NTBCC minutes – Monday 12 January 2015

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 12th January 2015 in Drummond Room, Broughton St Marys, Bellevue Crescent, Edinburgh.

1 Attendance and apologies for absence

1.1 NTBCC members present

Judy Conn, Richard Corral, Jonathan Finn, Gaby Holden, Allan Jack, Iain McGill, Ian Mowat, Carol Nimmo, Richard Price, Christine Ross, Alan Welsh, Cllr Alasdair Rankin

1.2 Others present

Bruce Ryan (minutes secretary), Eirini Christopoulou and Anthony McDonnell (Morgan McDonnell Architecture), PC Lori Blackburn and Sgt Graham Belfall (Police Scotland), Chris Coleman-Smith and Patrick Mitchell (Gareth Hoskins Architects), Alan McIntosh (Broughton Spurtle), Marie-Jane Gray (Chris Stewart Group), Iain MacPhail (Edinburgh Council City Centre Programme)

1.3 Apologies

Susanna Beaumont (NTBCC), Audrey Cavaye (NTBCC), Stuart Cowie (NTBCC), Lynn Henni (NTBCC), Ben MacPherson (NTBCC), Lewis Press (NTBCC), Cllr Angela Blacklock (Leith Walk ward), Cllr Lesley Hinds (Inverleith ward)

2 Minutes of Meeting of 8 December 2014, and matters arising

Draft minutes were accepted without changes (proposed G Holden, seconded R Price, nem con)

Alastair MacIntosh was co-opted as Moray Feuars representative.

3 Police report

Officers from the east flexiteam continue to augment city centre patrolling. Extended licensing hours have ended, as have festivities in gardens & St Andrews Square. There will a debrief about these with Edinburgh Council next week, to inform next year’s arrangements. Numbers of vagrants drinking by the Big Foot statue on Picardy Place have reduced, but this may be due to the weather.

Sgt Belfall stated that Police Scotland only publish divisional figures on the internet, but do have monthly figures for command areas (e.g. Edinburgh Central) but these are not published, although PC Belfall gave some examples. There were 15·8% fewer domestic housebreakings in Nov 2014 than in Nov 2013, but the number was above the mean for Novembers in 2008-2013. There were 42% fewer violent crimes in Nov 2014 than in Nov 2013. The number was also 21% below the previous 5-year mean for Novembers.

C Nimmo and A Welsh noted that, because different statistics are given each month, like-with-like comparisons cannot be made. Sgt Belfall stated that the figures he gave were how Police Scotland does it but could not say who in PS had decided this. PC Belfall also stated that he could not give details of specific incidents – such reports might identify crime victims. PS’ media office may be able to give out other information. J Finn noted that NTBCC wished to see trends reported in a consistent manner. I Mowat asked whether information could be made more CC-area specific (apparently it cannot) and noted that crime reporting areas had changed, and stated that it would be better to have numbers, but trends could give reassurance.

C Nimmo noted a meeting in which changes to city-centre policing were outlined – these appear to be going well. CN asked whether figures about this could be passed onto the community – PC Belfall said he would be happy to share information on such initiatives. Asked about the late licensing (until 5am), PC Belfall stated that this had been challenging due to numbers of revellers but PS had had appropriate resources in place. There will be a report on the Princes St Hogmanay celebrations and PS management thereof – this will be discussed with Edinburgh Council. PC Belfall will ask whether this report (or any of its contents) can be shared with NTBCC.

4 Presentation by Chris Coleman-Smith of Gareth Hoskins Architects about proposed development at 42 St Andrews Square/West Register St

Mr Coleman-Smith and colleagues representing Gareth Hoskins Architects, Morgan McDonnell and the Chris Stewart Group made the following points, either as part of the main presentation or in response to questions. There will be a 2nd public exhibition on 20 January (3pm-8pm) at 42 St Andrews Square.

The site is the corner of St Andrews Square (SAS) within New Town & Broughton CC‘s remit, comprising buildings latterly occupied by the Royal Bank of Scotland prior to their relocation to Gogarburn.

The development site consists of 42 St Andrews Square (A listed) which was latterly the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland. This main bank was built in the late 1930’s. Currently there is a bridge link across West Register Street to three further interconnected buildings. The buildings on West Register Street include a 1960s office building facing South St Andrew Street, a Victorian listed building (built in the 1850’s) on the corner of West Register Place and a former warehouse building, also listed, which has a Venetian Gothic façade (built in 1864) which was part of the RBS stationary warehouse to the south of West Register Street. The Victorian and Venetian façade building are internally linked albeit with differing floor levels and category B listed as a whole.

Also, on South St Andrew Street, a further 1960s office building (currently housing Scotbet at ground floor level) is included within the proposals.

The proposal is to demolish the 1850’s Grade B listed Victorian and the 1960’s buildings as well as the internal floor plates of the 1864 venetian gothic building but retain and restore the façade of the Venetian Gothic building. This would enable a new build on the site to the south of West Register Street (on the 1850’s building and 1960’s building plot) which would enable ‘Grade A’ office use to be established with retail, restaurant and bars on street level.

The site is at the edge of the James Craig master plan and more recently the St James Quarter development master plan. This development is in the context of the St James Quarter (SJQ) renovation master plan and related nearby plans. It will facilitate connections from SAS to SJQ, ‘activating’ West Register St (WRS) and West Register Street Lane (WRSL) – which is currently full of waste bins and cars. There is a mini master plan drafted by the developers about the relevant urban realm (e.g. keeping railings and cobbles) to make the area make pedestrian-friendly.

There is one planning application for the whole site, which encompasses more than the buildings, so there have been discussions with Edinburgh Council and the Cockburn Association. A mix of complementary day and night uses are envisioned: cafes/bars/restaurants with serviced apartments (or a hotel) at 42 SAS; retail at the front of WRS and ‘Grade A’ office space in the upper floors of WRS south side. The developers state that these are key to the project – there is demand for them currently and they will provide the necessary daytime footfall for the other ground floor developments prior to the SJQ being completed.

42 SAS is of massive, austere architecture externally. The ground floor (ex-banking hall) has ‘finely detailed and preserved inter-war marbled interiors’ with panelled boardrooms and other executive offices on higher floors. The entrance block from SAS has a spectacular top-lit circular atrium at centre, with brass balcony at each floor; pilastered entrance to banking hall which was blocked off in the 1970’s/’80’s modifications. A new mezzanine was installed in 42 SAS in the 1980s during significant alterations, before the building was listed, to create more office space. It is proposed to bring the building back to life (it has been vacant for 6 years) by (1) restoring but not altering the board room and meeting rooms, (2) removing the mezzanine to restore the banking hall’s ‘glory’, (3) sensitive roof-top extensions, set back to avoid damaging views so it will less visible, using dark bronze to fit the surrounding roof scape. However, it will be visible when viewed from a distance e.g. from George Street for instance. The link-bridge across WRS (installed in the 1970’s) will be removed, along with dropping some windowsills on WRS north side to create entrances. Precise uses and sub-divisions of the marbled ground floor are still to be determined.

The architects and developers propose retaining the Venetian façade of the listed building (originally a stationery warehouse) but to replace the existing multi-level floor plate. The architects stated that there are no features of note inside either the buildings on WRS that they propose to demolish or the ‘venetian building’. There was discussion of building lines of the new build on SSAS, of views from Calton Hill, Market St etc, as well as the opportunity to encourage development of the Register House open space and connection through to the SJQ development.

The plans consider cycle-parking and cycle use on lanes. Issues are being worked through as to the exact designation of WRS regarding vehicle access, consistent with Edinburgh Council’s pedestrianisation guidance. Waste will be stored internally, to avoid as far as possible on-street bins, with waste collections minimised and in strict time windows.

The architect’s clients (Chris Stewart Group) intend to remain involved with the buildings rather than develop and sell. Their proposed timetable is planning application in late Feb 2015, work starting in September 2015 with completion in 2017 to meet a client’s commercial requirement – this client is in place but is confidential. Plans to address access to WRS during construction and the minimise impact on surrounding areas are being developed.

5 Planning

See also Appendix 1 – planning committee report.

  • There are two applications for the St James area, one for St Andrews House, one for James Craig Walk. NTBCC may support the latter. The planning committee will consider its position on the John Lewis parcel-collection building. It has requested an extension on application 14/05263/AMC. It is provisionally meeting with TIA Henderson Real estate on 27th
  • Further to the discussion above on 42 SAS/WRS, it was decided to request sight of the internals of the buildings proposed for demolition to confirm that few if any original features remained. Extension to the coffee pavilion in SAS has been opposed based on the intent of the original 2005/6 planning consent.
  • The 34B Haddington Place Student accommodation plans are expected to go ahead (NTBCC were broadly supportive).
  • The application for Batley’s cash & carry (McDonald Place) extended opening (which NTBCC opposed and for which consent was refused) is now on appeal with the Scottish Reporter.
  • Earthy’s (Canonmills bridge): permission was granted 3 years ago, but a recent modified application (for minor changes to the front elevation) is likely to be refused by the Edinburgh Council’s development Management Committee but it is unclear as to the grounds for refusal. NTBCC were not supportive of the original application.
  • The planning committee is trying to define its aspirations for George St. S Beaumont had been due to set out NTBCC’s principles for George Street (GS) but could not attend this meeting. I Mowat again requested NTBCC and residents’ input.
  • A tour of the (ex) Royal High School site has been offered to see the poor condition of the buildings but also to hear outline plans for their development into a high-end hotel prior to the PAN application – R Price and others will take up this offer.
  • A Welsh noted that NTBCC had not received full documentation on 34-38 York Place licensing application – this also mentioned planning matters. Action: A Welsh to enquire.

6 Transport

Iain MacPhail (IMP) of Edinburgh Council stated that the GS trials would run for another 35 weeks. People are spending more time on GS – they like the concept but not the execution. People are reportedly happy to have more civic life on GS. IMP is working with planning colleagues to prepare a brief for a designer to do SWOT analysis for GS, facilitating and corralling talents. This analysis will look at GS (1) as it was, (2) as it is now, (3) as if GS was heavily pedestrianised, (4) by using design principles as SJC comes in. It will note that GS’s blocks are used differently, and will report on pros and cons to Edinburgh Council in September. NTBCC will be involved with the analysis.

NTBCC’s input will be welcome at the end of Feb 2015, after the designer has been procured (late Jan/early Feb), so allowing 4 months’ work before the festival. This will fit with the next GS stakeholder meeting (March).

An open competition is not considered now – it was felt better to use an independent consultant to get the best from the massive amount of available community expertise. GS will change as SJC centre comes in. The designer will be selected on quality and skills, using standard public tender methods. The process will bring in stakeholder aspirations, e.g. smaller bin lorries to avoid damage to cobbles.

Residents noted that he they had read everything available on GS – it was not clear whether GS footfall has increased. IMP will make sure it’s clarified, while R Price and IMP noted that footfall has not been contextualised (e.g. tram-work affected footfall last year) and that there is much window-shopping

In March, work will begin on putting Edinburgh Council on a more prescriptive footing by creating a public spaces manifesto, stating e.g. no commercial use in some places, no mono- or over-use in others.

7 Environment

No report

8 Licensing

Frederick St – no issue

9 Treasurer’s Report

No report

10 Activities of Local Street or Amenity Associations

No reports

11 Any Other Business

Bruce Ryan is to meet with J Igoe, so he can take over website admin. JI will also meet with other contributors.

12 Date of Next Meeting

9 February 2015

Appendix 1: Planning Committee Report December 2014

Face to face meeting held in December.

Pre-Application Notifications & Associated Applications with Major Developments

14/05147/FUL Change of use from student accommodation to Class 1 (Shops), Class 2 (Financial, professional & other services) and/or Class 4 (Business) uses and residential apartments, proposed alterations and ancillary works.
27, 29, 31 James Craig Walk Edinburgh EH1 3BA

The property is included within the St James Master plan. Proposal to redevelop from existing student accommodation (in use since 2002) to 6 ground/lower ground floor commercial units & 20 residential flats (typically 70 – 134 m2 although 2x 1 bed (?) flats <70m2). The building is a much altered block that is made up of five storeys over 17 bays. Unsympathetic alterations have occurred in the 20th century, most notably the replacement of the original mansard roof and dormers with an obtrusive attic storey and flat roof and the removal of the original porticos and platt stairs along its front. Proposal includes a significant amount of returning the building exterior to its original form as well as managing the change in street level elevation from current (& historic) through new entrances. Scale and platt steps will lead to portico entrances and the basement area will return. It also acknowledges the transition from the proposed contemporary St James development to the cat B listing building. Due date for comments 16th January.

14/05143/FUL Change of use to Class 3 (Food and Drink) and Class 4 (Business) uses, proposed alterations, erection of extension and ancillary works.
3 St James Place (aka St Andrews House) Edinburgh EH1 3JH

Extension to existing listed building towards JL to form significant contemporary extension & associated public realm improvements to Little King Street. It would seem that there has been much discussion between CEC Planning department on the proposal & whilst it does seem to be borderline vs. Edinburgh Council guidance for extensions to listed buildings and the public realm improvements seem little more than a flight of steps with minimum public seating. NTBCC to agree extent (if any) of representation required given the level of discussion that has already occurred between the developers and CEC Planning. Due date for comments 16th January.

14/03550/PAN 42 St Andrews Square, 19-23 South St Andrews Street, West Register Street & West Register Street Lane

Includes the ‘(ex)-Romanov’ building in the south-east corner of St Andrews Square & Register Street/West Register Street. Details vague at this point – residential, offices, hotel, serviced apartments and Class 1 (retail), 2 (professional offices), 3 (restaurant/café) uses including some demolition, some refurbishment & some new build.

Public Exhibition attended on 27th November with Chris Stewart architects and Scott Hobbs as agent.

Representatives from Gareth Hoskins, Chris Stewart group and Morgan McDonnell scheduled to present to January NTBCC meeting.

Initial view of the vision presented was positive – aiming to retain the listed buildings within the site development boundary & create a more vibrant entrance to the proposed St James Quarter development with various food / drink establishments fronting Register Lane & the ground floor of 42 St Andrews Square. The remainder of the listed 42 St Andrews Square would probably be developed into high-end serviced apartments.

Edinburgh St James Information Forum

NTBCC attended the update to St James Quarter Plans on Monday 27th October & subsequently summarized the development to NTBCC. Proposal accepted to also invite TIAA Henderson’s to December NTBCC to update a wider audience – however – the agent has now postponed to January.

Outline PP was granted in 2009 which established the principles of redeveloping the centre for a mix of uses and provided detailed approval for siting & maximum height of buildings. Various ‘reserved matters’ applications are being progressed for the detailed design of the development which will be lodged for full PP in early 2015.

Proposed meeting with Martin Perry (TIAA Henderson Real Estate (THRE) Director of Development tentatively planned for Tuesday 27th January. Intent is to develop list of questions / concerns prior to 27th January.

14/05263/AMC Approval of matters specified in condition 23 (i), (iii), (vii), (ix), (x), (xi), (xvi) and (xvii) of Planning Permission 08/03361/OUT relating to number of residential/commercial/business units, design of external features and materials, pedestrian and cycle access arrangements, treatment to adopted roads or footways, car parking venting, servicing, surface water and drainage, and hard and soft landscaping details St James Centre Edinburgh EH1 3S

NTBCC contacted as statutory consultee – we have requested an extension to early February for a representation to be submitted. This will allow the meeting with THRE to take place.

Planning Applications / Representations

14/04832/FUL & 14/04832/LBC Change of use from class 1 (retail) to class 2 (financial and professional services). 28A Dundas Street Edinburgh EH3 6JN

Former Emma Bridgewater (next to proposed Tesco) – permitted change of use – application granted.

14/04840/FUL Proposed extension at rear of coffee pavilion in St Andrew Square Gardens. 43 St Andrew Square Edinburgh EH2 2AD

Further to December NTBCC discussion, The Cockburn Association were contacted regarding their position on the above. They provided useful historical perspective on the original 2005/6 application and DMC discussions at that time. Based on this input, a representation has been submitted by NTBCC. In summary, ‘NTBCC continues to fully support the opening St Andrew Square gardens to the general public and believes this forms a valuable additional public space in the city, which will become even more important when the adjacent, already consented, developments are completed. However, we also support the view that the gardens should be maintained as far as possible as an oasis of “tranquillity at the heart of the city”. We believe that this application is contrary to this.’

14/04044/FUL 52-52A Annandale Street Demolition of Existing Building & Construction of a Flatted Residential Development with Assoc. Parking & Landscaping

Representation submitted to PAN and to full PP application – broadly in support. Full application has undergone Edinburgh Urban Design Panel review & incorporated some changes proposed by NTBCC (improved landscaping / revision of types of accommodation). Proposal for 60 units – mainly 2 bed with 25% allocated to Affordable Housing. 15 representations made. Determination expected in February ’15.

Update on Previous Planning Applications / Representations

14/03513/FUL Erection of mixed use development comprising student accommodation, retail, cafe and restaurant uses. 34B Haddington Place Edinburgh EH7 4AG

Decision pending following discussion at DMC in December but Planning Officer & DMC ‘minded to grant’ subject to satisfactory Section 75 agreement (for tram etc. contributions).

Summary from Edinburgh Urban Design Panel ‘The Panel welcomes the opportunity to review the proposal at this early stage of the design process. The Panels comments are set in the context that the proposal is based on the ‘minded to grant’ application and therefore welcomes any improvements to the design being considered under this proposal which may allow the proposal to add maximum value to the streetscape. Regarding the proposed use the Panel consider it important that it is fully demonstrated that the proposal is easily converted to other uses particularly residential.’

Post meeting note: construction work has commenced on site

ENA-230-2093 Batleys Cash And Carry, 30 McDonald Place, Edinburgh, EH7 4NH

Extended opening hours (Sundays) refused and applicant has now appealed to DPEA. Reporter visit scheduled for 3rd February.

14/01419/FUL Garage at rear of 8 Bellevue Crescent & 14/00049/REVREF

NTBCC has not yet objected (retrospectively) to the Enforcement Officer’s decision despite clear guidance from DPEA & the Local Review Board.

14/02786/FUL 1-6 Canonmills Bridge (currently Earthy’s)

Change of use from class 3 to retail, erection 6 flats and 3 town houses and minor alterations to elevations

Original representation submitted by NTBCC against the 2009 application but subsequently granted in May 2013. NTBCC proposed refurbishment of existing premises rather than demolition & redevelopment (which has now happened). Subsequent application to vary elevation details attracted 230 comments – mostly mistaken objections to the 2009 application.

Planning Committee discussion & site visit in November. Planning Officer recommended to grant. DMC on 17th December reached the following decision : ‘To indicate intention to refuse planning permission for the reasons that the development would be detrimental to the character of the conservation area and the Acting Head of Planning and Building Standard to report with back with detailed reasons.’

14/04241/FUL & 14/04242/LBC 35A Howe Street

Erect basement level extension to replace existing out-shot. Remove two existing rear windows and form opening for new French doors. Erect glazed porch at front entrance beneath stair platt. Application for a large contemporary rear extension replacing non-original small out-shot as well as linking front elevation to 2 newly-developed cellars. Representation made along with representations from The Cockburn Association and Great King Street Association. Historic Scotland as a statutory consultee has also supported points raised by NTBCC. 6 comments submitted.

Plans now resubmitted reducing scope of rear extension & proposing a 2 bed flat (vs. 3 bed previously). Decision pending.

Disposal of Common Good Land for St James Quarter development

NTBCC have been consulted on the proposal to sell 3 small parcels of Common Good Land in support of the St James Quarter development.

CEC plan to dispose of these 3 parcels as part of a larger land transaction to St James Edinburgh Unit Trust (managed by TIAA Henderson Real Estates). The 3 parcels constitute a relatively small total area. Letter received proposes an independent valuation for this land & the developer contribution will be paid into the Common Good Fund. It is also stated that ‘there is no perceived detriment to the public in the sale of these areas of common good land.’ 2 parcels will ultimately be reinstated as public realm land with public access. The other parcel will be used as a site for a new sub-station to the north of Cathedral House. NTBCC did not to make a representation.

Richard Price
January 2015