June 2018 Meeting Final Minutes

Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Leith Central Community Council, held in Nelson Hall, McDonald Road library on Monday 18 June at 7:00pm

Actions and decisions are red italic underlined SmallCaps. nem con means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.

  1. Attendance, apologies, declarations of interest

    1. Attendance and apologies (LCCC members)


Alan Dudley
Charlotte Encombe
Sheila Kennedy
Lorraine Moore
Juilian Siann
Harald Tobermann
Bruce Ryan
Cllr. McNeese-Mechan


Jack Caldwell
Roberto Colasuonno
Jeremy Darot
Iona McLeod
Nick Gardener
Cllr. Marion Donaldson
Cllr. Susan Rae
Ben Macpherson MSP
Deidre Brock MP

Attendance (others)

Ella Taylor-Smith (Broughton Spurtle)
David Cooper (City of Eidnburgh Council)
Kyle Drummond (City of Edinburgh Council)
Fiona Brown (Police Scotland)
Chris Smith (Police Scotland)
~8 residents and visitors

    1. Declarations of interest


  1. Approval of Minutes of 21 May 2018 meeting

These were adopted subject to minor typographical amendments, apart from section 5 which is to be discussed in August (proposed H Tobermann, seconded S Kennedy)

  1. Matters arising from previous minutes and not included in agenda below

    1. LCCC membership

  • Three LCCC members have effectively resigned by not attending for 6 months. Actions: LCCC secretary to notify them before the August meeting, then B Ryan to update website.
  • There are 2 candidates for co-option. Actions: Chair to circulate their CVs; candidates’ memberships to be ratified in August meeting, so members who were absent from this meeting have read CVs.
    1. Other items

  • The ‘robust discussion’ of Cllr Ritchie’s statement about not needing to attend CC meetings (NB not his personal life) is to be added to LCCC’s August agenda.
  • Item 8 a ii of May meeting (about Powderhall green corridor)
    Actions: H Tobermann to send the MSP LCCC’s position; LCCC office-bearers to add this matter to August agenda

  • Item 3.1 of April meeting (154 McDonald Rd). HT noted LCCC’s dissatisfaction with how this has been handled.
    Action: LCCC office-bearers to add this matter to August agenda

  1. Community Police Officer’s Report

PCs Brown & Smith reported:

  • From 16 to 31 May, the Police Scotland (PS) national ‘safer communities’ team worked in Leith
    • This resulted in 15 positive and 7 negative stop-searches, reports to the Procurator Fiscal, 14 arrests (including
      4 warrant arrests) 2 drug warrants that recovered amounts of drugs.
  • An abandoned car initiative resulted in 2 vehicles being uplifted.
  • Operation Agora has resulted in 2 youths and another person being charged with pedal cycle theft.
  • An on-going prostitution initiative has resulted in 2 people being charged so far. Further work is planned.
  • Community Alcohol Partnership work has increased due to the World Cup: PS officers are advising about sensible drinking, and working on underage (proxy) purchases of alcohol.
  • There is an on-going initiative about rough sleeping.
  • PS officers are undertaking school visits, and have worked at Leith Gala day.
  • Operation close-pass is tackling drivers who drive too close to cyclists.
    1. Questions from

  • HT noted that there have been daylight assaults and robberies (A&Rs) in LCCC’s area recently – is this a new MO?
    • These are being investigated by CID. A&Rs are not particularly new. There is CCTV footage of the Bangor Road A&R.
  • S Kennedy noted that PC Kennedy had been due to feed back concerns over people cycling on pavements, e.g. on Abbeyhill gyratory (AG), and asked whether this had happened (noting that this issue is raised frequently at CC meetings).
    • SK suggested that it may be an issue that different officers attend meetings asks about cycling on pavements.
    • It was suggested that because AG was created for the St James project, it could contribute to relevant PS costs.
    • It was suggested that concerns raised by LCCC are recorded in a notebook to be shared by community PS officers.
    • K Drummond offered to report these issues to the St James developers. There was discussion of when the AG would close. Actions: KD to advise LCCC on this, SK to circulate a communication from SWECO to office-bearers.
  1. Presentation and Q&A: briefing by CEC officials on CEC plans for the defunct Powderhall site (City Strategic Investment Fund – Powderhall Stables)

K Drummond and D Cooper reported:

  • This site is no longer in use for handling waste.
  • There will be consultation events about the whole site next week.
  • The current project is trying to get funding for re-purposing the B-listed stables building. There are no fixed plans for how it would be used, except that it should be available for community use.
  • Hence architects and cost consultants have been commissioned to advise about basic refurbishment.
  • The current project has 2 questions for the community:
    • What are its needs for this development?
    • How would it like to continue to be involved with the process?
    1. Questions and comments

  • (H Tobermann) CEC has earmarked £500,000 for this project for this financial year. Will this happen?
    • The report of this money is about the availability of funding, so this money reserved but is unlikely to be spent soon.
  • (H Tobermann) £50,000 income is predicted 2 years later. Is this likely?
    • The relevant fund needs to be replenished if is to be ‘evergreen’, so this is the rent income that would be needed.
      A full business case is needed to ensure this.
  • (H Tobermann) Is there any Community Asset Transfer interest?
    • There have been no declarations of interest so far.
  • (H Tobermann) Has Collective Architecture developed any proposals?
    • CA has been investigating feasibility and historic features, and has undertaken full survey of the building. CA is now working up feasibility and broad options for space-use in the building, not designing a final layout.
  • (H Tobermann) What will happens to the rest of site, which is much larger than the stables building?
    • The rest-of-site and stables projects are linked. It may be difficult to convert the stables building to housing. Funding is likely to be available over the summer, so CEC is trying to be ready for that.
  • (J Siann) The drop-in sessions have not been widely publicised, so how is community involvement to be generated? Also, the community is concerned about the whole site, not just the stables. He urged better communication.
    • Consultations on wider issues start next week.
  • (C Encombe) It’s paramount that development is high quality overall, not a nice ‘taster’ followed by bland development. So there should be imaginative design for the whole site using a masterplan.
  • (H Tobermann) The bowling green area is not in LCCC’s area, and the local primary school is building on green land in the area. (It was later seen that all of the site is in New Town & Broughton CC’s area.)
  • (C Encombe) Leith has less open green-space than anywhere else in the city, so it would be good if the bowling green became a park.
  • (L Moore) Is the bowling green currently in use?
    • (J Siann) No – the clubhouse is closed. It may be that 2 greens would be used for development, and one left open.
  • (L Moore) The children’s park at Redbraes is run down – will it be redesigned?
    • There is some hope to expand the project to include this park. KD would like to develop a place brief, but no decisions taken yet.
    • Cllr MM stated that she has mentioned to CEC officers that this would be an opportunity to link with Redbraes park.
  • (H Tobermann) Have there been any updates on the railway line?
    • We are in discussion with Network Rail: this link is no longer needed for waste transport, so this is on the agenda.
    • HT reminded the meeting that DB Cargo has a contract on the line until 2119, and asked CEC to push more.
  • Cllr McNeese-Mechan stated that there is political will for an active travel corridor.
    1. Future LCCC actions, if any, in relationship to the Powderhall site

Action: LCCC to ask NTBCC to work with them, and to jointly ask for a masterplan for the wider area (nem con)

  1. LCCC Office Bearers’ Reports

    1. Community Councils on Trams (documents)

      1. LCCC’s membership of CCTT coalition (agreed by email)

This was ratified nem con.

      1. Joint position of four CCs along tram route extension

HT reported that a manifesto is being adopted by the other CCs. (B Ryan added that NTBCC has already adopted it.) Once agreed, there would be a launch event – details to be worked out later. The manifesto was adopted nem con.

    1. LCCC’s association with new citywide Edinburgh Bus Users Group (EBUG)

HT reported that EBUG is being set up to meet with Lothian Buses to share interests and concerns. Membership does not commit LCCC to anything. Membership was agreed nem con.

    1. Treasurer’s report

L Moore reported that LCCC’s bank balance is £1752·74. The 2017-18 accounts have been verified, and will be emailed to CEC so LCCC can receive its grant.

Action: because CC grants may be based on population numbers, and LCCC’s population has grown, LM to ask whether LCCC’s grant can be increased.

    1. Other office bearers’ reports

      1. Secretary

The AG is to return to normal use in September, i.e. after the festival, according to a tram meeting she attended.

      1. Chair

She has proposed creation of a masterplan for green spaces in Leith. Greener Leith is now closing down, but will leave some money that could be used for this purpose – is this worthwhile?

  • SK added that Paths for All is meeting on 21 June in Inverkeithing – it has some money for such purposes.
    1. Activities and plans Communications Group

Jack Caldwell reported by email that he is gathering information on how best to further LCCC’s domain, and potentially obtain more LCCC email addresses. He will work with the comms group on this.

  1. Transport & Clean Streets

    1. Leith Programme Phase 4 and abandoned Phase 5 and 6

      1. Defects list provided by CEC; ‘defects period runs until 25 October 2018 and the Contractor has until then to rectify them’.

      2. Contractor for Phase 4 in administration

      3. Urgency of temporary repairs south of Brunswick St exemplified by serious collapse of manhole cover at Annandale

  • HT reported on these 3 items together, noting that the work was supposedly finished in October 2017, that he had been asking CEC for this list for about 3 months, that the contractor (Crummocks) has until 2018 to rectify defects in this work, that any defects flagged later are not the contractor’s responsibility, that so far the contractor has so far dealt with a few small issues (leaving over 50 items still to be tackled), that the list may not be complete, but that Crummocks went bust in early June, and hence CEC is left with a problem and that residents and users of Leith Walk are left with more disruption. He concluded that the attitude of getting things right first time has not been adopted.
  • HT also noted that phases 5 and 6 have been postponed until tram-works start – at least 2 years hence.
  • A resident noted that sunken manhole covers have been patched over with tarmac.
    • HT responded that he is using FOISA to find out whether the correct types of manhole covers have been used.
    1. Proposed tram line 1 completion York Place to Newhaven

      1. Update post-consultation – first community tram workshop (14-06-18) with 4 options; further workshops; timeline

  • HT reported that he and C Encombe had attended this invitation-only meeting, which was also attended by representatives from other CCs, Spokes, Living Streets and various CEC cllrs (including only cllr Donaldson from Leith ward). 4 options were presented for Pilrig St to the Foot of the Walk. (This was the stretch that had received the most consultation responses. Another workshop on Elm Row is due.)
  • There were 2 options involving 2 tram lanes and 2 other-traffic lanes, and 2 options involving a single lane for all motorized traffic (including trams). In the latter options, the rest of the space would be for cycle-lanes and increased pavement widths. One of these options is now being worked up in more detail, and will be presented in another workshop later in June. (HT noted that there were mistakes in the presentation of each option, e.g. missing bus-stops, and suggested that this shows the tram team is under too much time-pressure.)
  • The option to be worked up has a 1·8m-wide central reservation, which is legally wide enough to be a refuge, so that crossings can be staggered. There would be both signalised and ‘informal’ crossings – there would be more of these than in the original plans – the precise locations are to be worked up.
  • CE stressed at this meeting the need for clear vertical differentiation between pavements and cycle-paths. Others at this meeting stressed the need for creation before work starts of parking plans for during and after construction. She stated that there had been no thought so far about traffic-flows during construction, but that more car-crossing places had been added to the current plans. She also noted that the Balfour St stop had been moved by about 50m, but HT suggested that moving the Picardy Place is unlikely – it’s being built just now.
  • HT noted that go-ahead will be decided in 2018, but financial and other reasons make the extension attractive to CEC.
  • S Kennedy queried the sense of having all traffic in one lane, expressing concerns about traffic-flow and congestion on side-streets becoming worse, especially during construction. It was suggested that this might reduce the number of cars on LW, thus reducing pollution, and that people who live on LW mostly travel across LW rather than along it.
  • HT noted that CCTT’s position is that needs of residents and pedestrians should be the first priority.
      1. Update on progress of compensation scheme for businesses along proposed route that are key to Leith Walk’s ‘eco-system’

HT stated that if shops on LW go out of business during construction, this would make the area ‘sterile’. The tram team has agreed to give him a list of LW businesses but he has not yet received it. (He suggested that this again shows the tram team is overworked.) He has made informal contacts with businesses, one of which has written a good piece on LW’s diversity.

Action: HT to email this piece to the Spurtle.

      1. Lessons learned from original tram project (answer to Q16, item 5)

CEC’s lessons were noted. HT stated that they were a start but possibly not enough.

      1. Revised Green Party position on tram extension

HT reported that the Greens may withdraw support if an updated Environmental Impact Assessment is not done. The current EIA dates from 2003.

    1. Update from LCCC Parking Working Group

Nothing to report

  1. Planning

    1. 18/02392/FUL and 18/02372/LBC: Conversion of existing buildings to 33 dwellings, associated landscape works, fabric repairs and alterations to existing buildings. (Site 32m west of 26 Dryden Street) and deadline for comments (06-07-18)

J Siann noted that drawings for re-purposing the Dryden Street sheds into many flats are now available.

    1. Drum (Steads Place) Ltd note of consultation meeting with LCCC (21-05-18) (ref 18/01015/PAN)

J Siann noted that final drawings are due this month, and that there is much concern about demolition of the sandstone shop-fronts. HT noted that LCCC must check the developer’s note from the May meeting against LCCC’s minutes (item 5). This is important because the note will be part of the planning application and so must contain LCCC’s actual position. Action: Stead’s Place task-force to do this checking.

    1. IQ Student Accommodation’s briefing note and intention to submit planning application for 11 Hillside Crescent

JS noted that this application for student flats is in development. The briefing note was noted by LCCC.

    1. Status of current planning applications June 2018

  • J Siann noted that 2 applications for conversion of shops (184 Easter Road: retail to flatted units; 180 Albert Street: pub to residential units) were granted despite LCCC’s objections, and that that these would reduce diversity.
  • He also noted that the applicant for Thorntree St has appealed against refusal of planning permission.
    1. LCCC’s planning committee’s comment on Planning Bill and Minister’s response

HT and J Siann noted that these are in the context of the Planning bill now going through the Scottish Parliament. (It’s now at stage 1.) LCCC is in favour of third party right of appeal but SG is not.

  1. Parks & Green Spaces

    1. Update on Water of Leith Walkway closure between between Bonnington Bridge and Anderson Place

HT noted that this walkway has been closed for over a year because it is dangerous. LCCC has been asking CEC when this would be resolved. CEC has responded that it cannot comment further at this stage due to on-going legal proceedings. HT stated that the legal proceedings are over who should pay for repairs, including repairs to a wall overhanging the path.

    1. Friends of Pilrig Park report

N Gardner reported by email that the final part of the project to get the new play area at Pilrig Park (toddler area) has been finalised with the new equipment ordered and the contractor able to undertake the works on site with a start date of the 23rd July. Hopefully the park will be completed in 4 weeks so just about in time for the new term of school.

    1. Update on other Friends groups

None present

  1. Councillors’ reports, MSPs’ reports, MP’s report

Cllr McNeese-Mechan noted that there is an opportunity for community members to join Edinburgh’s licensing forum. (Closing date for applications is 22 June.)

    1. Update on NE Locality Committee and LCCC representation

No items

    1. Update on Leith Neighbourhood Partnership

No items

  1. Open Forum1

  • A resident suggested that the tram and Stead’s Place issues are interlinked. The chair responded that LCCC is very aware of this.
  • Another resident asked about notices about adopting (i.e. cleaning) streets, put up by ChangeWorks. L Moore stated that Leithers don’t Litter has a scheme to provide litter bags etc. It was suggested that the resident ask ChangeWorks directly, and report back to LCCC.
  • A resident suggested that as cars become automated, they should need less space, allowing more pedestrian space.
  1. Bulletin2

    1. Shrub Place: ‘£75m Engine Yard transformation revealed in new images’ (SCN, 28 May 2018)

Action: all LCCC members to read this article.

  1. AOCB3

L Moore (LCCC treasurer) reported that she is likely to move out of LCCC’s area soon.

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

    1. Future LCCC meetings to June 2019

  • 2018: 20 August; 17 September; 15 October; 19 November
  • 2019: 21 January; 18 February; 18 March; 15 April; 20 May; 17 June
    1. Future presentations/discussions

HT reported that it has not been possible recently to arrange a meeting with the St James centre developers, but he hopes to arrange this for later in 2018 (possibly September).

  • ESJ impact and progress
  • Leith Viaduct Project
  • planning and enforcement issues in Cambridge Avenue
  • impact of AirBnB on LCCC area; North East Locality Manager
  • impact of City Deal and Council Business Plan 2017-22 on LCCC area

1 for residents of LCCC area only

2 for information only; LCCC members may request discussion of related items at a future meeting

3 for LCCC members only