NTBCC minutes – Monday 10 September

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held in the Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s Church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 10 September 2018 at 7:30pm

Actions are in red italic underlined.

The meeting was chaired by R Price in C Nimmo’s absence.

1 Attendance and apologies for absence

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Fran Wasoff NTBCC
Judy Conn NTBCC secretary Sheila Warnock NTBCC
Margaret Duffy NTBCC Alan Welsh NTBCC
Jonathan Finn NTBCC treasurer, licensing convenor Bruce Ryan NTBCC Minutes Secretary
Andrew Haddow NTBCC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Sgt David Tench Police Scotland
Simon Holledge NTBCC Cllr Marion Donaldson Leith Walk ward
Jack Hugh NTBCC Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
Allan Jack NTBCC transport convenor Cllr Alasdair Rankin City Centre ward
Stuart McAllister NTBCC Gavin Graham CEC
Richard Price NTBCC planning convenor Daisy Narayanan CEC
Christine Ross NTBCC ~4 residents/visitors

1.1 Apologies for absence

Chris Collins NTBCC Carol Nimmo NTBCC chair Cllr Claire Miller City Centre ward
Susan Macinnes NTBCC Lewis Press NTBCC licensing convenor Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith

2 Minutes of meeting of 13 August 2018 & matters arising

These were accepted without changes (proposed F Wasoff, seconded M Duffy nem con)

2.1 Actions from previous meeting (not covered below)

  • Item 5: not yet done
  • Item 8.3: comments have been submitted
  • Item 8.4: objection has been submitted

3 Police

Sgt Tench reported

  • He is a new-ish community Sgt based at the West End police station, but has worked in Edinburgh for ~15 years.
  • There have been no new reports of motor-vehicle-theft since the August meeting.
    • Community Safety and West End residents’ association are installing signage warning of high crime-rates.
  • Vandalism to motor vehicles in this ward has increased by 7% year-on-year. (Most is in Carlton Terrace.)
  • Theft from motor vehicles: ‘only’ 19 so far this year.
  • Domestic house-breakings have decreased by 35%. Business house-breakings have decreased by 30%.
    • There were 3 domestic HBs in August in Royal Circus and Moray Place.
  • Police are currently concentrating on rough sleepers and antisocial behaviour in the city centre ward, and enforcing the 20mph regulations.
    • There have been many complaints, especially on Regent Road and Broughton St.
    • The community police officers now have 2 ‘speed-guns’, and traffic police have more. (Each costs £5000.)
    • Prosecutions (including speeding tickets) have increased. (There were 9 in the city centre in 2017. Since May there have been 23.)
    • Cardboard cut-outs of police are being used, but they need to be taken in at night.
  • There have been 9 more thefts of cycles since the last report, but the police now have a prime suspect.
    • It is not specifically illegal to cycle on pavements, but recklessness is punishable under relevant legislation.
  • The police are undertaking ‘vulnerable intervention patrols’ (with StreetWorks, Cyrenians, etc) about rough sleepers, to (1) to solve related problems for residents and businesses; (2) to get rough sleepers housed.
    • Night-shelters will be open from mid-October to March. This should reduce problems [temporarily].

4 Parking Action Plan update (Gavin Graham, Acting Parking & Traffic Regulation Manager, CEC)

See also briefing on NTBCC website. A Jack noted that NTBCC had previously submitted comments to CEC on its proposals for (1) RPI-linked cost increases for parking permits; (2) introduction of additional charges for diesel vehicles; (3) introduction of Sunday parking controls (and their effects on adjacent parking zones); (4) introduction of double yellow lines (DYLs) at all junctions and crossings; (5) roll-out of shared parking spaces.

Mr Graham (GG) reported

  • The PAP work is in ‘full swing’.
  • CEC is updating its traffic regulation orders (TROs) from a text-based system to a to map-based system, which should be easier to understand. There has been some slippage in this programme. However, progress should resume at the end of September.
  • Proposed permit changes are designed to encourage ‘cleaner, greener’ vehicles.
    • The current 5-band system is not effective in this aim. [That is, when people replace old cars with new ones, the new ones are unlikely to be in ‘greener’ bands.]
    • The proposed 7-band system will be cost neutral to CEC, but new vehicles may well be in [cheaper, greener] bands.
    • Bands are based on CO2emissions (or engine size for old vehicles). This doesn’t consider diesel engines.
    • Permit cost increases have historically been an arbitrary 5% per year. It is now intended for increases to be based on the retail price index (RPI), but with differentials for the more and less polluting bands.
    • The diesel surcharge (£40) is results from previous systems not taking account of particulate and nitrogen oxides emissions. This surcharge will only be applied to new vehicles, because many people have recently been induced to buy diesel vehicles by other government actions.
  • Sunday parking controls were approved by CEC in June 2016 but have been delayed. They should be advertised in October or November as a TRO. They will operate in parking zones 1 to 4 between 12:30 am and 6:30 pm.
  • Increased permit costs (amount to be decided) are due in part to increased enforcement costs.
  • Around 1200 additional shared-use parking spaces are (subject to finalisation) being introduced in the city centre, in part because in many areas, there are more parking permits than spaces. For example,
    • Zone 1a will change from 1 permit per space to 0·76 permits per space; Zone 5a will change from 1·5 permits per space to 1·1 per space; Zone 6 will change from 1·3permits per space to 0·95 permits per space.
    • J Hugh suggested that more restricting parking in the city centre will cause others to park in less restricted zones, thus seriously inconveniencing residents who wish to park their own cars in such zones (e.g. zone 6).
    • A Jack noted from that published numbers suggest this is a big change in policy, and stated that if parking in the city centre becomes more expensive, this would be similarly detrimental all through NTBCC’s area.
  • GG responded that the PAP is a suite of proposals, and that CEC has many relevant policies. He cannot answer such concerns immediately, but stated that CEC may consider parking controls in the ‘peripheral zones’ (e.g. NTBCC’s area). However, current proposals are from [public] appetites for change.
    • A Jack stated that increased numbers of spaces will increase the number of cars [parking] in NTBCC’s area.
  • GG responded that many [new] spaces are for permit holders [i.e. local residents] only.
  • S Hajducki stated that in his area, such changes have worked quite well, but St James contractors’ large vehicles are a problem. The green travel plan that should have prevented such issues has not occurred.
    • AJ also noted that NTBCC’s area is due to have 300 fewer permit spaces and 300 more shared spaces, potentially leading to the area becoming ‘a permanent car-park’.
  • GG responded that if NTBCC [residents] have concerns over ratios, they should inform him and CEC via the consultation. CEC’s aim is to compensate increased controls with more parking spaces.
    • J Conn noted that opinion on parking controls is not unanimous in each zone. For example, in her part of zone 6, many people were against controls. Hence, could zones be divided or redefined?
  • GG responded that this cannot currently be done, but if significantly larger areas for parking became available, that would be a suitable time for considering redefining zones.
  • J Finn asked whether any analysis has been undertaken. (GG stated that some was done over a year ago.)
  • A Welsh noted that ‘many years ago’ CEC introduced ramped, textured kerbs at intersections, and that people park on these because DYLs were not installed. Also, traffic-light dwell-times have been considerably lengthened during the festival (and there is no sign of these being shortened after the festival), leading to increased, harmful and sometimes illegal levels of pollution.
    • GG could not immediately comment on such changes. Action: GG to enquire and feed back on this.
    • However, the PAP is a suite of proposals, including a review of all crossing points in the city centre. All of these will receive DYLs.
  • A resident asked whether there will be patrolling of the new controlled areas.
    • GG responded that there will, but there is currently no legislation banning parking on pavements. CEC has asked the Scottish Government to introduce such legislation.
  • The map-based TROs work by dividing the whole of the city into ‘tiles’. New TROs will update relevant tiles.

5 Transport

See also briefing on NTBCC website.

J Hugh asked about the consultation on the Drummond Place/London St crossing (closed in July).

Action: GG to enquire and report back to NTBCC.

6 Licensing

J Finn reported

  • There are no concerns over normal applications this month.
  • In December 2017, NTBCC had submitted concerns over lack of information/neighbour-notification; lack of clarity about how to complain about noise; the audibility policy should be re-reviewed; passive smoking; over licensing hours not taking account of whether premises are near homes; issues around over-provision (currently on the Grassmarket and the Cowgate are officially over-provided); waste management; operation of the licensing forum; lack of a joined-up approach (e.g. tables licenses are issued by CEC’s roads department while planning is covered by CEC planning).
  • However, NTBCC needs to respond by 1 October to CEC’s Licensing Board’s review of licensing policy.
    • Children and Young Persons’ Access: review case by case or specify hours across Edinburgh?
    • Extended Use of Occasional Licences: should policy include an indicative number of licences/applications?
    • Extended hours: what types of events should considered of national or local significance?
    • Amplified music: should the board start to gather data on effectiveness of policy since the 2016 change?
    • Licensed hours: in particular, should terminal hours should vary across the city?
    • Any other concerns?
    • There is also a separate review of over-provision.
  • NTBCC broadly agreed that the following comments should be submitted:
    • Children and Young Persons’ Access: review case by case
    • Occasional Licences: cap at a given number of days per year, also a cap on consecutive days
    • Extended hours: consider case by case, apart from Christmas and Hogmanay/New Year
    • Amplified music: review whether new policy has succeeded, and include an objective definition of nuisance
    • Licensed hours: proximity [and hence potential nuisance] to residents should be the deciding factor[s].
    • NTBCC has concerns over lack of information
    • NTBCC has concerns about lack of toilets in the city centre.
  • NTBCC has concerns about over-provision. For example, there is provision for ~20,000 simultaneous drinkers in the Old Town, but provision for 50,000 in the New Town. However, the NT is not officially over-provided, and there are anomalies in the area that is considered to be over-provided.

A Welsh asked whether licensed premises are inspected.

  • Cllr Mitchell noted that he has accompanied inspections. J Finn also noted that environment and trading standards officers etc undertake inspections, and that licenses are given to people, not premises. Hence unsuitable people can have licenses revoked.)

A resident expressed concerns over noise from glass being emptied into bins at night.

  • J Finn responded that that this cannot be done after 9:30pm, so anyone disturbed by this should report it.
  • J Finn also responded that premises should have waste management plans, but this is not currently required.
  • F Wasoff stated that people should be able to easily find out how to complain about such matters.

It was noted that the licensing board’s specific questions do not directly cover all of NTBCC’s concerns.

Action: J Finn to draft and circulate NTBCC’s submission.

F Wasoff will attend this week’s licensing forum. She will raise NTBCC’s concerns when possible.

It was suggested that NTBCC can advertise relevant CEC consultations via its own website.

7 Planning

See summary on website.

8 Environment

No items

9 Communications

to be covered in 17 September Business meeting

10 Edinburgh: connecting our city, transforming our places consultation

Daisy Narayanan (DN), project lead, reported

  • She is deputy director of Sustrans Scotland, but has been seconded (by CEC’s director of Place) 4 days per week (March 2018 to May 2019) to lead CEC’s city centre transformation.
  • Her initial reaction to this job-offer was ‘what does this mean? Much about Edinburgh is already loved.’
  • Her role is to create a strategy, delivery plan and investment strategy by May 2019.
  • This session is about inviting NTBCC’s input to the consultation that will start shortly.
  • The work is not starting from scratch: there are many recent consultations and current action plans.
    • Hence she is considering input from these, along with what has happened as a result.
    • She is also working to clarify CEC’s governance. For example, cross-department work is not optimal.
    • Hence her board is cross-departmental, including transport, planning, economy, housing, management. Also, there is a cross-party/portfolio working group (WG) of CEC members responsible for such themes.
  • She will create a multi-year high-level framework of common objectives and outcomes.
  • Hence her first action was to find what ‘transformation’ means to CEC and others. Responses were very varied.
    • Hence a visioning exercise was undertaken: ‘My city centre is …’.
    • It was noted that the city centre is, inter alia, home for 20,000 people, so CEC needs to get it right.
    • There is much good legacy, but Edinburgh also needs to be designed for the future.
    • There are tensions, e.g. between cyclists and drivers, residents and businesses, development and heritage.
    • There are also opportunities, e.g. the festivals, the much-appreciated Lothian buses.
    • There is a strong sense of identity, but there are challenges, e.g. growing population, street clutter, congestion, lack of coherence, air pollution, traffic harming heritage matters.
  • Keeping the status quo is not an option. Edinburgh’s 2016 population was 5000,000 but will be 600,000 by 2040. Congestion costs the average driver £1000 per year. 80% of residents support separating cycle-lanes from pavements. Currently 95,000 people commute into Edinburgh. (More data on this is needed.) There are issues around freight, and the 5600 bus-trips on Princes St each day.
  • Changes must be people- and data-led.
    • Hence DN and colleagues have spoken with over 200 stakeholders (e.g. community councils, transport organisations), leading to 300 ideas.
    • Within DN’s area (the world heritage boundary), there are 22 projects (at different stages of progress). So she is working to cover them in one consultation about what do we want as a city, to form a vision for 2050. Hopefully there will be consensus and coherence, rather than clear winners and losers.
    • However, cynicism about previous individual projects is justified.
    • This consultation will open on 17 September, via CEC’s online consultation hub.
  • The consultation will have three themes: (1) a fair and inspiring capital city (covering public realm, pedestrianisation, cycling, transport integration etc]; (2) a healthy city (covering environment, pollution etc); (3) a smart city (park and ride, data-driven etc).
    • Findings will set the framework for future projects, which must meet the objectives in this framework.
    • Outcomes must be measurable.
    • The framework will allow flexibility so if anything isn’t working, it can be changed.
    • She is keen that the consultation reaches out to people, rather than relying on the ‘usual suspects’.
  • The stages after the imminent 8-week consultation are
    • Firstly, the existing consultations on current projects will deliver further input.
    • DN will deliver to CEC a draft plan, with work on heritage, transport, environment etc, in January 2019.
    • Then there will be further short consultation on the draft plan.
    • The plan will then be finalised in May.
    • Thereafter, someone in CEC’s Place department will need push on, following DN’s recommendations for delivery.

Action: NTBCC members to provide quick feedback on draft consultation questions.

Action: DN to forward link to consultation when it is published.

Action: DN to feed back to NTBCC on progress as appropriate, possibly including a workshop on detail in the draft plan.

10.1 Questions and comments from NTBCC and residents

  • It was suggested that there are constraints, e.g. Princes St cannot be moved; people are change-resistant.
  • It was asked whether there can be integrated transport charging, similar to London’s Oyster cards.
  • It was suggested that Edinburgh can learn from, for example, Bologna, Rouen.
  • It was suggested that Edinburgh needs to decide whether numbers of festival-goers should be allowed to grow indefinitely while it stays in the city centre, or whether numbers should be limited, and/or the festival moved.
  • It was suggested that Edinburgh needs a full tourism strategy.
    • DN agreed that residents’ voices are not being heard in this context.
  • It was suggested that the city centre cannot be considered alone – other parts will be affected by changes to it.
    • DN agreed, noting that CEC is working city-wide, e.g. via work around the 8 ‘town centres’.
  • It was suggested that detail is crucial, and that cynicism stems from CEC producing many plans etc but not delivering them. Hence a plan of real actions, along with an investment strategy, potentially including changes to current projects and definitely including cost-benefit work is needed.
    • DN concurred, noting that such processes take time, and that plans will need to change.

11 Any other business

11.1 Short-term accommodation

J Finn had circulated a draft letter to Andy Wightman MSP, stating that NTBCC is ‘strongly in favour of planning controls on short term lettings in Edinburgh’, that ‘further regulation is required, and we would hope to see a licensing system in place, similar to the one that currently applies to HMOs’ due to the noise and waste nuisances and ‘lack of fire (and other) safety measures related to such lettings. Hence NTBCC hopes that AW’s amendment to the planning Bill succeeds and that he will push for a licensing regime for short-term lettings.

  • A member dissented, inter alia querying whether NTBCC should endorse legislation requiring anyone changing their designated principal residence to secure planning permission, whether they rent their property out or not.
  • The relevant ongoing concerns about party-flats in Baxter Place were raised. For example, a fire safety inspection has revealed a set of issues that will be checked again later this year. CEC’s development management committee has visited the flats, which are apparently crammed with beds. Despite CEC refusing permission for the operation of these flats as party flats, they continue to operate outside their permitted uses (and to be a site of antisocial behaviour). Hence residents and NTBCC are concerned about lack of enforcement.
  • R Price stated that CEC has acted against similar issues in other places, but that well-run accommodation should not be penalised.
  • The meeting was broadly in favour of controlling short-term lettings.
  • Action: J Finn to consider dissenting points, then send letter to AW.

11.2 20 mph effectiveness forum

Action: NTBCC members to individually decide whether to take part in this.

11.3 Other points

It was noted that the consultation on West Princess St Gardens closes on 14 September.

Concern was expressed over public space potentially becoming privately run, hence possibly reducing CEC’s ability to implement changes arising from the transformation discussed in item 10 above.

Actions: NTBCC members to submit comments individually ASAP, NTBCC to consider an official response at next week’s business meeting.

12 Date of next ordinary NTBCC meeting

8 October 2018