NTBCC minutes – Monday 13 January 2020

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s business meeting, held in Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 13 January 2020 at 7pm

Actions and decisions are red italic. ND means that no-one dissented from or voted against a decision.

1 Welcome

  • The chair welcomed new members James Kilner and David Clarke. She noted that meetings would now be 7pm to 9pm.
  • NTBCC now has 17 elected members and 5 local interest group members = 22 voting members.

1.a Attendance

Mike Birch NTBCC, RRCTMA Carol Nimmo NTBCC chair
David Clarke NTBCC Richard Price NTBCC secretary
Susan Duff NTBCC Sheila Warnock NTBCC, Great King St Residents’ Association
Laura Graham NTBCC Fran Wasoff NTBCC
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Alan Welsh NTBCC
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Peter Williamson NTBCC, Picardy Residents’ Association
Simon Holledge NTBCC engagement officer Bruce Ryan minutes secretary
Jack Hugh NTBCC PC Dingsdale Police Scotland
Allan Jack NTBCC, India St Association PC Deuchars Police Scotland
James Kilner NTBCC Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
Stuart McAllister NTBCC Cllr Hal osler Inverleith ward
Susan MacInnes NTBCC 9 residents/visitors

1.b Apologies for absence

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Jonathan Finn NTBCC treasurer Andrea Simpson NTBCC, Drummond Civic Association

The chair noted the absence of the city centre ward councillor who was due to attend this meeting.

  • Action: NTBCC officer-bearers to ask this cllr why he was absent.

2 Minutes of meeting of 16th December and matters arising/change of minute style

  • The minutes were approved subject to correction of minor typos (proposed M Birch, seconded D Henderson, ND)
  • All matters arising were covered in the proposed agenda items.
  • The proposed new concise minuting style was approved ND

3 Police report

PCs Dingsdale and Deuchars reported:

  • Operation ‘Winter City’ had been a policing priority, focussing on acquisitive crime and antisocial behaviour (ASB).
    • A member was concerned that police cover had been drained to the city centre, noting a spate of car-vandalism.
      • Cllr Mitchell noted that city street-lighting will be upgraded in April-June 2020 which may help.
    • Policing focussed on Waverley mall as a hotspot of ASB, which increases during the festive period.
    • An NTBCC member queried whether police were concerned about use-conflicts between Waverley mall bar-users and users of the mall, station, taxis and buses. Another member stated that she had experience crowding here.
      • The PCs replied that there were no calls about the bar.
    • An NTBCC member asked about policing resource-use, given the size of the market.
      • The PCs stated that this was expected and planned for, so there was no extra strain.
    • There have been no major issues around licensed premises, but ‘Ask Angela’[1] and ‘bystander’[2] training continue.
    • There have been road-safety campaigns, leading to 1 arrest for drug-driving and 1 for cycling on the pavement.
      • An NTBCC member was concerned about speeding in certain areas.
        • The PCs noted that it can be difficult to set up speed-traps, but asked for information about problem areas.
        • Cllr Osler noted that Edinburgh Council will install rumble-strips in areas of consistent speeding.
        • Action: NTBCC to compile a list of streets where speeding is problematic, then forward it to city centre ward cllrs
      • The PCs noted police concern over house-breakings: 4 domestic and 1 to a business in the last month:
      • A resident asked about the police’s position on begging.
        • The PCs noted that begging is not a criminal offence, and that Romanian police officers had found that the beggars had not been coerced into begging, and had not been trafficked.
        • It was noted that not all beggars are eastern European, and that NTBCC (or others) should not assume or imply this.

4 East Princes Street Gardens update

4.a Discussion

The chair noted widespread concern about this, including media coverage. Comments from NTBCC members included:

  • NTBCC cannot be sure that a clear majority is against the market in this year’s format.
    • Some members noted enjoyment of this year’s market, in part because it covered a wider area and hence was less crowded.
      • Some members were concerned that satisfaction and attendance figures (as published) were questionable.
    • Documented press coverage has been mostly critical.
    • Public petitions suggest that a significant number oppose it.
    • Action: use the phrase ‘…the majority who have contacted NTBCC and expressed an opinion…’
  • There is concern is about the process (lack of planning permission/due process] and about damage to the gardens.
  • There are three major questions:
    • process, which is clearly of large concern, e.g. fragmentation of CEC processes, retrospective planning permission
    • economic growth vs. other uses of the area. For example, the gardens are a public garden/common-good land.
      • There is concern over the economic figures provided by Underbelly.
    • Edinburgh residents were not asked what they want.
      • Cllr Mitchell noted that a consultation is due soon.
      • However, some members were concerned that CEC consultations are flawed.
      • Other traders may have suffered due to trade being focussed on the city centre.
    • NTBCC should focus on the issues that concern it and its residents, then choose which to pursue, avoiding NIMBYism.
    • A member’s email comprehensively listed the issues that could be considered.
    • NTBCC should devise suggestions for a format of the market it would prefer, e.g. fewer stalls, less ‘tat’, cultural trails.
      • One issue is that Edinburgh does not have an obvious, sufficiently large area with hard standing to accommodate
        the current size of the overall Christmas Market offering.
    • There was a strong proposal to pursue a judicial review or independent enquiry into how the contract was awarded.
      • Any such investigation should not be run by CEC itself.
      • It was noted that there are strict time-limits for judicial reviews.
    • Cllr Osler noted that CEC’s Culture and Communities Committee are expecting a report on the possible alternative locations / positioning etc. of the market.
      • She would strongly oppose suggestions to move the market from one green space to another.
      • However, the administration had decided that green space must pay for itself.
      • An NTBCC member claimed that no city in Europe puts such events on in its parks.
      • Cllr Osler noted that the contract had been awarded to Underbelly in 2017 (& extended in 2019).
      • She stated that one issue is that 5 CEC committees consider only their specific aspects of matters and the information they are provided. Only the administration had an overview of all market matters. For example, culture and communities does not consider how much money the market makes for Edinburgh.
      • Cllr Mitchell noted that CEC’s director of place had extended the contract under delegated authority in consultation with CEC’s culture and communities (C&C) convenor and vice-convenor. This was to enable Underbelly to recoup additional costs for the market structure over 2 years. The C&C members were not told about various details around enlarging the market.

A resident thanked Cllrs Mitchell and Osler for facing the questions. She noted the Cockburn Association’s event.

4.b Proposals for, and decisions, on action

  • Proposal: (1) ask CEC senior officers and Cllr McVey about the matters of concern to NTBCC; (2) if satisfaction is not obtained, go further (e.g. Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, Audit Scotland).
    • This could be based on the comprehensive email mentioned above.
    • Alternatively, it could focus on the process issues.
    • The letter should be open and/or copied to MPs, MSPs etc.
      o The letter could also query the attendance, economic benefit and EH-postcode data from Underbelly, etc.
    • The letter could also query the EH postcode data.
    • Action: no specific action was agreed. However, no-one spoke against the basic proposal.
  • Action: L Graham to look into judicial review route

5 West Princes Street: The Quaich Project Update

5.a Business Plan/Operational Plan: Culture & Communities 28 January & related matters

S Holledge noted:

  • the four CCs bordering the gardens and the Cockburn Association had produced a joint statement.
  • The Business Case / Operational Plan will be published by CEC next week, then considered by CEC’s Culture and
    Communities committee on January 28th.

Action: NTBCC agreed to send a deputation to the committee

Full planning app possible in March based on the submission of the PAN.

6 Planning

6.a Ediston / Orion Capital : PAN consultation (ex-RBS Dundas Street/Fettes Row)

R Price noted that he has received a list of comments submitted: most are in favour of doing ‘something’, but that the matter is at PAN stage: no actually application has been made.

  • Action: RP to consider submitting comments on behalf of NTBCC

A resident noted that there is currently on-site activity. The cllrs stated that they could not comment here because they are on CEC’s planning committee.

  • Action: NTBCC have raised this with local councillors and will follow up further if required

7 Transport

See also pre-meeting report (appendix 1)

It was noted that the City Mobility Plan contains much already known and commented on by NTBCC. However, there are two new factors: change of bus services and tram extensions.

  • Current concerns include the number of buses using East London St, road-closures leading to route-changes (without
    proper information reaching residents), long-lasting diversions, rat-runs and the duration of SGN works.
  • There was discussion of the detail of the changes and closures, and lack of options.
  • Action: A Jack to collate NTBCC’s issues, then invite Lothian Buses representative to NTBCC meeting.

A member requested that parking and the new bus-stop on York Place is discussed in at NTBCC’s February meeting.

8 Licensing

F Wasoff noted that CEC has breached its responsibility to notify NTBCC about licensing applications.

Action: F Wasoff to act on this.

F Wasoff noted two applications:

  • Papavero in Howe St wishes amplified music immediately below private flats. Action: F Wasoff to object.
  • The Shoogly Peg in Rose Stose wishes to include pavement in their license. Action: F Wasoff to find out more.

9 Environment

It was noted

  • P Williamson is collating a list of issues for NTBCC’s environment ctte to cover.
  • P Williamson is organising a committee meeting to take place in February.
  • CEC’s waste forum is on Wednesday (2:30 at the city chambers).

Action: P Williamson and/or S Mcallister to attend.

10 Engagement

S Holledge noted that NTBCC’s committee will meet on 21 January.

11 Localities/local residents’ associations

No items

12 Any other business

12.a City Plan 2030

Cllr Osler noted that the choices report for ’CityPlan 2030’ will soon be published. It was delayed due to the Scottish Government rejecting SESPlan.

  • CEC is due to approve the consultation plan next week.
  • CityPlan 2030 is a legal document that needs Scottish Government approval.
  • It was suggested that NTBCC etc. look at further steps to manage short-term lets and housing into CityPlan 2030

12.b Tourism

M Birch noted last NTBCC’s recent tourism discussions and efforts (so far in vain) to establish proper public consultation.

  • He noted that Old Town CC and the Cockburn Association published their responses.
  • Action: M Birch to do this for NTBCC

12.c Other items

C Nimmo and S Holledge will attend Old Town CC’s meeting, at which CEC’s director of place is due to attend to answer questions.

13 Appendix 1: pre-meeting transport report

CEC has published a City Mobility Plan (CMP), to be considered at T&E committee this Thursday and, if approved, to go out to consultation in Feb-Mar.

The CMP builds on the tram scheme, the George St work, the CCTT (City Transformation Plan) and the LEZ proposal (currently under review and due to be revisited at a T&E in Feb); integrates these and other work-streams; and frames them within climate and emissions targets with a view to achieving carbon neutrality in the city by 2030.

NTBCC has already responded to most of the above-mentioned work-streams, or has been involved in developing them; we have been broadly supportive of the principles underlying them, but with important qualifications and points of detail; the submissions are available on our website.

On these topics, a draft NTBCC response to the CMP may be prepared on the basis of these previous submissions. However there are some key new elements such as a review of bus services, and possible further tram extensions, and it would be good to discuss these issues at our February or March meetings so that any views can be incorporated into the final response.

It would obviously be helpful if a representative of Lothian Buses (whom we‘ve already agreed to invite) could be invited to attend in February or March.

[1] If bar- or security-staff are asked for ‘Angela’, this is a signal that help is needed.

[2] Training people to report incidents