NTBCC ordinary meeting minutes 11 March 2024

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s meeting, via Zoom, on Monday 11 March 2024 at 7pm

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

URLs have been added by the minutes secretary.

1 Administration and welcome

This meeting was chaired by Simon Holledge, NTBCC’s engagement officer.

1.a Attendance

Fiona Banatvala NTBCC Stewart Mills NTBCC Cllr Margaret Graham City Centre ward
Annick Gaillard NTBCC Nick Reid NTBCC Cllr Finlay McFarlane City Centre ward
Steven Hajducki NTBCC Richard Price NTBCC Cllr Max Mitchell Inverleith ward
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Bruce Ryan minutes secretary Cllr Jo Mowat City Centre ward
Simon Holledge NTBCC Cllr Jule Bandel Inverleith ward Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Susan Macinnes NTBCC Cllr Jack Caldwell Leith Walk ward 7 residents/visitors

1.b Apologies

Mike Birch NTBCC Carol Nimmo NTBCC Peter Williamson NTBCC
Ken Lochrie NTBCC David Renton NTBCC Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward

2 Minutes of 12th February 2024 meeting

Accepted as- is (proposed A Gaillard, seconded S Mills)

2.a Matters arising


3 Chair’s update

See also briefing notes.

3.a NTBCC response to CEC Community Council Scheme and Boundary Review 2023 – update

  • Phase 2 consultation is open until 3 May. However, NTBCC does not currently have anything more to add to its position.
    • Action: NTBCC members to respond individually to the consultation, and bring any resulting concerns to NTBCC’s April meeting.

3.b Police matters

  • P Williamson awaits a reply to his letter to the police about their attendance at NTBCC meetings.

3.c Our Future Streets: a circulation plan for Edinburgh

  • This is the first biennial review of the city mobility plan (2021–2021).
    • Cllr Mowat: I am arranging a meeting for the city centre CCs: most have agreed to take part. CEC officers are also undertaking relevant engagement. A report has gone to CEC, followed by various proposals for the plan. The most pressing issue in these is the closure of Cowgate in 2024. However, there are no detailed plans for this yet.
    • Cllr Mowat: this will be an opportunity for CCllrs to receive in-depth briefing. Then each CC can undertake its own wide engagement. It is not practical to accommodate all who might be interested to one meeting, so further engagement and information processes are likely..

3.d Edinburgh World Heritage Site management plan

See also CEC consultation

  • NTBCC will post a public meeting on 25 March (7pm, via Zoom). This will include a presentation by Jenny Bruce (EWH site co-ordinator), and will ‘explore the expected practical outcomes of the 10-year plan in the New Town area, the formation and role of the oversight group’. NTBCC understands that this group will include CC representatives.

4 Planning

All points made by R Price unless otherwise noted.

4.a Feedback from recent consultation on proposed re-development at Calton Square (former Baillie Gifford building)

  • While there will be significant refurbishment, the building’s frame will be retained, and the building will remain grade A office accommodation. It will change form 60% glazed, 40% stonework, to 40%:60%, to meet stainability and energy-efficiency targets. Broadly, I believe this is a good scheme, retaining employment in the city centre, and respecting views from Calton Hill etc. NTBCC should be neutral or support the proposals.
    • A McIntosh: The building’s cladding has seriously deteriorated, so this work is needed.
    • R Price: the building was from the late 1990s. It is curious that another grade A office building (37 Semple St) is completely glazed yet meets relevant standards, while this building’s glazing is being reduced to meet standards.

4.b ‘Responsible Construction Working Group’ – feedback from NTBCC attendees

See also this report by an NTBCC member.

  • This originated from a motion by Cllr McKenzie on the detriments caused by construction at Haymarket. CEC has now formed a working group including relevant CCs. Overall, this has been welcome: CEC is working to improve matters by reducing impacts on residents.
    • S Hajducki: the intention is to devise principles for contractors. Construction is ever-present, even if each development is temporary. It appears that large contractors are improving their approach to noise-reduction. The first meeting covered issues such as co-ordination between sites (road closures and diversions, repeated digging up of roads, etc), duration of work, street-clutter, parking issues, qualities of barriers, poor communication with residents, dirt, occupancy of extra public space.
      • Responsibility for such matters is scattered across different CEC departments, so we suggest there should be a single point of contact for complaints Sites should display details of contractors/developers.
      • There is a ’considerate contractors’ scheme but only one development in NTBCC’s area has signed up to this. Hence there needs to be pressure on all other major schemes to sign up.
      • CEC officers will now draft a report for CEC’s planning committee.
    • A resident: building at the top of the Mound has taken an inordinate amount of time, and there is no way to influence this and its impact on pedestrians.
    • Cllr McFarlane: a working group is now tackling this.
    • S Mills: can road occupation arrangements have penalty clauses? Also, can contractor’s vehicles be tackled with parking tickets etc – Edinburgh has good public transport that should enable workers to get to work. Also, cargo bikes could be used.
    • Cllr Mowat: the draft needs to go to CEC ASAP, so there will not be time for CCs to review it. Instead, this would happen during agenda-planning for the subsequent committee cycle. Hence the draft is the beginning of a conversation around a continuous cycle of improvement.
    • A resident: in London, restrictions are enforced by police. CEC needs to enforce existing legislation.

4.c Recent Council/DPEA decisions

4.c.i Bellevue Crescent amenity space (23/03944/FUL)

  • This concerns the space in front of Brought St Mary’s. About 2 years ago, SGN introduced a raised platform in front of the category A listed building, without applying for planning permission. It has now made an application, but this is not ideal. NTBCC suggested some improvements but these were ignored, and the application was approved under delegated authority. Overall, there are some improvements but it would have been better to do the original work well.

4.c.ii 72 – 74 Eyre Place (PBSA & townhouses)

  • There were two rounds of application, refusal, appeal, refusal of appeal. There has been outstanding community response, showing that it is worthwhile taking action. The DMSC’s reasons for refusal were echoed by the SG reporter, who also found another reason for refusal of appeal. Hence I want to know why CEC planning officers recommended approval both times.
    • S Hajducki: peer-review within CEC planning has been hampered by staff working at home.
    • Action: Cllr Mowat to investigate reduction of such impacts.

4.c.iii 1 Gayfield Square (23/04307/FUL) – addition of restricted Class 10 use

  • A Gaillard: This involves requests for Classes 3, 4 and 10 uses. Change of use to include Class 10 (non-residential institution) was approved with the following conditions, which I believe are fair:
    • The Class 10 aspect of the premises should be restricted to educational uses only, with no permitted change to other Uses within Class 10.
    • Hours of operation restricted to 08am to 9pm Monday to Sunday. (11am to 1am Mon to Sun was requested.)
    • The restriction on cooking operations is maintained as per 21/02574/FUL.
  • The premises were issued a Section 50 Certificate (Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005) previously (23/00848/S50), but no licence has been granted for alcohol yet.
    • R Price: refurbishment of this building is to a good standard. The intent is this building becomes a training centre with its own café. Most of the submitted objections were not material: residents fear something unwelcome, so NTBCC should keep an eye on this.

4.c.iv Other DMSC items for this week

  • 70-71 George St: an application to use upper stories for upmarket self-catering has been recommended for approval.
  • Princes St, Rose St, Hanover St (Bella Italia etc): various buildings are to be tidied. I believe that a hotel here would be OK. The buildings are listed, and there would be some demolition on Rose St, but the replacement would be more in keeping with major listed buildings around it.

5 Licensing

See also convener’s report.

5.a Planning Section 50 Certificates – Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005

  • These applications had not appeared in the weekly lists, and tend to appear on the portal when they have been approved. I have asked for this to be rectified.

5.b Outdoor area for serving alcohol – licensed footprint vs tables & chairs permit

  • See section 2 of report. Due to previous residents’ concerns, I have submitted an objection.
    • Action: Cllr McFarlane to look into transport concerns arising from tables and chairs application.
    • It is not possible to see when the register of tables and chairs permits was last updated.

6 Transport

6.a Feedback from Transport & Environment Committee on 7 March 2024

6.a.i Cllr Mowat’s motion: CCWEL (City Centre West to East Link) project

  • Cllr Mowat: this motion calls for a lessons-review of construction problems and design implementation from Roseburn to George St/Charlotte Square. (Incorrect concrete had to be removed, and some pavement finishes are very poor. There have been many such issues. It is not clear whether they arose from poor design, poor contracts or poor following of designs) Following amendments, usage will also be monitored.
    • R Price: NTBCC should support this. There have been needs for reworking in NTBCC’s area – it’s a general problem.

6.a.ii Change in proposal for determining Traffic Orders

  • R Price: traffic orders were moved about 12 months ago from CEC’s transport and environment committee to CEC’s licensing subcommittee (part of CEC’s regulatory committee) because these orders are quasi-judicial, and because TEC’s agenda was too large. However, there is a motion to reverse this move.
    • Cllr Mowat: TEC cannot decide this move – it takes a decision by full council. I will keep NTBCC informed.

7 Environment

No matters raised.

8 Culture and Communities

See also convener’s report, including substantial items in May All points made by S Holledge unless otherwise noted.

8.a Reopening of the Nelson Monument

  • Work was due to start in February, but has not.
    • Action: Cllr McFarlane to investigate.

8.b Signage for buskers

  • Cllr McFarlane: lamp-post wraps should be installed soon. Police do not prioritise busking-noise issues, but Scottish Government has advised that CEC could enforce under other relevant legislation. Hence CEC is investigating how to implement this – it can set ‘rules’ for public areas.

8.c Fireworks control zones

  • Cllr McFarlane: controls would be about restricting fireworks in private gardens, e.g. near cat and dog homes. There will be consultation on relevant proposals, so controls are in place for this November.

8.d Events budgeting

  • Cllr McFarlane: this fund was split 50:50 between sports and cultural events, but because £60,000 is ringfenced for local sports clubs, this fund will now be open to support local grassroots events that fit with cultural strategies across the city, and the application process will be more transparent and responsive.

8.e Parks and openspace investment

  • No discussion

8.f Million tree city/allergens

8.g George IV park

  • Cllrs Mitchell and Mowat: the slide here will be replaced. The proposed design, conforming to safety needs, is here.

9 AOCB, including news from residents’ associations, and points raised by the public

9.a Bin-hubs and waste issues

  • A resident: what are peoples’ views on these hubs? To me, they seem relatively imperceptible, although one bin was overflowing.
    • R Price: the hubs are working OK but many are already dilapidated, yet they are only ~6 months old.
    • D Henderson: people are being very territorial about the bins on their streets, e.g. dissuading others from other blocks depositing rubbish in ‘their’ bins. Also, people who are shorter/smaller or impaired find it difficult to deposit items in the new recycling bins. (S Hajduck also reported such accessibility issues.)
    • Cllr Caldwell: I have submitted motions calling for more reliable bin-lids and for easy reporting of damaged bins. Cllr Osler is investigating inaccessibility of bins. We will feed back after the relevant full council meeting.
    • Cllr McFarlane: there may be significant instances of people from streets that have gull-proof bags driving to deposit waste in other streets’ bins. Streets bin-capacities are based on the numbers of houses on those streets, so use by others as well can lead to overfilling.
    • Cllr Mitchell: I was told to tell people to report broken bins to CEC waste. Bins are based on guestimates of numbers of residents. I’m undertaking many site-visits. Bins are now being emptied daily, and reviews are failing.
    • F Banatvala: my residents’ association is strongly encouraging people to use gull-proof bags if they have them. There is no hard evidence of people who have gull-proof bags depositing rubbish in other streets’ communal bins. Overfull bins may well result from poor estimates of needed capacities, so baseless accusations should be avoided. It is true that shops, especially food-outlets, do not appreciate having bin-hubs just outside.
    • R Price: if there is bin-tourism, it is not restricted to streets with gull-proof bags. The bin-hubs have resulted in significant increases in food-recycling I commend CEC on making it clear that glass recycling should not happen during antisocial times.
    • A resident: I often see inappropriate items, which would not fit in gull-proof bags, being deposited in bin-hubs.

9.a.i Waste from short-term lets

  • A resident: short-term lets (STLs) are depositing rubbish in communal bins, which are for normal residents. In part, this is because STLs rubbish is deposited on days when gull-proof bags are not collected.
  • Cllr Mowat): secondary lets are businesses, and so should have trade-waste contracts. However, large numbers of trade-waste bins would not be welcomed, so CEC is investigating how to charge STLs for using the ‘residential’ communal bins and concomitant increases in rubbish collection. My experience is that STLs are cleared by cleaners, who do dispose of rubbish appropriately.
  • F Banatvala: for disposal of large/difficult items, more local recycling/waste centres are needed. Meanwhile, the requirement to make appointments to access the centres is a major disincentive to appropriate waste disposal. Monthly big skips, e.g. in local supermarket carparks, may help reduce issues with bulky refuse.
  • Cllr Mowat: Such difficulties exist, and are worse for people who do not have cars. I have raised this issue many times, to no avail, but CEC needs to make recycling and appropriate waste disposal easier, otherwise people won’t do these. CEC currently charges for uplift of bulky items, again penalising those who cannot take drive to disposal centres. Amnesties and local skips, e.g. at ends of student terms, can help. I will pursue this.
  • Cllr McFarlane: CEC is about to respond to the circular economy bill. Desirable measures include suppliers of bulky items such as mattresses being obliged to uplift the old one.

9.b Former RBS site

  • Cllr Mitchell: there is no news on this site’s redevelopment. I will chase for updates.

9.c Public realm issues

  • A Gaillard: many paving slabs along the new tram route are already loose, causing significant trip-hazards. There are also defective manhole covers. Reports of such issues are disappearing, without reporters being updated of progress.
    • Cllr Caldwell: my ward is also suffering such issues. It appears grouting is faulty.
    • Cllr Mowat: CEC is due a report on snagging/defects in April.
    • Cllr McFarlane: 3 defective manholes will be fixed by the contractor. Other manholes have design flaws – they are on vehicle lanes – so CEC is seeking solutions.
    • Action: Cllrs Caldwell and Mowat to pursue slab issues with Trams to Newhaven.