NTBCC minutes Monday 8 March 2021

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Monday 8 March 2021 at 7pm

Actions and decisions are red italic. ND (‘no dissent’) means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.

Edinburgh Council has stated that ‘CCs can approve minutes, and take other decisions, remotely’, as so long as they ensure that ‘remote meetings are as accessible to members of the public and (as) well-advertised as possible’.

Technology check

The meeting opened online at 6:45 pm to enable all attendees to connect before the start of business.

1 Attendance/apologies for absence, membership update, précis of meeting

1.a Attendance

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Sheila Warnock NTBCC
Mike Birch NTBCC, RRCTMA Alan Welsh NTBCC
David Clarke NTBCC Peter Williamson NTBCC, Picardy Residents Association
Susan Duff NTBCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Laura Graham NTBCC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Cllr Jo Mowat City Centre ward
Simon Holledge NTBCC Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward
Carol Nimmo NTBCC Rory Williamson LDA Design
Jack Hugh NTBCC Kirstin Taylor Lead Designer, LDA Design
Jenni Inglis NTBCC, FRRCA Mark Rinkus Project Director, Tetratech (previously WYG)
Susan Macinnes NTBCC Fiona Robertson Engagement, Streets UK
Richard Price NTBCC ~28 residents/visitors
Nick Reid NTBCC, India St Association

1.b Apologies for absence

Stuart McAllister NTBCC PC Lindsay Claxton Police Scotland

1.c Précis of this meeting for NTBCC website

  • P Williamson agreed to do this for this meeting
  • S Duff agreed to do this in May

2 Minutes of 8 February 2021 meeting (via Zoom) and matters arising

Accepted as-is (proposed L Graham, seconded P Williamson, ND)

2.a Matters arising

Item 6.d.iv (39 London St) resident urged CEC councillors to take action to prevent a B&B here.

3 Police Report

See report in appendix 1.

4 ‘George Street & First New Town’ project

4.a Presentation

R Williamson, K Taylor, M RInkus and F Robertson presented as follows

  • With support from Sustrans, up to £30m would be spent on this, to create a ‘world-class street’.
  • Pavements would be wider and ‘decluttered’, to enable a range of activitie, with space for outdoor seating
  • There would be ‘softer’ landscaping with shrubs.
  • There would be improvement around junctions and statues, reducing vehicle-space and increasing pedestrian space.
  • The central space would prioritise cycling, and there would be cycle-parking and e-bike charging points.
  • The current central parking would go. There would be better views of the architecture.
  • Meadows-George St and City Centre west-east link (CCWEL) active travel routes would link the St to the cycle network.
  • Bus accessibility would be via stops on surrounding streets; tram access via St Andrews Square and Princes St.
  • Cross-traffic junctions would have traffic-lights to protect cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Vehicle access would be minimised, but there would be blue-badge access and loading bays on both sides, at set times
  • A main aim is to support net-zero carbon by 2030.
  • Further details are available at https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/georgestreet.
  • The design team can be contacted at georgestreetdesign@edinburgh.gov.uk.

4.b Q&A

Replies are by M Rinkus, unless otherwise noted.

  • A resident: many people are ‘energetically’ against some or all aspects of this design, for reasons including
    • ‘extravagant’ focus on cycling – some restaurants have very few patrons arriving by bicycle
    • Residents who have blue badges already cannot find parking spaces at times.
    • Deliveries to domestic locations and work-sites will be strongly impeded.
    • The depictions of sunny weather are unrealistic, so sitting outside is unlikely for most of the year.
    • Closure of cross-streets/prevention of bus-travel along the street will put more traffic onto Queen Street and northern new town.
    • Open spaces are designed for event-organisers – this is not welcome to some.
    • It is inaccurate to imply that developers’ money is being spent – it’s Edinburgh residents’ money.

Replies:

    • Number of blue-badge parking spaces would be increased.
    • There would still be north-south traffic movement. East-west general traffic would be removed from George St.
    • There are currently only 3 bus services on GS, using only the eastern blocks. They would be re-routed according to the city mobility plan.
  • A resident: what about taxis and trade-traffic?
    • The city mobility plan envisages significantly reduced city-centre traffic by 2030, and the design reflects this policy.
    • GS does not currently have a significant amount of ‘strategic’ traffic – it’s not a popular through-route. Most traffic is vehicles seeking to park. Removing the car-park will remove this traffic. So there will be little displaced traffic.
    • There would be a bus-gate added at the top of the Mound, further reducing north-south traffic through GS.
    • Trade access would remain as it is now. The GS buildings require much service due to their age and current works. So the design team needs to find a model with enough flexibility for this ‘essential’ access. The model currently being considered would have ‘service windows’, as done in other places, e.g. York. Nor is enforcement uncommon. As in the Royal Mile, servicing may be limited to early evening to early morning. However, the team recognises that ad-hoc access for ‘genuine needs’ will still be required during the day.
  • B Ryan: how will the cycle lane on GS link into other cycle routes, especially at the ends of the street?
    • Detail is on the website. GS design is part of a set of projects, including CCWEL (which passes along GS), St Andrews Square (with connections into St James), Charlotte Square (linking to the west end and CCWEL), Meadows to George St (linking to the mid-point of GS), Princes St. Much holistic work is in various states of progress.
  • S Holledge: can the public see underground surveys? On use of GS for large events, are the landscaped areas moveable?
    • No – these areas are fixed. Hence these restrict events. However, CEC is reviewing events in the city centre: whether to permit them; if permitted, what size? This policy is not yet fixed, so the design would support what the team understands is needed. Events would need to fit CEC policy and scale requirements. Event footprints would need to be relatively narrow, to fit the design, but could extend over 2 or more blocks. Any event would need to not inhibit emergency access and the cycle lane. Planters would be moveable to delineate use of space.
  • D Clarke: I like the expertise behind the design. Where would bike-parking be? How would the street be maintained?
    • There would be >150 bike-parking spaces, a substantial increase. Currently GS is a ‘place to pass through’, but the design is about making it a destination. This footfall would support economic activity. Maintenance has been much discussed – it can’t currently be promised that Rose St issues will not recur on GS. (National changes are needed, e.g. to prevent damage by utility companies.) The materials in the design have been carefully selected to be robust for 100 years and to fit CEC’s palette. This ensures replacements will be available to repair damage. Statute enables CEC to seek embargoes on utility work for 10 to 15 years – apart from emergency work. It is anticipated that utility companies would map and rationalise and make robust underground services during work to implement the design. It can’t currently be promised that CEC would have the budget to maintain the cleanliness of the area.
  • M Birch: there are some positive things in the latest plans, e.g. space for pedestrians and cycling. But why has vehicular access been reduced since the last version of the design? This would affect residents and businesses.
    • The 2018 concept design had a segregated cycle-route on the south side. However, this didn’t implement CEC’s commitment to new, bolder environmental policies which has a very low-car requirement and an increased tram-network. Hence this change, including changes to bus services. Also the segregated cycle-route would have hampered businesses on the south side. This is a more future-proofed proposals.
    • M Birch: please don’t confuse ‘car-free’ with ‘traffic-free’. Businesses require [vehicular] services, and this design would alienate businesses, thus reducing business-rates income to CEC.
    • CEC is alert to current pressures on GS businesses, and this design would support businesses and residents.
  • S Duff: why did the film have a regional English voice-over? This affects its reception badly.
    • A Scottish man would have done the voice-over and signing, but he got ill, so there was a last-minute substitute.
    • D Clarke: there are many Scottish accents.
  • S Duff: in Kirkcaldy, the high street was pedestrianised, and this sucked the energy out of it – it’s now horrible. The same has happened to South St David St. What consideration of closing off streets has been done?
    • The design is a response to the climate emergency and relevant CEC policy, including city centre transformation (CCT) and the city mobility plan (CMP). CCT leads to the car-prohibition agenda. I can’t otherwise answer the actual question – you would need to ask CCT and CMP teams. Commercial/economic impact assessments are needed.
  • R Price: Please clarify the amount of spend, and how much would come from Sustrans. What is the timescale?
    • The scheme originally had no funding mechanism – design has been in progress for about 20 years. The design won a Sustrans funding competition. The design was estimated to cost £32m, including 48% contingency (standard practice). Sustrans, i.e. Scottish Government, will fund 70% of the cost. CEC has committed to providing the other 30%. All design costs have been paid by Sustrans.
    • Timescales are ambitious: construction would start in 2023 and finish in 2025. TROs would come out in 2021.
  • A Welsh: many properties on GS are currently for sale. This suggests the design is facilitating change from a shopping street to ‘end to end bars, restaurants and clubs’. Also, the video suggests the James Clark Maxwell statue would move to the middle of the street. The design would remove the protective, traffic-slowing from bases around the statues. This street needs public transport, i.e. buses. This would be counterproductive to shopping footfall.
    • The GS team is not responsible for the things you mention. The design responds to CEC policies. Some change is inevitable, but these are covered by the economic and business impact assessments. There are many examples of such changes where cities continue to operate, e.g. York. The JCM statue would be relocated to a more accessible location. The circular bases on junctions would be made as small as possible, to make them more difficult for vehicles to navigate, and hence enhance placemaking and pedestrian use of the street. I will take away the point on collisions. There are only 3 services that go along GS. Other bus services would be accessed on the side-streets just as they are now. The maximum distance between GS and the nearest stop in each route is 90m. (This is subject to any changes that CMP etc might introduce.)
  • A resident: I would like to support the broad principles of the design but If the option of running east-west bus-routes on GS is removed already, this prevents free discussion of all options for these routes. We are concerned that these routes would be moved to Queen St, which is highly undesirable. I would like to support transformation but the thinking on buses is not supportable. From experience, if bus-routes are messed with, there will be much opposition.
    • I get what you are saying but I do not have a direct answer. The design provides a robust answer to a set of key policy decisions that either have been taking or are emerging. I would point out the parallel projects.
  • R Price: is the position on trees completely closed out, i.e. is it little hedges or nothing?
    • The design has been through much discussion with a wide range of stakeholders, including Edinburgh World Heritage and the Cockburn Association. There is a range of views, and a strong desire for more greening of GS. The current proposals would provide more greening than there is currently. We do show large shrubs, not trees, but consultation will provide feedback. There is a balance to be found between environment and heritage.
    • M Rinkus: There are systems to manage tree-roots so they do not damage underground services. The design could be future-proofed to allow later addition of trees.
    • S Holledge: support for trees is increasing. The views of the heritage bodies could be challenged on historical bases. I understand the main sewer is in the centre of the road, so there would be spaces for trees at the side of the street.
    • C Nimmo: there were trees in the first iteration of the design. We are concerned about maintenance of shrubs – trees are more robust.
    • M Rinkus: the tree debate has been aggressive for about 3 years. There are strong views either way. Changes depend on what the street looked like when it received world heritage status.
  • Action: B Ryan to download chat, to forward to design team (after NTBCC office-bearers edit out rudeness).

5 Transport

See also report in appendix 2.

5.a City Mobility Plan – Follow up to Deputation submitted to Transport and Environment Committee

M Birch: NTBCC was the only CC to submit a deputation to this meeting. NTBCC was generally supportive but highlighted concerns on atmospheric pollution, the timing of the low-emission zone and CC involvement. The transport forum does not include CCs. I will pursue with local councillors how NTBCC can be heard during development of the CMP.

5.b Trams Project Update

5.b.i TRO for Leith Walk/ London Road junction – banning of left turn

M Birch: A TRO for this is out for consultation. The reason is to improve the junction for pedestrians and cyclists, but there is concern that buses would no longer travel from Annandale St to Leith Walk and then to London Rd but would go all the way around the Picardy Place gyratory or use East London St and Broughton St. NTBCC will submit comments this week.

5.b.ii Picardy Place tram stop design changes and construction schedule

M Birch: trams team has confirmed this change was requested by Edinburgh Trams, over concerns that drivers could not monitor both sides of trams. Trams team has said that details on changes and road closures will be provided by end of March. It is possible that Queen St and Broughton St will be closed. NTBCC is concerned that this will displace traffic and cause congestion in Second New Town.

5.b.iii TROs for full route – public consultation timing

M Birch: TROs for the whole route were due in January but are now due in March or April.

5.c Spaces for People

5.c.i Broughton Street to Canonmills – status of proposed changes

M Birch: NTBCC representatives and local councillors met with SfP last week. There is ongoing discussion of possibilities. Apparently all changes need to be implemented by the end of May.

5.c.ii Leopold Place Pedestrian Crossing – update on Council response

M Birch: there has been no response from SfP yet on this, despite support from some councillors

5.c.iii Making Changes Permanent – public consultation timing and NTBCC position

M Birch: this consultation runs to 21 March. NTBCC transport ctte will meet to consider this and other matters.

6 Winter Festivals 2022 Consultation (24th February – 19th May)

  • S Holledge: this consultation is very limited, and prefaced with statistics that can be challenged. I can supply my responses to others thinking of responding. In this consultation, you have to request a copy of your submission.
  • C Nimmo: I encourage everyone to look at this consultation. I am concerned that questions may be leading. NTBCC should contact its residents’ associations.
  • R Price: NTBCC has time to submit a prose response, i.e. avoid constraints. The consultation links to the public spaces management plan, in that festivals may use public spaces.
    • P Williamson: I support submission of a collective response in this way, because the actual consultation is limited

7 Planning

7.a RBS

  • R Price: this went to CEC development management subcommittee on 17 February. DMSC was ‘minded to grant’ permission to 3 interlinked applications, subject to section 75 agreements on education, public realm etc being made. There were also applications for removal of a number of trees. These were probably separate so they could be progressed without waiting for the section 75 agreements. 3 residents’ groups made live representations. I believe the discussion at this meeting was disappointing, missing bigger issues. Also Historic Environment Scotland and Edinburgh World Heritage were absent. (They did make written submissions.) It is possible that the approved applications will not be the ones that are progressed, in that these applications had a hotel but the developers want to replace this with residential accommodation.
    • A resident: I and my neighbours overlook this site. We are concerned about the role of EWH and the Cockburn Association. The latter has met with the developers several times, but apparently not with residents. These groups’ input into planning appears to be not transparent.
    • J Inglis: I am disgusted by this decision. The Cockburn’s support for this decision is unfathomable. EWH did not support the decision – it submitted a neutral comment. The decision is contrary to Edinburgh design guidance and conservation-area appraisal. The knock-on impact will be unwelcome. For example, if CEC etc have so little regard for the height and building-line here, then other nearby sites will suffer from unwelcome decisions.
    • S Duff: if other members give me input, I am happy to formulate questions to relevant organisations, and hence create a record of what they have been asked.
    • A resident: NTBCC should ask the Cockburn Association to a meeting. More green space is needed – King George V park is very over-used – and this development will bring many new people.
    • A Welsh: NTBCC and neighbouring CCs should pressure the powers-that-be to get action on the buffer-zone. EWH currently will not engage with anything outside its boundary, but this decision affects the route into the EWH zone.
    • D Clarke: NTBCC cannot expect other parties to do its work. However, these organisations should be asked by they have discounted residents’ views.
    • C Nimmo: playing devil’s advocate, while NTBCC must support its residents’ views, CEC must make decisions for all of Edinburgh. That is, this was a multi-layered decision, but I support asking this question of the organisations.
    • R Price: NTBCC, the Cockburn Association and EWH objected to the application on 108 to 114 Dundas St, across the street from the RBS site. So it would be interesting to find out why they acted differently for this application.
    • A resident: I understand a fresh application for 108-114 Dundas St is due.

7.b Powderhall

R Price: this has not received many comments, but objections outweigh supporting comments. NTBCC has until Wednesday to submit its comments. The functional parts of the application appear to be very good, but I am concerned about the form of the design and whether this sets a precedent. NTBCC members should tell me their views.

8 Environment

See report in Appendix 3.

  • S Holledge: We will hold a Zoom meeting with David Jamieson, CEC Parks & Greenspaces Manager, accompanied by his assistants, Andrew Skirving (Edinburgh Million Tree Project Manager) and Linda Anglin (Thriving Greenspaces Project Manager) on 10 March at 3pm.
  • P Wiliamson: there are two outstanding issues for NTBCC environment colleagues: placemaking (including Princes St and the Wavely Valley) and refuse collection/bins. Relevant discussions are about to happen to pick up these topics.

9 Public Space Management Plan – report expected to be available mid-March

  • S Holledge: PSMP was on the agenda at the CEC Culture and Communities on 16 March, however there is now a proposal to defer the PSMP until the meeting of 14 September 2021 in recognition that there are ‘elements that are complex and require further dialogue, research, development and consensus’. According to Ian Buchanan of CEC, they propose to establish a ‘short life Working Group of stakeholders and officers’. I understand NTBCC will be asked to participate as ‘Stakeholders invited to take part in the collaborative engagement will be invited to join the working group, and the group can co-opt members’.

10 Licensing

  • S Macinnes: very few premises are operating, and so there is no concerning activity just now.
  • A Welsh: please collect the NTBCC archives I currently have.
    • Action: C Nimmo to do this.

11 Engagement and Communications

  • S Holledge: The Communications & Engagement Committee will meet on 23 March at 5pm.

12 Local Residents Associations/Local Interest Groups

12.a Friends of Calton Hill / Gayfield Square Garden / Hopetoun Crescent Garden

C Nimmo: it will be helpful with regard to the PSMP to have a strong group for Calton Hill to protect such public spaces.

Action: C Nimmo and L Graham to investigate options for creating these groups

12.b Possible funding allocation for Greenspaces

C Nimmo: there is funding for such public spaces – another reason to create relevant groups.

13 Any other business

13.a 12-14 Picardy Place

  • A resident: I have written to NTBCC about this.
  • R Price: I understand you are concerned about the possible impacts of construction and visitors travelling vis Broughton St Lane, potential overlooking onto the new mews houses.
    • Usually, concerns over impact of construction are deemed non-material. However, NTBCC could try to ensure that the developer has a management plan that minimises issues. I am happy to make a late submission requesting this.
    • The intention is for visitors to use the loading bay on Picardy Place, so visitor traffic in the lane should not be bad.
    • I agree it is a big extension. The developer’s view is that the hotel needs to be big enough to be viable. However, the extension will be the same size as the adjacent Holiday Inn, which overlooks even more. The planning officer will consider daylighting, sun lighting and overlooking.
    • The resident: the Holiday Inn extension is further back. This development would encroach onto the lane, and guests would be able to look down onto our buildings and straight into our properties.
    • R Price: I will respond in detail by email.

13.b Accounts

  • M Birch: accounts are now due. Is there someone who can audit them? Please send any invoices asap.
  • R Price: accounts are now done. They just need to be signed off

14 Appendix 1: police report

The following report covers the period 08/02/21 to 08/03/21.

Police Scotland continue to support our colleagues in NHS Scotland ensuring members of the public understand the current COVID regulations. Fortunately the vast majority of the public understand the importance of the regulations to keep everyone safe however on the incidents we have dealt with this month, we will always look to educate the public and only use enforcement as a last resort. This month there have been instances of breaches of COVID regulations in the New Town area including house parties which we have been attending. We work closely with housing associations and City of Edinburgh Council to work together to address this.

As part of our priorities in supporting rough sleepers and homeless persons, this month we have continued to work closely with support agencies and charities in order to target homelessness. The Welcome Centre at Haymarket continues to operate and due to the work being carried out, fortunately rough sleeper numbers are very low just now however our early morning patrols continue in the New Town to identify who is rough sleeping in order to offer them support.

Last week, third quarter crime figures were released with Edinburgh having 3,810 fewer crimes reported compared to last year. Due to coronavirus restrictions being place, a lot of people remained at home and as such, there were 287 fewer housebreakings in Edinburgh compared to last year. Since your last meeting on 8th February, there has been 1 housebreaking in the New Town.

Since your last meeting, there have been 18 reports of disturbances compared to 56 in the same period as last year however this will in part be due to coronavirus restrictions being place. In the New Town area, city centre community officers worked closely with British Transport Police to target youth disorder during what would have been the mid-term holidays. Anecdotally, during the mid-term period, there can be a rise in youth disorder however fortunately this was very minimal this year. Within the New Town, community officers have been conducting extra patrols on Princes Street, Rose Street and surrounding areas to engage with young people to ensure compliance with COVID regulations and to make our message clear that anti-social behaviour is unacceptable. Where required, we have linked in with families and signposted towards support agencies in the past.

We continue with our road safety patrols in the New Town conducting speed checks where required. We would encourage local residents to make contact with Police Scotland with concerns regarding speeding or other road safety matters.

We continue with our patrols in the private gardens of Queens Street following reports of parties occurring. Again where we find breaches of the COVID regulations, we will always educate them on why adhering to the regulations is so important.

Our message continues at this time that the public should continue with Scottish government guidelines and remain at home unless needing to go out for essential reasons. With the possibility of regulations changing soon, local officers with continue to work closely with the community and support them when required.

I would encourage local residents to contact Police Scotland if they have any concerns in their community.

15 Appendix 2: Transport report

15.a Spaces for People

15.a.i London Road

We have still not had any response to the letter sent jointly with Leith Central CC to the Spaces for People team seeking immediate improvements to the Leopold Place pedestrian crossing despite seeking support from local Councillors.

15.a.ii Broughton Street to Canonmills

At the request of the Spaces for People team Stephen and I attended a virtual meeting to review their planned improvements from the top of Broughton Street to Canonmills. This meeting had been primarily arranged to allow local Councillors the chance to ask questions about the latest plans. The next step will be for the Spaces for People team to work with the Council to further refine their plans, which will then be presented to the T&E Committee for approval. They are working towards a deadline of having all remaining SfP initiatives implemented by May to take advantage of available funding. Clearly this timing does not allow proper consideration of the wider issues including the impact of the trams project construction in Picardy Place from later this year.

It appears that very little of what we had proposed for Broughton Street including pavement widening, improved pedestrian crossings and actions to slow down traffic has been adopted. One aspect that has been addressed is the number of parking and loading bays on Broughton Street but the current plans call for the relocation of most of the loading bays to side streets which we and local Councillors stated would reduce the number of resident parking bays and move the noise of loading operations to residential streets. There is still a plan to introduce a segregated cycle lane along part of Broughton Street but there are no plans to reduce the number of traffic lanes at the top of Broughton Street due to concerns raised by the Trams team about congestion. As a result there can be no pavement widening at this critical section of the street where it is narrowest and busiest.

For the section from the Broughton Roundabout to Canonmills, there have been some improvements in line with our suggestions but one of the key issues identified in the Commonplace mapping for improved crossings at the roundabout has not been addressed. With regard to the junction with Broughton Road the plans show a reduction in the number of running lanes heading south but the suggestion of banning the right hand turn into Eyre Place was challenged. In subsequent discussions with the SfP team I have suggested an option would be to change the traffic light sequencing to reduce congestion and allow the planned additional space for pedestrians while maintaining a right hand turn.

15.a.iii Retaining Spaces for People Consultation

The Council has issued a new survey on the Consultation Hub to obtain the views of the public and businesses on whether the existing temporary Spaces for People changes should become permanent. The survey presents a very simple yes or no choice on the various schemes with little opportunity for more considered input. One of the issues is that the consultation is asking people to comment on changes, which have not been fully designed let alone implemented. NTBCC has objected to some of the changes and generally has been concerned along with many other groups about the lack of meaningful consultation. We were assured that all the changes were temporary and would be removed at the end of the 18 month period covered by the temporary TRO’s unless approval had been sought and obtained for permanent changes to be implemented. It appears that the Council will seek to use their powers to extend many of the temporary measures under “experimental” traffic regulations. The Scottish Government has announced its intention to provide funding through the existing ‘Places for Everyone’ scheme to allow many of the changes to be retained as part of their active travel agenda. Through the NTBCC website we need to communicate our position and more importantly encourage as many residents as possible to submit their views. As noted there is a separate survey for businesses and through our contacts with local traders we should be encouraging them to submit their input. The closing deadline for this survey is 21 March 2021.

15.b Tram Works

15.b.i Picardy Place Tram Stop

It has been confirmed that the design has been changed to a single central platform due to safety concerns raised by Edinburgh Trams. We are also in discussion with the Trams Team about the timing of this work, which will involve some further road closures and traffic diversions. They have indicated that the schedule and traffic management plans (i.e. road closures and diversions) will be available by the end of March.

15.b.ii Traffic Regulation Orders

All of the TRO’s for the whole route are now expected to be issued for public consultation by the end of March. In the meantime a separate consultation has been issued on a change to the junction at Leith Walk and London Road that would ban left hand turns on to London Road. Traffic wishing to head east from Leith Walk will now need to negotiate the Picardy Place gyratory system before then heading back down Leith Walk to turn right at London Road. This change has been made to allow an improved pedestrian/cycle crossing at London Road and to improve southbound traffic flow on Leith Walk. We have drafted a response, which supports the change but raises concerns about increased congestion around the Picardy Place gyratory system and the displacement of traffic through residential areas – including the use of East London Street for buses leaving and returning to the Annandale bus depot. The closing date for comments to be submitted is Friday 12th March.

15.c City Mobility Plan

The Transport and Environment Committee approved the new City Mobility Plan at their meeting on 19th February. We had submitted a deputation in line with our previous supportive position on the Plan but highlighting a number of concerns including lack of clear targets, funding or measures to reduce city centre traffic and parking. We also questioned the lack of ambition with regard to mass transit and reducing atmospheric pollution from vehicles. We suggested that Community Councils should be more actively involved in the development of the specific initiatives resulting from the Plan through the Transport Forum or other groups.

Mike Birch, 8 March 2021