NTBCC minutes – Monday 8 October

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held in the Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s Church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 8 October 2018 at 7:30pm

1 Attendance and apologies for absence

Judy Conn NTBCC secretary Richard Price NTBCC planning convenor
Jonathan Finn NTBCC treasurer, licensing convenor Chrissie Ross NTBCC
Jack Hugh NTBCC Sheila Warnock NTBCC
Allan Jack NTBCC transport convenor Alan Welsh NTBCC
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Bruce Ryan NTBCC Minutes Secretary
Stuart McAllister NTBCC Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
Susan Macinnes NTBCC PC Keith Deuchars Police Scotland
Carol Nimmo NTBCC chair PC Leigh Dingsdale Police Scotland
Lewis Press NTBCC 4 residents/visitors

1.1 Apologies for absence

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Cllr Marion Donaldson Leith Walk ward
Margaret Duffy NTBCC Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith
Simon Holledge NTBCC

2 Minutes of meeting of 10 September 2018

These were accepted without changes (proposed A Welsh, seconded J Hugh nem con)

2.1 Matters arising

It was noted that

  • Gavin Graham (Acting Parking & Traffic Regulation Manager,) is on leave, so had not yet fed back on his actions.
  • Other actions had been undertaken, apart from D Narayanan’s feedback, which will happen in due course.

3 Police

PCs Deuchars and Dingsdale reported

  • Community Police Officers (CPOs) patrol early in mornings for homeless/rough sleepers, along with StreetWorks and the Cyrenians. These organisations help identify the most vulnerable, to get them into housing.
    • There are many homeless/rough sleepers on Union St, Broughton St and nearby lanes.
    • CPOs are also patrolling with staff (e.g. psychiatric nurses) from the clinic on Spittal St, to minimise delays between finding and treating such people.
  • CPOs are patrolling often in the New Town to deter robbers.
  • Theft of bikes in the city centre is ‘a big thing’, so CPOs are working with Essential Edinburgh (EE) to security-mark bikes. EE pays for security marking, which costs £20 per bike.
    • It was noted that such bike-marking events have also taken place at Edinburgh Napier University.
  • CPOs have also been working with taxi inspectors. On one night, 18 taxis and private hire cars were stopped; 9 of these were sent home. One Über car was taken off the road because it was unroadworthy.
  • There were 4 house-break-ins (HBs) last month in the New Town last month.
    • Dumbiedykes has been added to the city centre CPOs’ beat. (There are three teams of 3 city centre CPOs.)
    • HB rates have been reduced due to the reintroduction of a HB team.
  • Robberies across the city centre have increased compared to last year but are near the 5-year average. There has been an increase in detections.
  • There is no real pattern to serious assaults. Sexual crime rates have increased slightly over the 5-year average.
    • This is linked to historical reports and the night-time economy.
  • Operations against theft from motor-vehicles, theft of bikes and theft of motorbikes are on-going.
    • There has been a large increase in thefts from motor-vehicles, and a suspect has been identified but not yet apprehended.
  • Vandalism rates are much the same as last year and the 5-year average.
  • There has been an increase in drugs detections, due to the community initiative team and extra intelligence.
  • There has been a small increase (in line with overall rates in the Edinburgh division) in common assault rates. Analysis to find patterns is on-going.

3.1 Questions

  • Are CPOs aware of someone sleeping in a tent/makeshift shelter in King George Vth park for a long time?
    • The CPOs advised phoning the police, and noted that night-shelters are now open.
  • Jack Hugh noted that there is much more observance of 20mph limits, but some people appear to be driving at twice the speed-limit (and faster) on Drummond Place, Nelson St, Great King St, Dundas St etc. Relevant statistics are now starting to appear.
    • JH also asked what might be done about ‘obstructive’ parking, e.g. large vans sticking out into the road.
    • It was noted that many have permits, but it was questions why permits were issued to vehicles that do not fit into normal parking spaces. It was suggested that this is a matter for CEC traffic wardens, not the CPOs.
    • It was suggested that because only a few streets are suitable for detecting speeding, certain drivers might bear a significant proportion of this.
    • Action: NTBCC AGREED to compile list of affected streets ASAP, then supply it to the CPOs.

4 Update from business meeting

See also September business meeting notes, and the following Communications and Licensing sections below.

  • A Welsh stated his continuing concern about the proposed height of the new hotel in the St James Centre (but the application for this was approved several years ago).
  • He also stated that the only access from St Andrew Square will be via Multrees Walk, despite previous promises.
    • C Nimmo responded that no current access routes will be blocked.
    • Cllr Mitchell suggested that the Impact Centre development is proposing to provide extra permeability through Dundas House to Elder Street.

5 Communications

It had been suggested at the business meeting suggested that NTBCC could must raise its Twitter visibility.

  • B Ryan noted that new content on the website is automatically tweeted and added to Facebook (FB), but this is just ‘shouting at the world’/’web 1.0’. He occasionally receives alerts about others’ comments on NTBCC’s automatic FB posts, but does not regularly monitor it.
  • Hence it was proposed that an NTBCC member should regularly monitor FB and Twitter, and respond to incoming comments, even if this is just ‘Thank you for your input. We will respond fully within X days.’ (Of course, full replies must be made within the stated period.) This might take up to 30 minutes per day.
  • It was also suggested that decisions and topics covered in meetings can be live-tweeted, so people do not have to wait for minutes being published over a month after the meeting.
  • B Ryan noted that he has done much live-tweeting from academic conferences. He finds this useful to create written summaries of presentations. However, live-tweeting meetings at BR’s normal rate is very likely to prevent the tweeter from taking part in the discussions. It would also raise expectations that people can tweet their input directly into meetings.
  • Hence live-tweeting is best restricted to tweeting decisions and agreed actions, not discussions leading to these.
  • It was also noted that meeting ‘highlights’ could be issued more routinely to provide a more timely account of discussions.

Action: NTBCC comms committee to decide what to do, and who will do it.

Action: NTBCC convernors to include B Ryan when circulating briefs, so he can understand and hence minute accurately

6 Licensing

  • J Finn noted that he had circulated draft inputs to current licensing consultations on policy and overprovision (which have now been submitted).
  • The only potential concern this month is an ‘upmarket’ wine-bar at the bottom of Dundas St that has applied for an outside area for tables and chairs (Ts&Cs). However, this area would be ‘tiny’, so he is not concerned.
    • It was suggested that the area was completely residential, so Ts&Cs might cause problems for residents.
    • It was suggested that Ts&Cs areas cannot be used past 9 or 10pm, so are unlikely to be purely for smokers.
    • It was also noted that advertising boards will be banned in the city centre from 5 November, except possibly in permitted Ts&Cs areas.
    • Action: J Finn/F Wasoff to ascertain whether Ts&Cs areas can have A-boards.
    • It was noted that Ts&Cs areas must have permits (CEC transport), then alcohol licences if drinking is wished.
    • C Nimmo expressed concern that the Planet Bar (Baxter’s place) is occupying a large area of pavement for Ts&Cs, hence causing much inconvenience for pedestrians, wheelchair users etc.
    • It was suggested that such areas constitute public places being used to advertise private businesses.
    • It was noted that abuse such as this may well cause danger by forcing pedestrians into roadways.
    • It was also stated that Ts&Cs permits must be clearly visible in premises’ windows, stating permitted sizes and hours of operation. If these are broken, CEC environmental wardens and locality transport officials should be requested to enforce conditions.
    • It was noted that alcohol licenses [and Ts&Cs permits] are not available on CEC’s website.
    • It was stated that NTBCC has rarely been able to canvas residents about Ts&Cs matters as there are no requirements for neighbour notification. It was also commented that for planning applications (where a requirement does exist), the notification is routinely just a note on a lamppost, sometimes remote from the affected premises.
  • Action: J Finn/F Wasoff to create summary of licensing matters for NTBCC website

7 Planning

See also planning brief.

R Price noted

  • C Nimmo is attending the Royal High School enquiry full-time.
    • CN stated that it is an in-depth Inquiry, with many expert witnesses, and that it is expected that the Reporters will submit their recommendation to Scottish Ministers in spring 2019 with a final determination later in 2019.
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland site is being advertised again.
    • RP expressed concern that the site may be sold in lots, maybe leading to piecemeal, disconnected development.
    • A Welsh stated that it is positive that the advert implies that existing buildings are amenable to conversion.
    • AW also noted recent precedents of conversion/adaption of large buildings, rather than demolition.
    • There was discussion of a previous aspiration from some residents to add the car-park to the nearby public park.
    • It was noted that Historic Environment Scotland (HES) had maintained its objection to the amended development application (but that the application has now been withdrawn).
    • It was suggested that CC work on large developments, by helping improve plans, added to sites’ values.
    • It was suggested by a resident that the planning officer for this case had recently misrepresented the plans during the DMC site visit, e.g. not stating that heights of the planned development would break HES’ guidelines.
    • There was discussion of the feasibility (or otherwise) of a community buy-out.
  • The Baxter Place/Blenheim Place situation is ‘a mess’ due to applications being submitted and withdrawn.
    • The key fact is that CEC’s refusal of the Baxter Place application has now been appealed to the Scottish Reporter.
    • Action: RP to submit NTBCC’s views to the Scottish Reporter.
    • 2 – 3A Blenheim Place (the former RBS branch) application was submitted, then withdrawn after CEC’s hearing on Baxter Place. It has now been resubmitted verbatim. Action: R Price to resubmit NTBCC’s objection.
  • NTBCC had objected to the original Canon Mill The developer withdrew the application and contacted NTBCC for a discussion around the amended plans. NTBCC representatives met with the developer. The revised application reflects some of NTBCC’s points raised in its initial objection.. The deadline for commenting on this application is 18 October. Action: NTBCC members to read Spurtle article, then forward comments to RP.
  • Plans for IMPACTinclude the main application and two listed-building applications. So far, it was reported that these have received very few objections. RP proposed a ‘neutral’ stance be taken to the plans but it should reflect any concerns raised by both NTBCC and residents.
    • J Conn and S Hajducki raised concerns about the proposed materials (concrete), suggesting it will not weather well, and proposed that NTBCC should state a preference for the building to be faced with stone. Action: NTBC members to send their comments to RP.
  • CEC has contacted NTBCC asking for their involvement in discussions of how the Powderhallstables block may be used. RP stated that he doesn’t have the requisite expertise, but noted that Leith Central CC is happy to get involved. RP noted that the relevant CEC official (Kyle Drummond: KD) is currently occupied with the RHS enquiry. RP envisages meeting with KD, including visiting the site. Action: NTBCC members to let RP know if this interests them.
    • RP noted that CEC’s current intent is to convert this building into a community and/or arts space.
    • A Welsh stated that the site of the former waste incinerator is very contaminated, and that the bowling green area, is now derelict, and so could be seen as ripe for a housing development.
    • There is a further consultation due around the end of October. Action: RP to circulate details
    • It was noted that this consultation is on CEC’s consultation hub. Action: B Ryan to put link on website

8 Environment

C Ross noted

  • Edinburgh Waste Forum is due to meet in November. Action: C Ross to advise NTBCC of date when possible.
  • NTBCC should be ahead of the game concerning CEC’s transport and environment committee (TEC). She has watched the recent TEC meeting online.
  • West Princes St Gardens (WPSG) could be called ‘a marginal success’, in that cognisance of the consultation has been taken by CEC and the Ross Development Trust, and the area should be retained within CEC control. A councillor asked at the TEC meeting about events due in WPSG. The Transport and Environment committee accepted the report on WPSG which said the public consultation found that residents etc were against arm’s length management. CEC’s director of place’s response included several long periods, e.g. for the festival. Hence there is lack of clarity about the length and scope of events. For example, there will be a Diwali festival on 2-4 November, but there are concerns about checking that only permitted activities take place.
  • Consultations on CEC’s consultation hub include
  • Action: NTBCC members to respond to these and other relevant consultations on consultation hub

9 Transport

See also transport brief

9.1 Consultations

A Jack noted that there are many current transport consultations, but suggested that NTBCC should definitely reply to the connecting our city, transforming our places consultation because it covers many issues on which NTBCC has clear positions. Action: AJ to draft submission, then finalise it with NTBCC environment committee members.

9.2 Trams

  • B Ryan noted that he minutes meetings of Community Council Together on Trams with CEC’s trams team. Minutes will soon appear on NTBCC’s website [and on Leith Harbour & Newhaven and Leith Central websites].
  • The CCTT steering group will meet 9 October to consider the current ‘phase 2’ consultation (ends 28 October).
  • There were concerns over Picardy Place, planned lack of right turns into London Road, and lack of information about numbers of buses on Leith Walk.
  • There are public events about the current consultation. See NTBCC website for details.
  • Action: A Jack to submit NTBCC’s own response to the consultation, based on its original submission.

9.3 e-bikes

There are various e-bike and e-vehicle charging points in NTBCC’s area, but it was noted that only some of these appeared to be covered by planning applications. Action: Cllr Mitchell to follow this up.

At this point there was discussion of NTBCC committee memberships.

10 Localities and local residents’ associations

S Warnock noted

  • Around 50 people attended a recent facilitated meeting to devise ideas for the 2023 (immediate) vision, covering housing, transport, and many other subjects.

o CEC is looking for 20,000 new houses, including regeneration of brownfield sites, e.g. Powderhall and RBS.

  • It was commented that NTBCC hears nothing from SE locality, while NW locality is very communicative.
  • It was noted that because NTBCC covers 3 central council wards, it falls within 3 localities’ areas.
  • It was suggested that there should be a city centre locality, rather than dividing it between 4 localities.
  • It was suggested that some localities are trying to get rid of Neighbourhood Partnerships. There are 12 of these, and CEC does not currently plan to abolish them.
  • Action: Cllr Mitchell to check who SE locality’s key CEC official is.

11 Any other business

  • R Price will represent NTBCC at the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils meeting on 25 October.
    • B Ryan submitted revisions to CEC’s CC Scheme, because the original was ambiguous and poorly written. (These suggested revisions do not alter the meaning of any part, just make the text clear.)
    • Cllr Mitchell suggested that the meeting would cover potential increases to CCs’ roles and powers.
  • J Finn noted that a resident had contacted him about noise and antisocial behaviour from the Phoenix pub in Broughton St. She was advised to submit a complaint, then follow it up with CEC councillors.
  • A power-cut in Fettes Row and Royal Crescent a month ago has damaged street-lighting.
    • It was suggested that residents contact S Francey in CEC, or use CEC’s website.
    • However, there is precedent for CEC taking months to respond.
  • J Hugh has now been accredited by CEC as representative of his street association

Appendix: NTBCC committee members

NTBCC convenors noted the following committee members:

  • Licensing: J Finn (convenor), A Haddow (TBC), C Nimmo, F Wasoff (acting convenor)
  • Transport: A Jack (convenor), S Haducki, J Hugh, C Nimmo, C Ross, A Welsh
  • Environment: L Press (convenor), C Collins, J Conn, M Duffy, J Finn, S Holledge, A Jack, S McAllister, C Ross
  • Communications: S Macinnes (convenor), F Choudhury, M Duffy, S Holledge, R Price, B Ryan
  • Planning: R Price (convenor), S Beaumont, C Collins, J Conn, S Hajducki,S McAlister, C Nimmo

S Warnock represents NTBCC to the relevant Locality meetings.