Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Leith Central Community Council, held in Nelson Hall, McDonald Road library on Monday 15 October at 7:00pm
Actionsand decisions are red italic. nem con means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.
There was no objection to the meeting being recorded to enable accurate minuting (nem con), or being photographed, except for one member who did not wish to be photgraphed.
i. LCCC members
|Jack Caldwell||✓||A||No meeting||✓||A||✓|
|Cllr Marion Donaldson||✓||A||*||✓||A|
|Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan||A||✓||*||✓||A|
|Cllr Susan Rae||A||A||✓||✓||✓|
|Cllr Lewis Ritchie||✓||*||A||✓||*|
|Ben Macpherson MSP||✓||A||A||*||*|
|Deidre Brock MP||A||A||A||A||A|
✓ = present, A = not present, sent apology, * = not present, did not send apology
|PC Margo Darling||Police Scotland||~4 residents/visitors|
|PC Calum Clark||Police Scotland||Lesley Porteous||Edinburgh Council – planning|
|Kyle Drummond||Edinburgh Council||Robbie Crockatt||Edinburgh Council – education|
|David Robertson||Edinburgh Council – housing||Neil Watts||Edinburgh Council – housing|
|Carl Baker||Collective Architecture||Nicola Mclachlan||Creative Architecture|
See section 1a above
Cllr Rae and C Boeker noted their close associations with Save Leith Walk
2 Approval of Minutes of 17 September 2018 meeting
These were adopted subject to the correction of minor typos (proposed I McLeod, 2ndC Boeker, nem con)
3 Matters arising from previous minutes and not included in agenda below
Item 5a, point 7. The letter was not received by S Kennedy, despite the promise that it would be sent the next day. This was due to a transmission error.
4 Community Police Officer’s Report
a to note: North East Command Crime Summary (2 April – 27 August 2018)
The above was noted. H Toberman stated this summary provided useful statistics about crime in NE locality.
b to note: update on recent relevant incidents, crimes and police activities in LCCC area (August, September 2018)
PCs Darling and Clark reported:
- Community Police Officers CPOs were at the recent Dalmeny St park fun day, which was attended by ~700 people.
CPOs are grateful to CEC environmental wardens and other emergency services colleagues for their contributions.
- CPOs are still receiving calls about antisocial behaviour (ASB), especially noise, in the Dalmeny St park area.
- The possibility of creating a friends group for Dalmeny St park was raised.
- There have been complaints in the Gordon St/Manderston St area about a lorry full of tyres. Because tyres might be stolen for use in bonfires, CPOs are working with the DVLA to remove the lorry.
- CPOs are also working with DVLA on untaxed vehicles.
- There have many complaints and some tickets issued for traffic offences, e.g. ignoring no-entry signs, exceeding 20mph while having no license or insurance.
- CPOs will be working with roads and taxi inspectors, and the new locality environmental warden team.
- There was a national rogue trader operation. In Edinburgh, there were checks on Commercial St.
- There have been convictions for ‘bonfire disorder’ in the past, so there will be extra police on duty on and around 2018 bonfire night, and additional checks on firework sellers.
- A drugs warrant was enacted, netting class B drugs and some money – investigations are on-going.
- 2 males have been apprehended for a house-break on 10 October.
- Theft of motorcycles has reduced by 60%; ASB rates have been reduced by 54% due to better prevention and detection.
- Overnight on 7-8 October, there was a spate of vandalism to motor-vehicles. Investigations are on-going.
- People should review their own security measures (e.g. security lights) now nights are drawing in.
c Questions and comments
- In response to a question from H Tobermann; thefts of motorcycles are not categorised with thefts of motor vehicles.
- I Mcleod stated that many drivers exceed 20 mph limits in the Alva Place area.
- J Hein mentioned examples of poor cycling, and the CPOs mentioned apprehending some cyclists for poor cycling.
- A visitor mentioned that cycle-paths on Leith Walk (LW) go behind bus-shelters, and hence can be highly dangerous. (A Dudley concurred.) The visitor also stated that there is also poor, inconsiderate pedestrian behaviour.
- She and Cllr Rae had pointed out – in vain – dangers to CEC officials before the LW cycle-paths were installed.
- It was noted that police can intervene with cyclists who have insufficient lights or are cycling dangerously, but that CPOs may not have time to patrol for this.
- H Tobermann noted that a significant number of street-lights are not working at the brand-new junction outside the library. Two weeks after reporting this, CEC told him that they cannot act here – it is up to Scottish Power.
5 Presentation and Q&A on plans for the defunct Powderhall site (background: City Strategic Investment Fund – Powderhall Stables )
a to note: presentation by Carl Baker from Collective Architecture on the review of consultations in the Place Brief. Followed by Q&A with CEC staff Neil Watts and David Robertson (Development and Regeneration), Lesley Porteous (planner), Kyle Drummond (Economic Development), Elaine Watson (Communities and Family)
H Toberman noted that much of the Powderhall site (owned by CEC) is outwith LCCC’s area, but LCCC’s area includes the bowling greens and the disused railway line. Some of the greens are used by Broughton primary school, but CEC plansto develop the whole area. LCCC’s is concerned that development should be sympathetic to its context; in particular the population of the most densely-populated area in Scotland should not be increased without increases in infrastructure.
- N Watts stated that his CEC team is to develop 10,000 houses in the next 10 years (across Edinburgh, not just this area).
- R Crockatt works with schools data for CEC. He is particularly interested in early-years education, and in increasing child-care availability. Hence he is looking at (inter alia) options for early-years facilities in this development.
- L Porteous of CEC is responsible for the site’s place brief: a high-level strategy for the site, to ‘preload’ planning stages.
See also Collective Architecture’s presentation (PDF).
- The place brief helps to identify design and planning principles. It considers both the site and its context, by taking in community feelings on opportunities, constraints and aspirations. (These are captured in the consultations.)
- The place brief is also informed by SG’s planning criteria – see slide 2 of presentation.
- The plans will still go through the normal PAN stage, but the point of the place brief is to involve people before any firm proposals have been developed.
- There have been 2 public consultations since June.
- There have also been/will be stakeholder workshops with CEC officers, and engagements with Lothian Buses, Water of Leith Conservation Trust, Sport Scotland, New Town & Broughton and Broughton Primary School – see slide 3.
- The next consultation is on 24 October, at Broughton Primary School.
- The Tell us about Powderhall 01event (26-27 June, slides 4-11):
- presented CA’s research into the site and its context, history, building uses, constraints and opportunities.
- was attended by ~250 people (demographics on slide 11), who were asked for their opinions, knowledge and ideas.
- This was done mostly using the ‘place standard tool’ (slide 7). People score various factors about an area, then results are averaged . (Results for Powderhall are on slides 8-9. The area scored best for ‘moving around’ and ‘feeling safe’. It scored worst for ‘traffic and parking’ and ‘influence and sense of control’.)
- A questionnaire (slide 10) was also used to enable ‘free’ answers to relevant questions.
- Respondents want a design that promotes active travel, reduces car use, enables small businesses and creative spaces to exist in the area. Constraints and problems include retaining the use of the bowling greens for the school, traffic and parking.
- Results will be presented at a community event on 24 October. (Details are on slide 22.)
- The Tell us about Powderhall 02 event (slides 12 to 19):
- presented feedback from the previous event
- asked for appropriate types of use for the site, using a site plans on which people could draw ideas (slides 13-14)
- also used a model to contextualise the area, to visualise peoples’ drawn ideas and facilitate multi-way discussion (slides 15 to 17). Respondent demographics are on slide 19.
- There was also online consultation.
- Also used a questionnaire to obtain input related to the 6 principles of the place brief (listed on slide 2)
- Common themes in responses included: the stables block is distinctive, and should be a public building (e.g. for cafés and creative spaces); there should be good paths and connections, including segregated cycle-paths.
- Constraints on the site include Broughton Road and its junctions being very busy, a pedestrian across the side, the site being deep and difficult to access, the rail underpass and steep level-changes (slide 20).
- Opportunities about the side include using the railway line as part of a cycle network, pleasant views onto Water of Leith, improving St Mark’s path, improved access for the school (slide 21).
iii. Questions, responses and comments
- H Tobermann asked whether the two parts of the side (the former refuse-transfer station [FRTS] and the bowling greens) are both in CEC’s housing account or siloed into different departments.
- Both are in CEC’s general fund. The Housing Revenue Account (HRA) needs to take over the whole site. (This was authorised in March 2017 but investigations are needed to determine levels of contamination, and to authorise demolitions.) There is likely to be a mixture of tenders for the FRTS. The bowling greens are considered to be a different site, so there are consultations on whether these can be included in the masterplan, because the greens are in use by the school.
- This transfer will have no cost implications, because the site will remain a CEC asset.
- Total number of house is likely to be less than 300.
- The consultations discussed above were advertised using Facebook and Twitter campaigns, and a letter-drop covering 5200 addresses in the area. There will shortly be a further letter-drop covering 7000 addresses.
- A resident expressed concern about the potential loss of the school’s play area.
- There is no intention to sell off the nursery for any other purpose – it will become part of the school.
- It is not definite that the bowling greens will be taken away.
- C Encombe noted that in the most recent green-space audit, Leith has the least green space per head in Edinburgh, so these green spaces should be retained as-is.
- H Tobermann added that if the overall area’s population is increased, even more green space is needed.
- Cllr Rae stated that she has discussed with CEC’s housing department. CEC is considering opening up St Mark’s Bank to create better connections
- J Siann asked whether there has been a full environmental report (ER) on the FRTS area? Also, will the site be handed over so that developers can do whatever they wish, or will CEC retain control?
- There has been no ER yet, but CEC is waiting for news of contaminants (due in about 3 months).
- CEC will definitely retain control.
- Considering that the nearby development of the former Broughton School was supposed to have affordable housing but ended up being entirely short-term lets, what guarantees are there that this site will have affordable housing?
- The FRTS is HRA land, so there are minimal chances of the development not having affordable housing.
- Cllr Rae added that all of the site will be social and/or affordable housing, and there will be artist spaces. There has been no mention of involving of developers. This will be a CEC development.
- A resident added that developers attended the consultation, hoping that CEC would allow them to take over.
- It was stated that the HRA holds houses and land owned by CEC. Developers are free to attend consultations of course, but cannot be involved in developing HRA land unless CEC sells it. CEC does not intend to sell this site.
b to agree: future LCCC actions, if any, in relationship to the wider Powderhall area
- LCCC’s area includes Redbraes Park and the railway line. (Other parts of the site are in NTBCC’s area.)
- H Tobermann proposed that LCCC delegates this matter to its planning subcommittee (in liaison with NTBCC), and that LCCC should stress the need for social housing, good linkages, public access to the Water of Leith (not just to private tenants). This was agreed nem con.
- The CEC officials asked LCCC to submit its concerns ASAP (deadline end October) via N Watts, so they can be included in the work towards the place brief (due to go to committee on 12 December), to enable PAN stage in early 2019.
- H Tobermann asked for a draft place brief so LCCC could directly comment on substantiated content.
- It was suggested that there is a possible conflict of interest, in that CEC would be judging its own planning application.
- This is quite common, but CEC’s planning department would judge the housing department’s application. It was stated that there is an onus on CEC to maximise quality of development. H Tobermann suggested that such ‘conflicts of interest’ are reviewed by Scottish Ministers. Action: CEC officials to advise whether this happens.
6 Parks & Green Spaces
a to note: update on progress of Powderhall (unused railway line) green corridor
H Tobermann noted that this line links only to the FRTS and so has been unused for at least 2 years. However, whenever any work takes place here, there must be observers to warn workers of the (non-existent) trains. Also, this asset is being wasted – it could become a path. Hence CEC has set up a Powderhall Railway Group, which has found it difficult to contact Network Rail (NR). HT found earlier that NR has a contract with DB Cargo until 2119. Hence HT contacted DB Cargo, who declined to disengage from the contract and hence enable the line to be repurposed. Hence item ii below
ii. to agree: to seek LCCC representation on the Powderhall Railway Group
This was agreed nem con: R Colasuonno to undertake this.
b to note: Water of Leith Walkway (between Anderson and Newhaven) closure since 20 May 2015 and further delay of re-opening to December 2018
H Tobermann noted the extra delay to reopening this section of the walkway. This is because, prior to 2015, Vodaphone erected a mast behind the now-dangerous wall. This now-defunct mast has a high-power electricity supply line, making it dangerous to work nearby. Vodaphone are allegedly delaying removal of the line, leading to the path potentially not reopening until 2019, i.e. over 3 years of closure, hence reducing residents’ access to green spaces.
Action: C Encombe to work on this topic.
c to note: Friends of Pilrig Park report
no representative, hence no report
d to note: update on other Friends groups
no representative, hence no report
7 Transport & Clean Streets
During item 7e below, it was noted that LCCC chose in September to split its T&CS committee. See also item 9b below.
a to note: update on Dalmeny Street capital lighting project (map of existing Dalmeny Street lighting)
H Tobermann noted that 5 years ago CEC piloted LED lighting Dalmeny St. This is now due to be rolled about across Edinburgh by 2021, saving £2m per annum. Each light will have sensors to report remotely whether the light is on or off, and can be remotely switched on and off. Unfortunately, the LEDs in Dalmeny St are too small. Because nights are drawing it, it is timely to fix this now. Action: H Tobermann and C Encombe to pressure CEC for this.
b to note: update from LCCC Parking Working Group (strategic parking review)
I Mcleod reported
- She wrote to CEC about LCCC’s area not being a parking-action priority for CEC, CCing this to relevant CEC cllrs and staff.
- She received no reply to this, but was emailed by A Mackay of CEC to arrange a meeting with him and Robert Armstrong, CEC engineer for the NE locality. This took place last week.
- CEC have taken on a private consultant to assess parking issues in every street in Edinburgh. A report on west Edinburgh is due in Feb 2019; the east Edinburgh is due shortly after that.
- It may be possible to create controlled parking zones in more than one area; A Mackay will keep LCCC informed.
c Proposed tram extension – Community Councils Together on Trams (CCTT)
i. to note: tram decision-making and project timeline
H Tobermann explained CCTT, its concerns and the timeline.
ii. to note: 2nd design consultation on tram extension
H Tobermann stated that the biggest change to the plans are (1) to widen Leith Walk’s central reservation so it enables crossings; (2) to move a crossing so that certain side-streets are more easily accessed. However outstanding issues remain. HT noted inter alia that (1) current plans still omit some key items; (2) plans for the Foot of the Walk are still not settled.
Action: all LCCC members to respond to this consultation, and encourage others to do so
iii. to note: extended consultation on business support during construction
HT noted that businesses will be supplied during construction via logistics hubs in side-streets.
Action: all LCCC members to respond to this, and encourage others to do so, maybe via email@example.com
iv. to note: tram supplementary projects
HT noted that the tram project has £165m budget but this does not include controlled parking, through-ticketing and other public-realm improvements. These would be funded from different budgets but have not yet been guaranteed.
B Ryan noted that informative minutes of CCTT/trams-team meetings are available on LCCC’s website.
d to note: Shrub Place/Places for People – lack of urgency to complete excavations across foot and cycle path
H Tobermann noted that Places for People (PfP) are still excavating and hence have blocking public land since May.
- There was concern that PfP claimed to own some of this land.
- It was noted that a big hole has recently been filled, but barricades still block the cycle-path.
- C Encombe stressed that CEC needs to enforce conditions on such inconveniences.
- Action: Cllr Rae to meet PfP, along with Michael Thane, CEC Director of Housing
e to note: waste and recycling: new kerbside schedule and communal bin pilot programmebetween Lorne and Albert Sts
H Tobermann recommended that LCCC thanks CEC for piloting successful increased bin collections, leading to need for fewer bins, and asks for a wider roll-out. Agreed nem con
a to note: status of current planning applications October 2018
J Siann suggested that the LCCC list is cleared of old items. However, recently a 4-year-old item suddenly changed status.
JS has also submitted two objections to the Stead’s Place plans. These are now on LCCC’s website.
b to note: Easter Road Lidl application withdrawn (18/03989/FUL) and resubmitted (18/07963/FUL); LCCC objection
JS will also submit an objection to Lidl extending its delivery hours.
c to note: update on Drum/Stead’s Place
C Boeker reported
- the period for comments on planning applications has closed: the proposed demolition netted 1945 comments (1752 objections, 186 in support). The proposed development netted 1950 comments (1546 objections, 400 in support).
- The developers released an article about 2 weeks ago claiming that there were over 2000 letters of support. The appear to have hired a PR company that is asking people in areas of Edinburgh outwith Leith Walk to sign such letters. It appears that these letters basically state that people like the idea, but do not comment on material issues.
- Save Leith Walk petition has netted over 2000 signatures but these numbers do not appear on the planning portal.
- CEC’s planning committee must now discuss the applications. It is unlikely that this will happen at their 5 Dec meeting.
H Tobermann noted that he had submitted an enforcement request around shops in the area (part of the Leith Walk conservation area) being boarded up, but has received no response.
d CEC planning issues
i. to note: planning portal upgrade and outage in November
H Tobermann noted that there was no detail available about this closure. (This has since been rectified by CEC.)
ii. to note: recent address, date and communication issues
iii. to note: recent successful appeals for non-determination
iv. to agree: to write to Planning Department to seek assurances regarding timings and resources
Concerning items ii, iii and iv, H Tobermann noted that over the past few months, there have been increasing issues with CEC’s planning portal. HT gave examples of these. Also, developers have gained planning permissions because CEC did not determine some cases in time. This implies to HT that CEC planning is under-resourced. He recommended that LCCC complains about this, seeking assurances of better performance. This was agreed nem con.
9 LCCC office-bearers’ reports
a to note: Treasurer’s report
treasurer not present, hence no report
b to note: other office bearers’ reports
- Concerning the split of LCCC’s transport and clean streets committee into two:
o Transport will include H Tobermann (convenor), A Dudley, C Boeker, R Colasuono
- Clean streets will include I Mcleod (convenor), C Boeker, R Colasuonno, S Kennedy, J Wilkinson.
- I Mcleod stated that LCCC has never discussed waste since she has been a member of LCCC while HT stated that transport and clean streets are strongly connected, in that many transport issues result from waste issues.
- Cllr Rae suggested the CS committee meets with CEC’s waste department.
c to note: activities and plans of LCCC’s Communications Group
- J Caldwell wishes to attend CCTT/TT and parking meetings, so the group can publicise LCCC’s actions.
- JC also asked for content for the 2018 LCCC newsletter.
- JC also reported that LCCC’s noticeboard is up to date.
- Action: all LCCC members to send him photos to use on LCCC’s ‘About’ page
d Councillors’ reports, MSPs’ reports, MP’s report
No separate reports
10 Open Forum
J Wilkinson noted that many signs had been blown down but not re-erected. It was recommended he use Fix My Street.
- During item 9d above, I Mcleod expressed strong concern that LCCC’s licensing committee did not have an agenda item.
- J Hein noted that he cannot attend Leith Chooses meetings: he is otherwise committed on Wednesday afternoons.
13 Future meetings and meeting topics/presentations