NTBCC minutes Monday 11 April 2022

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’.

1 Technology check

The meeting opened online at 6:45 pm to enable all attendees to connect before the start of business.

2 Welcome/Admin/Apologies/Well-being

2.a Attendance

Mike Birch NTBCC, RRCTMA Richard Price NTBCC
David Clarke NTBCC David Renton NTBCC
Annick Gaillard NTBCC Alan Welsh NTBCC
Laura Graham NTBCC Peter Williamson NTBCC, Picardy Residents
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Simon Holledge NTBCC/EACC Cll Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
Ken Lochrie NTBCC Cllr Joanna Mowat City Centre ward
Carol Nimmo NTBCC ~7 residents/visitors
Susan MacInnes NTBCC

2.b Apologies

Angus Roberson MSP, Deidre Brock MP

3 Minutes of monthly meeting held on 14th March 2022

Approved as-is (proposed L Graham, seconded Mike Birch, ND)

3.a Matters arising


4 Police report

See text of report in appendix 1 or PDF on NTBCC website

4.a Update on discussions with Police Scotland on report content

  • It was noted that this report was slightly more informative than previous ones, but omitted coverage of a recent spate of tyre-deflations. This may have been because the report was prepared before the spate occurred.
  • K Lochrie: the police tell me that they require FOI requests to provide information on response-times.
    • Action: NTBCC (K Lochrie?) to undertake FOI request

5 Engagement and communication

5.a Meeting (6th April) with Edinburgh World Heritage re new Management Plan

  • C Nimmo
    • This was a scoping meeting towards a new management plan. It was positive overall, with some robust discussion.
    • EWH asked for NTBCC’s opinions on how to progress.
      • Action: C Nimmo/M Birch to undertake this
    • A Welsh: EWH appeared to be surprised that NTBCC was communicating and critical of EWH.
    • A resident: the meeting was useful – EWH acknowledged that things are not working.

5.b Follow-up meeting (6th April) with ‘George Street and First New Town’ team – Proposed design and Operational Plan (current consultation)

See text of report in appendix 2 or PDF on NTBCC website.

  • S Holledge: this report includes detailed answers to NTBCC’s questions (March meeting) and minutes of 6 April meeting.
  • D Henderson: some images were hard to follow, and some big questions on design and landscaping have not yet been answered, e.g. on accessible toilets, safety for women, equalities, relocation of transport links and blue badges. The design is led by engineering, rather than equalities. The focus is on catering for tourists rather than residents, e.g. lack of concern about removing so many parking places. It was welcome that some questions were answered, and that a CEC official will provide further answers.
  • S Holledge: currently, information is being gathered, then a plan will be drafted (by June), then NTBCC will be consulted.
    • M Birch: Specific questions on cycling are unanswered. The concept design has already been approved. This may lead to lock-in of undesirable features because changing later may be unaffordable, or to dilution of commitments.
    • S Holledge: D Henderson has produced a critique – NTBCC could feed this back now. (At least 3 other CCllrs agreed.)
    • Cllr Mowat: it would be helpful if this was submitted, and used to brief city centre councillors asap (because the main CEC committee cycle starts after post-election appointments in May.
    • D Clarke: NTBCC should be tactical: note what it does like, then focus on what it does not like.
  • S Holledge: the design and the operational plan (how the street is to be used) are distinct; the former can now only have minor tweaks. The latter is now being formed, so NTBCC can influence it. Should NTBCC meet to decide its responses?
  • Cllr Mowat: I would expect an equalities impact assessment for such a large change. Brief CEC councillors about your concerns now. It is possible for to influence the operations plan until CEC has awarded contracts.
  • Action: D Henderson to circulate her critique to all NTBCC members
  • Action: NTBCC to organise focus group

5.c NTBCC ‘walkabout’ covering East Claremont St/Broughton Rd etc)

6 Environment

6.a Picardy Place Public Realm – anything happening?

  • P Williamson
    • NTBCC received a note of the 8 March Better Broughton meeting – this was discussed by NTBCC in March. I then sent some questions to the project, and received a reply this afternoon. Q = question, A = answer from CEC, S = PW’s comment at NTBCC meeting
      • Q: what has happened to the process I’ve been involved with for 3 years?
      • A: all consultations must follow consultation framework policy.
      • S: that is, the actual question was not answered.
      • Q: will there be public engagement? If so, how? (It’s apparently due to start by the end of April.)
      • A: as the project is at an early stage, it has not been decided what to include in the engagement session. We are awaiting proposals from the recently appointed consultants, then the project board will agree further stages.
      • Q: Would local people and businesses be able to contribute to the design concept?
      • A: the project outcome and designs will be based on current CEC policies and design standards, e.g. city mobility plan, city plan 2030, Edinburgh street design guidance (ESDG), along with feedback from earlier consultations. These outcomes and designs can then be shared with the public for feedback so the designs can ‘evolve’.
      • A: The design will take into account consultations about the gyratory, which took place in 2017-2018.
      • S: this consultation did not cover the central island.
      • A: Features such as informal seating, street trees, cycle parking and wayfinding are in the mobility plan and ESDG.
      • S: these were not outcomes from consultation.
      • Q: which CEC committees will the design go through?
      • The project was approved by the transport and environment committee. Further stages are in development.
    • The above responses rewrite history and are unclear, so we are no further forward. It would be worthwhile meeting with the relevant CEC official, and take accurate minutes.
  • M Birch: I am not convinced that the TEC has approved this
  • Ken Lochrie: both Picardy Place and George Street are being designed currently, but there is no public brief based on how they will be used which would inform these designs.
    • S Holledge: there are detailed designs for George St.

6.b Communal Bin Hub – update including Gull Proof Bag campaign

  • C Nimmo: a company (APSE) has been appointed to review waste collection methods in the world heritage area. The review will cover more than just underground storage. The review’s scope will be shared with NTBCC when it’s ready.
  • R Price: what will happen outwith the world heritage area?
    • M Birch: In the N1 area, for which TROs were issued in 2021, implementation is awaiting TEC considering objections. Hence there will be no deployment until at least September. The TRO and review processes implies installation will not happen until 2023.
    • M Birch: elsewhere, current deployments have been affected by supply chain issues. Hence corrals have been installed but CEC does not have bins to install in them. No timescale is available, nor is it clear where boundaries are. TROs currently cannot be progressed due to the council elections.
  • R Price: does this match what councillors have been told?
    • Cllr Mitchell: there is a commitment to provide a more detailed timescale, but M Birch’s comment is correct in that there must be a CEC committee to examine TRO responses
  • R Price: the new food waste bins are not being used for food waste, but for general rubbish.

6.c Contact by local resident re ideas for street clutter/waste management

P Williamson: a resident has made suggestions on how to manage waste, deliveries and street clutter. See document on NTBCC website. Action: NTBCC to meet with this resident.

7 Planning

See report in Appendix 4. All points by R Price unless otherwise noted

7.a Update to recent photo-voltaic (solar) panel applications

  • More applications are coming forward. An application for Royal Terrace would have a solar panel visible along an entire rear roof. Local residents are concerned about such large arrays on listed buildings. CEC needs to review this guidance (and CityPlan2030) about solar panels in heritage areas.
  • S Holledge: these panels would really only be visible from private property. Solar panels that resemble slate are available.
    • C Nimmo: they would be possible from the Mews lane.
    • R Price:
  • A Welsh: there is a bigger issue: recent legislation has made roofs of shared tenements a shared responsibility. Hence solar panels should not be installed on shared roofs. CEC planning needs to consider this deeply.
    • M Birch: guidance exists but has been ignored by CEC in some cases, e.g. deciding planning permission is not needed. Clear guidance is needed on this, and on (for example) double glazing.
  • A Gaillard: I have looked at three recent applications. The Scottish National War memorial went through a process to remove its listed status, so now its solar panels need only schedule monument consent, which does not go before CEC or the public. At Carlton Terrace, the panels would be hidden in a ‘valley’ between two roof ridges, so this was granted. The Royal Terrace application would contravene guidance,, so should be rejected.

7.b NTBCC ‘National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) submission to SG consultation

  • NTBCC has made a submission – see the full report. NPF4 should be a basis for local development plans, CEC’s CityPlan 2030 is already with the Scottish Government for approval before NPF4 is finalised, so CP2030 may contradict NPF4.

7.c Other points

7.c.i 6 Picardy Place

  • A Gaillard: change from class 2 to class 3 was granted, but with restrictions on the type of equipment that may be used.

7.c.ii 80 George St

  • A Gaillard: the ground floor, first floor and basement would become a restaurant and pub, but it’s in an area of alcohol overprovision, and hence a licensing concern.
    • Cllr Mowat: the floor about this is used by We Work, so this organisation may object to the change of use below it.

7.c.iii Northumberland St

  • A Gaillard: there is concern that the planned basement excavation would collapse.

7.c.iv Beaverhall Rd

  • A Gaillard: NTBCC seeks input on this application.
  • R Price: NTBCC had a presentation on this recently. The deadline for comments is in May. I’ll put details on NTBCC website.

7.c.v 20 York Place

  • An application would turn this townhouse into short-term lets. NTBCC should object.

7.c.vi Phone lines

  • A Welsh: all ‘last mile’ copper phone lines are about replaced by 5G connections. Community alarms will not work with these, instead people will need to use cellphones. NTBCC should publicise this.
    • Action: NTBCC to follow this up by email

7.c.vii Short term lets

  • K Lochrie: there has been a number of retrospective applications for short-term lets, to the detriment. Should NTBCC insist that such flats install soundproof floors and walls, as if they were purpose-built hotels?
    • R Price: this has been prompted by impending legislation, or by companies seeking suitable properties which do not have shared access.
    • Cllr Mowat: CEC is consulting on an STL licensing regime: NTBCC should comment. I will send consultation details.

7.c.viii Greenshide church 5G masts

  • R Price: installing masts within the steeple should be acceptable.

7.c.ix Omni centre – road to Greenside carpark.

  • R Price: an application to build out and remove trees was approved ~2 years ago. There was another application to revamp the area for street markets. This received some support but has been withdrawn.

8 Transport

See also the full report in appendix 4. All points by M Birch unless otherwise noted

8.a Trams – Update on Current and Planned Traffic Management

  • There will soon be significant disruption in Picardy Place and adjacent streets for a few days. Then existing roads will reopen, including the box from Leith St to Broughton St. Buses will go via Drummond St, East London St, Abercromby Place. This is the first of a number of traffic management changes. Future ones involve London Rd, and movement of running lanes, thus reducing capacity for traffic from PP to Leith Walk and London Rd. Hence there will be problems here.

8.b Low Emission Zone update (confirmation of Council decision)

  • CEC’s TEC will ask the Scottish Government to approve its current plans, despite continuing objections. CEC officials will be able to implement the LEZ (if SG approves it) while CEC is in recess.
  • Elder St is in the LEZ, so vehicles using it must be LEZ-compliant.

8.c EV charging roll-out – latest news and status

  • India St has been removed from plans because there isn’t a suitable electricity supply and there were objections that would need to go through the TRO process.
  • The Heriot Row proposals now include 2 rapid chargers, as well as 5 fast chargers. Supply-chain issues are delaying work.
  • Another phase is due. It would be worthwhile finding out CEC’s plans.
  • East London St residents have ascertained local views on traffic, and found that noise is significantly higher than predicted, and is potentially harmful to health.

8.d Other points

  • Royal Terrace residents are organising speed, and have engaged with police and local councillors on improvements. CEC roads has stated there is no issue, despite nearly invisible road-signs, people parking on the junction with Carlton terrace Brae, and worn-away road markings. Further examination of these will be sought.
  • A Welsh: a post-tram strategic review of bus services is due. NTBCC should get involved with this.

9 Licensing

9.a Current applications of note

  • A Gaillard
    • 6 Picardy Place will not sell alcohol, but there is overprovision of food outlets here, so I will object to this application.
    • There is a problem with the alcohol license application register.
    • The HMO register is a year out of date, so if short-term lets come under the licensing regime this will be problematic.

10 Any other business

10.a City Centre Ward Hustings (20th April) – key questions from NTBCC

  • A Macintosh:
    • The Spurtle will host a local government election hustings from 7:15 to 9:00pm on Wednesday 20 April in Broughton St Mary’s Parish Church, Bellevue Crescent. The event will focus on the Edinburgh City Centre ward. To attend – online or in person – register at Eventbrite This meeting will be socially distanced.
    • Questions will be clustered in themes. Some will come from the floor, others from those sent by 15 April to spurtle@hotmail.co.uk.
  • S Holledge: will all 6 independent candidates take part?
    • A Macintosh: this would not be manageable. Independents will be asked to give 2-minute presentations, and present written answers to questions via the Spurtle website. The Spurtle recognises this is not perfect.

10.b Do we want to do admin for street parties?

  • L Graham: is NTBCC willing to administer funding for local platinum jubilee street parties?
    • Action: NTBCC to invite local residents’ associations to apply.

10.c Request for a Leith Walk Ward husting

  • C Nimmo: I have forwarded such requests to Leith Central CC.

10.d Format (virtual/in-person) for next 3 meetings

  • M Birch: a poll of NTBCC members showed that almost all prefer starting at 7pm, and a majority would be willing to attend in-person meetings. However, it is not clear that NTBCC has access to suitable equipment for hybrid meetings.
    • NTBCC did not ask about alternating between in-person and online meetings – this could be investigated.
    • A minority prefers the next meeting to be in-person.
  • C Nimmo: NTBCC does well on zoom, so should continue to use it until it is comfortable with alternatives. But the AGM in June should be in-person, in a bigger room.

10.e Cemetery Management Rules 2022 consultation (closes 25h April)

  • Action: R Price to post information to NTBCC’s website.

10.f Guerrilla tree-planting

  • L Graham: there are too many trees in the Gayfield Gardens near to Leith Walk. Last week a guerrilla Christmas tree was planted here, possibly as part of the million trees project, causing upset. Can Cllr Mowat/CEC intervene to get this tree moved?
    • Action: LG to email details to cllr Mowat
    • Action: Cllr Mowat to follow this up

11 Appendix 1: text of police report

11.a April 2022

11.a.i Looking Back

Having reviewed the jobs for the month of March I can report as follows:

There were three break ins to premises in the NBCC area, a garage door was forced at Annandale Street which was thought to be youths looking for pedal cycles as it was also linked to another incident where youths were chased by a local resident at Hopetoun Street. Bikes were recovered and police have been trying to get them back to their owners and factoring companies have been contacted regarding an insecure bike store to prevent further bike thefts. There was attempted break in at the old Topshop building on Princes street but nothing stolen. The third break in was a rather unusual break in to a jewellers shop on Hanover Street which is currently under investigation and a positive line of enquiry is being followed.

As mentioned last month there are still some issues persisting at the new St James Quarter as it is very popular with youngsters and is the new cool place to hang out and unfortunately cause some bother. Community officers are working closely with staff to nip trouble in the bud and identify youths from their excellent CCTV systems. These kids are however coming from all over town and the outskirts and as far afield as Fife, which you can imagine makes matters challenging.

11.a.ii What We’re Noticing

I have had a few complaints and emails from local residents in the area surrounding the tram works at the East end of York Place/top of Leith walk. The road closures and diversions have resulted in various rat runs being created and even persons regularly driving the wrong way up Hart Street. I have been liaising with colleagues in roads policing and CEC re these matters as well as endeavouring to be out conducting patrols in these areas to enforce matters also. Royal Terrace residents have also been concerned re speeding in their street and this is another area we are giving attention as well, in addition an application is being submitted to CEC for a “pop up Bob” a cardboard cut-out policeman with speed gun as his availability is better than the real thing!

My attention has also been drawn to noise complaints in the new town. Some of these are dealt with by the council noise teams and the rest by ourselves. These can be hard to get to on time due to the call demand however I have had some success following up these matters with landlords and letting agents and have even had a few evictions due to breaches in their contracts.

11.a.iii Looking Forward

Since Spring has sprung and the clocks have changed, we are hopefully going to be experiencing some better weather and lighter evenings. This will, of course, bring an increase in foot flow to the city centre. The City centre have a number of operations (Verbeia and Taupe) to tackle and deter any instances of anti- social behaviour. This is being implemented especially around the Easter school holidays.

We will be continuing our work with the Community Alcohol Partnership in working with both licensed premises and the public to minimise underage sales and the resulting anti- social behaviour.

If there are any issues which we feel you should know about, we will of course update you in the forthcoming newsletters, but if there is anything you would like us to address, or crime prevention information you would like us to provide, please let us know and we will tailor the content accordingly.

Kind Regards,

City Centre Community Policing Team

11.b Advice and Support

Graphics about locking bikes, saying ‘no’ to scammers, and rogue traders

11.c Useful contact numbers


11.d About Us

  • Local Area Commander: Chief Inspector Murray Tait
  • City Centre Community Policing Team – West End Police Station:
    • Inspector David Duthie
    • Sergeant Cameron Walker
    • Sergeant Bob Richardson
    • Plus 8 officers allocated to community issues in Edinburgh’s City Centre.

11.e Contact Us


12 Appendix 2: text of George St meeting minutes

As noted in the minutes of the last NTBCC on 14 March, the Final Draft Operational Plan is due in the summer, to go to the CEC Transport and Environment Committee in the autumn, which is when the TROs will be published.

My understanding is that NTBCC will have the opportunity of making a detailed submission when the draft plan is published, probably at the end of June 2022.

Fiona Robertson of StreetsUK, the co-ordinator of the project, has provided detailed answers to questions raised at NTBCC on 14 March as well as notes on Stakeholder Meeting held on 6 April with Living Streets Edinburgh Group and the Edinburgh Access Panel. These are below.

Simon Holledge, 11 April 2022

12.a Meeting with NTBCC 14 March 2022: Copy of Questions & Answers

12.a.i Toilets

  • Q: How many public toilets and where (given the city-wide shortage of same)? How many of them will be (a) disabled accessible; (b) meet ‘Changing Places’ standards?
  • Toilets would be really useful for elderly and disabled people, and also baby changing facilities. But we were told last year it was impossible to consider these groups in the George St design.
  • Disabled people and families all need access to free and frequent public toilets, especially if there are still water fountains, and people in the night time economy hitting the cold air after being in pubs and clubs
    • The Council run West End Public toilet is located 500 metres from the west end of George Street. There currently are no proposals for public toilets to be included within the George Street public realm design. Although it is now a planning requirement to include Changing Places facilities in certain types of development – it doesn’t apply to public realm projects. We have contacted the Department that looks after public toilet provision within the City Centre and asked them for an update on current and any future provision. We will forward a response on when received.

12.a.ii Litter

  • What will be the litter arrangements?
    • Street furniture, including appropriately designed litter bins, will be provided. These are being designed into the ‘flexible zones’ adjacent to landscaped seating areas on both sides of George Street.
    • Certain businesses have waste collection from George Street, which will continue in the future. The Council’s waste collection teams are also being consulted on the proposed designs/operational plans and will ensure any final approvals satisfy their requirements.

12.a.iii Buses

  • Will buses stop on Hanover Street, given the cycle lanes, or places for drop off pick up for taxis/ lifts for disabled people?
    • Bus travel and the 4 current bus stops on Hanover Street will be retained. The proposed locations for stops are very closely aligned with their current locations. With the proposed changes to vehicle access in the area, bus travel and north/ south travel is being prioritised within the scheme with bus routes being retained on Hanover, Frederick and North/South St David Street. The Council is due to undertake a strategic review of the current bus network as outlined in its Mobility Plan and the GNT project will respond to any outcomes identified as part of this review.
    • The design of the bus stops will be based on the designs that have been approved for the Meadows to George Street project where all bus stops are located on bus stop islands with shelters and boarding areas with 2.5m wide pavements to allow for easy boarding and transfer, even for mobility impaired users. There will be raised zebras across the cycle tracks with pedestrian priority to reach the footway.
  • What is the status of the bus network review. At a stakeholder meeting last year it was stated that there would be a reduction in the number of city centre buses. Has this progressed?
    • The Council is in the process of starting the bus network review. Once we have received an update on this and overall programme for delivery we will ensure NTBCC is kept up to date.

12.a.iv Traffic and paring impact

  • What modelling has been done for displaced parking and traffic on the surrounding residential communities?
  • concerned about the displaced traffic by ULEZ and this onto Queen St and
  • What modelling has been done on how this will impact on traffic travelling from north to south (and vice versa) of the city? At present Hanover Street/the Mound is a major route. There are plans to cut off private car traffic from travelling up the Mound – and your plans show that you will be narrowing Hanover St for vehicular traffic. It is likely that the alternative route will be Lothian Road so it is likely that there will be an increase in traffic coming from that direction towards the north of Edinburgh. Hanover/Dundas St is the main route north just now but I would be concerned that traffic coming from the west will end up using Howe Street/Great King Street as a means of accessing Dundas St. Has this been thought through?
    • Parking surveys conducted during Q2 2019 – Pre-Covid have been used as the benchmark for understanding parking in the wider city centre and potential effects of the GNT project. This looked at wider area considering both the First and Second New Towns and considered the use of all types of parking, from blue badge to pay-and-display, residents permitted spaces and loading bays. Another component of this was a roadside interview survey of those parking their vehicles, to understand the purpose, origin, and destination of their journey.
    • The analysis of the survey results illustrated there was untapped capacity in the surrounding area which could accommodate the parking demand of the c.240+ spaces proposed to be removed from George Street.
    • From the interview component, it was found only c.25% of respondents who parked on George Street were actually conducting business, shopping, eating/ drinking in the immediate area.
    • The strategic impact of traffic rerouting in the City Centre is not only being considered by the GNT project team; other teams involved in ongoing City Centre Transformation (CCT) Projects such as Meadows to George Street, City Centre West-East Link (CCWEL) and the Low Emission Zone are all taking great care to mitigate the potential knock-on effects for vehicle users with their design proposals.
  • Are designers taking account of recent changes to Highway Code and prioritisation of pedestrians crossing at junctions etc.?
    • Yes, the team are cognisant of these changes. Changes to the approach to cycling on roads is also being built into the design.

12.a.v Safety

  • The solution to women’s safety lies in the prevention of assaults upon women by (mostly) men. How will design plans do that?
    • A We acknowledge that prevention is a key element of womens’ safety and behaviour and cultural change a big part of that. In the audit and design we aim to do what we can to discourage opportunist crimes and design out crimes as much as possible, by ensuring good visibility and inter-visibility in particular but also surveillance (formal and informal) and signposting to facilities and services (eg transport links, police). The ambition is that the design should ensure that George St is accessible to women of all ages and abilities, and feels comfortable and welcoming for them. The women’s safety audit is also looking at what programmes are already in place to support women in uncomfortable or bad situations such as Ask for Angela or local police initiatives with local businesses and business organisations to train staff to recognise these situations and to know how best to intervene to support the victims. We would welcome any further suggestions you have.

12.a.vi Climate

  • What protections are there for the rain and wind, given that the street is wide and a wind tunnel?
    • The landscape designs take into account both the current and future predicted weather patterns.
    • There are no permanent roofed structures planned for the street, rather the intention is to minimise clutter and allow for long views of the street and the notable buildings. Planting will be low-level but raised planters will book-end the landscaped seating areas to provide some shelter from the wind. Large trees will be kept to the gardens which is a key component of the original James Craig masterplan and the “Outstanding Universal Value” which has given Edinburgh New Town its World Heritage Status.

12.a.vii Accessibility

  • It is quite a walk from one end of the block to the next to get access to transport for people with limited mobility.
    • Facilitating access for those with limited mobility, physical and sensory impairments is a core component of the design. At present 32 blue badge spaces are proposed within the design, accommodating the essential vehicle movements for these users. These are positioned towards the end of each ‘block’ of George Street and connecting junctions with Castle Street, Frederick Street and Hanover Street.
    • The lengths of journeys for less able pedestrians within blocks of George Street and the potential for vehicle pick-up and drop-off opportunities are being considered at this stage.
    • Bus services will also remain on interconnecting streets along George Street providing access to George Street for those with limited mobility. The introduction of new dwell zones as part of the design also provides substantial seating provision along the length of the street providing regular rest points for this with limited mobility.
  • A lot of physically disabled people are denied the Blue Badge. It is not enough of an indicator for disabled access
    • Care is given to ensure that the footway is well constructed and maintained to be easy to walk or wheel on and several new opportunities to cross the street with level access will make the street easier to use for people with mobility impairments and so accessibility on the street will be improved compared to current situation. Numerous landscaped seating areas will also be provided for rest and respite. The area will also continue to be well served by public transportation including bus and tram.

12.a.viii Residents

  • Do people live in Buchanan Street in Glasgow?
    • Yes, there are residential properties within and adjacent to Buchanan St.

12.a.ix Design standards

  • Does the design comply with the recently issued Cycling by Design? What levels of segregation will exist between pedestrian and cycle areas? How will you prevent vehicles parking on the pavement? What vehicle access will there be during the day?
    • The segregation between carriageway (cycle street) and footway differs for each part of the street. At the disabled parking/loading zones, the first section of the street, there will be a 100mm kerb height difference between the carriageway and footway with dropped kerbs to allow for wheelchair and trolly access. At the dwell zones the footway will be separated from the carriageway by the 5m wide landscaped seating areas which has an informal crossing point at its middle with dropped kerbs and dot tactiles. At the central zones the footway and carriageway will be separated by a drainage channel planned to be 50mm deep with bevelled edges which is detectable to cane users.
    • The central zones will have a physical segregation which may be in the shape of bollards, but alternatives are still being explored. Among other things it will be dependent on the need for the barrier to act as an anti-terror infrastructure, i.e. withstanding the impact from vehicle strikes in an attack.
    • Pavement parking, and illegal parking on the street in general, is a challenge that we are very aware of. Enforcement will be a key issue to retain the intended look and feel of the street and CEC are exploring several options for regulating access, among them physical barriers or the ability to fine and prosecute violators through automatic number plate recognition (ANPR).
    • General vehicle traffic will not be permitted to access George Street, as part of the current design and operational plans for the Street.
    • Other vehicle access is proposed to the restricted for much of the day, deliveries and servicing are to be performed in the area during only ‘windows’ timed during the morning (and evening if required). Timings of windows are still to be agreed.
    • Access for essential vehicles such as residents, blue badge holders and exempt vehicles such as utilities/construction works would be maintained throughout the day.

12.a.x Local knowledge

  • Do the appointed consultants have established Edinburgh offices? It is a concern that in the past developers have used outside consultants who are not familiar with Edinburgh’s townscape character, materials, microclimate etc and therefore do not fully appreciate the city’s unique DNA.
    • Yes – Both Atkins and Faithful & Gould are based in Edinburgh at an office on Canning Street near Haymarket.

12.a.xi Approvals

Q What is the approval process for the final design of the public realm?

A The Final concept design for the public realm was approved by the Council’s Transport & Environment Committee in August 2021. The final “Stage 3” detailed design and proposed operational plan will also be presented to the Committee for final approval (at this stage scheduled for Autumn 2022). The Council is also keen to secure final approval of the detailed design proposals from our key stakeholders including NTBCC.

12.a.xii Maintenance

  • Given that landscaping requires a lot of maintenance, what long-term arrangements will be put in place to ensure that this will be addressed?
    • The maintenance requirements have been considered as part of the design The Council’s parks and recreation team will be heavily involved in approving final landscaping proposals given they are likely to be charged with maintaining landscaping in the area. Given George St is one of the City’s premier shopping Streets the Council aim to ensure landscaping is maintained to the highest standards.

12.a.xiii Cycling

  • I’m no cyclist but I couldn’t help notice that the central parking indeed was replaced with a cycling highway but that statues at each intersections would feature as speed ‘deterrents’, with little space for cyclists to go round them? (assuming drawings were to scale)
    • The street is intended to be a cycle street, and explicitly not a cycling highway. It is intended to be safe and comfortable to cycle on the street but a number of measures are meant to reduce the speed of both people cycling and driving cars/ service vehicles on the street.
    • The statues are retained at all junctions which, as pointed out, requires cycles and cars to move around them, but the space is ample. The running lanes on George Street will be 3m on either side of the monument and there is a gap (which allows right-turning cycles a place to wait) of more than 4m width.
    • At all junctions there will also be two raised pedestrian crossings that function as road bump and act as speed deterrents to both cycles and motor vehicles.
  • Also, what would be the max speed allowed – esp with cycles/scooters being e- powered these days?
    • Within the highway code and local guidance cycles, e-bikes, scooters etc are considered ‘vehicles’, these users are therefore required to follow the same speed limits as others like cars, vans etc. Much of the city centre is currently within a 20mph zone.
    • It is the intention that the design encourages driver behaviour that would see vehicles travelling at even slower speeds and with limited possibility of overtaking other vehicles, cars should never be travelling faster than the average speed of people cycling which is most often less than 15 mph.
  • The official main N-S cycle route is via St Andrew Square and Dublin Street. So why is Hanover St being promoted?
    • The North/South route via Dublin Street will be enhanced with the completion of the CCWEL active travel connection via Queen St. This will create East/West links but also into George Street and North via the Meadows to George Street cycle route. The Active Travel Programme aims to enhance other North South routes within the City Centre eg Waverley / North Bridge for example.

12.b George Street and First New Town Stakeholder Meeting New Town & Broughton Community Council, Living Streets Edinburgh Group & Edinburgh Access Panel: 6 April 2022

12.b.i Attendees:

Edinburgh Access Panel Annette Pollock
Edinburgh Access Panel Rchard Pollock
Edinburgh Access Panel Robin Wickes
Edinburgh Access Panel Maggie Killin
Living Streets Edinburgh Group David Hunter
New Town & Broughton Community Council Deirdre Henderson
New Town & Broughton Community Council Simon Holledge
City of Edinburgh Council Tony Holsgrove, Lead Officer
Atkins Ujwala Fernandes, Lead Public Realm Designer
Atkins Rene Sommer, Public Real Designer
Atkins Andrew Combe, Transport Engineer
Atkins Steven Spoward, Civil Engineer
Faithfull & Gould Jordyn Armstrong, Project Manager
streets-UK Fiona Robertson, Engagement Lead
New Town & Broughton Community Council Carol Nimmo, David Renton, Alan Welsh, Stephen Hajducki
Living Streets Edinburgh Group Kayleigh O’Neill, Isobel Leckie
Edinburgh Access Panel Dennis Wilson

12.b.ii Purpose of meeting

The meeting has been organised to supplement the regular Stakeholder Forum meetings and enable more of a detailed discussion on issues of specific interest to attending stakeholders.

12.b.iii Format of meeting

An online Teams meeting where the concept design development was presented by Rene with Q&A occurring iteratively as the presentation progressed. Andrew then presented on progress with the operational plan.

Key discussion points and Q&A are summarised below:

  • Robin: How close are the bus stops?
    • Bus stops remain largely in the same position. GNT being developed in parallel with bus improvement plan.
  • Deirdre: North St David Street bus stop – what happens to it? Does it have to be relocated because of the bi-directional cycle route .
    • Bus stops will be located roughly in the same positions and numbers.
  • Annie: what is the situation for black cabs and shuttle bus? We’ll cover this as part of the operational plan?
  • Deirdre: this is maybe a query for Tony. If a car comes up North St David’s St, can it only go round St Andrew Sq and then back down North St David St again?
    • We have not finished St Andrew Sq yet with the North and West sections incomplete. As part of CCT/CCEWL we need to complete these sections and develop a final operational plan for the Square. This will then determine final traffic flows etc. Any final decision will align with final design/operational decisions for George St
  • How wide is a fire engine? Is it not wider than 2.5m? Will one be able to turn into George St and drive along, if needed?
  • Robin: what are the proposals for cycle parking?
    • Cycle parking hubs are planned near the central zones
  • Robin: are the spill out zones wide enough to avoid clutter on the pavement.
    • Yes that’s the intention – with additional spill out space available in flexi zones and landscaped seating areas
  • Deirdre noted that newer cobbles are better for accessibility.
  • Annie: where is the mixed granite proposed? A limited range of tonal values can be difficult for some to navigate.
  • What is proposed at building thresholds?
    • Considering perhaps granite cubes (similar to high street) at thresholds
  • Robin: dropped kerbs will be required. Where will they be? And remember blind pedestrians require 50mm minimum kerb height is required – will it be designed in?
    • Dropped kerbs at junctions, central zones and in gaps between dwell zones.
  • Deirdre: need for accessible public toilets, the need for access for people dropping off or picking up disabled people on George St (not just taxis and blue badge holders as fewer and fewer disabled people are getting the blue badges that they deserve),
    • Serious thoughts for the safety of women, particularly for the night time economy. In London the Police set up an app for women to log where they feel unsafe. Maybe the learning from this could be used in the George Street area. Princes St is eerie to walk along at night as it doesn’t have residents. Pedestrianising city centres elsewhere seems to drive out residents in favour of tourism businesses, especially if the streets become open air event venues / outdoor drinking, so this needs to be factored in e.g. Malaga.
    • The Council run West End Public toilet is located 500 metres from the west end of George Street. There currently are no proposals for public toilets to be included within the George Street public realm design. Although it is now a planning requirement to include Changing Places facilities in certain types of development – it doesn’t apply to public realm projects. We have contacted the Department that looks after public toilet provision within the City Centre and asked them for an update on current and any future provision. We will forward a response on when received
    • We are undertaking a women’s’ safety audit. In the design we aim to do what we can to discourage opportunist crimes and design out crimes as much as possible, by ensuring good visibility and inter-visibility in particular but also surveillance (formal and informal) and signposting to facilities and services (eg transport links, police). The ambition is that the design should ensure that George St is accessible to women of all ages and abilities, and feels comfortable and welcoming for them. The women’s safety audit is also looking at what programmes are already in place to support women in uncomfortable or bad situations such as Ask for Angela or local police initiatives with local businesses and business organisations to train staff to recognise these situations and to know how best to intervene to support the victims. We would welcome any further suggestions you have.
  • Annie: what are bollards required for? They can be a hazard in crowded spaces.
    • They may not be required. Aware of the trip hazard challenge – will be considered as part of the threat work
  • Deirdre: for info – non-disabled is better language that able-bodied. I used to work for a disabled peoples’ organisation
  • Robin: would like to see appropriate seating with backs and arms A Yes designs are at an early stage – looking at a number of options
  • Annie: a variety of seating designs and settings would be good. Disappointed that trees aren’t featured and ensure planting not toxic
  • Robin: website states that blue badge access is based on observed demand. Is there capacity to put additional spaces/flexibility in?
  • Andrew: technically Blue Badge holders can park in loading and other areas. Robin asked Andrew to check this as his understanding is blue badge holders cannot park in loading bays
  • Maggie: pedestrian areas mean that the ramp for a taxi can be difficult to access. This was noted.
  • Annie: why are black cabs such a contentious issue? They are an incredibly useful resource for disabled people and indeed for …
  • David: agreed with Annie that black cabs should be allowed to pick up and drop off. Thinks scheme is really good – will there be an option for stakeholders to input into operational plan. Thinks this is the key Achilles heel.
    • Tony: noted we’re working on operational plan.
  • David: believes there’s another consultation on pavement parking. Thinks CCTV and camera enforcement could be the answer.

13 Appendix 3: planning report

13.a Agenda Items

13.a.i Update to recent Photo-voltaic (solar) panel applications

Following on from brief discussion at March’s meeting, NTBCC engaged with the local residents group (RRCTMA) to gauge views on the recent applications in Royal Terrace (22/00916/FUL & 22/00914/LBC) for installation of a large PV array on the rear elevation of the roof. They broadly wanted to raise the wider issues and possible precedent that may be set by the determination of applications such as these, although their position on this particular application was divided & hence they submitted a neutral stance.

NTBCC also submitted a neutral representation on the /FUL application but due to the non-statutory guidance (Guidance for Householders updated in November 2021) covering the subject of solar panels – which states “The provision of solar panels can contribute to sustainability. However, on listed buildings and/ or within conservation areas, solar panels will not normally be permitted on any conspicuous elevations” – submitted an objection to the /LBC application.

HES commented on the proposed location and although to the rear of the property, would still be visible from several locations & hence they proposed an alternate location (within the pitched roof valley).

Although there is a brief mention in the ‘City Plan 2030’ on this subject, there is also a statement that the non-statutory guidance should be updated – we would welcome this.

13.a.ii National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4)

The Scottish Government have been consulting on this and several NTBCC members took part in various workshops discussing elements of it. Although the intent of NPF4 is to set & update the high-level planning strategy for Scotland, it is also relevant as this also provides direction for local planning policies (although for Edinburgh, the timetables are not well-aligned).

Several organisations including the Cockburn made submissions and NTBCC submitted specific comments covering proposals.

Areas on which we commented were ‘Liveable Places’, ‘Local Living’ (and the possible contradiction with 20 minute neighbourhoods), ‘Quality Homes’ (which included comments on Affordable Homes i.e. less focus on the % but more of the definition of affordable, especially in Edinburgh city centre), ‘Sustainable Transport’ (and the linkage with 20 minute neighbourhoods), comments about ‘Sustainable and Inclusive Growth’ ( & the need for better definitions for these terms), similarly for ‘Sustainable Tourism’ (& how is sustainable tourism defined?),’Zero Waste’ (& the need to highlight more of the positive carbon capture impacts that can be achieved by retaining historic assets), ‘Historical Assets and Places’ and finally ‘Trees, Woodland & Forestry’ ( & the need to also make reference to trees in urban areas, their role in character, historic environment, climate change mitigation and in green-blue networks and flood risk mitigation).

If anyone is interested, a copy of the submission is available.

13.a.iii Other Points of Interest

  • NTBCC complaint about 5G Equipment in New Town CA & Gardens and Edinburgh WHS – the Stage 2 response is imminent.
  • Scheduled Monument designation – some sites such as the Scottish National War Memorial have lost their Listed Building status: EDINBURGH CASTLE, SCOTTISH NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL (LB48229). One direct implication is about consent for works – specifically the relevant authority for it… and who might get to input into the process?
    • Listed Building Consents get decided by the Council – HES and Community Councils are statutory consultees, while members can also submit comments; whereas
    • Scheduled Monument Consents get decided by HES – with no input from the Council, CCs or members of the public?
    • Scheduled Monument Consent Process | Historic Environment Scotland

With regards to 21/05782/FUL, effectively HES applied for works which they consented themselves: Edinburgh Castle – Installation of PV panel on roof of Scottish National War Memorial (300052733) (historicenvironment.scot). This doesn’t exactly feel ‘democratic’… ?

  • 6 Picardy Place was granted permission (21/05443/FUL) to convert the old HBoS branch (Class 2) into a restaurant (Class 3), albeit restricted with the condition: ’Cooking operations shall be restricted to the use of one microwave oven, one panini machine, one soup urn, and one toaster only; no other forms of cooking shall take place without the prior written approval of the planning authority.’… a ‘trend’ which might have started in the North Bridge Arcade? (20/05293/FUL and subsequent 22/00087/FUL)
  • 80 George St is seeking permission (22/01207/FUL) to convert the Hollister retail shop into a mixed Class 3 (Restaurant), Class 11 (Leisure) and Sui Generis (Public House). Last date for comments is this Friday (15th) – based on some comments from local residents on Rose Street, NTBCC intends to submit a representation.
  • 43 Northumberland Street – another proposal for adding a subterranean basement to an approved new build mews property. NTBCC commented on the previous application which was withdrawn and intend to submit further comment on the latest application.
  • Finally, the application for the proposed demolition and rebuild of 27 – 29 Beaverhall Road (which NTBCC had a presentation on recently) is now lodged. Whilst there’s much to like in the approach, we would be interested in comments/views from local residents and business owners currently using the building.

This is a small selection of the many applications that have been brought forwards, if there are any specific applications not listed above that members feel should be looked at more closely, please let us know.

Prepared by Richard Price / Annick Gaillard, 11 April 2022

14 Appendix 4: transport report

14.a Travelling Safely

Following an on-site meeting with a Council official responsible for drafting the Experimental Traffic Orders for the route from Canonmills to Broughton Street, we highlighted a number of concerns about the temporary measures introduced under the Spaces for People programme. We also requested that some changes (pavement build-outs at junctions) were progressed under a full TRO in order that the changes could be made permanent and remove the trip hazards inherent in the temporary measures. We have not had any further update on the timing of the ETRO or a response to the specific issues we raised.

The following is a summary of the points that we raised:

  • Add build-out of the pavement on the east side at the top of Broughton Street to provide wider pavement while Tram works are progressing
  • Reduce pavement clutter including redundant traffic and parking signs
  • Restrict use of all loading bays to hours outwith busy periods
  • Progress quick wins (pavement build-outs at junctions) under TRO – no need for ETRO
  • Add zebra crossing on Broughton Street near junction with Albany Street
  • Create disabled parking space on Cornwallis Place to serve nearby church
  • Move bus shelter on Mansfield Place away from roundabout and reduce bus stop box
  • Move stop line on Broughton Road to make it easier for traffic turning left from Canonmills and allow better protection for pedestrians waiting at this junction
  • Consider use of pavement build-out at south-east corner of Broughton Roundabout as a loading bay for local businesses

14.b Active Travel Participation Request

We have had further correspondence with the Council regarding the Participation Request that we submitted in January and have received clarification on the process that will be followed to reach a decision on whether to accept the Participation Request. We will continue our dialogue with the Council on this issue and seek support from our local Councillors.

14.c Tram Works

  • Elm Row Public Realm – As expected, the Transport & Environment Committee Business Bulletin for their meeting on 31 March included a commitment to undertake a review of this space once the work by the Tram project has been completed. In the absence of any funds though it remains to be seen what if any action will be taken to address the serious concerns identified by the Community Councils and active travel stakeholders.
  • Picardy Place Work and Traffic Management Plans – The work to remove the York Place tram stop has now been completed and trams are now terminating at St Andrews Square using a cross over on York Place. Further temporary traffic management changes are planned over the next few weeks which will see all east bound traffic on York Place and Picardy Place being suspended for a short period and changes to the London Road junction as the running lanes are moved to allow work to progress. It appears that once the work at the Broughton Street/Picardy Place junction is completed later this month that traffic will once again be able to travel from Leith Street north on Broughton Street and west on York Place. We are seeking clarification of these plans.

14.d Electric Vehicle Charging Places

The March Transport and Environment Committee included an update on the plans to install on-street charging points across the City including those on East London Street and Heriot Row. It is apparent that although some of the civil work has been finished that supply chain issues are preventing this work being completed. We are grateful to Councillor Mowat for an update that confirmed that the remaining work will be undertaken later this month but that the charging points will not be operational until the summer. The committee report also covered the proposed charging and penalty regime. It was agreed at the T&E Committee that a significant communication campaign would be required.

14.e East London Street

Local residents have undertaken a survey of those living along East London Streets to establish their views on the level of traffic (including buses) using this road and options for future improvements including traffic calming. From recent correspondence with Lothian Buses it is apparent that some of the gains achieved last year have been lost mainly as a result of the diversions required for the Trams project. We have been advised that the situation is expected to improve at the end of April once the Picardy Place work is complete.

14.f Low Emission Zone

The Transport and Environment Committee at their March meeting decided by a majority vote to submit the existing LEZ scheme to the Scottish Government for approval despite the continuing objections of many groups including NTBCC. We will await a decision by the Scottish Government on whether they will hold an enquiry to examine the objections.

14.g Speeding

As you read in the Police report, the Regent Royal Carlton Terraces and Mews Association (RRCTMA) has raised concerns about speeding along Royal Terrace. This followed a number of speed checks conducted by the RRCTMA using a radar “gun”. This showed that over 80% of traffic was exceeding the 20mph speed limit and around 14% of vehicles were travelling at over 10mph above the speed limit – some at more than twice the limit! As well as contacting the Police, local Councillors have been approached for assistance in getting the Council roads department involved. The RRCTMA would be willing to share their experience (and use of the radar ‘gun’) with other residents’ groups. Please contact me if you are interested.

Prepared by Mike Birch, 10 April 2022