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 May 2018 at 7:30pm
Actions and decisions are red underlined. Nem con means that no-one spoke or voted against the item.
1 Attendance and apologies for absence
|Judy Conn||NTBCC secretary||Alan Welsh||NTBCC|
|Margaret Duffy||NTBCC||Bruce Ryan||Minutes secretary|
|Simon Holledge||NTBCC||Alan McIntosh||Broughton Spurtle|
|Jack Hugh||NTBCC||SgtBob Mason||Police Scotland|
|Allan Jack||NTBCC transport convenor||PC Keith Deuchars||Police Scotland|
|Stuart McAllister||NTBCC||Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan||Leith Walk ward|
|Susan MacInnes||NTBCC||Martin Perry||THRE|
|Ian Mowat||NTBCC chair||David Cooper||CEC|
|Carol Nimmo||NTBCC||Chris Wilson||CEC|
|Richard Price||NTBCC planning convenor||~9 residents and visitors|
1.1 Apologies for absence
|Susanna Beaumont||NTBCC||Lewis Press||NTBCC environment convenor|
|Jonathan Finn||NTBCC treasurer, licensing convenor||Fran Wasoff||NTBCC|
|Andrew Haddow||NTBCC||Deidre Brock MP||Edinburgh North & Leith|
2 Minutes of meeting of April 2018 and matters arising
These were accepted subject to correcting ‘Gloucester Road’ to ‘Gloucester Lane’ (Proposed A Welsh, seconded J Hugh, nem con)
PCs Mason and Deuchars reported:
- In the last month there have been 4 house-breakings (HBs) and 1 attempted HB in NTBCC’s area
- 3 of these have been solved.
- They took place during day-times, so the police recommended keeping properties secure and tempting valuables hidden, and contacting them for crime-prevention advice.
- Over the past two months, there have been 7 occurrences of smashed car windows, followed by theft of (sometimes petty) contents.
- The police recommended hiding valuables, and wiping off marks from SatNavs so thieves aren’t aware of such valuables. It appears these crimes may have been committed by one individual.
- Concerning theft of bicycles
- Prevention/security marking events have taken place on St Andrews Square.
- These have been advertised on Social Media, and via the Business Improvement District.
- also advertised on socmed, working with BID
- There have 4 several robberies (3 solved) in the NTBCC area.
- 2 of these were from people taking money from ATMs.
- Hence the police advise caution when using ATMs.
- The police are working with taxi examiner officers on complaints about taxis and private hire cars (PHCs)
- This should repeat every month or so.
- In the most recent action, police stopped 20 vehicles. 4 were taken off the road immediately, 2 were fined for having defective tires, 1 driver was reported for carrying too many passengers.
- In response to a question, the police noted that both taxi- and PHC-drivers have offended, but that they may commit different kinds of offence.
- The police continue to patrol in the mornings to help with the welfare of rough sleepers, revellers etc.
- Action: NTBCC members to inform the police if they notice new rough sleepers
- 20 mph zones
- The police are doing what they can to enforce this but have limited numbers. Also, some streets are not suitable for using the ‘speed-guns’.
- The police are focusing on ‘hot-spots’, for example recently charging two drivers in Chester St.
- The police stated that 20 mph zones should be ‘self-enforcing’ (e.g. sufficient signage) but this does not always work.
4 Update on progress with the new St James Centre by Project Director of TH Real Estate
Mr Perry reported:
- Progress is somewhat ahead of schedule.
- 60% of excavation has been completed.
- Pouring of the 3rdlevel of the basement slab is taking place near the bus-station.
- Excavation underneath John Lewis (JL) – and putting in a supporting structure – is also taking place.
- This has necessitated temporarily ‘turning around’ JL to create and maintain accessibility.
- Hence JL is still trading, but not so much due to the current construction and road-works reducing access.
- Much work (e.g. prefabrication of floor slabs) is being done offsite work to reduce logistics issues and numbers of workers on-site.
- The numbers of vehicles taking away excavated materials has peaked.
- Vehicle numbers should tail off over the next 3 months.
- However, there will be more vehicles bringing in prefabricated materials from the facility in Leith.
- Because the shopping centre is closed (hence no delivery vehicles and customer cars), there has been a net 30% fall in vehicles accessing the site.
- There has been 1 complaint so far (via a CEC cllr). This concerned a piece of road, which THRE has repaired.
- The lorries taking away excavated material have features to automatically seal in their contents.
- Leith St is on schedule, so should re-open about a week before the 2018 festival.
- The final stage of the work will be applying the top road-surface in to all of the road in one ‘go’.
- Enabling works have been undertaken at Picardy Place
- These include removal of trees, islands and kerbs, so the site is flat. Hence traffic is controlled using cones.
- Exploratory digs were necessary because what is underground (e.g. old tram tracks) is recorded inaccurately.
- FUSE was launched about 3 weeks ago, as part of the Growth Accelerator Model (GAM).
- This is a jobs training and skills academy for the retail, hospitality and construction industries.
- It works with colleges, schools and communities and, e.g. the London Fashion Academy to offer jobs and relevant training.
- It assumes that everyone in a service job is an ambassador for Edinburgh, so it aims to teach such necessary skills and information. THRE will then hand FUSE over to CEC so the scheme is perpetuated.
- FUSE also aims to employ homeless people, to their and Edinburgh’s benefit.
- Retail leasing has started.
- The market is currently somewhat gloomy due to, for example, business-rate increases, £/€ exchange-rates, many potential employees being European. However, the businesses that are struggling are those that were expected to do so. Hence it is difficult to attract the hoped-for international retailers.
- However, organisations are prepared to invest in Edinburgh, so THRE has met its pre-launch target.
- The leases for hotels, car-parking etc now in place – [retail leases?] are for a minimum of 10 years.
- About 42% of the required investment has been secured.
4.1 Picardy Place design
Messrs Cooper and Wilson reported:
- The GAM (an agreement between the Scottish Government, CEC and THRE) supports the FUSE retail academy, an energy centre, public realm works within the site, the Leith St upgrade and PP redesign.
- In September 2017, there was consultation, which gained much feedback. Hence CEC decided to revisit the design. There were meetings with key stakeholders, leading to a revised design in Jan 2018. The road layout is now finalised, and is being fed back into the GAM contract so THRE can now deliver it. The programme will be revisited, taking up to May 2019 to deliver TROs, more stakeholder engagement etc.
- The full space of PP will be reconstructed, then there will be a further project to try to animate the space further. No decisions have yet been made, and NTBCC will be spoken to further.
- IM noted that the area in front of the cathedral is bigger, thus providing more space for weddings, etc.
- IM asked whether NTBCC would get more engagement on both of these phases, and when it would happen.
- It was stated that a landscape designer has been part of the team, but that it didn’t have a remit for the island because that had been intended for development. CEC is now seeking to commission them in the next month. This would include where the Paolozzi sculptures are finally located.
4.2 Questions and comments by NTBCC and residents
- M Duffy noted that a commitment to detailed local engagement (e.g. about landscape) with residents was made on 25 Jan – but that this has not yet taken placed. She insisted that engagement should mean local residents being involved in design, not being offered a fait accompli.
- DC replied that lack of detailed engage is due to work on fixing the road layout. Hence CEC has not yet been ready to have this discussion. He emphasised that decisions have not yet been made.
- IM noted that such consultations must take place in the next month, due to NTBCC’s holiday in July.
- MD also queried how recent changes in traffic patterns affect the modelling underpinning the PP gyratory.
- DEC replied that modelling is owned by CEC but undertaken by a consultant. It is constantly updated with new data. He can arrange for a more detailed response.
- A resident suggested that the Paolozzi sculptures belong to the cathedral, so it and Tom Farmer should be consulted. (Ownership was queried.) She also noted that the entrance to the cathedral is frequently blocked by THRE’s contractors’ vehicles
- Action: Mr Perry agreed to prevent this recurring.
- Another resident suggested that this development is detrimental to Princes St (e.g. the ‘underdeveloped’ Waverley market. He also criticised the design of the hotel-top.
- Mr Perry replied that when the brief was set in 2007, it was ‘not about what has happened in other cities’, where inward-facing shopping malls that are accessed by cars are ‘parachuted’ in. This development was conceived as a galleria, an open route of shopping through which people circulate, which is deliberately not air-conditioned. Retailers such as Marks & Spencer were deliberately not targeted. Overall the design aimed to not hurt the city centre and Princes St. It also aimed to replace what had already been in this area.
- Mr Perry also stated that the west end of Princes St is already suffering, in part because there is one tram stop halfway along the street, rather than a stop at either end. Also the trams are in the centre of the street, while the shopping is on only one side.
- The hotel design stems from the brand ‘W’ – this brand only sets up in capital cities, and brings in much tourism. They would not have been interested in taking over the Balmoral or the Caledonian. The hotel aims to point towards the future.
- IM asked whether the ‘golden turd’ design could be altered. Mr Perry replied that it is now less shiny, and the colour has changed, in part due to objections by Edinburgh World Heritage.
- A Welsh expressed strong concern that other projects are due to appear ‘out of the blue’. (His example was that while the St James project was well publicised in advance, the PP project appeared very suddenly.)
- AW also expressed strong concerns about access into the finished development – this would be via the Register buildings and via Multrees Walk – and about plans for access routes not being in the public domain.
- Mr Perry stated that right from the beginning there was a desire to get as many pedestrians into the development as possible. Hence various preparations have been made to enable 4 new access routes. However, completing at least one of these depends on being able to use RBS grounds – this is now becoming possible via the concert-hall proposals. Also Registers of Scotland plans to rationalise its estate. (The current buildings are not optimal for preservation of paper records, and hence has purpose-built accommodation elsewhere.) Hence THRE has created buried arches on land it controls – these could be used to enable access if circumstances eventually permit. Meanwhile, it can only create one new access route, via James Craig Walk.
- Action: Mr Perry to supply relevant plans.
- Mr Perry confirmed that the anchor store is John Lewis. JL will end up with more usable selling area in an otherwise smaller building.
- Mr Perry also confirmed that JL’s ‘prow’ end will be improved. THRE has acquired the freehold, but JL remains responsible for the façades. Mr Perry noted that the building has ‘dreadful’ staining, which will be difficult and costly to remove. Hence THRE will work with CEC planners to rectify stains and the ‘dreadful’ wooden louvres.
R Price reported on 4 items:
5.1 Royal High School/Cockburn appeal
The coalition of the Cockburn Association (CA), Edinburgh World Heritage and NTBCC has completed the pre-enquiry statement for this appeal. Witness statements are now in preparation. Posters advertising the Crowdjustice fundraising appeal are printed. Action: NTBCC members to distribute these – to be co-ordinated by RP.
5.2 Royal Bank of Scotland
Many objections have been submitted, but the case appears to have gone quiet. CEC’s Development Management Subcommittee (DMSC) will visit the site on Wednesday 16 May at 13:45. RP was unaware how NTBCC could be involved in this site visit.
J Conn stated that Fettes Row/Royal Crescent Residents’ Association and the Friends of King Geroge V park would observe at the visit, and that the provisional date for determining the case is 20 June.
There was discussion whether the CA had objected to this proposed development.
5.3 Edinburgh Academy
The DMSC are also visiting this site on Wednesday 16 May. RP has arranged with residents who would be affected by this development for DMSC to visit their flats to appraise the likely effects.
5.4 City-centre phone-box replacements
See http://www.broughtonspurtle.org.uk/news/bt-eyes-historic-city-centre for more information.
The advertisement consent period for these proposed units has passed, but the full consent window is not yet closed. RP suggested that this proposal shows lack of joined-up thinking by CEC. Action: NTBCC members to send their views by the end of the week.
F Wasoff reported by email:
- Two objections to licensing variations (2 Broughton Place, 2 Dundas St) involving the ‘noise’ condition have been successful. (CEC licensing now suggests that noise should not be a [subjective] nuisance, rather than [objectively] inaudible.)
- The licensing committee has attended an event on over-provision in Edinburgh, and spoke to its submission to the licensing board on this subject.
- J Finn is drafting a submission to the SG’s consultation on updating licensing procedures. This will include NTBCC’s observations of poor enforcement in Edinburgh.
A Jack reported on 2 items:
7.1 Trams to Newhaven
- There should have been a presentation by CEC’s trams team at the last NTBCC meeting, but they cancelled with only a few hours’ notice, offered an less satisfactory alternative (meeting all CCs together for a limited time), and then withdrew it. Hence in April NTBCC discussed its position. NTBCC then submitted its comment, noting, inter alia, that the consultation was very poor.
- The other main points of NTBCC’s submission were
- that it would be better to wait for the lessons from the Hardie enquiry
- that poor consultation engenders distrust
- that there was likely to be disruption to businesses
- that the design should not be led by transport, but should develop communities and ‘place’
- that questions about buses, especially on Picardy Place, have not been answered.
- The next piece of consultation is due in summer/autumn 2018.
- S McAllister asked whether it would be possible to question CEC about the proposals to reroute buses from Leith Walk to Easter Road and Broughton Road. He stated that Broughton Road is currently a ‘mess’. For example, drivers are routinely ignoring traffic lights at the Logie Green/ Broughton Road junction. It was noted that the trams team had left many questions unanswered.
7.2 Parking action plan
This is due to be discussed in more detail on Thursday 17 May by CEC’s transport committee. The main change is that the proposed diesel surcharge has been withdrawn. There will be a further report on this in August. It appears there has been much resistance to this idea.
The shared spaces plan, involving a proposed 30% increase in numbers of such parking spaces in the city centre, is in the plan. AJ suggested that NTBCC should consider this in more depth.
All of this plan will become a large traffic order that will be consulted upon by CEC. AJ suggested that NTBCC should invite a relevant CEC official for a Q&A session.
S McAllister suggested that there is an inconsistency between CEC restricting the number of parking spaces in new developments and the proposed increase in parking spaces under the plan. A McIntosh suggested that there is a further inconsistency between creating new parking spaces and not linking this to existing plans for the city centre.
C Nimmo noted the absence of CEC councillors from this meeting – their presence may have helped with apparent disconnections between Transport and Planning departments.
I Mowat noted that it was proposed to charge for parking on Sundays in zones 1 to 4, by increasing the price of permits to pay for extra enforecement. IM questioned whether this was necessary, given that fines revenue was likely to increase.
C Ross reported
- Many of the above issues are also Environment issues.
- However, given the relevant convenor’s continued enforced absences, the committee would need to change.
- CR is also on the Neighbourhood Partnership, which creates the local improvement plan.
- A ‘small area plan’ is being developed for the city centre over the next 3 years, looking at traffic congestion, parking, cycling, public spaces etc. The convenor is Cllr C Miller, who takes a ‘residents first’ approach.
9 Activities of Local Street or Amenity Associations
M Duffy reported that as of 18 April, the Picardy Place Residents’ Association is fully active and registered with CEC. Its chair is Peter Wilkinson, its vice-chair is Mary Scanlon, its secretary is MD.
Jack Hugh noted that the Nelson and Northumberland St Residents’ Association will soon be formally active.
10 Any Other Business
- S McInnes noted that she is NTBCC’s data protection officer. She reiterated the GDPR requirements, as circulated by CEC.Action: all NTBCC members to read and implement this document as appropriate.
- B Ryan stated that he would issue the necessary ‘please actively resubscribe’ email.
- J Conn noted that the Friends of King George V Park will take place on Wednesday 16 May at 7 PM at Broughton St Mary’s Church.
- M Duffy noted that community councils are trying to coordinate their work on reaction to the tram proposals.
Decision: NTBCC to discuss this at a business meeting – to take place asap.
- It was suggested that contact details for all local residents’ associations should be on NTBCC’s website.
11 Date of next meeting
11 June 2018