment and Environmental Services
  • Formal leads for Parks and Green Space, Waste And Related Services, Biodiversity/Pollution and Community Place-Making are appointed. (The last of these would include heritage issues. There will also have to be liaison with Transport and Planning Committees on Place Making.)
  • The current membership is increased by at least another additional two members on top of the current eight.
  • The Chair is responsible for convening the group whose principal functions will be determining the priorities for current action under the heading of Environment and for generally supporting the work of the Committee within NTBCC. A particular concern here will be to make sure that there are sufficient people to take forward the NTBCC’s Environment agenda in an effective and timely manner. However, the work on specific priorities and responding to initiatives from CEC and other bodies will fall to the individual leads of the relevant subject areas who will work with 3/4 other Committee members in a working group.
  • The Environment Committee will continue to be the formal mechanism for making sure that the Community Council is informed about and engaged in environment matters, although we would expect the individual leads to have responsibility for reporting back rather than the Chair.

These changes are not so different from what was agreed when the Committee (in its reconvened form) had its face to face meeting in February.

The alternative that some Community Council members wish to have separate committees for its ‘environment’ agenda should be considered, but it would seem that we might need three committees to cover the environment work.

Anyhow, this ‘half-way house’ is put forward for discussion. I am also willing to relinquish chairing the Committee if these new arrangements were to go forward but also I am equally more than happy to carry on if that is helpful.

For the record, the current membership of the Environment Committee is: P Williamson (C), C Nimmo, S Hajducki,
L Graham, S McAllister, S Holledge, R Price, J Hugh, S Warnock

Peter Williamson 14 December 2020

16 Appendix 4: Planning report

16.a Major Applications – Current

16.a.i ‘New Town Quarter (NTN)’

Application submitted in early September for redevelopment of the former RBS site on Dundas Street – includes 144 ’Build to Rent’ (BTR) residential units, 117 private residential units and 88 Mid-Market Rent (MMR) = 349 residential units in total (the 88 MMR units meet the 25% ‘affordable units’ requirement on site) – this is coupled with office space, retail / leisure space & a 116 room hotel.

Main application was 20/03034/FUL accompanied by an application for ‘Complete Demolition in a Conservation Area’ (20/03661/CON)

There was a 3rd application specifically covering the access from the new development into King George V Park (20/03655/FUL) – which covered ‘Formation of Path & Associated Landscaping’. Proposes removing 5 trees (3 defined as viable) to allow a wide split entrance into the park in the south-west corner, for pedestrians (steps) & cyclists / ‘wheelers’ by a ramp.

NTBCC representations submitted for 20/03655/FUL (Access into the Park) – neutral stance but reflecting many comments received from the Friends of the Park etc. & also an objection to the main application (20/03034/FUL) and a further representation to 20/03661/CON.

A further application is expected for an alternative option (labelled ‘NTN1’) on part of the New Town Quarter site (designated as ‘Plot 1’, covering the northern-most section on Dundas Street – from the proposed new access way from Dundas St. to KGV Park to Eyre Place – i.e. the proposed location for the hotel in the base scheme – but omitting the hotel & replacing it with a further 79 residential units. This scheme is subject to a separate Pre-Application consultation (20/03825/PAN) – with the consultation process approved. This application was expected to be brought forwards once the developers were comfortable that issues with base application had been resolved.

However, further amended documentation has been submitted against the base application – a number of changes to the previously-submitted scheme. Given that these have been determined as material, a further period of consultation has been proposed by the Planning officer from 12 December until 11 January 2021. It is normal in this situation that previous comments submitted would still be considered as part of the overall determination but further comments on the proposed changes can be made.

From an initial inspection, there are some changes which are seen as an improvement but many of the others, whilst perhaps being welcome, do not address the original concerns raised by NTBCC & others. There is a scheduled discussion with the developers on Thursday 17 December. In addition, given the proposed consultation is over the festive period and finishes before the next scheduled NTBCC meeting, it is intended that NTBCC request a short extension.

On a separate but related note, there has been a word order raised by the Council’s Forestry Dept. for removal of 61 trees from the neighbouring KGV Park (& replanting 40 trees and 25 shrubs). This appears to be unrelated to the above applications and the Friends of the Park are fully involved.

A full summary of the proposal is on the NTBCC website www.ntbcc.org.uk/king-george-v-park-update-to-tree-removal-replanting-proposal/

16.a.ii 109/111 Princes Street & frontage on Rose Street (Debenhams) – 20/02952/PAN

Details of this previously circulated to NTBCC & the Pre-application online consultation was hosted on the project website www.111princesstreet.co.uk in September.

“Proposed redevelopment + change of use of the existing premises to form Hotel with rooftop bar / restaurant, active uses at lower floors including restaurant/ bar/ retail/ flexible meeting/event space, health suite / gym, together with ancillary uses, associated works, alterations / demolitions (Use Classes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 11 & Sui Generis)

The application has now been formally lodged (20/05444/FUL & 20/05442/LBC) – with period for comments open until Friday 8 January.(post-meeting update – now 12 January)

Without looking at the detail – the proposal as lodged is probably uncontentious, and has not attracted many comments to date

20/05444/FUL “Proposed redevelopment and change of use of existing premises to form Hotel with rooftop bar / restaurant, active uses at lower floors including restaurant / bar / retail / flexible meeting / event / venue space, health suite / gym, together with ancillary uses, associated works / alterations / demolitions (Use Classes 1/2/3/4/7/11 and Sui Generis) at 109,110,111 Princes St., 112 Princes St. and 144-150 Rose St. 109, 110 And 111 Princes Street, 112 Princes Street And 144-150 Rose Street (Debenhams)”

 

16.a.iii Edinburgh Christmas (East Princes Street Gardens & George Street)

Following a report presented to the Council Policy & Sustainability Committee meeting on 24 August which outlined the approach, plans submitted by Underbelly for a ‘scaled-back’ and ‘spread out’ ‘Edinburgh’s Christmas’ across 3 sites :

  • East Princes St Gardens (20/03707/FUL)

“Erection of Edinburgh’s Christmas at East Princes Street Gardens including Christmas Market Stalls, Fairground rides, Box Offices, Associated Site Offices, Stores and Ancillary Facilities (Proposed Application for two years – 2020 – 2021 and 2021 – 2022)”

Approved at DMSC with conditions for Winter 2021 (Key conditions – amongst others – cover operating hours, further definition of exact layout, tree protection, protection of Remembrance Garden)

  • George St/Castle St (20/03708/FUL)

Erection of Edinburgh’s Christmas at George Street and Castle Street, including Christmas Market Stalls, Ice Rink, Plant and Boot Room, Around the Corner Bar, Box Office, Associated Site Offices, Stores and Ancillary Facilities (Proposed Application for two years – 2020 – 2021 and 2021 – 2022)”

Approved at DMSC with conditions for Winter 2021. (Key conditions – amongst others – cover operating hours, Covid-19 compliance, further definition of exact layout, noise attenuation)

16.a.iv Powderhall Stables (20/03161/FUL)

Refurbishment of stable block application was approved.

“Proposal to extensively repair and refurbish existing stables building, including demolition of some internal elements, renewal of all services, replacement of windows and rooflights, stone and roof repairs. Current use is office and workshop. Proposed use is office, artist studios and function/cafe space”.

Funding in place (via the Scottish Government) and ongoing discussions with a potential operator. NTBCC broadly supportive.

Recent consultation, prior to a planning application being submitted in early December, covering the proposed development on the front (ex) bowling greens. Webinar covered comprehensively by the Spurtle here www.broughtonspurtle.org.uk/news/latest-news-powderhall-development

Although the presentation slides are not yet available – a useful overview can be seen below

A 3 / 4 storey building on the front two bowling greens – built to Passivhaus standards (consistent with Edinburgh’s target for carbon neutrality by 2030) which incorporates a nursery & inter-generational living apartments above, as well as a plaza serving the wider development and upgrades to the path to St Mark’s Park.

Planning application expected in the next few weeks.

A few interesting snippets : (1) desire from the architects (Collective Architecture) & CEC to form an east-west path from Dunedin Street (within the Powderhall development) but needs agreement on sale / lease of land under the collective ownership of the Powderhall Village Owners’ Association. (2) Probable use of the rear green space by Broughton Primary (but unclear as to exact details / responsibilities / public access) but intent to demolish the (condemned) pavilion there & (3) discussions ongoing as to the relocation of the Police box / coffee kiosk at the head of the existing path to St Mark’s park.

16.a.v 108 – 116 & 118 Dundas Street

Following presentation at November’s NTBCC meeting by Scott Hobbs Planning & Morgan McDonnell Architecture, draft PAC report received and also an update on their website on the feedback received from the consultation www.108-116dundasstreet.co.uk/your-feedback/

Key issues covered:

Affordable Housing (based on the 44 units proposed a total of 11 would be required to be affordable);

Proposed Building Uses (currently proposing around 44 flats, with a mix of different types and sizes and 3 commercial units which would contain office/ retail/ restaurant-café uses);

Proposed Building Line, Height & Massing (has been developed following initial pre-application consultation with Edinburgh Council, Historic Environment Scotland, and Edinburgh World Heritage. The initial proposals have also been developed following an appraisal of the site and surrounding context, including the proposals opposite the site at the former RBS offices);

Impact on Neighbouring Buildings (the planning application will include a Design & Access Statement and daylight & sunlight assessment to demonstrate there will be no unacceptable impacts on neighbouring properties resulting from the proposed development. Regarding insulation/sound proofing, the proposed development will comply with the relevant building standards);

Parking and Traffic (108 cycle spaces & 33 car parking spaces, 2 designed to be accessible & 6 with EV charging points incl. the lowest level of the development. This is in accordance with the current Edinburgh Design Guidance for the number of flats proposed) .It is anticipated that most of the car parking demand can be accommodated by these spaces. It also mentions that allocation of any on-street permit parking will be agreed with Edinburgh Council (but my understanding is that they would not be eligible under current policy);

Loss of Trees (proposing to remove the existing trees around the building. Historic Environment Scotland and Edinburgh Council Planning have been consulted and do not oppose this loss of trees);

Building Reuse (fully considered but “there were various factors which have led to this not being progressed”).

Overall – these responses are slightly disappointing & the PAC does not cover the significant concerns raised by local residents wrt the chosen building line.

But the agents want to engage with local residents and have requested NTBCC help to facilitate this.

Intent is for NTBCC to respond to the PAC report in the coming days.

16.a.vi 12 – 14 Picardy Place Pre-consultation

NTBCC members and a local resident took part in a pre-consultation meeting with developers of this site fronting Picardy Place & backing onto Broughton Street Lane (The Outhouse). Proposal is refurbish and retain the listed buildings on Picardy Place but to demolish existing outshoots to the rear & rebuild more extensively.

The owners’ website states “Working with the Silvermills Estates & Land, Stone Acre are leading this project to turn a tired pair of town houses into a new 70 bed hotel with restaurant and bar space….. this complicated development involves the transformation of a former 10 bedroom hotel with restaurant and bar space, into a much larger and modern hotel. A new large extension is envisaged to increase the room numbers, and a modern lightweight roofing system is planned to create an exciting bar and restaurant space on a former external courtyard area”.

NTBCC’s initial summary is that the thrust of the developers is to about the necessary scale of the redevelopment (& the minimum number of hotel rooms) to ensure viability. NTBCC’s general view was that although it’s directly adjacent to the Holiday Inn, another hotel in that location isn’t a show-stopper, as it’s not an ideal location for long term residential use and the location does benefit from close proximity to good transport links (new Picardy Place tram-stop) and close to the Playhouse and other attractions. It would however add to the 2 existing hotel offerings as well as the recently-consented STL block on Greenside Place.

Opening up a through route from northern side of Picardy Place via the proposed glazed courtyard to a bar at the rear (the current Outhouse bar) has both advantages & attractions. It should improve the general look & amenity of the mews lane.

Full planning application expected imminently.

16.a.vii Proposed Filmhouse Development

Although slightly outwith NTBCC’s area, following a pre-consultation, a planning application for a proposed new home for the Filmhouse cinema and the EIFF in Festival Square has been submitted.

The proposal has been reduced in height by two storeys to bring it into line with a neighbouring office block in response to comments submitted during the pre-consultation.

Fair to say – it has divided opinion…

Not yet lodged on the planning portal.

More here www.scotsman.com/whats-on/arts-and-entertainment/revealed-new-plan-temple-film-edinburgh-city-centre-3066411

Richard Price, 13 December 2020

17 Appendix 5: Communications report

Regarding the archives, it was agreed that S Warnock would liaise with City Archives about their conditions for accepting our documents, and work with C Nimmo and A Welsh to determine the quantity of papers involved and their condition.

For the purposes of a meeting notice, it was decided that NTBCC Meetings in 2021 would be on 11 Jan, 8 Feb, 8 March, 12 April, 10 May, 14 June, 9 Aug, 13 Sept, 11 Oct, 8 Nov and 13 Dec.

Deirdre Henderson offered to draft and design the 2021 meeting notice, and she produced a draft on 8 December. Printing arrangements have yet to be decided. Sometime between now and 11 Jan we will distribute the 2021 notices, while removing the 2020 ones.

Carol Nimmo undertook to draft a simple (‘hello resident’) leaflet to distribute in the First New Town, alerting people to the fact that the community council (and its website) exists, and could potentially help them with any problems they might encounter. In the longer term, we would like to see a residents’ association in the area.

Unfortunately, we have made no further progress with encouraging the re-formation of residents’ associations where they are no longer functioning.

In mid November, I wrote to Broughton Street traders using an email list kindly supplied by Peter Williamson — informing them that discussions were ongoing about the road — but only received three replies.

Simon Holledge, 14 December 2020

18 Appendix 6: Licensing report

Unfortunately there is little to report as the Council website is still not showing the agenda for this month’s Licensing Board meeting which is scheduled for this Thursday 17 December. Despite me checking the registers regularly nothing new is showing since the November applications.

I have called the licensing Department this afternoon but the official who answered my call said that he could not explain why nothing was showing on their website. He offered to email one of his colleagues and so I may have an update by the time of our meeting this evening.

For the record, following upon our meeting last month I formally objected to the application to extend the licensed area of the premises at the top of Dublin Street to the basement area and asked for any such extension to be limited to 10pm as per Council policy.

Susan MacInnes, 14 December 2020