NTBCC ordinary meeting minutes 12 February 2024

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s meeting, at Broughton St Mary’s Church, on Monday 12 February 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 Admin and welcome

1.a Attendance

Fiona Banatvala NTBCC Simon Holledge NTBCC Richard Price NTBCC
Mike Birch NTBCC Ken Lochrie NTBCC Peter Williamson NTBCC
Annick Gaillard NTBCC Susan Macinnes NTBCC Cllr Jule Bandel Inverleith ward
Laura Graham NTBCC Stewart Mills NTBCC Cllr Finlay McFarlane City Centre ward
Stephen Hajducki NTBCC Carol Nimmo NTBCC Cllr Jo Mowat City Centre ward
Deirdre Henderson NTBCC Nick Reid NTBCC 9 residents/visitors

1.b Apologies

Jack Hugh NTBCC Cllr Jack Caldwell Leith Walk ward
David Renton NTBCC Cllr Hal Osler Inverleith ward
Alan Welsh NTBCC Ben Macpherson MSP Edinburgh Northern and Leith
Bruce Ryan minutes secretary Angus Robertson MSP Edinburgh Central

1.c Membership

  • Fiona Banatvala is due to become Moray Feu residents’ association rep, but administrative processes are slow.
    • Decision: she was co-opted onto NTBCC pending completion of admin ND

2 Minutes of the ordinary NTBCC meeting held on 11 December 2023

Approved as-is ND

2.a Matters arising

2.a.i George St

  • S Holledge will attend a meeting about accessibility issues next week. There have been meetings about cross-streets (one drop-in, one online). Issues include bin-hubs, bus stops/cycle-lanes, apparent lack of wholistic design and different design standards. A relevant senior CEC official has been invited to speak at the next NTBCC meeting.

2.a.ii City Mobility Plan

  • Cllr Mowat: George St and other plans are being subsumed into this, but it does not yet require a decision by cllrs.

3 Police report

  • P Williamson: Police Scotland have decided to no longer attend CC meetings, due to lack of CEC funding. There are various online ways to get information from police.
    • It was questioned how CCs can give information to police, especially in view of police recently failing to attend a potentially serious incident.
      • Action: NTBCC to follow this up.
    • It was noted that Edinburgh has lost 76 officers in the last 2 years. Various ways to engage with poor police action were suggested, e.g. contacting Scottish Police Authority.

4 Chair’s update

4.a Report To Council – review of scheme for community councils and their boundaries

See also relevant CEC papers here and here.

  • A consultation is due to start today and end 8 April. A rationalisation of the NTBCC/Stockbridge-Inverleith CC boundary has been proposed. NTBCC has contacted its neighbouring CCs, most of which are content with their boundaries.
    • R Price: the changes to the scheme appear to be minor: co-option would become more formal.
    • Cllr Mowat: there are proposals for term-limits for CC office-bearers.
    • P Williamson: one of the biggest issues is lack of people willing to be members.
    • Cllr Mowat: larger CCs tend to be more sustainable, because they have more potential members to draw on. However, current CC populations have not yet been identified from the recent census.
    • S Holledge: the name community council does not help.
    • Cllr Mitchell: campaigns around specific needs may well be more successful than CCs.
    • S Hajducki: there should be ways for such campaigning groups to join in with CCs.
    • A resident: CCs are seriously underfunded in terms of CEC grants.
    • R Price: there are other potential funding sources.
    • M Birch: hybrid meetings could well attract more participation. CEC should fund this.

4.b Local Place Plans

  • P Williamson: NTBCC met last week about this. The plan should come from the community, not the CC. However, to be viable, it should cover a small part of NTBCC’s area. It will also need people and resources. It has been suggested that it would build in NTBCC’s previous work on Broughton St, perhaps extending to cover Picardy Place.
    • Cllr Mowat: West End CC had a presentation on LPPs recently. There are certain statutory needs.
    • There was discussion of what could be in an LPP, e.g. making school streets safer, community facilities.
    • Cllr Mowat: LPPs would feed into the next local development plan, so it would be useful to develop them now.
    • It was suggested that NTBCC could work from the Powderhall Place Brief.

4.c Edinburgh World Heritage – management plan

See also relevant CEC paper here.

  • P Williamson: this went to CEC recently. Next steps require management partners to undertake extensive participation. NTBCC has been trying for quite some time to engage with EWH. There are a number of questions about the Management Plan about which we would to have some answers.
    • A member: the proposals cannot have been ‘shaped by … public and stakeholder engagement’ – there wasn’t any. EWH still tries to contact deceased people, yet will not engage with knowledgeable live people.
    • D Henderson: this may well contravene GDPR.
    • M Birch: this consultation is a UNESCO requirement. The proposed plan has more community engagement. However, the consultation is unhelpful. NTBCC should invite a relevant officer to a future meeting.
    • Action: P Williamson to request engagement, and invite this officer.

5 Transport

See also convener’s report. All points made by M Birch (convenor) unless otherwise noted.

5.a Trams to Newhaven – planned close-out report

See report

5.b Our Future Streets – impact on New Town residents

  • This is the new name for the former circulation plan. CEC wishes to establish a new framework for managing transport and travel. It would make the city centre traffic-free, including the bridges, which would be used by a new tram-route. This would mean that traffic would be concentrated on Lothian Rd and other cross-streets. Changes at Holyrood Park would also have impact. While it is right that transport is considered holistically, individual decisions have impacts. While improving public transport would be welcome, there are also many delivery vehicles to take into account.
    • An attendee: there are concerns about accessibility, e.g. to pick up elderly people.
    • Cllr McFarlane: NTBCC should concentrate on more immediate things, e.g. closure of Cowgate and Lawnmarket, George St, instead of the possible new tram-route.
    • Cllr Mowat: closure of streets does not necessarily lead to reduction in car miles, but data is not available.
    • S Mills: it is pointless to measure only pollution from traffic within the LEZ. NTBCC should request that CEC monitors impact outwith the LEZ.
    • Cllr Mitchell: CEC is monitoring the periphery of the LEZ. However, the LEZ does benefit the whole city.
    • S Holledge: NTBCC has expressed concern about number and locations of monitoring stations.
    • M Birch: the CMP was about what would happen, while the action plans were about how this would be achieved. Hence CMP decisions were used to make decisions about action plans. There are many non-compliant vehicles, and no plan to deal with them. NTBCC needs to meet with CEC roads officials.
    • S Mills: NTBCC should work with West End CC and Tollcross CCs to develop a holistic view, and press for better monitoring and potentially for expansion of the LEZ.
    • An attendee: NTBCC should ask for explanations of the transport modelling in the report.
    • C Nimmo: this is deciding the future of the city. We should decide what the city should be for/like first.

5.c George Street – cross streets design consultation

  • S Holledge mentioned the issue of bin hubs, which are included in the cross streets.
    • M Birch said there were design issues similar to Leith Walk.

5.d East London St

See report.

5.e Picardy Place

CEC has at issued some of the data NTBCC requested, but not data on street-lighting. CEC is not supporting CCs here.

5.f Bus signage

Cllr Mowat: bus-stop signage showing actual bus arrival times is due in Spring 2024.

6 Planning

See also convener’s report. All points made by R Price unless otherwise noted.

6.a Proposal 28 St Andrew Square for change of use from office to hotel, Proposal 9-10 St Andrew Square for change of use from office/retail to hotel and restaurant

  • These are both conversions of offices to other uses. The hotel at 9=10 would have a single entrance from St Andrews Square. The Square is being revitalised. However, this may include too many hotels.
    • Members were very concerned about the loss of Sainsbury’s/shopping in the city centre with the development at 9-10 St Andrews Square.
    • A Gaillard: I have asked for section 50 certificates to be added to the weekly decisions list, for better visibility of upcoming licensing applications.

6.b Notice of pre-application for refurbishment of Baillie Gifford office on Leith Street/Calton Square

  • NTBCC has been offered a pre-application discussion. There is a consultation session at St Paul’s and St George’s on 2 February (3pm to 7pm). There will be issues about access to remove old material and bring in new material.

6.c Application for integration of existing commercial into the Edinburgh Playhouse

No discussion

6.d 72-75 Eyre Place planning application update

No discussion

6.e Points of Interest

See ‘Decisions to note’ section of report.

7 Culture and Communities

8 Licensing

See also convener’s report. All points made by A Gaillard unless otherwise noted.

8.a Licensing Board

8.a.i Update on new statement of policy, as related to overprovision

See section 2.1 of the report. There are concerns about abuse of the provisional licensing arrangement.

8.a.ii Proposal to fast-track applications that attract no objections

See second paragraph of section 2.1 of the report.

8.b Regulatory Committee

8.b.i Update on Short Term Let licensing, following judicial review on STL Planning Policy

  • See section 1.1 of report. So far, no STL applications (of 3787) have been refused.
  • Sexual entertainment venues do not include saunas, only lap-dance venues. All are currently in Tollcross. They are understood to provide safe places for dancers to operate, and a ban would force them underground.

8.b.ii Sheriff recommendation to add gas safety information as mandatory condition (following Fatal Accident Inquiry)

Also covered in section 1.1 of the report. CEC and Scottish Government are considering how to respond.

9 Environment

9.a City Of Edinburgh Council – note of meeting of graffiti summit

  • P Williamson: it is welcome that this meeting happened, but too much time was spent on street art, while there was lack of ambition, e.g. to be graffiti-free by a chosen date.
    • Cllrs Mitchell and Mowat: CEC is creating a street art policy. Such art might deter tagging. It is necessary to act quickly – if a tag is left in place, others will appear. CEC now has equipment to remove graffiti from monuments.
    • L Graham: similar approaches have worked well in European cities.
    • S Holledge: Calton Hill is making good progress towards becoming graffiti-free.

9.b City Centre and communal bin review: public engagement

  • P Williamson: there was a meeting about stage 5 in October. This pointed out the need for good public engagement, but there is no information yet about how CEC will undertake this. I will follow up on this.
    • M Birch: this will come back to committee in May, so consultation is needed now.
    • There was discussion of exactly where the changes would happen, and what they would be.
    • L Graham: there are issues with wheelie bins around Gayfield Square not being kept on private land, possibly due to the siting of communal bins.
    • P Williamson: there will be area-by-area freedom of choice of bin-types.
    • An attendee: the city centre major throughfares need more litter-bins for non-residential refuse.

10 Councillors’ reports

No discussion


  • M Birch: Greenside Lane now has a suitable barrier, but this issue was raised with the trams team 2 years ago, in connection with access by emergency vehicles. The barrier now prevents such access, which would be needed of there was an incident in the Playhouse.