NTBCC minutes – Monday 9 September 2019

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held in Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 9 September 2019 at 7.30pm

Actions and decisions are red italic underlined. nem con means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.

In the chair’s absence at the start of the meeting, the vice-chair chaired the start of the meeting (items 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6).

1 Attendance and apologies for absence

Susanna Beaumont NTBCC Carol Nimmo NTBCC Chair
Judy Conn NTBCC secretary Richard Price NTBCC Planning convener
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Sheila Warnock NTBCC
Simon Holledge NTBCC Communications convener Alan Welsh NTBCC
Stuart McAllister NTBCC Alllan Jack NTBCC Transport convener
Jack Hugh NTBCC Alan Macintosh Broughton Spurtle
Susan Macinnes NTBCC ~35 residents

1.1 Apologies for absence

Jonathan Finn NTBCC treasurer Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan Leith walk ward
Chrissie Ross NTBCC treasurer Cllr Joanna Mowat City Centre ward
Deidre Brock MP

Hal Osler

Edinburgh North and Leith

Inverleith

2 Minutes of meeting of 12 August

These were accepted without changes. (proposed J Hugh , seconded R Price, nem con)

2.1 Matters arising

All covered in items below

3 Police report

No police presence- hence no report.

4 Parks & Greenspaces Discussion

Lindsay Grant (LG) and Sarah Murphy (SM) of the City of Edinburgh Council Parks, Greenspaces & Cemeteries attended. NTBCC had sent through a series of questions prior to the meeting (under the broad headings of ‘Events’, ’Management of Parks & Greenspaces’ & ‘Monuments’) which formed the basis of the discussion.

4.1 Events

4.1.1 Update on process for review of ‘Public Spaces Protocol’ (as adopted in March 2018) and current strategy of now incorporating the review of the ‘Parks Events Manifesto’ into a wider strategic review of city-wide events.

  • LG: It was hoped to better align the Events Manifesto (Parks) with the very different Public Spaces protocol (non-parks). The former currently had a duty to consult the public, whereas the latter did not. Their Parks Manifesto was 5 years old and due for updating, to recognize demand for spaces for events. They would report back to council in January 2020.
    • A Welsh: asked for a definition of a “public space”.
      • SM: They were experts in Parks [i.e. not ‘public spaces’].
  • LG noted the problem of buskers on the Royal Mile.

4.1.2 Why does the current process for consulting with community councils seem to be somewhat haphazard (in terms of whether community councils are actually consulted, provision of sufficient information as part of that consultation & unclear hierarchy of decision making e.g. recent Fly Event in PSG in September 2019 ?).

  • LG: They had a stakeholder consultee list. They tried to contact community councils officially (avoiding personal emails). All councils should be consulted on parks in their area. They recognized that some parks (like the Meadows) were of interest to multiple community councils. They took their role as custodians of the parks seriously. In the case of the FLY application, they were against approving the event, but it went to the Transport & Environment Committee who overruled them.
  • SM: Parks & Greenspaces didn’t control the Ross Bandstand. Parks & Greenspaces now report to the Culture Committee, not the Transport & Environment Committee.

4.1.3 Do Parks and Greenspaces charge event organisers for the use of public spaces, and if so, how are these charges determined and contracted?

  • LG: The Finance Committee agreed a charging structure each year, including for filming. They procured certain events. They had been asked to do more of this. Procuring gave them more control as they could write the contracts, and it made more money. They could impose bonds. They had pre-event and post-event site meetings to manage clearing up etc.
    • A Welsh: pointed out damage to trees in both St Andrew and Charlotte Square.
      • SM: That was why they were moving to more procured events. They had been set a revenue target.
      • LG: It had been increased by £150,000.

4.1.4 How could the process regarding approved events be made more transparent (i.e. NTBCC often asked for their views on a proposed event, comments submitted but then unclear whether that event has actually taken place ?)

  • LG: They didn’t have the resources to inform community councils of decisions.
    • R Price: asked how we could know what had been decided.
    • LG: Some events would need licenses so they would come up there. They had two officers dealing with event applications but were losing one now. They had had 286 event applications and 150 filming applications this year.

4.1.5 Any views on improvements that could be included regarding public consultation (incl. community councils) for proposed events in Edinburgh’s parks/greenspaces and ;

4.1.6 Any improvements that community councils could make to facilitate improved consultation ?

  • LG: Community councils could help improve the consultation process by more dissemination of information to residents, through social media, parks notice boards in conjunction with Friends groups (such as in King George V Park).

o A Welsh: asked about Calton Hill: was it a wild site or is it a park? This came back to the question of what is a public space.

  • LG: suggested Calton Hill was more amenable to events. There were some scheduled monuments on Calton Hill and in Princes Street Gardens, which meant they had to consult with Historic Scotland, also with Scottish Natural Heritage for wildlife areas.
  • SM: They didn’t have the resources to consult directly with local residents so appreciated the help of community councils.

4.2 Management of Parks / Greenspaces

4.2.1 Current management / maintenance of Hopetoun Gardens – it seems to be suffering significant neglect, looking forlorn & becoming a location for anti-social behaviour.

  • LG: They had 140 parks and they did conduct an assessment every year, complying with an international standard. Officers assessed each other’s parks not their own. Each garden had a score. Hopetoun Gardens’ assessment noted an ongoing anti-social issue, which involved gangs, litter etc. Police were involved. Rubbish was under Cleansing.

4.2.2 Concurrent with this, various gardens e.g. Bellevue Crescent, Gayfield Square, have new flower-beds but not becoming established as ongoing maintenance almost non-existent, resulting in these new beds becoming more of an eyesore. Why is this ?

  • Maintenance guys were undermanned — 25 officers short. So it was a resource issue. Green Flag, Friends groups can help.
    • A Welsh: noted that Bellevue Crescent was half city, half residents owned.
    • R Price: noted that ‘Slate entrance stones’ had been contributed by the council. But if the council lacked resources why should they put in flower-beds which turn into a mess when they’re not maintained?
  • SM: The locality did day to day management — it got “horribly confusing” — but Parks and Greenspaces did “ground maintenance”, while the locality did the gardening bits.
  • LG: Mike Shields was the officer covering Bellevue detail, signage, chainsaw sculptures in Regent Road and other places, also planting, so some project were under their control, while they did maintenance.
    • J Conn: raised the graffiti issue. Did they have a policy? Local people had difficulty with dealing with it.
    • LG: there used to be a specialist graffiti team, but not now. It was recognised as the most conspicuous problem in parks maintenance.

4.2.3 Are there any plans to restore woodlands within the NTBCC area such as Calton Hill (with its scrub, overgrown gorse and ivy, contrasting unfavourably with the immaculately kept private Regent Gardens), or London Road Gardens (with large mature trees being lost), but with no saplings being planted)? Are there any plans to do tree planting in these places?

  • LG: At the moment their understanding was that currently there were no plans to restore woodland on Calton Hill.

4.2.4 Any more plans for ‘chain-saw’ sculptures?

4.2.5 Are Parks and Greenspaces responsible for street trees? Information from David Jamieson in 2018 indicated that the number of street trees declined from 11,000 in the 1990s to 8,550 in 2018. What plans, if any, exist to restore street trees in Edinburgh generally, and in our area in particular?

  • LG: 120 street trees had been planted in the last 2 years, none in Leith or the NTBCC area.
    • C Nimmo: asked if the planting was in new housing areas.
  • LG: noted 14 replacements in McDonald Road, also some [to be done?] in Picardy Place.
    • A McIntosh (Spurtle): noted 6 or 7 young healthy rowan trees in Powderhall. Could those replace trees lost along East Claremont Street?
    • LG: They would be happy to refer this back to their colleagues.

4.2.6 12. From information provided by CEC’s David Jamieson, we understand that at least 2900 mature and semi mature trees were removed in 2017 and 2018, with a backlog of 3000+ tree works (including removals). (This excludes trees removed by developers or private owners). Is the situation improving?

  • LG: They recognised that trees were under pressure from development. Much depended on budgets.
  • SM: the ‘Treetime’ project had been “designed to kill two birds with one stone” to get donations and sponsorship for trees.

4.3 Monuments

4.3.1 What protections exist for monuments and listed buildings within Parks and Greenspaces? Why are they sometimes apparently left unprotected (e.g. the Scott Monument, during the Xmas Market, and the National Monument on Calton Hill on some occasions)?

  • LG: Stakeholders lists included bodies concerned with monuments.
  • SM: Once an event was scheduled, an Event Planning and Organization Group (EPOG) was convened to include all involved parties including police, fire, ambulance, culture, monuments etc.

4.4 Additional questions:

4.4.1 Tree Preservation orders.

  • A Welsh: asked if they could clarify whether all trees were protected in a conservation zone? He noted that if he tried to get a tree preservation order on a neighbour’s tree, this was invariably refused and the tree could be cut down. Were Parks and Greenspaces involved in tree protection?
  • S Holledge: Agreed that the system of protection in our area was unclear.
  • LG: explained that he was not an expert but from an event point of view, the forestry teams have been applying stricter criteria for protection of tree roots etc.
  • S Holledge: pursued A Welsh’s question asking if tree preservation orders were irrelevant within the community council area?
  • LG: agreed to refer the question back to their colleagues.

4.4.2 Living landscapes

  • S Beaumont: asked whether wild flowers plantings were a Friends or Living Landscapes initiative?
  • LG: it was Living Landscapes, a council project with other partners. It had been running since 2014.

5 Presentation on 19/000xx/PAN – RBS Redevelopment on Dundas St. / Fettes Row / Eyre Place by Ediston Real Estate / Turley / 10 Design architects

Ross McNulty (RN) from Ediston, Colin Smith (CS) from Turley, Matt Bremner (MB) from 10 Design & Catherine Kidd (CK) from Turley (‘heritage’ contact) presented.

5.1 RM provided an overview.

  • Stated that Ediston had purchased the site in May ’19 in conjunction with Orion Capital
  • First Newsletter issued a month ago
  • Currently early works underway – stripping out internally
  • They will instruct contractor to resume tree maintenance – tree surveys completed both within the site & in King George V Park (KGVP)
  • Aware of the sensitive nature of the site (adjacent to WHS). – Ediston understand that & local residents deserve that.
  • Current proposal for Mixed use : Residential / ‘Build to Rent’ , Class 4 Office & possibly a ‘boutique hotel’ – aiming to generate a ‘campus’ feel.
  • However, PAN application through necessity, covers all possible Class Uses but no plans (as yet) to include Student Accommodation (although it’s currently included in PAN).
  • RM asked the (rhetorical) question “Why are we here ?”
    • Want open dialogue
    • Have already met with local residents’ group & NTBCC
    • Engaging with Edinburgh World Heritage / the Cockburn Association / Historic Environment Scotland (HES)
  • RM then stated that to better understand the interrelationship of KGVP & the proposed development, they have a workshop with Greenspace Scotland planned – to which all stakeholders will be invited
  • He concluded by stating that they want to do more than statutory minimum consultation”.

5.2 CS then covered the details of the application process.

  • Approach different to previous application (which was a Planning permission in Principle) – the new application will be a detailed (/FUL) application covering :
    • No. of dwellings (units)
    • Office (Class 4) floor area
    • Landscaping
    • The approach has been to start again from the baseline
    • Have had early stage discussions with City of Edinburgh (CEC) Planning officer & HES (a key objector to the previous scheme)
    • CEC landscape expert (Julie Waldron) involved as well as David Jamieson (CEC Parks & Greenspace Manager).

5.3 CK then covered the heritage aspects of the proposal

  • Expressed the importance of understanding the site context and relationship with its historic environment.
  • Will develop key parameters regarding the wider context of the 2nd new Town development.
  • Site sits on transitional boundary (with WHS).
  • Has different edges to the north & south – need to understand how this informs the design & how this informs the design and built form and masterplan.
  • Due consideration required for New Town Conservation area, WHS and adjacent listed buildings (key herir0tage assets).
  • However, Royal Crescent developed much later than majority of 2nd New Town.
  • Proposal will include an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) & Heritage Statement.
  • Could be seen as a ‘gap’ site.

5.4 MB then covered the architectural position as it currently stands.

  • Existing site could be seen as ‘closed’ – new proposal will acknowledge that site has hard physical boundary.
  • Aspiration for improved connectivity / access – would want to ‘dissolve’ boundary between site & KGVP.
    • See improved connectivity N – S between Dundonald St & Logan St
    • Also improvements E – W.
  • Clear desire to better integrate development site & park.
  • Proposal will include:
    • Residential / Hotel / office use ; gym facilities possible – Care Home currently unlikely.
    • Residential will include ‘Build to Rent’ (BTR) - as becoming more widespread (e.g. Fountainbridge (Aberdeen Standard) & Leith.
    • Under-croft parking
    • Cyclist / pedestrian connections.
  • Regarding parking – Council now encouraging minimum parking & parking provision becoming a less important aspect to prospective purchasers. Car Club provision to be considered to support reduced parking provision.
  • NTBCC commented that the topography of the site lends itself to underground parking and local residents were both surprised and concerned on the final approved plans for 13 Warriston Road when parking was restricted below normal levels but then learned that residents in that development would be entitled to a Residents Parking permit – which seems both bizarre and illogical.
  • Access as existing via Eyre Terrace.
  • Subject to confirmation in final proposal : 200 – 300 residential units (including BTR) envisaged.
  • Historic retaining wall along / beneath Fettes Row to be retained.

5.5 Questions from NTBCC / local residents

  • Will there be enough detail communicated in the 2 public consultations – especially in the October session?
    • RM responded that there will be enough detail. Would consider (if necessary) a further consultation.
  • Conscious of concerns with previous application regarding maximum height - what will be proposed?
    • This will be a different response to the site vs. the previous application
    • Have not set a maximum height.
    • Townscape & Visual Impact Assessment will inform this.
    • HES’s view is a key consideration.
  • How much Class 4 (Offices) will there be?
    • Current total Class 4 floor space ~236,000 ft2 – expect less than 50% of that in new proposal.
  • Do you plan to include affordable housing on site ? And how do you define ‘affordable housing’?
    • Types / tenures as laid out in recently updated guidance – rental not sale.
    • Planning applications now need an Affordable Housing Statement to enable the appropriate layouts, mix and affordable housing tenure to be delivered. Off-site provision as a last resort.
    • Have engaged with several providers e.g. Places for People.
  • Have you discussed with Port of Leith Housing Association?
    • Not as yet.
  • Has the previous outline planning consent been renewed?
    • 14/0080/PPP renewed at Development Management Sub-committee in the last month.
  • What are the key issues being raised by residents’ groups?
    • Well aware that 1. Subsidence, 2. Scale / massing & 3. Transport Issues / Traffic Impact are key concerns.
    • Currently evaluating if current piling of RBS building can be re-used.

6 Transport

  • The main point is the reissue of the City Centre Transformation Plan (over 340 pages). No significant change to previous version that had been basis for the consultation.
    • It is proposed that the James Clerk Maxwell statue be moved towards St Andrews Square.
    • Plan is to submit revised document to T&E Committee next week, which it is expected to approve.
  • The issue of the recent approval for ‘Fast & Furious #9’ was raised
    • NTBCC agreed that as the current approved filming is nearing the end – it would be more productive to better understand the process by which such approval is granted & what avenues (no pun intended) are open to express residents / local community views ?

7 Planning

See also August Planning update (link at end of Minutes)

7.1 Royal High School

  • The enquiry took place in September-October 2018. The reporters were due to complete their findings at the end of April, but changes to Historic Environment Scotland policies caused delay. The original intention to finish in August.
  • Latest information is that the Reporters now aim to finish in Autumn 2019, and will then make their recommendations to the appropriate Scottish Ministers There is no requirement for a public announcement of their decision, but In due course the decision is made for and behalf of the Scottish Government.

7.2 DPEA (Scottish Reporter) Decisions / Pending

Currently 8 'live' appeals to DPEA within NTBCC's area - including:

7.2.1 5 Royal Crescent

Application for formation of additional flat in the attic space of 5 Royal Crescent appealed to the reporter due to CEC non-determination. Application previously raised by concerned residents. Reporter allocated & site visit date agreed (15 September).

  • As previously communicated - It seems that the /FUL application has been routed to DPEA for determination but the accompanying /LBC application is before the CEC Local Review Body on 18 September (TBC). Despite an email for clarification of the process to CEC Planning Dept.- still somewhat confused.

7.2.2 Land South-east of 62 Broughton Road (behind 12/13 Claremont Crescent)

2nd application for a development of 6x 1 bed / studios refused by CEC (was originally submitted for 10 units) - decision appealed just within the 3 month period allowed. NTBCC in contact with local residents & a further submission to DPEA proposed before 17 September.

  • HES have made a further submission supporting the stance that NTBCC took regarding the orientation / type of development: 'In this application, the current design has attempted to take into consideration the character of the site. The density of the scheme has been reduced, the development was moved closer to Broughton Road to establish a street presence, and a larger portion of the site has been landscaped to keep a portion of the original long garden at the back of the A-listed crescent.
  • However, the proposals would still have an impact on the setting of the A-listed crescent as part of the setting of the terrace is their large rear gardens. We had previously suggested that mews style buildings addressing the road would better keep the original character of the terrace and garden, and this would remain our preference.'
  • Necessity of a site visit & a date for that has not been proposed by the Reporter as yet.

7.3 Current CEC Applications

7.3.1 7- 8 Baxter's Place: Proposal for a 'boutique hotel' submitted in March / April 2019.

Still awaiting assessment. NTBCC submitted an objection based on the concerns over CEC's ability to control the use (number of beds) in such an establishment given the previous track record of the applicant.

7.3.2 JC Decaux: Another application for a bus shelter on York Place (actually Picardy Place - in front of St Mary's) complete with 84" digital screen.

NTBCC believed that it was inappropriate for that location. Application submitted on 17 July but it appeared in the 5 August Weekly List (with a final date for comments being 5 August !). NTBCC ultimately did not submit an objection … and unfortunately, application approved on 3 September (by delegated authority).

7.4 Other Consultations

7.4.1 Update of CEC's City Centre Retail Core Guidance - covering Princes St., George Street & key N/S routes (Frederick / Hanover & Castle St.).

Haven't digested the specifics but it is in response to the concerns over the ability of Princes St to support retain development and proposes to relax the Class Use requirements on retail in favour of Food / drink etc. (at street level only).

  • Cllrs Osler and Mowat had noted at August NTBCC meeting that this includes questions on awnings and on removing limits on sizes of retail units.

7.5 Powderhall Development

  • Site clearance now complete. Next steps proposal ('Delivery Strategy for Powderhall Development') brought forward to Housing, Homelessness & Fair Work Committee on 29 August (which was approved). In summary - proposes :
  • Pre-Application Notice (PAN) for the whole Powderhall site to be submitted in Summer (?) /Autumn 2019. This will initiate further public consultation events and will include an online consultation.
  • A detailed planning application for the new nursery (on the Bowling Green site) is planned for submission in late 2019. The application will be accompanied by a masterplan for the whole site as required by Planning Committee via approval of the Place Brief. Understand that this still includes Inter-generational living above.
  • A full planning application for the former waste transfer site will then be progressed. This will look to set key objectives around building heights, massing, road layouts and public realm, using the approved Place Brief and will be shaped by the community consultation.
  • Finally - although a further request for funding has been submitted to the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF) - the first request was unsuccessful) - there is a low probability of it being successful. Latest proposal seems to be a minimal refurbishment approach & then CEC are looking to lease to a 3rd sector body for community space / artist studios etc. Edinburgh Palette, Out of the Blue and others seem to be interested.

8 Environment

No formal report but it was noted that there is a Waste Forum meeting scheduled – however, it was noted that the Spurtle editor will be attending.

9 Licensing – including Fly Open Air event Sept 21/22

9.1 Provisional licensing application for 95 George Street (a new delicatessen).

No objection proposed.

9.2 Variation for 142 Dundas Street (part of revamped Clark’s Bar) requesting a new layout and outdoor drinking.

Proposal to request that outdoor drinking be restricted to 10pm, but otherwise no concerns.

9.3 Request by St Andrew Square Property for increased table space at 41 – 42 St Andrew Square.

More information requested – initial concern that too many tables on the pavement in St Andrew Square will be a hazard for pedestrians. Confirmation (after initial reluctance) that proposed area is within the entrance area of 41 – 42 St Andrew Square and agreed no longer an issue.

9.4 Fly Festival – 21-22 September 2019

Objection submitted to the occasional liquor licence – no response received as yet.

(Post-meeting update: objection unsuccessful).

9.5 54 Rodney Street – Erbil

NTBCC Licensing Committee convenor contacted the Police about concerns over the letters of support submitted at the Licensing Board meeting, awaiting response.

10 Discussion – future presentations (including Lothian Buses / TfE, WPSG etc.)

As outlined on the agenda Action: NTBCC members to continue to discuss this via email

11 Neighbourhood Networks / local residents’ associations

Nothing to report

12 Community council elections (Sept ’19) & Local Interest Group registration

See also CEC web-page about CC elections.

  • Copies of relevant forms distributed to all current NTBCC members (both for individual nominations as well as Local Interest Groups (LIGs)).
  • NTBCC expressed desire to maximise the members representing LIGs as a means to increase community council coverage.
  • Final date for applications is 4:00pm on 30 September.

13 Any other business

None noted.