Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Monday 11 January 2021 at 7pm Continue reading
Our second meeting of 2021 took place on a snowy night that once again saw us gather by zoom.
Monthly meetings using zoom continue to be very well attended with the Eventbrite listings working effectively. Expertly set up by our Vice Chair, Richard Price, any members of the public registering late on the day of the meeting are caught with direct emails from the secretary. The increased attendance has been a silver lining in these dark, difficult times.
We are also very grateful for the regular and engaged attendance of councillors and for the expert hosting by our Chair Carol Nimmo (aka Britney) whilst thankfully not achieving the heady heights of viral infamy that some other (parish) councils have.
Cracking on with administrative requirements, the previous months minutes were passed, after minor corrections were noted and agreed. The police report was very helpful and thanks were extended to the officer who prepared it. Policing appears to have been quiet due to lockdown, with some vandalism to report but no housebreakings (everyone is at home!), business break-ins or assaults reported. Last month we asked for more information on reports of breaches of COVID regulations and are reassured to hear these are few and far between.
Deirdre Henderson commented on the review of the next stage of the short-term letting legislation development. The Local Government and Communities Committee have passed the proposed legislation over to the Scottish Parliament and there is to be a Scottish Government Working Group. Representatives have been invited from various sectors, and ‘big industry’ is very well represented however residents’ groups are not so well represented and have to go through their local council.
Concerns were expressed that there could potentially be a conflict of interest. It was agreed that we should have a follow up meeting for those members interested in this subject.
In response to an earlier iteration of concerns around the subject of Graffiti, Andi Christie, head of Drummond Community High School reported on a survey she had undertaken amongst the younger members of the community. The general view is that most people do not like graffiti, however the idea of creating ‘legal wall space’, designated for Graffiti, enabling artistry as opposed to vandalism was considered to be a viable option
Another well attended virtual meeting – peaking at 47 attendees including yet another excellent turnout of NTBCC members as well as local City of Edinburgh Councillors Mowat, Osler and Mitchell and our MP, Deidre Brock – their presence, as always, very much appreciated. It was a time to say farewell to one of our long-standing Community Councillors, Jonathan Finn, who has recently served as both Treasurer and Licencing Convenor. We also welcomed Ken Lochrie, who was formally adopted as a new Associate member as a temporary representative for the Drummond Civic Association.
After the problems that some people had accessing the meeting last month, we were all relieved that normal Zoom service returned. As always the agenda was very packed but due to the excellent marshalling of our Chair, Carol Nimmo we managed to finish the discussion within two minutes of the scheduled time!
The Police Scotland report highlighted several burglaries of business premises and further cases of vandalism occurring within the New Town as well as their continuing efforts to respond to reports of Covid-19 breaches but no details of the number of fixed penalty notices were provided. There was also mention of Operation Watchnight for Hogmanay, which was unsurprisingly reported as being the quietest in many years.
Much of the meeting was taken up with Planning issues. Richard Price, who as always is on top of all matters to do with Planning in our area, provided an excellent summary of the status of the key planning applications. We also had a brief presentation from the team responsible for the plans to develop 12-14 Picardy Place into a new 67-bedroom hotel with an enclosed rear courtyard bar and restaurant (incorporating The Outhouse bar). This presentation coincided with the formal submission of the planning applications but the developers had already presented to the NTBCC Planning committee in late October but it was helpful that a wider audience got an early sight of the final plans and the opportunity to ask the developers questions about the impact on neighbours and the environment.
Transport Committee Report (January 2021)
Spaces for People
London Road – The initial work required to create a segregated cycle lane along London Road between Easter Road and Leith Walk has been completed with the removal of the parking bays and the addition of new road markings. Further work will be required to put the temporary bollards in place and provide new signage. Following the discussion at the last Community Council meeting I have written to Leith Central Community Council seeking their support for improvements to the Leopold Place pedestrian crossing.
Broughton Street – together with Jenni Inglis, I met with David Hunter from Living Streets for a walkabout around our area and Broughton Street in particular. We highlighted some of our concerns about pedestrian access and it was agreed that we would arrange a formal street audit in January. No date has yet been set. Better Broughton made a presentation at our December meeting and have submitted their proposals for changes to Broughton Street to the Spaces for People team; some of which are aligned with our own thoughts. It is important that we develop our own more detailed proposals based on our previous submission to the Council. We have received no further contact from the Spaces for People team regarding the suggested pre-proposal discussion.
Regular monthly meetings of the affected Community Councils with the Trams Team will resume at the end of this month with both the draft Traffic Regulation Orders (still not issued for public consultation) and follow up to the Traffic Modelling data review on the agenda. Tram works that were shutdown over the Christmas and New Year period resumed on 5 January.
Mike Birch January 2021
Planning Report (January 2021)
Major Applications – Current
‘New Town Quarter (NTN)’ – Initial application submitted at the end of August for redevelopment of the former RBS site on Dundas Street – incl. 144 ’Build to Rent’ (BTR) residential units, 117 private residential units and 88 Mid-Market Rent (MMR) = 349 residential units in total. The 88 MMR units meet the 25% ‘affordable units’ requirement on site – in addition, incl. with office space, retail / leisure space & a 116 room hotel.
A 3rd application specifically covered the access from the development into King George V Park (20/03655/FUL) – ‘Formation of Path & Associated Landscaping’. Proposed removing 5 trees (3 defined as viable) to allow a wide split entrance into the park in the south-west corner, for pedestrians (steps) & cyclists / ‘wheelers’ by a ramp.
Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s AGM, held via Zoom, on Monday 09 November 2020 at 7pm Continue reading
Another bumper turnout for the November meeting – peaking at over 40 attendees including yet another excellent turn-out (over 75%) of NTBCC members . Also very pleased to yet again register the attendance of Cllrs. Mowat & Osler – their frequent presence at NTBCC meetings being both welcome and very helpful. A quick mention also from our local ‘stirrer’ – the editor from the Broughton Spurtle who has recently returned from a long sojourn south of the border – seemingly none the worse for it….but sometimes appearances can be deceptive….time will tell.
Perhaps also worth a mention – despite having held 4 previous ‘virtual’ meetings using Zoom without any problems – our Chair (who describes herself as a computer ‘non-geek’ or neophyte in respect of computer systems) stated at the start of the meeting that her screen kept freezing. Much consternation resulted & frantic searching for the agenda by the Vice Chair but fortunately this freezing seemed to be a temporary issue & the Zoom platform returned to its normal performance….thankfully.
Of most interest to the many members of the public that tuned in were the plans (Pre-application consultation) for the demolition & redevelopment of Centrum House on the western edge of Dundas Street (specifically 108-114 & 116 Dundas Street). We were very happy to welcome representatives from Morgan McDonnell Architecture & Scott Hobbs Planning to make a short presentation on their proposal and take Q&A’s. The lower stretches of Dundas Street & Fettes Row are undergoing much change with this Pre-consultation following on the heels of the various applications for the former RBS site.
First though, there was some outstanding business to take care of from the recent NTBCC AGM (in terms of agreed changes to NTBCC office bearers) – as well as the gratefully-received summary from Police Scotland.
The Police Scotland report highlighted several significant burglaries (involving jewellery & bikes) in the New Town as well as some mindless vandalism to parked cars (in Moray Place / Doune Terrace) – unfortunately all reported as ‘unsolved’. Also – mention of ‘Operation Crackle’ (where do they get these names from ?) – being the dedicated police response to” Fireworks” night (covering inappropriate setting off of fireworks and uncontrolled bonfires requiring attention from the Fire Service). Thank goodness it is over for another year!
The agenda item on the proposed redevelopment on Dundas Street followed covering the demolition & redevelopment of the ‘civically poor’ building (as described by the presenter & apparently also reported as being acknowledged by Historic Environment Scotland as a ‘negative contributor to the Conservation Area’) on the site adjacent to the new development at 120 Dundas Street. The presentation was helpful in providing detail on what was envisaged but the main point of contention for residents attending was the proposal for the new building on Dundas Street to be brought forwards significantly to match that of the adjacent 120 Dundas Street (with the resultant removal of the existing railings and trees framing the entrance to the World Heritage site). A further impact of this would be to obscure views / daylight from the set-back windows from 120 Dundas Street. A slightly heated discussion ensued.
We were happy to host a presentation by Morgan McDonnell Architecture & Scott Hobbs Planning on the Pre-Application consultation covering proposed demolition and redevelopment at 108 – 114 & 116 Dundas Street (on the north-west corner of Fettes Row and Dundas Street, including Centrum House etc.).
Currently, the consultation (as covered by 20/03923/PAN) is open for comments which will be considered by the development team prior to submission of a full planning application later in 2020.
Scott Hobbs Planning have informed NTBCC that following several requests to extend the time available for the submission of feedback, the consultation period has been extended until Friday 20 November.
Their website has been updated accordingly and comments can be submitted via the Feedback page on their website here or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org