LCCC August approved minutes

Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Leith Central Community Council, held in Nelson Hall, McDonald Road library on Monday 20 August at 7:00pm

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

1 Attendance, apologies, declarations of interest

1.a Attendance and apologies (LHNCC members)

Name 2018 2019
May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr
Jack Caldwell A No meeting
Roberto Colasuonno A
Jeremy Darot A
Alan Dudley
Charlotte Encombe A
John Hein *
Sheila Kennedy
Iona McLeod A A
Lorraine Moore
Damian Sefton * A
Julian Siann
Harald Tobermann
Bruce Ryan A
Nick Gardner A
Cllr Marion Donaldson A *
Cllr AmyMcNeese-Mechan A *
Cllr Susan Rae A A
Cllr Lewis Ritchie * A
Ben Macpherson MSP A A
Deidre Brock MP A A A

✓ = present; A = not present, sent apology; * = not present, did not send apology

1.a Attendance (others)

Ella Taylor Smith Broughton Spurtle ~15 residents and visitors
Andy Wightman MSP (Lothian) PC Chris Spence Police Scotland

1.b Declarations of interest

  1. L. Moore, J. Hein and J. Caldwell declare to have signed the ‘Save Leith Walk’ petition prior to the meeting.
  2. H Tobermann clarified that, contrary to allegations made by an ex-officio LCCC member on social media, he has no declaration of interest to make in relation to his employment with ‘Out of the Blue’ and the Stead’s Place development.

2 Approval of Minutes of 18 June 2018 meeting

These were adopted subject to minor typographical amendments. Proposed L. Moore, Seconded by J. Siann.

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

No matters were brought up.

4 Community Police Officer’s Report

PC Spence reported:

  • Current top three priorities for the Leith Police Team are public safety, antisocial behaviour and organised crime.
  • Last month was busy with house break-ins and assaults both up last month over previous.
  • Patrols are now present on cyclepaths and walkways to help track stolen bicycles.
  • Anti-social behaviour teams are patrolling Pilrig.
  • Motorcycle Crime is high at the moment. Police Scotland have deployed additional plainclothes officers and Traffic Response Officers to combat it.
  • An unexplained death on Montgomery Street has opened enquiries, but not being treated as suspicious. It’s an isolated incident.
  • Arsonist was caught setting bins on fire on Leith Walk/Brunswick Street
  • A male has been apprehended and charged (under the Licensing Scotland Act) for buying alcohol for minors from a grocer on Leith Walk.
  • A female pedestrian was knocked down by a motorcyclist while crossing Jane Street at the end of July which resulted in life-changing injuries. A suspect has been charged under the Road Traffic Act.
  • PC Spence and the Leith Community Policing Team have a surgery every Wednesday at McDonald Road Library, 12am to 2pm

4.a Questions

  • S Kennedy raises that there have been four break-ins recently in the Abbeyhill Colonies.
  • H Tobermann asks if the Police were contacted by Lothian Buses regarding the traffic issues on Pilrig Street. PC Spence says they will report back.

5 LCCC Office Bearers’ Reports

5.a Secretary

S. Kennedy proposes a Licensing sub-committee as the licences are different from planning


5.b Treasurers Report

L Moore reported that the balance is £2,781·81. A grant of £1149·86 has been received from the City of Edinburgh Council which is more than previous years’ grants.


5.c Activities and plans Parking Group

S Kennedy reported that CEC were petitioned on the 17thMay and the Transport and Environment committee voted to take forward a plan of action. Cllr. S. Rae notes that due to residents asking CEC first, the areas of Corstorphine and Shandon will be respectively looked at first by CEC. Cllr. S. Rae states that it’s not acceptable for any parking improvements in the City to be prioritised by ‘first come, first served’ and that further action must be taken to improve the situation in Leith Walk ward. It’s noted by a member of the public that it is ‘a lottery’ parking in Leith, with or without controls. S. Kennedy reports that further consultations will take place before the matter is progressed.

5.d Activities and plans Communications Group

J Caldwell: No items to report.

6 Planning

6.a 18/04332/FUL and 18/04349/CON: The application(s) to demolish existing buildings and erect mixed use development including 53 affordable housing flats, student accommodation (523 bedrooms), hotel with 56 rooms (Class 7), restaurant(s) (Class 3) and space for potential community and live music venue (Class 10 & 11), retail (Class 1), public house (sui generis) or commercial uses (Class 2 & 4). Includes associated infrastructure, landscaping and car parking. | 156, 158B, 160 And 162 Leith Walk Edinburgh EH6 5DX

  • It’s noted that the ‘Stead’s Place’ development has attracted a lot of community engagement and public interest. The developer, Drum Property Group, has completed their pre-consultation and submitted two applications (see above). One is a standard application (120 documents) and the other is specifically for the Pilrig Conservation Area (50 documents).
  • Tobermann raises that the address(es) listed (156 to 162 Leith Walk) are not in the conservation area despite being advertised by Drum Property Group as so.

6.b Stead’s Place

Drum Property Group have formally notified LCCC of the application’s submission. Drum state they have ruled out keeping the front building on Leith Walk but will continue ‘positive relations’ with tenants, including those that choose to move back onto the property in the future. Drum claim to have significantly altered their proposals from the initial design after gathering feedback in the pre-consultation.

  • H Tobermann: The most important thing for LCCC to do when lodging an objection is to keep it objective and ensure that it uses the framework of the existing planning law.
  • A member of the public challenges the claim that social enterprise Pubjabi Junction have confirmed to move back in, as stated in Drum’s letter and claim that Punjabi Junction are exploring all options.
  • LCCC agrees (nem com) to write to CEC and request the consultation to stay open for a further four weeks due to the large scale of it and the application getting submitted in holiday time.
  • Susan Rae states she has already written to CEC to express her disappointment in Drum Property Group boarding up retail units in the front building on Leith Walk. LCCC (Nem Com) also agree to write to CEC and all four ward councillors. It’s noted that CEC may not enforce taking down the boards due to the possibility of the shop windows being a health and safety concern.

6.b.1 Other comments

  • J Siann states it’s LCCC’s duty to thoroughly look through and feed back on the application. The existing conservation report mentions the diversity of the buildings in the area as a key factor, while the scale of this development is out of proportion to the whole of Leith Walk. Four storeys is the standard height of buildings in Leith Walk. We currently have approxomitely 1,200 student places in the LCCC area, and this application passing will raise it to 1,800. There are only 50 residential units for a large site. These are not statutory facts but are important. J. Siann urges people to send comments into LCCC working group.
  • N Gardener notes the conservation area may be the strongest argument to object to the application.
  • L Moore notes that the houses in Stead’s Place are very low down behind the new development.
  • Cllr Rae notes that she will be bringing up student accomodation in August’s Full Council.
  • J Caldwell notes he has seen no mention of social housing after it was brought up by the developers.
  • H Tobermann notes that not just students, but the new holiday/hotel use could change the nature of the area.
  • L Moore asks about detail about who the hotel is for – it seems like general public despite being advertised as for families for students.
  • A member of the public contests that there is manipulation done in the lighting renders – the sun does not stay in the same place for 2 hours. It is also contested Drum have extended the existing shadows and minimised new shadows caused. The member will send H. Tobermann the relevant documents. It’s suggested that the ‘Save Leith Walk’ campaign commission their own study.
  • A member of the public notes that environmentally demolishing a working building may have a detrimental impact.
  • It’s questioned by a member of the public if the Local Development Plan (LDP) is up to date. H Tobermann states it’s still a working legal document. Cllr. S. Rae notes we are still working off the 2008 LDP. ACTION: J. Caldwell to share Planning Application on LCCC website.

6.c Planning Bill

6.c.i Homes First Campaign (Andy Wightman MSP, Lothians)

  • A Wightman MSP introduces Short Term Lets and the HomesFirst campaign which consists of two concerns:
    • Lets where the whole house is rented.
    • Homes being let out as commercial premises.
  • Vast majority of current short term lets do not have planning consent, their title deeds, mortgage or insurance prohibited and are therefore unlawful. It’s a matter of time before a tragedy happens because of lack of regulation.
  • The Scottish Government have approved a request from CEC to allow regulation.
  • Separately, a Planning Bill amendment has been tabled by A.Wightman that changing a home to a holiday home should require planning permission.
  • A second amendment proposed by A. Wightman forces change from home to commercial lets to go through the planning process also.
  • J Caldwell asks if government agencies such as the Scottish Fire Service will have access to any register CEC creates.
    • A Wightman: Licensing scheme should come under the Licensing Act 1982 as CEC should have flexability.
  • J Caldwell asks if there will be additional resources for the Planning Department to deal with more applications.
    • A Wightman notes there could also be a backlog of 3,000 that may need to go through an under-resourced planning system.
  • H Tobermann: 31% of AirBnB (a specific short term letting company) booking are run professionally as a business.
  • L Moore requests that the owners must consult with others in tenements before installing key boxes at the bottom of tenement stairwells.
    • A. Wightman notes they’re already unlawful.
  • A member of the public requests there’s a restriction on the number of Short Term Lets in one concise area.
    • A. Wightman says a social media campaign will launch with the aim of gathering accurate data of the number of Short Term Lets. Currently short term letting data has been sourced from incomplete sources such as the AirBnB website as it’s the only data currently available to work with.

6.c.ii PROPOSED PILOT SCHEME (Ben Macpherson MSP, Edinburgh Northern & Leith)

It’s reported by A. Wightman MSP, Lisa M. Clarke (Office of Ben Macpherson MSP) and Cllr. S. Rae that there is no confirmation of a pilot scheme area in Edinburgh for managing with Short Term Lets.

6.d Status of current planning applications

  • Lidl have applied to extend loading hours for their new store on Easter Road. LCCC didn’t get a notification until 24-hours before the application closed. It is noted that supermarkets often do this. ACTION: LCCC PLANNING GROUP TO WRITE TO CEC PLANNING DEPARTMENT TO HIGHLIGHT THE UNACCEPTABLE TIMESCALE.
  • Siann notes that the LCCC website has a live list of currently open applications.

6.e Scottish Government response regarding planning issues around 154 McDonald Road (Old Broughton High School)

It’s noted that the Scottish Government’s independent reporter granted the developers’ appeal after CEC rejected the plans. The reporter required a contribution to the trams, the City Car Club, and affordable housing onsite. ACTION: LCCC PLANNING TO FOLLOW UP ON CONTRIBUTION

6.f Local Development Plan

The last Local Development plan was made in 2016 and a new one is being drafted and won’t be enforced until 3 or 4 years away. CEC will approach LCCC for what the key issues of the area are, which will involve an 8 week consultation. Issues raised so far include more focus on more brownfield sites, neighbourhood/village sites and an emphasis on local communities.

7 Transport and Clean Streets

7.a Local and city-wide public transport issues

7.a.i. LCCC are now a member of the ‘Bus Users’ Group’ – a public transport accessibility map was produced using data from 2017 and takes into account the bus stops etc.

7.a.ii There has been a meeting between various Community Councils and Lothian Buses about a Leith link to the Western General Hospital. Lothian Buses state there’s an eight-minute detour involved so they do not wish to proceed at the present moment.

7.a.iii Pilrig Street buses were re-routed due to parking issues but are re-instated as of today. It’s reported that Dryden Place Developments are parking in Pilrig Street. Cllr. S. Rae has had a meeting with Project Manager of the ongoing Shrubhill Development about concerns regarding parking amenities.

  1. J. Hein raises that the bus shelter Eastbound on London Road Brunswick Street. It was destroyed months ago. ACTION: LCCC Transport to email CEC requesting progress of replacements.

7.b Road resurfacing and miscellaneous improvements Albert Street from 27 August 2018 for 4 weeks

CEC’s Steven Blacklaw has reached out to us to get an assessment of Albert Street done before resurfacing, ie drainage or street furniture or bins. S. Kennedy and H. Tobermann attended and were impressed. Bins will now be surrounded by double yellow lines. Bin placement on build-outs have not been confirmed. This will only include the road, not pavements. Police signs to deter double-parking. Cobblestone crossings will be removed.

7.c Community Councils on Trams (CCTT)

7.c.i LCCC’s joint membership is ratified (nem com)

7.c.ii It’s noted that there will be a second consultation period in September on but the report will only come out in October 2018. Final decision will be taken in December 2018. LCCC urge delay if necessary to get things right.

7.c.iii It’s confirmed that C. Encombe and H. Tobermann are LCCC representatives but require a substitute representative.

8 Parks & Green Spaces

8.a August 2018 update on Water of Leith Walkway closure between between Bonnington Bridge and Anderson Place

  1. H Tobermann reports that a Vodafone mobile phone mast is allegedly the cause of the footpath being closed over the last year. The mast may be removed in September and the wall behind it can be repaired.

8.b Update on other Friends groups

None present

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

The community council notes Cllr. S. Rae’s contributions to discussions throughout the evening.

10 Open Forum

Brought up by a resident that there are unmarked roadworks currently ongoing in Newhaven Road and Dryden Street. It’s noted that these are either emergency works or unauthorised as they are not present on the CEC roadworks map.


  • Alan Dudley has featured in a RNIB Scotland video highlighting the challenges for blind and partially-sighted people navigating Leith Walk.
  • A consultation on the Powderhall Development proposals will take place on the 28thAugust at McDonald Road Library.

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

12.a Future LCCC meetings to June 2019

  • 2018: 17 September; 15 October; 19 November
  • 2019: 21 January; 18 February; 18 March; 15 April; 20 May; 17 June