LCCC minutes: November 2017

Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Leith Central Community Council, held in Nelson Hall, McDonald Road library on Monday 27 November 2017 at 7:00pm

Actions and decisions are red underlined. nem con means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision. URLs added by minutes secretary.

1            Attendance, apologies, declarations of interest

1.1        Attendance

Jack Caldwell LCCC Harald Toberman LCCC
Roberto Colasuonno LCCC Bruce Ryan minutes secretary
Alan Dudley LCCC Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan Leith Walk ward (SNP)
Charlotte Encombe LCCC Cllr Susan Rae Leith Walk ward (Scottish Green)
John Hein LCCC Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle
Sheila Kennedy LCCC PC Mairi McDonald Police Scotland
Iona McLeod LCCC Michael Motion Turner Townsend
Lorraine Moore LCCC Rory Garriock Edinburgh Council
Damian Sefton LCCC Elaine Carnegie Edinburgh Napier University
Julian Siann LCCC 4 residents  

1.2        Apologies

Katherine Chisholm LCCC Cllr Marion Donaldson Leith Walk ward (Scottish Labour)
Jeremy Darot LCCC Cllr Lewis Richie Leith Walk ward (SNP)
Darius Garab LCCC Ben Macpherson MSP Edinburgh Northern & Leith (SNP)
    Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith (SNP)

1.3        Declarations of interest


2            Approval of minutes of 16 October 2017 meeting

Approved subject to correcting spelling of ‘Corstorphine’ on page 2 (proposed J Hein, seconded I McLeod, nem con)

2.1        Matters arising 
from previous minutes and not included in agenda below


3            Community Police Officer’s Report

PC McDonald of Police Scotland (PS) reported

  • Crime statistics are no longer being supplied, but she can comment on current rates against previous 5-year rates
  • Housebreaking levels are unchanged compared to the previous 5 years.
    • A 35-year-old male has been arrested for 7 housebreakings in the Leith area.
  • Overall recorded crime levels are also unchanged
  • Motoring offences levels have increased by 99%, but this is interpreted as being due to more proactive patrolling, rather than an actual increase in crime rates.
    • Concerning road patrols, these cover all of Leith but possibly not Abbeyhill. People observing issues should phone them in to PS. I McLeod reported that she had emailed PC Knox about traffic issues occurring in Abbeyhill, but had not yet received a reply.
  • Concerning the recent Guy Fawkes/bonfire night, there were some problems, mostly in Drylaw.
    • There had been a multiagency approach, and more police patrols, which reduced incidents and offences.
    • Cllr McNeese-Mechan has requested Scottish and UK Government action to increase firework safety.
  • Rough sleeping appears to be on the increase. PS is tackling this via, inter alia, walkway patrols.
    • A resident reported that there has been rough sleeping in Pilrig Park. PS will now patrol accordingly.
  • Edinburgh Council has funded action to tackle shoplifting and promote road safety
  • A resident reported an apparently abandoned car – its tax disk will run out this week.

4            Presentation and Q&A: review of ‘Leith Programme’ Phase 4 and progress of Phase 5 and 6

Mr Motion (MM) reported as follows

4.1        Phase 4

  • Work on this phase started in August 2016. The challenges it has faced include
    • delays due to emergency utility works
    • delays due to the original main contractor falling into bankruptcy
    • some embargoes
  • Hence the project only reached practical completion on 25 October 2017.
    • The contractors are currently finishing snagging. This should be finished this week, and so the small compound in Albert Street will go at that time.
    • The CEC project manager (PM) and localities team will then walk over the site.
    • The localities team will control matters, but any issues will remain with the contractor for the next 12 months.
    • There will then be a final walkover. Thereafter the localities team will have full responsibility.
    • MM agreed that representatives of LCCC could take part in walkovers.
  • Achievements include
    • the new cycling infrastructure
      • Discussions with RNIB over related safety concerns are on-going.
    • CEC cameras at bus-stops and a road junction to generate lessons, e.g. on design.
  • Lessons include
    • the need for better engagement with utility companies, and their schedules’ potential impact on work
    • the period between the festival and winter embargoes does not provide enough time to achieve much
    • the need for better stakeholder engagement
    • the need for better pedestrian management.

4.1.1     Questions on phase 4

  • H Tobermann asked, given that the project had been due to complete in Spring 2017 and the original main contractor’s bankruptcy might have caused 4 weeks’ delay, what caused the rest of the delay.
    • MM responded that there had been low productivity in the period before the bankruptcy, and in the period between work-commencement and winter 2016. Also, Lothian buses did not agree to closure of Pilrig St due to on-going Scottish Gas Network work.
  • HT acknowledged that utility works are often problematic, but then asked about governance of this project.
    • MM acknowledged that he works for Turrner Townsend (TT), and that there is a CEC PM/supervisor. TT are consultants for CEC, concerned with pre-contract matters around trams. Because there is coordination between the Leith Programme (LP) and tram delivery, MM’s role is programme delivery, not project management. But he became more involved in that because it wasn’t happening well enough. He acknowledged that the CEC PM should have been driving the project.
    • MM concurred that Rob Leech (RL) is the senior responsible manager of the tram project (LP is a subsidiary of this), noted that Phase 4 is first part of LP that includes tram-proofing, and stated that RL is ‘very aware’ of LP.
      • HT asked whether RL had been ‘cracking the whip’ over the PM to get phase 4 delivered in spring 2017.
      • MM responded that he and S Jackson (SJ) reported to RL, so perhaps they had not driven the project hard enough. However, they cannot actually instruct the PM. MM accepted that the project could have been better at the start, but suggested that after Christmas, apart from SGN-related issues, it had gone as fast as possible.
    • A resident asked why the pavement outside Shrubhill development is so narrow.
      • MM responded that CEC has allowed two simultaneous projects – this development and LP. The developers need a certain working space, and the legal minimum for pavement is 1·5m, which MM acknowledged is very narrow and ‘not great’. He suggested that the issue is co-ordination between the two projects, and noted that the development is due for completion in March or April 2018.
      • HT commented that because the development is not now complete, and it is in the phase 4 area, phase 4 is not actually complete – and that LCCC etc had not been informed about this possibility. MM responded that the development is not part of LP, that this part of the footpath is the developers’ responsibility and so may not be completed by the same contractors as the rest of phase 4.
    • J Siann noted that there are currently some defects in paving slabs outside Sainsbury’s.
      • MM responded that this issue was on the list of items to be resolved this week, and welcomed reports of defects so that they can be repaired this week. Action: MM to put confirmation of sorted issues into the next stakeholder bulletin, along with prognosis for any issues that have not yet been sorted.
    • HT noted that contractors occupied side streets during the works, and stated that defects there must be fixed.
    • C Encombe stated her gratitude for replacement of bollards outside Pilrig Church.
    • CE argued that snagging isn’t LCCC’s job, and that CEC councillors should pursue whoever really is responsible.
    • B Ryan asked about reception of the phase 4 two-stage turns for cyclists.
      • R Colasuonno reported that he had tried them, and stated that longer ‘cycle-green’ phases were needed.
    • C Encombe stated that pedestrian phases of traffic lights need to be longer.

4.2        Phases 5 and 6

MM stated that these phases will be part of tram TROs, due to CEC’s decision to progress with trams, so they will be delivered as part of the tram project if it goes ahead. (If not, they will revert to LP.) Hence work on phase 5 will not start until the final tram decision, i.e. late 2018. One reason for this is to provide respite from road-works on Leith Walk. The public hearing re phase 5 loading bays may now be cancelled because this phase is now part of the tram project.

  • Cllr McNeese-Mechan concurred with the ‘respite’ reason for delaying the start of phase 5, stating that there was dissatisfaction with on-going road-works.
    • HT strongly queried this, noting that there had been no such discussion at LCCC, and that such delays had never been discussed. J Hein stated that he supported the respite.
    • A visitor pleaded for LP to be finished because the current state of the road surfaces endangered cyclists.
    • Cllr Rae responded that CEC was working on this issue, with many meetings. She stated that there have been incidents of violence between drivers and cyclists, and that CEC was waiting on Scottish legislation on cars parking on cycle lanes (and hence, inter alia, damaging the ‘armadillos’ which some people have tripped on).
    • Asked when the work would start if trams did not go ahead, MM stated that phase 5’s consultation would need to be redone. Action: MM to ascertain whether the consultation can be done now, to minimise delays.
  • J Hein suggested that phases 5 and 6 should be considered together, because the decision over how to construct the Montgomery St junction (the boundary between the phases) would decide how phase 6 would be designed.
  • A Dudley noted the safety issues of the boundary between the cycle-lane and the pavement in phase 4. He has been corresponding with MM since March. He noted that it is necessary to cross the cycle-lane to access bus-stops, (L Moore reported her own experience with the dangers of this) and suggested that improvements were possible. He looked forward to a meeting with MM, RNIB and the guide-dog association.
    • MM welcomed discussions on improving safety, but stated that RNIB had been involved in design discussions. MM has responded to their subsequent protests, and will try to get the designers into this meeting.
  • J Caldwell asked how bus-stops will work while phases 5 and 6 are in progress, leading to closure of existing stops either without replacements, or replacements being moved and hence causing problems.
    • Action: MM to implement better stakeholder engagement about this.

4.3        Tram stakeholder engagement

  • Rory Garriock (RG) reported that he is the community engagement manager for the tram project. Consultation will start in January and last 2 months. Before that will be pre-consultations with CCs, residents, CEC cllrs etc.
  • Therefore RG wishes to meet before Christmas with a subset of LCCC to discuss engagement and current plans.
    • Action: LCCC Transport and clean streets committee to liaise with RG about this
  • RG stated that the consultation will adhere to the latest national standards for community engagement: it will be open, transparent, informational, and about working together, and that there is opportunity for improvements.
  • HT stated that the 10-point plan (section 5.2) was agreed by CEC, so must be delivered during the tram process. RG confirmed receipt of this plan from CEC’s director of place: he will implement ‘as many as practically possible’.
  • HT asked for confirmation whether tram tender documents have already been published.
    • RG responded that pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) have been issued – responses are wished by the end of December. Tenders will not go out until early 2018. Action: RG to ascertain whether text of PQQs is public – if so, to supply it to LCCC.
  • MM confirmed that there has been consultation with Lothian buses, to arrange bus-stops during construction. However, York Place is part of Picardy Place (PP) project – the bus interchange will be outside PP’s cathedral according to current plans.

5            Transport & Clean Streets

5.1        FOI request regarding Phase 5 hearing

HT stated that Phase 5’s preparatory work (TROs) etc were developed in 2015 – a timeline for works up to PP was developed, with a view to finishing all phases in 2018. In these plans, work on phases 4 and 5 were meant to overlap. The TRO for phase 5 went to a hearing in December 2016. However, no hearing took place. In fact, CEC has now decided not to proceed with the hearing, and in HT’s view, wasted 7 months.

5.2        Update on tram extension proposal and essential 10-point plan for accompanying and compensatory measures

See item 4.3 above, point 4

5.3        Update on street lighting problems

  • Cllr Donaldson reported via email ‘A draft design has been completed for an improvement to the street lights in Dalmeny Street and this will be finalised in December 2017. As part of this process, a package of work will be developed for issuing to Contractors, by way of a Transport Infrastructure Framework that is planned to be awarded in January 2018. It is difficult to predict when work will start on street until the Framework is awarded and the Contractor identified, but it is anticipated that work will commence in February/March 2018.’
  • HT reminded the meeting that Dalmeny St had been a site for experimental LED lighting, which had issues.
  • HT reported that Ian Buchanan (IB, former Neighbourhood Partnership manager) is now in charge of street lighting for all of Edinburgh. IB stated that there is shortage of CEC electricians, leading to delays in repairing streetlights. J Caldwell Suggested that this potentially contributed to assaults that occurred in Dalmeny St.

5.4        Impact of Leith Street closure on LCCC area

  • The link here is to traffic counts before and after LS closure. It appears that Leith Walk traffic has reduced (<5%), thus increasing car-traffic speed and reducing stationery traffic. However, buses are travelling slower.
    • S Kennedy responded that the closure has affected Abbeyhill, but that her conversations with A Sim of SWECO have led to some improvements.
    • J Hein stated that buses are not stopping in his area of Leith Walk, despite bus stops still being there. A member stated that buses do not stop between the Bridges and Elm Row, because Leith Street bus stops are currently out of action. HT recalled that LCCC had been told that if the diversion scheme does not work, changes would be considered.
    • Actions: LCCC members to pass criticisms and suggestions to HT, HT to forward these as appropriate

5.5        Parking Working Group update

  • I McLeod referred to LCCC’s October decision to consult on controlled parking. However, following an example in Shandon, the group is now considering a petition (to be hosted on CEC’s website), and a drop-in information session. Action: group to prepare petition text, obtain quotes for relevant leaflets for LCCC Jan meeting, for Jan/Feb implementation.
    • S Kennedy reminded the meeting of CEC’s Air Quality Report, which includes controlled parking, while HT noted that some roads at the foot of Leith Walk break pollution regulations.

5.5.1     Consultation on Parking Permit Diesel Surcharge

Action: LCCC members to make their own responses, group to prepare a LCCC position for LCCC Jan meeting.

5.6        Stakeholder Workshop on decluttering streets

HT reported that he attended this: CEC will consult more widely on simplifying matters, licensing A-boards etc.

  • It was suggested that controlled parking would lead to a large increase in signage.

6            Parks & Green Spaces

6.1        Friends of Pilrig Park report

A resident reported that he took part in a clean-up. There was concern that CEC had not removed large items of refuse.

6.1.1     Park wall repairs at Pilrig Street

A resident reported that this work has been finished, and looks good.

6.2        Update on other Friends groups

No representatives present, so no report

6.3        Future use of Powderhall railway line

It has been suggested that the line is converted to a walking/cycling path. Cllr Rae reported that CEC’s Transport and Environment convenor has asked to meet with ScotRail about this, but no meeting date has been set.

6.4        Update on City Trees proposal

C Encombe noted that LCCC generally opposed these ‘trees’.

7            Planning

7.1        Proposed research on population density and health: Dr Elaine Carnegie (Edinburgh Napier University [ENU])

  • Dr Carnegie reported that she is a health and social care lecturer, and plans to work with a member of ENU’s SEBE and an Edinburgh University psychologist on how health outcomes vary with population density and other local factors/infrastructure. The proposed methods include case-based analyses and spatial analyses. The team has not yet received funding for this research.
  • Comments included
    • increasing numbers of housing developments without an accompanying increase in (health) infrastructure.
    • itinerant residents, including students and residents of studio flats.
    • relevant work by Scottish Natural Heritage, and the Leith blueprint created by Leith Creative

7.2        LCCC Planning sub-committee status of current planning applications

Click through heading to see report. The following were not on the report: Action: J Siann to keep report up to date

8            LCCC Office Bearers’ Reports

8.1        Treasurer’s Report

Current balance £2666·74

8.2        Remits of all sub-committees and working groups

C Encombe circulated the draft Parks remit, for ratifying in January.

8.3        Update by Communications Group

  • Chair email address is working.
  • There is now a bank of 50 photos for LCCC to use.
  • B Ryan to advise LCCC on its Data Protection Act/General Data Protection Regulations compliance

8.3.1     Establishment of Locality Committees 2017

  • HT reported that CEC has adopted a 4 localities scheme, each locality containing around 175,000 people. Localities will be supervised by relevant CEC councillors, who will have some decision-making power (areas include community safety, policing, lifelong learning and libraries, schools, traffic management, roads and parking, street cleaning and public projects). Action: all LCCC members to read the link above, for discussion in January.

8.3.2     £eith Chooses


8.3.3     Street naming consultation: Merrilees Lane (land 43 metres east of 20 West Bowling Green Street)

There was no objection to this naming suggestion.

9            Councillors’ reports, MSPs’ reports, MP’s report

  • Cllr Donaldson (via email)
    • Air Quality report is at
    • Bus tracker outside Lloyds Pharmacy on Leith Walk: latest officer response:
      • Unfortunately, as you have noted, the bus tracker is not yet working. As part of the works in the area the power connection to the pole was removed and this has not yet been reinstated. I have arranged with the contractor on site for this work to be carried out as soon as possible. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience.
    • Lothian bus services 22 and 25
      • Some very minor changes to the timetable for Service 22 were made from 30 October 2017, but visibly, customers should not have noticed any significant difference in the frequency of buses on the route.  Buses will still be operating up to every 7 to 8 minutes on Mondays to Fridays, every 8 to 9 minutes on Saturdays and every 10 minutes on Sunday daytimes.  There are no changes to the timetable for Service 25.

10         Open Forum/AOCB

L Moore reported that the proposed London Road church community buyout did not receive Scottish Government funding.

A resident reported that Leith Creative are meeting on 15 January.

11         Future Meetings (usually 3rd Monday of the month) and meeting topics/presentations

See June minutes, section 12.1.

11.1      Future presentations/discussions

  • TBC: January 2018 Leith Creative
  • TBC planning and enforcement issues in Cambridge Avenue
  • TBC impact of AirBnB on LCCC area
  • date TBC: North East Locality Manager Natalie McKail (or maternity cover)
  • date TBC: impact of City Deal and Council Business Plan 2017-22 on LCCC