This will be an in-person meeting on Monday 9 October 2023 (immediately after the 2023 AGM at approximately 7: 30pm).
Location: the Drummond Room at Broughton St Mary’s Church on Bellevue Crescent.
Access via the path at the right hand side of the Church.
- Welcome / Introductions / Attendance
- Approval of the minutes of the ordinary NTBCC meeting held on 11 September 2023 (To approve)
- Matters arising from previous minutes (and not included on agenda below) (To discuss)
- Police report (if received) (To note/discuss)
- Culture and Communities (convener’s report)
- Transport (convener’s report)
- Planning (convener’s report)
- Licensing (convener’s report)
- STL Licensing scheme came into effect on 1 October 2023 (To note)
- Alcohol Licensing – new draft Policy Statement & consultation (To discuss)
- Street Trading and Market Operators consultation (To note)
- Environment (convener’s report)
- Communal Bin Roll-out in N1 parking Zone Area (To note)
- Engagement / Communications
- ‘Community Council Scheme & Boundary Review 2023 – Phase 1‘ consultation (closes 18 Dec) (To note)
- News from residents’ assocations – GKSA update on Conservation & Adaptation
- Councillors’/residents’ open forum
Please note: before or during the meeting, names and email addresses may be recorded. Email addresses are held and used for circulating information about NTBCC but may also be used to seek residents’ views on local issues.
Transport convenor’s report
I met with other members of the Community Council Together for Trams Group to discuss the actions we can take to expedite a number of outstanding actions relating to the Trams Project including issue of the latest Road Safety Audit, completion of outstanding public realm works and rectification of known defects. There was agreement that the group should continue to meet but establish new contacts with Edinburgh Council departments that are taking over responsibility for the above activities. It is planned to make a deputation to a future Transport and Environment Committee to highlight our concerns.
East London Street
The petition from local residents seeking support for various measures to improve East London Street was considered at the August Transport and Environment Committee meeting. The Committee agreed to consider a report from Officers at their October meeting. We are yet to see the report that will be considered but expect to do so in advance of our October meeting. We will then decide whether to submit a deputation.
Work on the central island at Picardy Place has been completed but we still have not received the requested copy of the drawings despite submitting a Freedom of Information request. The Council is now late in providing this information but has assured us that it will be forthcoming shortly.
Low Emission Zone
We have received an update from the Council regarding the implementation of the LEZ next year. This has been posted on our website. It states that ANPR cameras will be installed from October but does not provide the locations of these cameras. There is however a Temporary TRO (Temp/23/198) advertised on the Council website which perhaps gives this information. It shows 14 locations where there will be temporary restrictions to “facilitate the implementation of signage, road markings and ANPR cameras”. In our area this includes North Castle Street, Frederick Street, Hanover Street and Elder Street. No information is provided on the expected monitoring of traffic and atmospheric emissions resulting from the displacement of non-compliant vehicles to streets adjacent to the LEZ. We will continue to press for details of planned monitoring.
We are due to have another quarterly meeting in October with Daisy Narayanan and Ruth White regarding transport issues. At our meeting last month, we raised concerns that the meetings were not delivering the expected benefits in terms of the active collaboration we had been seeking when the Participation Request was submitted. I have issued an invite to members of the Transport Committee to discuss our next steps but other NTBCC members are welcome to attend.
Prepared by Mike Birch, Transport Convenor – NTBCC 2 October 2023
Environment convenor’s report
No report currently available
Licensing convenor’s report
Culture and Communities convenor’s report
Planning convenor’s report
Weekly Lists – New applications submitted
The majority of new applications in NTBCC’s area relate to Short Term Lets – split approx. 50:50 between seeking confirmation of a continuous 10 year operation (which would be granted under the Certificate of Lawfulness legislation – tagged by CEC as CLESTL applications) and others for retrospective STLs (/FULSTL).
The Council’s (Planning) Local Review Body (LRB) agenda is also dominated by appeals relating to /FULSTLs as the vast majority of these have been refused [under existing LDP policy Hou 7 or more recently, under the new NPF Policy 30e, parts (i) or (ii)].
Exact number of STLs that have been approved is difficult to find and somewhat dependent on the source but I noted that the Council Leader, in a response to a local ward councillor, stated that there were ~1700 applications for STL which I would assume reflects to a degree the number of STLs that have been approved either as CLESTLs or FULSTLs given the quite high licence fees which are also non-refundable (i.e. if no planning permission has been granted, it’s unlikely that anyone would submit a licence application)..
It’s also telling to see the number of STL licence applications now displayed outside properties throughout the New Town & Broughton area.
Scottish Reporter (DPEA) Appeals
Most people will be aware that the two recent applications at 72 – 74 Eyre Place for student housing (PBSA) & 9 townhouses were appealed to DPEA on the grounds of non-determination, after the DMSC agreed to a hearing on both of these. The Planning officer’s draft recommendation was to approve both. The Scottish Reporter dismissed both appeals and hence the applications were refused. However, the Reporter reasons for refusal were limited essentially to grounds of impact on existing residents’ amenity.
N.B. as stated below, there are now new applications with only minor revisions lodged.
Several other applications are also now with DPEA including :
1. Drummond Tennis Club (DLTC) appeal against refusal for installed 8 floodlights to the rear of Bellevue Crescent, London Street & Scotland Street.
The period for ‘interested members of the public’ to make representation ends on 25th October 2023. Please note, any representations submitted will be passed to the planning authority and agent/appellant for their comments and be publicly available on the DPEA website.
Perhaps also relevant is a separate appeal by Colinton Tennis Club who had an application for the installation of floodlights approved but with a condition regarding light overspill. They are appealing against the condition.
2. The Waverley Market Festival Village (23/02054/FUL) has been appealed on 6 September against the refusal for continued permission (“Pop-Up Festival Village Including Erection Of Structures And Provision Of Cafe, Bars, Food, And Drink Uses, Toilets, Seating And Ancillary Facilities And Works”). This was refused (& enforced ?) on 11 August 2023.
Slightly confused by this as I understood (without physically checking) that the Festival Village is being reported as being dismantled., whereas normally any enforcement action is put on hold if there’s an appeal.
3. 20 Dublin Street , Lane South, Edinburgh (22/03619/FUL) “Change Of Use (Retrospective) From Residential To Short Term Let (Sui Generis)”. The Report of Handling recommended refusal, supported by the DMSC due to the proposal having a materially detrimental effect on the living conditions and amenity of nearby residents.
The Report of Handling from the CEC Planning officer also stated that “It does not comply with the relevant local development plan (LDP) policies as it would have an adverse impact on neighbouring residential amenity”.
NTBCC objected to the original application but did not make a further submission to DPEA as our original objection covered all of the concerns raised by local residents.
We did however attend the accompanied site inspection on 25 April. However, since then, there had been no further documents lodged on the DPEA portal and the stated decision date was 30 May. However, on 5 October, the appeal was dismissed
I previously noted that it would be interesting to see how NPF4 (Policy 30e) is applied to this proposal as it clearly represents a loss of residential housing as the original permission granted a few years ago was for residential use.
The Reporter stated that “the proposal does not accord with policy Hou 7 of the local development plan, the principal policy for assessing such proposals, and in turn policy Del 2. I also find that the proposal does not accord with NPF4 policy 30 “.
The non-compliance with LDP policy Del 2 is unusual in these determinations. Policy Del 2 which is specific to the City Centre as defined …. supports “development within the city centre which retains and enhances its character, attractiveness, vitality and accessibility and contributes to its role as a strategic business and regional shopping centre and Edinburgh’s role as a capital city. A principal requirement, as part of this policy support, is for a use or a mix of uses appropriate to the location of the site, its accessibility characteristics and the character of the surrounding area.”
4. Unit 6 – 7, Omni Centre , 61 Leith Street – Edinburgh Food Market (retrospective) application (23/00608/ADV) for a pink coloured and neon lighting freestanding sign advertising the street market location. The Reporter commented that the positioning, colour and illumination of the signage to be somewhat incongruous, and considered that it detracted from the otherwise high quality public realm and the framing of the view of Calton Hill provided by Greenside Place. The appeal against refusal by Edinburgh Council was dismissed.
5. STL Enforcement Notices – worth also noting that there are a considerable number of appeals to Enforcement Notices served by Edinburgh Council for unlawful STLs (i.e. those with no Change of Use having been approved). These are appealed directly to DPEA and the vast majority of these appeals are dismissed.
Other Applications Currently Being Assessed
Former Hertz Car Hire Premises – 10 Picardy Place (23/01789/FUL, 23/01788/LBC and 23/01787/CON).
NTBCC were offered a pre-application consultation on the proposal for convert the above premises into a 51 bed hotel at 10 Picardy Place – directly adjacent to another previously approved hotel at 12 – 14 Picardy Place (currently undergoing a soft-strip).
The current building internals had been extensively modified to allow vehicle storage on the upper floors, complete with a car lift at street level. NTBCC’s initial view was that a hotel at this location was acceptable and the majority of the modifications were a significant improvement on the current building (including extending the railings , basement well at 12 – 14 Picardy Place further to the west). However, we questioned the treatment proposed for the refurbishment of the existing street level frontage.
Status : Awaiting Assessment
1 Broughton Market – Proposal for Serviced Apartments
“Change of use to transform existing office accommodation into serviced apartments. Addition of a rooftop extension, and staircase on east side of building.”
Recent assessment vs. NPF4 lodged which acknowledges that this proposal is intending to capitalise in the significant reduction in STLs due to the agreed new licencing regime.
13 comments lodged, 11 objecting. NTBCC did not submit a representation.
Status : Awaiting Assessment.
72 – 74 Eyre Place – revised application for Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) and 7 townhouses.
Disappointing to see that these revised applications bear a striking similarity to those that were refused by the Scottish Reporter (on appeal for non-detemination).
The footprint of the PBSA block has been extended south down Eyre Place Lane to maintain the number of units contained within the PBSA block and compensate for the removal of 1 storey on the block fronting Eyre Place. This then reduces the the area available for residential so now 7 townhouses (of identical design vs. the previous 9 townhouses.
NTBCC have again submitted an objection along with almost 400 others.
As stated in our objection to the previous application (22/03834/FUL), NTBCC was clear from the outset that we were unconvinced that this particular site in Eyre Place was suitable for PBSA of the scale and form proposed and that position hasn’t changed. However, generally, NTBCC is not against student accommodation per se. and recently broadly (with some caveats) supported an application for PBSA in Dunedin Street.
Key concern here though is with the period available for determination. I was minded to request a short extension to the period for comments to allow a more in-depth discussion at the NTBCC meeting on 9 October but given that the statutory period for determination of this application is 2 months from validation for applications such as these, that time available to determine this application prior to that date is very limited. I also raisd the concern given the recent history of 22/03834.FUL, that the opportunity for the applicant to again lodge an appeal on the grounds of non-determination is not made available.
Furthermore, NTBCC also hope and expect that given the clear, ongoing concerns of local residents and the previous agreement by the Development Management Sub-Committee for both the previous applications that a Hearing would be the most appropriate process to be followed. Given all of the above, the time available for reaching a decision on these applications is even more constrained.
I also raised another frustration regarding the late posting of several important documents in support of the application.
From information on the Planning portal, the application was received by CEC on Thursday 31 August and validated on Wednesday 6 September – thereby setting the start date for the 2 month determination period. However, we note the Planning Statement was not available until a full week after the validation date and Sunlight / Daylight Study was not available until 20 September – a full 2 weeks after the application had been validated Given the previous concerns raised, these are all key documents and therefore it is not helpful that they were submitted at such a late stage. It may also indicate that this revised application has been rushed through.
NTBCC will continue to liaise with local residents (at least those who have not already sold their properties !)
Edinburgh Christmas Market 2023
As publicised earlier, planning applications for East Princes Street Garden, West Princes Street Garden and George Street have been lodged with the final date for comments being 6 October. There is also an application for siting the Spiegeltent in St Andrew Square gardens (south-east corner).
The plans can be seen here
Key is there has been ‘capacity creep’ from the installations that were approved for the last minute arrangements in 2022, with most of the additional area being proposed being on soft standing. Due to a number of reasons, NTBCC did not submit comments.
However this issue has been covered both by the Cockburn Association and Edinburgh World Heritage as well as the Council’s Parks & Greenspaces team.
Other news / Upcoming Proposals
NTBCC received an invitation to the Hearing on certain aspects of the ‘City Plan 2030’ which is currently undergoing examination by a group of Scottish Reporters. However, we did not attend.
A local resident has highlighted that the planning application forms now lodged with other documents for planning applications are now incomprehensible (perhaps linked to the recent upgrade carried out on the Planning portal). The issue has been raised with Edinburgh Planning but as yet, no response received.
Richard Price – NTBCC Planning Convener
8 October 2023