NTBCC minutes – Monday 14 January 2019

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held in the Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 14 January 2019 at 7.30pm

1 Attendance and apologies for absence

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Lewis Press NTBCC Environment Convenor
Judy Conn NTBCC Secretary Richard Price NTBCC Planning Convenor
Margaret Duffy NTBCC Chrissie Ross NTBCC
Jack Hugh NTBCC Sheila Warnock NTBCC
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Fran Wasoff NTBCC
Simon Holledge NTBCC PC Lynsey Claxton Police Scotland
Stuart McAllister NTBCC Terry Levinthal Director, The Cockburn Association
Susan MacInnes NTBCC Alan Macintosh Broughton Spurtle
Carol Nimmo NTBCC Chair 5 residents/visitors

There were no councillors present.

1.1 Apologies for absence

Deirdre Brock MP Stuart McAllister NTBCC
Jonathan Finn NTBCC Treasurer, Licensing Convenor Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan Leith Walk Ward
Alan Jack NTBCC Transport Convenor Bruce Ryan NTBCC Minutes Secretary

1.2 Membership of NTBCC

It was unanimously agreed to co-opt S Holledge as a full member of NTBCC. It was noted that Community Council elections are due to be held in September 2019.

2 Minutes of Meeting of 10 December 2018

These were accepted as a correct record; proposed by S Holledge and seconded by J Conn).

2.1 Matters Arising

2.1.1 Item 4 (Presentation from SGN on Broughton Street works).

M Duffy noted that the Broughton Street Traders (BST) had met with SGN on 3 January 2019 and raised their concerns about the impact of the lengthy works’ progamme (26 weeks) on local businesses. Among the outcomes of this meeting, was a suggestion that the NTBCC website could be used to raise local awareness that Broughton St “remains open for business”. NTBCC agreed and M Duffy would facilitate contact between BST and R Price to make this happen. An additional concern for BST is the cumulative effect of sequential closures of Broughton Street over a prolonged period. M Duffy volunteered to contact CEC to establish the process for ensuring coordination across agencies to minimise impact in these circumstances. S Macinnes noted that there is a Scottish Road Works Commissioner accountable to Scottish Parliament for improving the planning and coordination of road works in Scotland who should also be contacted.

3 Police Report

PC Claxton reported that in the period there had been:

  • four break-ins, including at the Glasshouse Hotel where there had been two arrests;
  • six acts of vandalism, including tyre slashing in Gayfield Square;
  • thirty- one minor assaults;
  • four serious assaults associated with the Festive Season and night time economy;
  • the death of the fifteen-year old on Calton Hill remains unexplained.

In relation to a follow up question about stewarding and security at the Christmas market, PC Claxton affirmed the point made at the December NTBCC meeting that Underbelly was responsible for managing admissions to the market, particularly at peak times. She confirmed that Police Counter Terrorism officers and a dedicated plain clothes detail had been present at all times. It was Police Scotland view that, in that context, airport security measures were not appropriate but that the response would be intelligence led and escalated, if deemed necessary. A coordinated review of the Festive operations would be carried out by the Chief Inspector with a debrief to follow and input from stakeholders about any concerns would be welcomed.

4 Director of The Cockburn Association: A View of the George Street Project

C Nimmo welcomed Terry Levinthal and invited him to introduce himself and the work of The Cockburn Association (the Cockburn) before setting out the Cockburn’s view of the George Street Project. He summarised the background and priorities of the Cockburn. He noted that he had been the Director for eighteen months.

He highlighted that the formal response from the Cockburn to the George Street Project had not yet been finalised, noting that two Board members were also at the NTBCC meeting. In his opening remarks, he clarified that it was CEC’s responsibility to coordinate development in the city and that, in his view, CEC was one of the laxer local authorities in assessing the impact of development. There are a number of major challenges to the city to be contended with: the impact and restructuring of the city centre as a result of the rise of internet shopping; the increase in tourism and event activity and the impact of overseas investment in residential property (particularly to Chinese, Russians, Saudi Arabians and Welsh buyers). Edinburgh is the second most important city for investment in the UK after London. He noted the importance of the Local Development Plan, seeing input to this as a major opportunity for influence. He highlighted that after a decade of austerity, CEC has restricted capacity to address some of these issues.

Turning to the George Street Project, he noted that plans for reinvigorating George Street seem to happen every 10-12 years. He highlighted the importance of any plan for George Street being part of a wider plan for the First New Town in particular, the USP of the World Heritage site. In that context, there had to be a holistic view taken on the basis of a heritage impact analysis. The original plan created a grand open place, designed with neo-classical formality. The present challenge is how to accommodate all the current CEC aspirations: a destination space, a cycling highway while still planning to move articulated lorries through. It is not clear what the aim is in terms of the balance of residential /non- residential property.

He characterised CEC’s consultation as highly superficial. He noted that it appears that CEC sees George Street as an events space – with the parking being taken out of the centre of the street to enable facilitating infrastructure. In this context, he noted that Channel 4’s landscape artist of the year would take Calton Hill out of public access for four days. The Cockburn has specific issues about the plaza concept – Castle Street does not work – the limited palette of materials, the seating and trees.

Following wide-ranging discussion, C Nimmo thanked the Director of The Cockburn Association for his informative contribution. She noted that there was limited time at the meeting for NTBCC to discuss and agree its response to the George Street Project consultation. While proposing that NTBCC’s response will accord generally with that of the Cockburn, she suggested that the Convenors of the Committees work with members to finalise NTBCC’s position.

It was noted that there would be a consultation ‘drop-in’ session on Thursday 17 January from 10 am to 7pm at St Andrew’s and St George’s on George St.

Items 5 to 9

The expectation that summary reports would be circulated in advance was noted on the agenda. C Nimmo highlighted that there was limited time for discussion.

5 Transport

It was noted that no report had been circulated.

6 Planning

R Price noted that the Place Brief for Powderhall had been endorsed by the Planning Committee. He highlighted that the RBS site is up for sale, that there are 22 bidders and the agents would take this to a short list with a decision expected in late spring. He highlighted that NTBCC had not submitted a representation in relation to the Omni Centre planning application but that there had been a number of objections lodged. He drew attention to the consultation session planned in relation to the Johnnie Walker Experience, proposed for the ex-Fraser store in Princes’ St, on 17 January between 5pm and 8pm at the Principal Hotel, Charlotte Square.

7 Environment

It was noted that a meeting had been organised on 21 January with the Director of the National Gallery in relation to the trees in East Princes St Gardens. There was a discussion about attendance at this meeting. It was agreed that A Jack and S Holledge should attend, together with either the Chair or Vice Chair of NTBCC dependent on availability, together with representation from the Old Town Community Council and Andrew Heald who had been leading the Twitter campaign. This would be organised through a limited circulation email.

L Press highlighted that CEC’s Waste Forum had not met recently and this was being pursued. S McInnes suggested that the responsible Executive Officer should be invited to a future NTBCC meeting for a detailed discussion. In the meantime, Jack Hugh noted the importance of logging all bin issues via the CEC website.

8 Licensing

8.1 Pre-meeting briefing

There are 3 licence variations this month:

  • 100 George Street (Fazenda restaurant) – request to allow accompanied children to eat there until 11pm/midnight
  • 121 Princes Street (Premier Inn) – request to increase capacity, presumably for the hotel bar
  • Rose Theatre – request to increase hours. I don’t know what they have and what they want (I’ll try to find out before our meeting), but as I have not heard any complaints about them, and there are no flats in the same building, I am not inclined to object. I assume the Licensing Board will not grant them later hours than other places in the area (1am).

8.2 Discussion

Following up from the briefing, it appears that the Gilded Balloon will making its hub in the Rose St Theatre.

9 Communications

C Nimmo thanked S MacInnes who has stood down as Convenor of the Communications Committee due to the pressure of other commitments. C Ross nominated S Holledge as Convenor, seconded by J Conn. It was agreed that a meeting of the Committee would be held in early February.

10 Localities/Local Residents’ Associations

It was highlighted that progress had been made in relation to restoring heritage lights in Scotland St and Scotland St West: a cast had been made from an original found.

11 Any other business

It was noted that there are ten meetings of NTBCC programmed in a calendar year, with meetings not usually held in January or August. Given that a meeting had been held in January 2019, it was agreed that the February meeting would be stood down. The date would be kept in case there was some emergency reason for a meeting to be called.