Summary of 12th March meeting by Carol Nimmo

This was an action packed meeting with a full agenda, and we were pleased to see around 40 people in attendance. We were five community councillors down but delighted that Councillors Hal Osler & Joanna Mowat had made the time to be there – their knowledge and expertise was useful when discussing the three big Agenda items.

The first of these was concerning the renewal to run the Business Improvement District (BID) by Essential Edinburgh (EE) and if, how or why this was important for NTBCC. Cllr Mowat was able to remind us of how exactly the BID system operated in the city centre, and that there was soon to be a vote by local businesses as to whether EE (and therefore BID) would continue to develop and represent them for the next five years. NTBCC felt that perhaps EE had too much control within the city centre and the areas of interest which concern us. It was agreed that we would follow the voting process closely and discussion could/would develop further once the result was known.

We then had a representation from the Perth Street residents about the planning application recently lodged by the Edinburgh Academy for large science and auditorium extensions on the east side of the campus, directly abutting Henderson Row/Perth Street tenements and gardens. Sarah Boyack (ex MSP) and a colleague gave a very clear and thorough explanation of their serious concerns about the design and plan, and had obviously meticulously researched the planning guidelines to be able to support a very professional objection. Several other residents were in the audience as support. Richard Price, our Planning Convenor, was able to reassure the team that NTBCC would also be objecting and Cllrs Osler and Mowat gave sound advice of how best to present an objection. Quality of detail rather than quantity of objections was important.

There was then a follow-up discussion regarding the transfer of Gaelic Medium Education (GME) to Drummond Community High School (DCHS). A representative for the DCHS parents group gave a brief up-date about the February ‘engagement meeting’, and reported that the issue was to be looked at again, but that parents at the school had a promise that children in the catchment area would have a place at the school going forward.

With regard to the business parts of the evening, the Police had noted the very full Agenda so had sent a report which was read by the Chair. One of the main messages that came through for the local community was NEVER LEAVE PERSONAL ITEMS ON VIEW IN PARKED CARS.

Our Chair confirmed that there were four nominees for the two current vacancies on the Community Council.  It is good news that people are interested in helping to support the CC and local residents. Further details of all that was discussed will soon be posted on our web-site.