NTBCC ordinary meeting minutes – Monday 12 October 2020

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Monday 12 October 2020 at 7pm

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’.

Actions and decisions are in red italic.

1 Attendance/apologies for absence

As AGM

2 Welcome/new members/proposed NTBCC Business meeting 19th October

  • The chair welcomed N Reid as the new representative of India St Association.
  • The proposed business meeting was agreed during the AGM.

3 Minutes of 14th September meeting (via Zoom) and matters arising

These were approved subject to naming the correct location in section 14 (proposed M Birch, seconded P Williamson).

4 Police report

See report in appendix 1. The chair noted that police had observed no ill effects from 10pm pub-closures.

5 Transport

5.a Spaces for People: submission on latest proposal for ‘A1 corridor’

  • Chair: M Birch drafted NTBCC’s reply; covering a cycle-lane potentially being added to the south side of London Rd. CEC’s trams team had no knowledge of this proposal until CCTT alerted them. There has been no real response from CEC to comments added to the Spaces for People (SFP) website
  • S Holledge: The results of the Commonplace Mapping Consultation for Spaces for People (SfP) have still not been analysed and published. CEC passed a motion regarding this on 1 October asking for the results to be published by the November 2020 meeting of the Transport and Environment Committee. EACC will hold a special meeting on SfP on 22 October, discussing the controversies, e.g. East Craigs LTN (Low Traffic Neighbourhood).
  • S Hajducki: I am concerned that CEC appears to be driven by Sustrans, an ‘assertive cycling lobby’. Why were groups that have more balanced views, e.g. Living Streets, not invited? The focus should be on improving conditions for pedestrians, but measures that favour cyclists – and are unused – have been introduced.
  • D Clarke: I disagree with the tone and content of that comment. Many NTBCC residents cycle, and I do not see cycling being made easy in NTBCC’s area, or that pedestrians are being disadvantaged. NTBCC should support cycling and walking, and should use measured language.
  • S Holledge: the mapping tool should show the numbers asking for improvements to pavements and cycle-lanes.
  • P Williamson: there has been no proper discussion on the aims, methods and balances of the whole SfP scheme. Instead, it has been imposed.
  • S Holledge: hence the EACC meeting will have input from both Living Streets and Sustrans spokespeople.
  • Cllr Mowat: to get people on-side with complex transport interventions, intense consultation is needed. Communities should be enabled to point out issues to enable work towards solutions. Some of the cycle-interventions I’ve seen are very dangerous. We don’t get to see ‘network’ considerations, so cannot be sure that proposals are the best possible under the current conditions. For example, the A1 corridor feeds cyclists into the dangerous ‘hellhole’ at the end of London Rd. Sustrans should be about sustainable transport. SfP is being done at speed, using maps rather than actually visiting locations, and this is leading to poor outcomes.
  • Cllr Osler: CEC has received a ‘staggering’ number of complaints. Some cycling measures have been easy to install, but improving pedestrian conditions is more complicated. Measures are being installed too quickly, and there have been mistakes, e.g. omission of disabled parking-places. Also, there is much confusion over which work is by utility companies and which is for SfP measures.
  • R Price: we are now 5 months into this situation, yet much information is missing from proposal-documents. All proposals are described as urgent, so consultations are very limited. Without proper consultation, there is unlikely to be local buy-in. So CEC should consult properly to get schemes people will support, but comments from locals are being ignored.
  • D Clarke: we should separate the poor ways SfP is now being implemented from the good aims to improve matters.
  • Cllr Mowat: I share these frustrations. There is not enough money to support everything CEC wants to do.

5.b Forthcoming consultation on the ‘Tram Extension’ TRO proposals

  • M Birch: consultation on these TROs is now likely to start after the end of October, but CCTT has warned that overlap with holiday periods will be unhelpful. There are also new planning applications for the tram-stops. All will follow the design that has already been agreed, so there is limited scope or need for comment.
  • Several needs are being covered within limited space, hence cyclists will be very close to pedestrians, leading to danger.
  • R Price: McDonald Rd stop has been moved – have others?
  • M Birch: these are ‘prior approval’ applications, i.e. rubber stamps by CEC. The McDonald Rd stop has been moved ~200m south to balance journey-times.
  • L Graham: pavements should be safe places for pedestrians but they currently do not feel safe to me. There should be fewer cars in the city centre.
  • Cllr Mowat: the Balfour St stop has also been moved slightly.
  • B Ryan: drawings for the existing plans – which may be out of date - are online at https://lhncc.org.uk/2020/08/30/tram-works-tros, https://leithcentralcc.co.uk/2020/08/29/tram-works-tros,
  • https://www.ntbcc.org.uk/tram-works-tros.
  • Action: B Ryan to publish updated drawings if and when they become available

6 Environment

6.a Communal Bin Review project – review of Gull Proof Sack service

  • Chair: NTBCC has been contacted by CEC about this topic. I hope they will present to NTBCC on this soon. NTBCC engagement and environment convenors should meet with me about this.
  • P Williamson: we should obtain residents’ views so we can formulate a response.
  • R Price: NTBCC’s current position is to support street-level preferences on gull-proof sacks etc. It seems that CEC has some desire to have communal bins all through the city centre.
  • Action: NTBCC to further consider this before and at the November meeting.

7 Planning

See also full report in appendix 2

7.a Ex-RBS site (Dundas St/Fettes Row) planning application: draft NTBCC position

  • R Price noted
    • At the last meeting, NTBCC discussed the two main planning applications: (1) for demolition of all buildings on the site, (2) full redevelopment of the site. Application 3 covers access from Dundas St through the development to SW corner of King George V Park (KGVP). NTBCC has until this Friday to submit its comments on 1 and 2.
      • There are ~150 comments on the current plans: ~20 are neutral or support the current plans.
      • The current plans are an improvement on previous ones. There is support for some form of development here, so long as it’s the right form – this site has been empty for about 2 years. There has been engagement between NTBCC and the developers, who understandably want to get as much as they can from the site.
      • Issues include plans for trees (and their maintenance), moving the building-line out on Dundas St, heights of the blocks, especially those near the south of KGVP.
      • It has helped that people have sent RP copies of their well-argued comments on the plans.
      • People are welcome to send RP material to help craft NTBCC’s final submission.
    • RP has submitted NTBCC’s comments on the 3rd application (20/03665/FUL), broadly supporting improved connectivity but suggesting alternatives to the planned features. Many residents are concerned about blurring boundaries between the development and the park, Residents like the park’s tranquillity and seclusion.
  • C Nimmo added that the developers have been communicative, responding to NTBCC’s questions and explaining their ideas. This is a city-centre brownfield site. The developers appear to have communicated with other stakeholders.

7.b Q&A (NTBCC & members of the public)

  • M Birch: there is concern that the development would have few parking-places, leading to on-street parking.
  • R Price: the developers have not changed plans – they are simply meeting CEC’s desire to minimise onsite parking hence the proposed ~165 spaces. It is possible that there is space for more parking. The proposed change (though not as part of the current application) to remove the hotel to include more residential use hasn’t changed the number of parking spaces.
  • R Price: in response to a chat comment: clearly there are more comments against the proposal than for. The development will bring more people into the city centre. The developers have attempted to include infrastructure such as a health-centre but this hasn’t received support.
  • R Price: the decision on this application will go to the CEC Development Management Sub-committee – it cannot be delegated to officers; given the number of objections and that it is termed a major application.
  • R Price: Historic Environment Scotland were instrumental in the previous application’s rejection by CEC. HES’ comment on the current plans is not yet on the CEC planning portal.
  • M Birch: some HES comments have not been put in the correct place. He has contacted HES to obtain these directly.
  • S Holledge: how would this development impact the park?
  • R Price: the park currently has a border of trees, separating the park from nearby industrial buildings. Much of this and adjacent empty land would be built on. HES’s position has always been to protect views from within the World Heritage site, so the developers have made up for this by planning buildings near the park to be much higher. A wooded area to the west would also be affected. Hence the park would become very different.
  • L Graham: what was in this area prior to the RBS buildings? Were there 6-story buildings here?
  • R Price: no – it was the 19th-century equivalent to an industrial estate. NB CEC needs to provide land for much housing, and use of brownfield sites is better than building on the green-belt.
  • A McIntosh: preserving the very attractive public park is important. What is NTBCC’s position on potential demolition of a wall between Eyre Place and the site? This matter is likely to go before the courts.
  • R Price: this debate is due to the RBS building directly abutting on to a 10-15-year-old development. The residents have an internal courtyard abutting a blank wall that’s constructed right against the RBS building. The residents would prefer to retain this wall, rather than have many windows looking out from the new development but the proposal to demolish the RBS building necessitates removing this wall. The new development will be set back slightly to ensure a minimum spacing between opposing windows meets the CEC guidance of 18 metres. It is not clear that the case for complete demolition of the buildings on the site has been made.
  • C Nimmo: a resident has made a good point about stone-crushing on site – this would be at least unusual.
  • C Nimmo: a resident has made a point about potential subsidence.
    • R Price: the developers have promised to monitor buildings near the site for this.
    • C Nimmo: there is recent precedent of this at the St James Quarter site.
  • M Birch: has there been any public support of the proposal?
    • R Price: there is support for some development, but probably not for the current proposals.
  • Action: B Ryan to email all chat-comments to those writing NTBCC’s submission.
  • Action: NTBCC members to send their input to R Price in the next 2 days.

8 Licensing

J Finn: There were no items of interest to NTBCC at the Board meeting held on 1 October. The agenda for the next meeting, on 30th October, has not yet been published.

8.a Q&A

  • M Birch: what has happened about NTBCC’s objections to large numbers of licensed premises at the St James centre?
  • Cllr Mowat: these have not yet been considered by CEC. CEC licensing board is only considering applications that need to be handled, and St James won’t open until April 2021. Also, it is not yet known how each unit will be used.
    • M Birch: St James has announced all of its units, including restaurants, so is likely to have leased units on the assumption they will get licenses. NTBCC is concerned that there would be over-provision.
    • Cllr Mowat: all license applications will go through the licensing process, regardless of leases.

8.b Scottish Government Short Term Lets consultation

  • R Price: the deadline for responding to this is 16 October
  • D Henderson: Place Edinburgh’s response, based on engagement with residents, is here. The draft legislation would give councils a ‘toolbox’ to allow for STLs affecting different areas in different ways.
  • S Hajducki: views from previous consultations have mainly been taken on board by SG. However, there should be more on STLs in tenements. HMO rules on overcrowding should apply. There should be strong enforcement of rules.
    • D Henderson: overcrowding is covered in the draft legislation. Potential issues around tenements are also covered.
  • A McIntosh: there may be a loophole around main-door flats that also access common stairs.
    • D Henderson: there is precedent of such enforcements in Edinburgh.
  • J Finn: once there is a licensing system in place, it can be changed as needed. But strong enforcement is needed.
  • Action: D Henderson, S Hajducki , J Finn to write NTBCC’s response.

9 Engagement/communications/Instagram update

  • Action: C Nimmo and L Graham to work further on this.
  • Action: posting policy to be decided at NTBCC’s business meeting.

10 Local residents’ associations/local interest groups

  • N Reid introduced himself, and noted that his St would have views on the gull-proof sacks debate.
  • It was clarified that NTBCC members who represent local interest groups can be involved with any of NTBCC’s work.

11 Any other business

  • D Henderson: There is a lack of signage to the bus station.
    • Action: Cllr Mowat to raise this with CEC.
  • D Henderson: those applying for parking permits do not receive hard copy to keep in their cars.
    • M Birch: parking wardens’ systems know which cars are licensed, so this should not be a problem.
    • D Henderson: this needs to be better communicated.
    • Cllr Mowat: the system works, but I will ask if this can be better explained on CEC’s website.

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Appendix 1: police report

Dear members,

Please see below figures for the period of 12th September 2020 to 12th October 2020 for your area.

In addition to these figures we have been attending noisy parties and persons breaching Covid regulations whereby Fixed Penalty Tickets have been issued. Operation Talla has been set up for Covid related calls with officers dedicated to this detail on Friday and Saturday evenings. The 10pm closing time of licensed premises have not posed any significant issues for police.

Domestic Housebreakings

None to report

Business Housebreakings (2)

17/09/20 0130 hours – Samsung, Princes Street. Smashing glass entry door with 2 bricks, entering and stealing £18793 of electrical goods. Unsolved.

19/09/20 1030 hours – Communications Workers Union, South St Andrew Street. Smashing glass panel, entering and stealing a cash box containing £200.00. Unsolved.

Vandalisms (5): 2 Solved

13/09/20 1705 hours – Boozy Cow, Frederick Street. Smashing card machine. Solved.

13/09/20 1800 hours – York House Hotel, York Place. Damaging TV and mirror. Solved.

18/09/20 2120 hours – Hugo Boss, Multrees Walk. Ripping lights from locus. Unsolved.

19/09/20 2315 hours – Louis Vuitton, Multrees Walk. Spray painting the word Raven in purple on the shop front. Unsolved.

25/09/20 1000 hours – Barony Street. Scratching bonnet of car.

Assaults (7): 5 Solved

12/09/20 2000 hours – Hanover Street. Punching person to the ear. Unsolved.

13/09/20 1700 hours – Boozy Cow, Frederick Street. Placing person in a headlock. Solved.

13/09/20 0200 hours – Leith Street. Punching person to the face. Solved.

16/09/20 2141 hours – Cumberland Street North. Spitting and coughing in a person’s face. Unsolved.

21/09/20 1840 hours – Co-op, Frederick Street. Grabbing person to the shirt. Solved.

28/09/20 1100 hours – Northumberland Street. Grabbing persons arm and striking to the head. Solved.

03/10/20 2215 hours – George Street. Grabbing persons neck and pushing to the ground. Solved.

There were no serious assaults to report.

Other initiatives

There have been Close Pass initiatives carried out across the city whereby a covert cyclist patrols and drivers are stopped and educated re distance when passing cyclists. These initiatives were carried out along with Roads Policing.

 

 

12 Appendix 2: Planning Report September 2020 (updated 10TH October)

12.a Major Applications – Current

12.a.i ‘New Town Quarter (NTN)’

Application submitted for redevelopment of the former RBS site on Dundas Street by 10 Design – this includes 144 ’Build to Rent’ (BTR) residential units, 117 private residential units and 88 Mid-Market Rent (MMR) i.e. meeting the 25% ‘affordable units’ requirement (=349 in total) together with office space, retail / leisure space & a 116 room hotel.

Main application for redevelopment is 20/03034/FUL (validated 4 September) but accompanied by an application for ‘Complete Demolition in a Conservation Area’ (20/03661/CON). It’s normal for these 2 applications to be determined at the same time. Also worth noting that the original ‘Demolition in a Conservation Area’ application (20/03033/CON) was withdrawn & then resubmitted as 20/03661/CON.

There is also a 3rd application specifically covering the access from the new development into King George V Park (20/03655/FUL) – covers ‘Formation of Path & Associated Landscaping’. Proposes removing 5 trees (2 diseased (classified as “U” and 3 others) to allow a wide split entrance into the park in the south-west corner, for pedestrians (steps) & cyclists / ‘wheelers’ by a ramp.

So – to be clear – for the main redevelopment – there are 3 applications lodged: 20/03034/FUL (Redevelopment), 20/03661/CON (for the demolition) and 20/03655/FUL (detailing the access into KGV Park) – all with the final date for comments being 9 October for members of the public.

Representation submitted for the Access into the Park (Neutral stance but reflected many comments received from the Friends of the Park etc.)

It has been confirmation that NTBCC will be considered as a Statutory Consultee & also an extension to the period for comments until 16 October for the 2 remaining live applications – to allow final consideration at October’s NTBCC meeting (& also recognising that there are 400+ documents submitted…..).

As indicated some weeks ago & covered in the Spurtle ('No hotel for Dundas Street development' and confirmed at the September NTBCC meeting – a further application is also being submitted for an alternative option (labelled ‘NTN1’) on part of the New Town Quarter site (designated as ‘Plot 1’, covering the northern-most section on Dundas Street - from the proposed new accessway from Dundas St. to KGV Park to Eyre Place - i.e. the proposed location for the hotel in the scheme currently open for comment - but omitting the hotel & replacing it with a further 79 residential units. This scheme is subject to a separate Pre-Application consultation (20/03825/PAN) – the consultation process has now been approved. There was a virtual public consultation for 8 October on the official website (& also separate session was held for NTBCC as well as local residents’ groups a few days earlier).

However, worth reinforcing that the focus should be on the 3 ‘live’ applications that have been lodged. There will be an opportunity to comment on the revised scheme later in 2020.

12.a.ii 109/111 Princes Street & frontage on Rose Street (Debenhams) – 20/02952/PAN

Details of this previously circulated to NTBCC & have now been advised that the Pre-application online consultation was hosted on the project website www.111princesstreet.co.uk between 4.00pm and 7.00pm on 17 September 2020, including a chat box option available on the project website, where questions could be asked directly to the team.

“Redevelopment and change of use of the existing premises to form a hotel with rooftop bar / restaurant, active uses at lower floors including restaurant, bar, retail, flexible meeting and event / venue space, health suite / gym, together with ancillary uses, associated works, alterations and demolitions (Use Classes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 11 & Sui Generis)

NTBCC has agreed to host a presentation from the agents on the proposal at the November NTBCC meeting.

Edinburgh Christmas (East Princes Street Gardens) – following a report presented to the Council Policy & Sustainability Committee meeting on 24 August which outlined the approach, plans submitted by Underbelly for a ‘scaled-back’ and ‘spread out’ 'Edinburgh's Christmas' across 3 sites –

12.a.iii East Princes St Gardens (20/03707/FUL)

“Erection of Edinburgh's Christmas at East Princes Street Gardens including Christmas Market Stalls, Fairground rides, Box Offices, Associated Site Offices, Stores and Ancillary Facilities (Proposed Application for two years - 2020 - 2021 and 2021 - 2022)”

~50 comments lodged, 48 objecting with 2 in Support to date (28/9/20) excluding an objection from NTBCC which was submitted (but slightly late) – no response from Planning officer as to whether it would be accepted but essentially reiterated comments submitted by The Cockburn.

12.a.iv George St/Castle St (20/03708/FUL)

“Erection of Edinburgh's Christmas at George Street and Castle Street, including Christmas Market Stalls, Ice Rink, Plant and Boot Room, Around the Corner Bar, Box Office, Associated Site Offices, Stores and Ancillary Facilities (Proposed Application for two years - 2020 - 2021 and 2021 - 2022)”

41 objections , 2 in support. No NTBCC representation submitted but The Cockburn did submit a response.

12.a.v High Street / Parliament Square (20/03728/FUL)

“Full planning permission for Edinburgh's Christmas including Christmas market stalls, Tree, associated site offices, stores and ancillary facilities (proposed application for two years for 2020/2021 and 2021/2022).”

25 comments, 23 objecting & 1 in Support

If approved, these proposals would cover the 2020/21 & 2021/22 events (consistent with the extended CEC / Underbelly Christmas / Hogmanay contract) – although subsequent to the applications being lodged, CEC took the decision to cancel the 2020/21 event so in reality – now only for next Christmas.

map of proposal for East Princes St gardens

Fig 1 : Proposal for EPSG

map of proposal for George St

Fig 2 : Proposal for George St

Final date for comments was Friday 9 October

12.a.vi Powderhall Stables (20/03161/FUL)

refurbishment of stable block application. For the remainder of the site – further consultation expected - probably initially covering the ex Bowling Greens & later for the wider site he coming months (given that it’s currently a Construction compound for the Tram Works).

“Proposal to extensively repair and refurbish existing stables building, including demolition of some internal elements, renewal of all services, replacement of windows and rooflights, stone and roof repairs. Current use is office and workshop. Proposed use is office, artist studios and function/cafe space”.

Final date for comments was 11 September. No comments on the application registered prior to the closing date. Although a NTBCC extension for comments until 18 September granted, no representation submitted. Overall, there has been widespread support for the proposal & it’s highly likely that it will be approved very shortly.

12.a.vii Waverley Mall ‘Thor’ Pop-up Christmas (20/03336/FUL)

Build a pop-up event on the roof, formed of two areas. Area A (north-west corner) will have a bespoke glasshouse structure (bar). Area B (next to the Mall entrance) has 2 canvas tipis creating a bar space alongside an open canvas tipi with food trucks. Both areas to have festoon lighting and will be sympathetic to its world heritage site surroundings.

As covered in the Spurtle www.broughtonspurtle.org.uk/news/food-thor-waverley-mall

11 Objections, 1 in Support excl. NTBCC.

NTBCC representation submitted (on balance, neutral stance).

Finally – still no further news on the outcome to the Old RHS Inquiry – submitted to Scottish Ministers against an interesting back-drop ……….

12.b Current applications

12.b.i 5-6 Marshall’s Court (20/00486/FU)

“Development of 26 new residential flats, cycle parking provision, associated works and infrastructure”. Useful discussion with planning agent earlier in 2020 but overall belief that development footprint / height too much for the site. Objection submitted in March 2020 – status “Awaiting assessment”.

Recent update (8 October) – residents that had commented previously report having received a letter from the Council today, advising that there are now revised proposals available online (but interestingly, not NTBCC who I think were treated as a Statutory consultee).

Their initial comments are:

At a glance, I must say that we got disappointing little for our previous objection effort! I’ve attached two of the revised views, plus the ‘justification’ statement from the developers. The building is of similar height. The roof terrace has been replaced with an even more substantial floor.

The width of the building is c1.7m shorter at the end facing Greenside End and has been replaced with the below – access to the cycle garage has been repositioned fully to that end, through those double doors.

The key point about the maximum number of storeys appears to have been completely overlooked, so have considerations around density, access, roads and pavements, refuse & recycling.”

Yet to be assessed by NTBCC – final date for comments 6 November.

1.b.ii Heriot Row Police Box (20/02262/FUL)

“Change of use of police callbox to a coffee and food sale point”. Covered in the Spurtle – 164 comments with 90 in support! Representation submitted – voicing some of the concerns raised by local residents & concerns with the technical aspects of the application. Status, still “Awaiting assessment”.

Richard Price, 10 October 2020