Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held in Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 11 November 2019 at 7.30pm
Actions and decisions are red italic. nem con means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.
1 Attendance and apologies for absence
|Susanna Beaumont||NTBCC||Richard Price||NTBCC|
|Michael Birch||NTBCC, RRCTMA||Andrea Simpson||NTBCC, Drummond Civic Association|
|Laura Graham||NTBCC||Fran Wasoff||NTBCC|
|Stephen Hajducki||NTBCC||Peter Williamson||NTBCC, Picardy Residents’ Association|
|Deidre Henderson||NTBCC||Bruce Ryan||minutes secretary|
|Simon Holledge||NTBCC||Cllr Joanna Mowat||City Centre ward|
|Jack Hugh||NTBCC||PC Leigh Dingsdale||Police Scotland|
|Allan Jack||NTBCC, India St Association||PC Keith Deuchars||Police Scotland|
|Stuart McAllister||NTBCC||Alan McIntosh||Broughton Spurtle|
|Susan MacInnes||NTBCC||8 residents/visitors|
1.1 Apologies for absence
|Susan Duff||NTBCC||Allan Welsh||NTBCC|
|Jonathan Finn||NTBCC||Cllr Hal Osler||Inverleith ward|
|Sheila Warnock||NTBCC, Great King St Association|
2 Minutes of meeting of 14 October and matters arising
The draft was approved as-is (proposed P Williamson, seconded S McAllister, nem con)
3 Police report
PCs Dingsdale and Deuchars reported
- There have been changes in beat allocations at the West End police station. The police are aware of (& apologise for) their non-attendance at NTBCC meetings since May, and stated that they should attend more frequently now.
- There were no major incidents over the summer.
- Crime statistics since the start of September:
- 2 break-ins to domestic premises, 2 break-ins to business premises
- 5 cases of vandalism to domestic premises
- a road-traffic speed-check on Royal Terrace (30 October) resulted in 7 warnings for non-speeding RT offences
- There is currently a ‘Be Safe, Be Seen’ campaign for cyclists
- Planning for ‘winter city’ operations is in progress
- Policing the winter market (which starts next weekend) is resource intensive.
- C Nimmo noted NTBCC’s concern that the market is much bigger this year.
- The PCs were not aware whether there would be more police patrolling as a result. However, the police are aware of the increased scale of the market.
- B Ryan asked what he could do as a cyclist about others cycling on pavements and breaking red lights.
- The PCs replied that action depended on police seeing such offences and apprehending the offenders, and that cycling on the pavement is not an offence. Cycle Law Scotland says otherwise.
- S McAllister asked whether there would be any more enforcement of the 20mph speed limits.
- The PCs replied that police undertake regular speed-checks, and will take note of where issues occur.
- Also, certain officers are trained to use ‘speed-guns’, but their deployment is a matter of resources and time.
- Also, this issue could become part of the winter safety campaign currently being planned, so they will pass it on to the officers who cover NTBCC’s area.
- S Hajducki added that York Place will soon shut for 2 weeks, leading to diversions via Abercromby Place/London Street, so police will need to enforce the limit there.
- S Beaumont asked whether it was true that the hoardings on West Princes St Gardens are really a police requirement.
- The PCs suggested that these might be to prevent crowds gathering, but they are not aware of this being requested by them.
- Cllr Mowat stated that Events Planning Operational Group (EPOG) meetings bring together CEC, the police and event organisers, and that the hoardings might result from this. Action: Cllr Mowat and the PCs to try to verify this.
4 Edinburgh Tourism Strategy 2030/ETAG consultation: discussion/response to consultation
C Nimmo noted that relevant ETAG staff had been unable to attend that meeting, due to it being outwith their remit.
- R Price noted that NTBCC had not been contacted directly about this consultation (Leith Central CC had been), so he expressed NTBCC’s disappointment to relevant CEC staff, who said NTBCC would be contacted next time. He was then emailed by a CEC officer to the effect that there are insufficient resources for relevant staff to speak with NTBCC.
- D Henderson added that Old Town CC had been treated similarly.
- R Price stated that there has been mention of community groups being involved in relevant discussions, but he has no evidence of who these groups are.
- P Williamson suggested that there is a wider issue of failure to properly engage.
- Cllr Mowat stated that there has been very little involvement of elected councillors with the contractors working on this topic. The group of councillors set up to consider tourism strategy has met only twice. There were very restricted opportunities for community representatives to speak at relevant meetings. Hence CEC councillors believe there has been little opportunity for them to speak on behalf of their constituents. However, the tourism industry appears to be moving towards more desirable actions (taking in lower environmental costs, fewer tourists spending less).
- She added that the issue is about management of tourism that results in tourism that all can benefit from.
- The current online consultation as ‘nebulous’. R. Price noted that there are two consultation sessions, both in the Assembly rooms on 18 November, totalling 4 hours.
- M Birch criticised the consultation as not giving opportunities for important input.
- R Price noted that NTBCC has previously worked around such barriers by sending in written submissions.
- S Hajducki suggested that the strategy is predicated on growth in tourism, but this is only justified as supporting the Scottish Government’s economic strategy, which mentions growing sustainable Edinburgh isn’t able to handle such growth (which other parts of Scotland may be), so ETAG is acting contrary to SG aims.
- Cllr Mowat responded that CEC wishes Edinburgh to be carbon-neutral by 2030, so this must mean a change to CEC’s tourism strategy. Hence there is a need to inform ETAG of this
- Action: Hence Cllr Mowat will work on how to improve such communication (both for NTBCC and OTCC)
- A resident noted that the consultation documents note the bodies involved in phase 2 of the consultation. However, none of these represent residents. Instead, residents’ view seems to be represented by CEC councillors.
- R Price responded that phase 2 mentions industry and stakeholder conversations, but not involvement of residents’ groups. However, the documents do mention ‘residents’ in quite a few places.
- M Birch added that there is an aspiration for Edinburgh to be good place in which to live and work, and hence be a good place to visit.
- P Williamson added that even if the strategy is good, failure to consult is major issue. CEC is responding to commercial interests over residents’ interests, hence he advocated writing to the Edinburgh Evening News.
- Cllr Mowat added that ETAG is an industry body, so CEC is a junior partner and is not represented on the implementation group. Councillors are not happy with this, due to the disbenefits of tourism on the city centre.
- R Price noted that one of the KPIs is widening the ‘tourism area’, which may be desirable. Hence he asked what CCs should do.
- Action: Cllr Mowat to look into communications from/with the specific CEC Strategy & Insight officer
- She also suggested OTCC and NTBCC write a piece for newspapers together.
- Action: as many NTBCC members as possible to attend the events on 18 November (noon to 2pm, 5:30 to 7:30), then agree when to submit and format of NTBCC’s written response
- Action: those attending to send photos of the material at the events to NTBCC members who cannot attend.
- Action: C Nimmo and R Price to make known to S&I officer NTBCC’s disappointment at not being included.
- Action: M Birch to draft NTBCC’s response to the consultation.
- C Nimmo also suggested inviting ETAG to NTBCC’s December meeting.
- It was also suggested that NTBCC and OTCC meet ETAG together, to minimise the calls on its limited resources.
5.1 East Princes Street Gardens/Christmas Market 19/05272/PAN
- R Price reported that there are two relevant PANs: one of which is for Underbelly’s installation in East Princes St Gardens. This proposal is larger than 5000 m2 so planning legislation requires a pre-application notice (PAN) in which the applicant must show how it will consult with the local community. Ideally this will help improve the full planning application (FPA) by informing residents in advance.
- In this case, the FPA will be retrospective, because the PAN was filed on 1 November, so Underbelly may not submit a FUL until at least 12 weeks later, i.e. late January (after the market has finished). The PAN that has been submitted initially had no dates, so the Cockburn Association is concerned that the FUL will be open-ended. (Post meeting note : an amended PAN has been lodged – stating that the application covers the 2019 event (retrospective) & 2020 & 2021)
- Also, Underbelly has a contract with CEC for 2019 – extended by to 2 years to cover 2020 and 2021.
- NTBCC is a statutory consultee, so can comment on whether the proposed consultation is adequate.
- R Price suggested it is very poor. Even though comments from NTBCC will not affect the 2019 market, it is sensible to highlight the PAN’s inadequacies. He has been advised that even though the 2019 market will operate without relevant planning permission, a ‘stop order’ is unlikely. He is still keen to submit NTBCC’s views on the inadequate consultation.
- There wasn’t planning permission for the 2018 market. In 2017, there was planning permission resulting from an application by Unique Events in 2014. (Post meeting correction / clarification: 2014 planning application lodged by Turley on behalf of Underbelly & Unique Events).
- Hence R Price proposed
- Register strong concern about the inadequate consultation in this PAN.
- Attend the consultation event (26 Nov in Scotsman Hotel), then make a representation on the material shown at the event. This input should then be included by the developers into the FPA, which is likely to be submitted after 23 Jan 2020.
- A Jack suggested NTBCC objects to the PAN and FPA not being annual, i.e. separate applications for 2019, 2020, and 2021.
- Cllr Mowat stated that once planning permission is granted for ‘year 1’, it is difficult to argue against it for later years
- R Price responded that NTBCC should comment consistently on both the PAN and the FPA.
- B Ryan asked whether later year’s markets would be materially different to 2019’s market, and suggesting that such differences would need separate application processes. R Price stated that it seems that the application assumed that markets would be essentially similar in later years.
- D Henderson asked how environmental impacts are investigated in this process.
- Cllr Mowat responded that ideally there would be a tree study and hence relevant reports. However, it is unclear whether this has yet been done. Hence CEC is currently seeking clarity on process and how we have got to here. A report on the process is due on 26 November. CEC is statutorily the 63 elected members, but it has delegated some powers. Hence she wants to know whether delegation was done properly in this case. CEC’s Culture & communities meeting (12 November) has a motion about looking for alternative locations for the market.
- S McAllister asked whether the question was about CEC officers acting ultra vires, and whether there might be hence ultimately be dismissals. Cllr Mowat noted that councillors can only dismiss CEC’s chief executive.
- S Hajducki asked what might happen if CEC officials stated they had the backing of (vice-) convenors.
- Cllr Mowat responded that motions of no confidence in councillors in these roles could be raised.
- Concerning public safety, Cllr Mowat stated that planning is about land-use and aesthetics and so is separate from building warrants. Hence CEC safety officers have been engaged with this issue, and she has consulted with them. Hence she is fairly confident that the market will not open unless it is safe, and officers have signed this off
- C Nimmo asked about licensing, and whether this was decided via delegated authority in this case.
- Councillor Mowat responded that this market does not need a ‘Section 50’ liquor licence because it is temporary. She has not yet been made aware about the market’s public entertainment license. Such licenses (if required) can be issued under delegated authority, but conversations about this are ongoing.
- S Beaumont commented on the bigger picture: CEC has allegedly gotten rid of a city common-good asset to enable ‘trash’ content that flies in the face of sustainability. Hence why does CEC want this?
- Cllr Mowat responded that the market was originally much smaller, but contracts became looser over time.
- S Beaumont asked who is profiting from the market, and stated that in her view, it doesn’t benefit tourism.
- J Mowat stated that CEC is asking for a full audit of the market.
- S Holledge stated that CEC paid Underbelly.
- Cllr Mowat confirmed that that £823,000 was paid to Underbelly – essentially to provide its Hogmanay event.
- She stated that in 2013, CEC let Christmas and Hogmanay together with a subsidy, but the subsidy was meant to taper, with Christmas [income] supporting Hogmanay. However, in 2017 the Christmas and Hogmanay contracts were separated. Underbelly has stated that there will still be cross-subsidy, so CEC is checking this in the audit.
- D Henderson suggested that any other group applying for CEC funds would need to demonstrate need for this.
- PW asks asked how the events benefit Edinburgh, i.e. why they are held.
- Cllr Mowat responded that councillors are trying to find this out, to inform future discussions.
- S Beaumont stated that Unique Events’ events had included cultural programmes, but there is now no engagement with local design etc, so only big organisations can benefit. Hence the events are damaging the World Heritage.
- M Birch stated that Underbelly may not be obliged to publish full accounts because it is a small business.
- There was concern that the markets contravene modern slavery policies, because workers are unpaid volunteers.
- Action: S Beaumont and P Williamson to draft submission on how the whole thing is getting worse
- D Henderson stated that there is a ‘Stand-up for the Gardens’ event on 17 November. Details are on Facebook
5.2 West Princes St Gardens
- S Holledge asked for feedback on the draft document he and colleagues has circulated. They are likely to meet again with the Cockburn Association (CA) and West End and Old Town CCs, to finalise this document.
- P Williamson thanked contributors to the document, which has led to creation of a better document. However, it needs better graphics, an initial executive summary and a clear statement of the authors’ position. (S Holledge concurred.)
- S Holledge stated that the document is positive about (1) replacement of the bandstand; (2) removal of the existing concrete ‘amphitheatre’; (3) provision of disabled access.
- A Jack stated that the document is currently a negotiating tool enabling agreement outwith NTBCC. Hence it is not yet meant to be published outwith the bodies working on it.
- S Holledge stated that there are many controversial aspects of the design that have not been decided by Quaich.
- S Beaumont asked who has jurisdiction over the project (Quaich or CEC)? Also, who will be in charge of the programme of events for the gardens, who will operate them, and where will the income go?
- S Holledge replied that they have been pushing for publication of CEC’s business statement, to no avail yet.
- A Jack commented that the big issue linking tonight’s discussions is [lack of] clear governance.
- M Birch asked why the document opposes the planned welcome centre ?
- S Holledge stated that CA believes it is out of scale with the gardens. Instead the gardener’s cottage could be used.
- C Nimmo stated that the current proposal also removes the railings along a section of Princes St.
- R Price stated
- The process here is similar to that for EPSG, i.e. a PAN process running to 25 Nov, which is good for discussion
- People should read the Spurtle’s summary, then attend one of the consultation sessions.
- He supports joint working, but NTBCC should make its own submission to the consultation.
- The process here is similar to that for EPSG, i.e. a PAN process running to 25 Nov, which is good for discussion
- A Jack stated that there would be a price for such commercial use of the gardens.
- S Holledge noted that others have suggested that smaller events should be subsidised by larger ones, but he questions the need to limit cross-subsidies to within parks. For example, income from the Usher Hall could be used.
- Cllr Mowat stated that there is a transparency issue here, i.e. it is not currently known whether the Hall makes sufficient profit to provide such subsidies. However, she does not believe that it does.
- P Williamson reiterated the need for a published business case. (Cllr Mowat and A Jack agreed.)
- A jack noted the irony of EPSG paying Underbelly, while WPSG needs a subsidy.
- D Henderson asked whether the tourist tax (‘TVL’) could subsidise WPSG.
- Cllr Mowat stated that there will need to be transparency about spending of any potential tourist tax revenue.
- S Holledge noted that there had been input from CCs into the consultation questions, leading to changes in these questions.
- The meeting was generally happy with progress so far.
- M Birch favoured joint work to achieve an agreed position, but stated that it should be based on the PAN exhibition. (C Nimmo confirmed this would happen.)
5.3 Powderhall Development 19/04682/PAN
R Price suggested considering this matter outwith this meeting. He also stated
- The consultation only currently wants feedback on (1) the proposed layout of the bowling green site; (2) what to do with the remaining amenity space (He suggests giving it to Broughton Primary School.); (3) outline views on use of the wider waste-transfer site.
- There will be a planning application soon, so NTBCC’s key task is to represent residents about item (1) above.
Action: R Price, D Henderson and S McAllister to create NTBCC’s response to the consultation.
See also update emailed prior to meeting (appendix 1).
6.1 TRO/19/29 Proposed Amendments Controlled Parking Zone etc.
A Jack reported that the main issue is the TROs related to the parking action plan, to which NTBCC responded some time ago. Hence most of NTBCC’s related work is about responding to non-controversial plans for increased tariffs, for roll-out of more shared-use parking, and for changes to the system of issuing parking permits.
- However the TROs propose a large increase in parking in the southern part of NTBCC’s area.
- Action: NTBCC members to look at the proposals and feed back to AJ on proposals for their streets by the end of the week
- AJ suggested that while shared-use parking spaces is positive, creation of more parking spaces contradicts proposals for better air quality, safer roads, support of public transport and reducing numbers of private cars. Hence he suggested objecting to the TROs on this basis.
- L Graham asked if the TROs are based on need for income from parking. (AJ said this isn’t stated in the documents.)
- R Price stated that over a year ago, a report on numbers of spaces and permits got closer to a balance between Permits issued and spaces available, but that many people favour shared use.
- A Jack responded that it is very hard to calculate such balances when shared-use spaces are included, so NTBCC members should consider whether the proportion of general (i.e. not residents-only) parking has increased.
- S Hajducki stated that, in his area, the last set of changes (which included Shared spaces) had improved parking availability for residents.
- Cllr Mowat stated that original plans were for a 50:50 mix, and offered to obtain relevant information.
- A Jack noted that the extra spaces would result from removal of single yellow lines.
- D Henderson noted that the consultation is not on CEC’s consultation hub, so comms around this are poor.
- R Price stated that the documents around the consultation are unclear, voluminous and cumbersome.
- A McIntosh suggested that people bear in mind primary schools when considering changes to parking.
- A Jack stated that some of the yellow lines that may be removed are present to increase safety.
- See also update emailed prior to meeting (appendix 2).
- F Wasoff noted that she has applied to be a community member of Edinburgh licensing forum.
See update emailed prior to meeting (appendix 3).
10 Business meeting
This will be at NTBCC’s normal venue, on Monday 25 November at 19:30.
11 Localities / local residents’ associations
P Williamson stated that Picardy Residents’ Association has been working on the issue of bins, and has observed that Nelson St and Gayfield Square have similar issues. CEC had offered to come to NTBCC, so he is happy to pursue this, but so far has had no response from CEC’s leader and chair of Transport & Environment Committee.
- Cllr Mowat stated that there is currently a review on communal bins. New-design bins will be installed, starting with a trial in the SW corner of the city centre ward. The plans need to take into account changes in households.
- Then this will be rolled out in other areas (dates TBC). There should also be improvements to waste collection.
- D Henderson asked why there are no recycling bins in her area. She also remarked that more bins mean fewer parking spaces.
12 Any other business
D Henderson noted that Drummond Community High School has an open day this week. Details are on Twitter.
Appendix 1: Transport update
12.1 Parking TROs
TROs for the Parking Action Plan have been published – objections must be in by 22 or 26 November (tbc).
Because of the volume of detail in the plans, it would be helpful if members could consult the PDFs on the Council website to identify any issues in their respective vicinities and report these to the transport convener.
It has been suggested that members may wish to call for the extension of parking controls to Sunday afternoons in zones 5, 5A and 6.
The following is suggested as a possible outline objection from NTBCC:
- While we support shared-use parking and visitor’s permits, and consent to increased tariffs, we object to the net increase in parking provision in the immediate north and east of the city centre which these TROs would introduce.
- Increased parking provision will mean more private vehicle journeys. This conflicts with Sustrans’ aim to reprioritise pedestrian and public transport over private car use, and the Council’s own objective in its City Transformation Strategy to make strategic use of parking controls to “dissuade non-essential driving trips into the city”.
- It will make our streets less safe and reduce air quality.
- The elimination of single yellow lines in many streets will make waste collection and private deliveries more difficult and more dangerous to undertake.
- Parking provision in the controlled zones should, instead, be static or decreasing and we ask that the TROs are adjusted so that there is no net increase in parking provision in any street in the central zones.
12.2 LEZ review
The Council is to review plans for the proposed Low Emission Zone to take account of the consultation which showed considerable support for more stringent measures including a wider city-centre zone - as called for by NTBCC and others. Revised plans scheduled to go to T&E in February.
12.3 Gas works in Stockbridge
Gas work in Stockbridge will affect Deanhaugh St and Raeburn Place for much of next year and diversions will be in place via Great King Street and Inverleith Row. See SGN website for more details.
12.4 Tram works
The schedule for the tram extension work has been announced - enabling works for the London Rd to Manderston St section start Nov 18th with main works to follow in the spring; Picardy Pl to London Rd section is spring 2021 to spring 2022; Picardy Pl to York Pl is scheduled for winter 2010/22 – summer 2022.
12.5 Bus lanes
The Council is proposing to close most bus lanes in the city to general traffic from 0700hrs-1900hrs seven days a week, to improve bus journey times and encourage uptake of public transport. Lanes currently operating 24 hours will remain as such. The change would take effect from early 2021. Consultation is now open on the Council consultation hub and runs till 22 November.
12.6 TRO/18/73A&B – Broughton St Lane
Proposes that Broughton St Lane revert to one way only but with weight and height restrictions on vehicles that can use the lane following damage to properties in the Lane.
12.7 Next meeting of T&E committee
Appendix 2: Licensing update
There are no provisional or new licences or licence variations in our area this month. There are a number of occasional licence applications for the festive period, mostly in public places. Historically we do not put in objections to any of these as they are for a short period of time, and generally away from residents.
12.8 Fly Festival – 21-22 September 2019
This is worth further discussion. It might be a good idea to find out if there are people in our area who object to the event taking place, but who did not make a complaint to the Council. It seems the Council assumes everyone is happy if they do not receive any complaints. We know this is incorrect, but we need to obtain evidence before next year's event.
12.9 Princes Street Gardens
This is presumably being dealt with under a separate topic.
Appendix 3: Communications update
- The Communications Committee last met on 24 June. We hope to re-convene after the membership has been confirmed by the Business Meeting.
- Our first priority will be to publish a list of 2020 meetings to be displayed throughout our area — from Princes Street to Powderhall, and from Calton Hill to the Dean Bridge.
- We’d appreciate help from members in identifying the locations of noticeboards in gardens and other places where we might get permission to display our notice. (This is in addition to the original one in Broughton Street and the small series of boards in Rose Street which we’ve used in the past.)
- We’d also would like to find a volunteer to look after the Broughton Street noticeboard — perhaps someone living in a nearby street? This has space for topical announcements, documents etc. and ideally could be updated after each NTBCC meeting.