Take Away’s from NTBCC’s February Meeting by Laura Graham

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

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Proposed Demolition / Redevelopment of the Former RBS Site – Summary of NTBCC’s Position

There will be a hearing at the Council’s Development Management Sub-Committee on 17 February 2021 (via Microsoft Teams) on the three interlinked applications related to the former RBS site at Fettes Row / Dundas Street.

The applications to be determined at this hearing are :

  • 20/03034/FUL ‘ Demolition of existing buildings and erection of mixed-use development comprising residential, hotel, office and other commercial uses, with associated landscaping / public realm, car parking and access arrangements at 34 Fettes Row’ (including the later revised application). NTBCC submitted an objection to this;
  • 20/03661/CON ‘Complete Demolition in a Conservation Area’. NTBCC stated that the case for 100% demolition of buildings on the site had not been made ; and
  • 20/03655/FUL ‘Formation of path and associated landscaping King George V Public Park’. NTBCC suggested a lower impact intervention should be considered.

NTBCC (together with other local interest groups and  some heritage bodies) will be presenting our  views on the proposals as a whole, covering key issues that have been raised in our previously-submitted representations. Links to the full NTBCC responses are at the foot of this article.

NTBCC’s objection to the main application (20/03034/FUL) reflected issues raised by local residents groups (from Fettes Row & Royal Crescent, the Drummond Civic Association, as well as from the recent Applecross development on the corner of Dundas Street & Eyre Place) and also the Friends of King George V Park.

Key amongst the issues  we highlighted mirrored concerns raised by Historic Environment Scotland on the proposed heights of the four crescent blocks proposed for the current open ground to the north of Royal Crescent which will have a detrimental impact on the World Heritage site, the New Town Conservation area and the amenity of King George V Park (KGVP). These concerns are exacerbated by the proposed positioning of the northern crescent blocks within a few metres of the boundary of the park. The AVRS (Accurate Visual Representation) as submitted with the application showing the before / after view from within the park looking south can be viewed here and a similar visualisation looking east to the corner of Fettes Row / Dundas Street here.    Continue reading

NTBCC meeting agenda – Monday 8 February 2021

Agenda for online meeting: 6:45pm for 7.00pm start

We very much welcome members of the public joining the meeting (using the Zoom platform).

Please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/new-town-broughton-cc-meeting-via-zoom-monday-8-february-2021-tickets-139174034283

Log-in details / Zoom link will then be emailed to all those who have registered.

Anyone who wants to raise an issue for discussion can do so either by submitting a Contact Us form or send a message via Twitter @NTBCC.

  1. Technology check / Admin/ Welcome
(6:45 to 7:00 pm)
  1. Minutes of 11 January meeting (via Zoom) and matters arising
    (To approve)
  1. Police Report
    (To note, Police Scotland key messages as received/circulated prior to meeting)
(5 minutes)
  1. Transport
    1. Bellevue Crescent – traffic vibration issue
    2. Tram Update / CCTT / Diversions
    3. Broughton Street update
    4. ‘Spaces for People’ update incl. T&E Committee 28th January
    5. other
(20 minutes)
  1. Planning
    1. (Ex) RBS site applications update incl. details of 17th February Hearing
    2. 108 – 114 & 116 Dundas Street: Demolition / Redevelopment proposal
    3. George Street & First New Town Project” – latest news
(15 minutes)
  1. Environment
    1. Update from recent Environment Committee meeting (1st February)
    2. Edinburgh Council “Thriving Green Spaces” initiative
(10 minutes)
  1. Public Space Management Plan
(5 minutes)
  1. Licensing
  1. Engagement and Communications
  1. Local Residents Associations/Local Interest Groups
  1. Any other business

During the meetings, names and email addresses may be recorded. Email addresses are held and used for circulating information about NTBCC but may also be used to seek residents’ views on local issues.

NTBCC minutes – Monday 14 December 2020

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Monday 14 December 2020 at 7pm Continue reading

NTBCC January meeting summary – Mike Birch, Transport convener

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.

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NTBCC minutes – Monday 9 November 2020

Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s AGM, held via Zoom, on Monday 09 November 2020 at 7pm Continue reading

King George V Park: Update to Tree Removal & Replanting Proposal

For those that have seen the ominous white ‘X’s on the trees in King George V Park.

Adapted from an email copied to NTBCC from the Secretary of the Friends of King George V Park to their members.

‘Dear Friends of the Park,

We are picking up an understandable amount of somewhat bewildered concern in the neighbourhood about just what is happening to the trees in the park at the moment, and The Friends’ committee thought it might be a good idea to try to clarify the situation as best we can.

It is obvious that many of the people expressing concern suspect the hand of the developers of the ex-RBS site to be behind the tree works.  To a certain extent, it is. Planning legislation makes provision for local authorities to seek from developers a financial contribution to a community, by way of compensation for disruption or otherwise unwelcome change, and the Council has been involved in discussions with Ediston about the form this could usefully take.  Parks staff  have concentrated on funding for upgrading the paths in the park and tackling much needed tree management.

The trees conspicuously marked with a white ‘X’ in the park are ailing and are probably appropriate subjects for removal & replacing with new.  Sadly they include all the ash trees, which are threatened nationwide by the devastating outbreak of chalara fraxinea.

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