Below are the reports submitted by the various NTBCC Committee conveners to NTBCC members prior to the October meeting. The key aspects of these reports were part of the Occtober NTBCC meeting but due to time pressures, not all of the content was discussed. The following reports cover Transport, Events (& other topics falling under the Environment Committee e.g. 2030 Climate Strategy) & Planning.
Although the key topics were discussed, there is much additional detail in these reports. If there are issues raised in them that were not covered, please contact us via www.ntbcc.org.uk/contact/ and we will try to respond.
Thse will be included in the Minutes of the meeting – to be published officially in mid November.
N.B. This is a long read (10 minutes+)
- NTBCC Transport Committee Update – October 2021
- Use of Public Spaces for Events and Filming (formerly Public Spaces Management Plan or PSMP)
- 2030 Climate Strategy – Recent Council Consultation
- NTBCC Planning Report – October 2021
‘Spaces for People’
In the report to be presented to the Council’s Transport and Environment Committee on 14 October under the new banner of ‘Travelling Safely’, the committee is asked to approve the following actions with regard to the (former) ‘Spaces for People’ measures in NTBCC’s area (together with my initial comments):
- Waverley Bridge – progress towards ETRO for pedestrianized area with limited servicing access (Note: this will mean that buses/coaches that have previously used this street will continue to be relocated to St Andrews Square and Regent Road.)
- Princess Street East End – retain and progress towards ETRO (Note: We understand that the Trams Project have identified this as a necessary diversionary route during part of the Picardy Place works)
- London Road – progress towards ETRO (Note: We have highlighted concerns about the temporary cycle path and the effect of the tram works starting on this section of Leith Walk)
- Broughton Street – review to be undertaken. Progress towards ETRO (Note: This is a change from the previously reported plans to remove the majority of the temporary measures. Need to understand how and when this review will be undertaken)
- Broughton St Roundabout – review to be undertaken. Progress towards ETRO. (Note: this again is different to previous reports and it is important we understand how and when this review will be undertaken.)
- Bellevue to Canonmills – reinstatement of the original road layout to the north of Rodney Street planned for November 2021. (Note: It is not clear whether the other changes along this section of road will be retained / removed.)
I suggest that we once again highlight our concerns in a written deputation to the T&E Committee and seek direct engagement on the measures within NTBCC’s area through a Participation Request under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.
The report also contains an update on the Pedestrian Crossing Improvement project. This is intended to give more priority to pedestrians at crossings in terms of wait and transit times. Living Streets will be making a deputation to the meeting highlighting the limited progress and resources being committed to this project. It should be noted that neither of the ‘problem’ crossings (Broughton Street/Picardy Place and Leith Street/Waterloo Place) in our area have been included in the improvement plan.
Traffic Noise and Vibration Issues
- East London Street – We have had an update from Lothian Buses confirming the reduction in the number of out-of-service buses using East London Street, which has been forwarded to residents. We also understand that as a result of discussions between the Trams Project and local Councillors that it has been planned to implement some traffic calming measures on this street including installation of a temporary controlled pedestrian crossing outside the primary school and reductions in the carriageway width. It is not planned to undertake any temporary resurfacing of the road but I have requested that a programme of surface repairs is undertaken.
- Leopold Place – I understand that it has been agreed that the Trams Project will arrange and pay for the cost of some repairs to the road surface that has been damaged by increased bus traffic. WE await confirmation of the timing of this work. There remains a wider issue of damage to roads being used as diversions for the Trams Project that appears insoluble despite the involvement of senior Council staff and Councillors.
- Traffic Regulation Order (Prohibition of Left Turn from Leith Walk on to London Road) – We have not yet received the promised briefing on the traffic modelling that was used to justify this change. We have now been advised that the modelling has not been completed which raises some interesting questions about how the TRO was approved without all of the usual data.
- Leith Walk – There have been a number of instances highlighted where the width of the new pavement will not meet the minimum as specified in the Edinburgh Street Design Guidance. Following discussion with Living Streets Edinburgh and Leith Central Community Council, we have agreed to challenge the design of the public realm on Elm Row, which currently includes two one-way cycle paths cutting through the pavement adjacent to the bus stops creating significant additional potential hazards for pedestrians.
- Picardy Place Work and Traffic Management Plans – The road layout changes required for the first phase of the work from London Road to York Place were implemented over the weekend of 9/10 October. Pedestrian and cycle access across the site will be maintained but will be subject to change as the work progresses. Among the changes that have been made are:
- Reduction in the number of lanes for east bound traffic on York Place to one lane
- Closure of route from Picardy Place to Leith Street for traffic from York Place
- Banning of right hand turn from London Road on to Leith Walk
- Reduction to one lane at the top of Broughton Street for traffic entering Picardy Place
The last two changes will require affected traffic to turn up Baxter’s Place in order to travel around the gyratory system before accessing Leith Walk or Leith Street. We will be closely monitoring the impact of this work on congestion and our community.
Low Emission Zone
We submitted a response to the Council’s consultation exercise highlighting concerns about the overall size of the proposed LEZ, inconsistencies in the boundaries, lack of mitigation for people living in areas adjacent to the LEZ and flaws in the planned enforcement regime. This response has been posted on our website here.
I am pleased to welcome Annick Gaillard to the Transport Committee, which currently consists of Annick, Jack Hugh, Stephen Hajducki, Peter Williamson, Simon Holledge, Richard Price and Carol Nimmo. If you are interested in joining this committee or if there are specific topics that you consider we should be discussing please let me know.
Prepared by Mike Birch 10 October 2021
The last meeting of the PSMP workgroups was on 21 July 2021, attended by Stephen Hajducki and Simon Holledge.
Some of the ideas NTBCC supported were included in the key principles, however work on them was slow and repetitive with the result that important, specific guidelines, suggested during the “collaborative engagement” stage (on pollution, hard and soft surfaces, ‘common good’ etc. etc.) were never discussed.
Important key principles, recorded as being agreed, included:
6. The use of Council-owned or public good sites for commercial events should be framed within a Community wealth building approach.
13. Organisers must demonstrate that events and filming respect and contribute to the city’s cultural identity, reputation and quality of life for residents. They will be expected to join with Edinburgh residents in taking responsibility for the good appearance of the city.
15. Events and filming must comply with Edinburgh’s Sustainability Approach to ‘net zero’ by 2030 and events with the principles of ISO 20121.
Ian Buchanan sent a nine-page report to the Culture & Communities Committee on 14 September, which was accepted, and a public consultation based on the key principles essentially agreed by the workgroups was launched.
The consultation was launched on 22 September and will run until 15 December, see https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/sfc/use-of-public-open-space-for-events-and-filming/
In the knowledge of the discussions, I completed the consultation — except the last question which I thought was a conundrum — but it may be a bit opaque for those unfamiliar with concepts like ‘social value’ and ‘community wealth building’.
I hope everybody will at least attempt to respond.
The FLY and Underbelly
The workgroups involved (virtual) face to face negotiations between community representatives, heritage organizations and event organizers — so for example we were talking direct to the Summer Sessions organiser. They were conducted in a spirit of good faith and were moving towards some sensible compromises.
So I was very disappointed with the circumstances of the FLY Music (17-19 Sept) — and the plans to expand Underbelly’s Christmas Market from East Princes Gardens, where it has done so much damage in the past, into West Princes Street Gardens.
The FLY in particular did not comply with the draft Key Principle 15 (above) or the ISO 20121 standard. After the event, I made freedom of information (FOI) requests. I was told that the FLY had three diesel generator sets (2 x 60kVA,1 x 20kVA) for power, using 1,394 litres of RED diesel — obviously causing NOX & PM10 pollution, and CO2 emissions).
Prepared by Simon Holledge 10 October 2021
Background: There was an EACC meeting on Carbon Neutrality Edinburgh 2030 on 22 April, followed by CEC/CC meetings on 19/26 August. (For anybody who is interested, I’ve put recordings of the EACC presentations on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/544373102 etc). Community councillors were supportive of CEC officers’ intentions, but sceptical about the ability of the council to deliver, especially by 2030.
Arguably the transition to clean vehicles is already underway, albeit very slowly in Edinburgh, but retrofitting buildings for clean energy, would be extremely challenging. Those of us who live in flats and tenements, rather than detached houses, currently have limited options for replacing our gas boilers.
Public consultation on the Draft 2030 Climate Strategy, “how we will work with citizens, communities and public, private and third sector organisations across the city to deliver a net zero, climate ready Capital by 2030”, opened on 14 June and closed on 12 September.
A report went to CEC Policy & Sustainability on 5 October. Amongst other things this agreed a budget allocation of £50,000, “for community and citizen climate engagement and activity”. Item 4.24 explained that:
This should be discussed further at the next EACC meeting on 21 October, to which NTBCC will of course be invited.
- ‘New Town Quarter’ – RBS development (20/03034/FUL, 20/03661/Con & 20/03665/FUL)
The suite of applications covering New Town North but excluding the upper levels of Plot 1 (location of hotel) which were approved subject to a legal agreement being put in place have now been fully approved, i.e. Section 75 legal agreement now concluded. This clears the way for the demolition of all buildings on the site – which we have been informed is expected to commence very soon.
Ediston updated NTBCC & other local resident group contacts again in early October (see New Town Quarter (RBS site – Plot 1, 21/03481/FUL) below.
Related to the above, despite several discussions on the route for cyclists in KGVP, were not aware of the final decision on this but have recently been advised on a final meeting to agree the proposed route / form / materials etc. See under ‘Other news’
- New Town Quarter (RBS site – Plot 1, 21/03481/FUL)
The latest New Town North application for replacing the hotel (in the now approved (20/03034/FUL) application) with more residential units (21/03481/FUL) was determined at the Development Management Sub-Committee (DMSC) on 6 October & approved. There were 25 comments lodged – with 22 objections & 3 in support. The Friends of King George V Park objected but NTBCC’s understanding is that most of the Eyre Place (Applecross) residents were broadly receptive to the new proposal – as it included ‘improvements’ to the concerns about privacy / overlooking of their private courtyard & rear elevation vs. the original scheme. No comments have been received from other residents’ groups. NTBCC did not submit a further representation.
Ediston emailed NTBCC and other local resident / friends groups on 7 October stating :
“You may be aware that planning approval was granted yesterday for the buildings adjacent to Eyre Place and fronting onto Dundas Street.
We will now be mobilising for the demolition of the existing buildings on site. I will shortly provide a 2 week look ahead programme to advise on what activities will take place, but I do know it will involve the contractor getting his set-up and security fencing in place and the first buildings to be demolished will be the internal garages adjacent to the park. We will also look to set up an information board so locals can check on planned activities.
For those who had conditions surveys carried out in their properties, we are collating the reports so that they can be distributed – I will advise more on this in the coming days.”
- 108 – 114 & 116 Dundas Street (20/05645/FUL & 20/05646/CON)
“Proposal for demolition of existing office buildings (Centrum / BUPA House), replacing with a mixed-use development of 48 flats with 3 commercial units (Class 1, 2 and 3 uses), amenity space & basement level car park.”
NTBCC along with residents, the Cockburn & other heritage organisations either objected or raised significant concerns with the original scheme which was then amended prior to being determined. NTBCC, residents groups & the Cockburn maintained their objection.
At the DMSC hearing on 8 September, NTBCC, the Cockburn & the 120 Dundas Street residents’ group presented but neither EWHT nor HES attended – nor did any local councillors. There was an in-depth discussion on the amended application but ultimately the proposal for redevelopment was refused by 8 votes to 2 – being deemed contrary to LDP policies Des 4, Env 3 & Env 6. The associated demolition consent was also refused by the same margin – with LDP policies Env 5, Env 2 c/ being cited. We have not seen any comment from the applicant and this decision could be appealed to DPEA.
Current Planning Applications (currently being assessed)
- Henderson Place / Henderson Place Lane (21/04326/FUL & 21/04327/CON)
“Proposed demolition of existing building and erection of a residential development comprising 42x flats with amenity space, landscaping, cycle, parking and other associated infrastructure. 7 Henderson Place Lane”
The pre-consultation for a development proposal on Henderson Place Lane, replacing current office building with residential block of ~40 units by Morgan McDonnell Architecture has finished. More here https://hendersonplace.co.uk
The application proposing demolition of the existing 2-storey with pitched roof 1980’s building & enlarging the footprint & replacing with a layered u-shaped footprint with between 2 to 4 storeys & also includes the increasingly prevalent set-back units on the uppermost floor complete with roof terrace (so 5 storey’s in all).
Now closed for comments (39 comments in total; 16 objecting & 21 in support – although unclear if these are genuine residents’ notes of support).
Overall – although it’s another proposal to demolish a relatively recent building & it’s another change of use from offices to residential – the form of the proposal is broadly acceptable & includes affordable housing. Some issues have been raised e.g. disabled parking (it’s proposed to be a ‘no car’ development & the possible impact on the heavily reconfigured Royal London building on Henderson Row & the existing 2 storey building running north-south on the western side.
As proposed at September’s NTBCC meeting – NTBCC representation submitted reflecting comments / concerns from a few local residents but overall taking a neutral stance
- Dunard Centre, St Andrew Square (18/04657/FUL)
This was a presentation item at September’s NTBCC meeting. Final date for comments was 3 October. Although NTBCC supported the previously-approved scheme, no further representation submitted. Given that it was an amendment to the previously approved application – it is difficult to see for sure how many new comments were submitted to the amended scheme. Overall, despite this being a large & important application, only 55 comments in total were submitted with 13 objections but with 41 comments in support.
Decision : proposal to submit a further (late) representation on behalf of NTBCC continuing to state our strong support for the proposal.
- 67 Logie Green Road (21/04327/FUL)
“Proposal for demolition and redevelopment of the former Edinburgh Furniture Initiative (EFI) site on Logie Green Road.“
Although this didn’t meet the requirements for Pre-consultation, the agent had proposed pre-consultation including a briefing with NTBCC (completed).
Proposal is a 5 storey block fronting Logie Green Road + a further stepped back storey with private roof terraces – overall containing 48 units with 25 parking spaces (14 with EV, 2 disabled) + copious cycle storage. Give current Council policy on flood risk – the ground floor (street level) is essentially parking (vehicles / cycles, plant room + access for some apartments and the 12 affordable housing units at the rear).
The current building has very limited architectural merit & hence demolition & redevelopment seems appropriate. Some concerns remain in the wider context that the area has seen much change of use from varied uses to becoming increasingly residential. In hindsight, it may have been helpful for a wider Place Brief or Master Plan for the area (as I understand it – has been done for the Bonnington Road area which is undergoing a similar transformation & becoming increasingly residential).
We had already raised the possibility of including some commercial uses in the ground floor (which is limited for residential use due to the increased SEPA flood risk assessment) but this has been assessed as not commercially viable.
The proposed architectural style, form & footprint seem broadly acceptable.
Currently 1 comment (objecting) & agent has confirmed that ~1000 local properties have been leafletted including Powderhall Brig / Brae.
Decision : Current position would be either to support the application as it stands or as a minimum, to take a neutral stance.
- 12 – 14 Picardy Place
The amended scheme for the redevelopment of 12 – 14 Picardy Place has been determined as ‘minded to grant’ on 23 September (by delegated authority).
The amended proposal which included a step back to the large extension above the current Outhouse bar is an improvement vs. that originally proposed.
- Beaverhall House (21/04608/PAN)
Proposal for demolition & redevelopment of Beaverhall House on Beaverhall Road with Edinburgh LLP and HUB Residential Ltd.
There will be further public exhibitions as part of the pre-consultation – 2 digital interactive consultation events proposed – the first between 3pm and 7pm on 28 September & the other TBC. Covered briefly by the Spurtle here
Royal High School Tender process
On 7 October, the Finance & Resources Committee confirmed that the RHSPT was the preferred bidder for the long lease made available. There was one other proposal which was much less well developed.
I understand that the final proposal differs in certain key aspects with that granted planning permission so expectation is that a new planning application & listed building application (which had expired anyway) will be lodged once the legal agreement underpinning the lease is in place.
There was an interesting exchange on Skyscraper City Edinburgh involving the chair of the RHSPT which I can forward if anyone is interested.
City Plan 2030
Understand that this will be published in the coming weeks for consultation (as highlighted but not discussed at the June NTBCC meeting by Mike Birch). It will then undergo a public consultation & then be finalised prior to submission to the Scottish Reporters for final approval.
NTBCC submitted a long and detailed submission at an earlier stage of the process. Certainly looking forward to see what aspects of the extensive pre-consultation have made the cut…..
(Update 1 : the draft City Plan 2030 has now been published)
(Update 2 : the period for final consultation now confirmed as starting on 7 November for 6 weeks). It will use the Edinburgh Council Consultation Hub).
My initial view is that it’s something of a curate’s egg…..but much more analysis required to form a final opinion.
This should be an agenda item on a future NTBCC meeting
39 London Street & 37A London Street
The proposal for redeveloping the vacant and /or derelict Funeral Parlour and basement into 8 STL’s was refused by the DMSC earlier this year & the applicant appealed the decision to the Scottish Reporter DPEA) & the grounds for appeal have been lodged on the DPEA website, along with the Council’s response.
A site visit was completed in late September but the applicant cited concerns over the structural integrity of the properties as a reason for refusing access to all those present bar the Reporter and the Edinburgh Council Planning official. NTBCC along with a local resident attended.
The Reporter requested additional information following the visit which will probably mean that a decision will be reached later in October.
Addendum to New Town Quarter Planning Application / Hearing (20/03034/FUL & associated)
The DMSC discussion on 17 February raised a possible concern regarding the linkage from the new access into KGVP with the nearby NCN75 cycle path. Various councillors raised the possibility of the developer contributing to upgrades in the park outwith the application ‘red line’ boundary.
NTBCC, the Friends & local resident group had met with the planning agent and others to provide options as to how this may be achieved without impacting unduly on the amenity of the park & more importantly, park users. 5 different schemes were put forwards and although the consultation / engagement had entered a lull – it seems that there have been ongoing discussions with Council stakeholders.
The result is a final proposal, stated as being agreed with CEC stakeholders, to ‘upgrade’ the path along the southern boundary – increasing its width from 1.5 – 2 metres to a full 3.5 metres and upgrading the current compacted stone surface to tarmac. The proposal also includes a widening of the paths to the north and resurfacing either with tarmac or bound gravel. There is a final ‘engagement’ meeting with CEC (chaired by the Head of Parks & Greenspaces) on 15 October.
Proposal for redeveloping the vacant and /or derelict Funeral Parlour and basement into 8 STL’s was refused by the DMSC
NTBCC have been again invited for an update to the redevelopment proposal for the former Jenners department store – or more correctly the current Jenners building with the architects and planning agent.
Details of what transpires will be communicated as appropriate.
(Former) Jewsons premises – Eyre Place
As some may be aware, Jewsons Builders merchants vacated their site on Eyre Place in May / June 2021. NTBCC were contacted by local residents raising concerns about the signs on the gate stating that the current low buildings are due to be demolished imminently.
We had been aware of a possible redevelopment of the site for some months and, given that there is a small triangle there which does not fall either within the New Town or Inverleith Conservation area – no permission is required for demolition.
Prepared by Richard Price 11th October 2021