LCCC September 2019 approved minutes

The content of the following is exactly the same as the draft minutes published here

Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Leith Central Community Council, held in Leith Community Education Centre on Monday 16 September 2019 at 7:30pm

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

1 Welcome

Name 2019 2020
May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr
Clara Boeker * No meeting A No meeting
Jack Caldwell
Jeremy Darot * * A NA – resigned NA – resigned
Alan Dudley A
Charlotte Encombe
Pierre Forissier * A
Nick Gardner A A
John Hein
Sheila Kennedy
Ian Mowat A
Lorraine Moore A * * NA – resigned NA – resigned
Damian Sefton * * * *
Julian Siann A NA – resigned NA – resigned
Harald Tobermann
John Wilkinson
Bruce Ryan
Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan A A
Cllr Rob Munn * A
Cllr Susan Rae A
Cllr Lewis Ritchie A A *
Ben Macpherson MSP A A *
Alison Johnstone MSP A * * *
Deidre Brock MP A A A

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

Alan McIntosh Broughton Spurtle 22 residents/visitors
Sally Miller Leith Links CC PC Margo Darling Police Scotland

1.a Declarations of interest in any items on the agenda


1.b Order of business

Agreed as original agenda.

2 Approval of minutes of 19 August 2019 meeting

These were approved subject to adding the tables from the 2018-19 financial report, and fixing some typos.
(proposed I Mowat, seconded P Forissier, nem con)

3 Matters arising from previous minutes (and not included on agenda below)

A thank-you card for Julian Siann was circulated for signature by LCCC members.

4 Community Police Officer’s Report

PC Darling reported

  • Police have been doing welfare referrals for homeless people, and hostel visits.
  • Super Saturday is in Broughton St Mary’s church this month, then will return to Old St Pauls, Jeffrey St.
  • Police attended the recent Mela.
  • Police continue to visit various drop-ins, to advise service-users.
  • There has been antisocial behaviour (ASB) in Leith Walk, Springfield, Dukinsfield, McDonald Rd, Dalmeny Park, hence there have been foot patrols and other engagement, including use of CEC unmarked cars.
  • Officers attended Dalmeny Park for ASB reduction.
  • Police surgeries take place on Wednesdays (11am to 12 noon) at McDonald Rd library.
  • Deidre Brock MP took part in Give a day to policing, attending some hostels, Cyrenians’ drop ins and sheltered housing.
  • An antisocial tenant has been evicted by CEC.
  • A plainclothes police taskforce was in Leith, netting positive results on drugs and ASB. Statistics will soon be produced.
  • There will be open doors at Leith police station and the city chambers 10:00 to 16:00 on 29 September.
  • The homeless night-shelter is in Meadowbank church, 83 London Rd (23 September to 17 October).
  • Police were at the recent community cricket tournament.
  • A recent road traffic check at Seafield Rd stopped 200 cars, but no offences were detected.

5 Pre-application presentation and Q&A

The description of this application is ‘Demolition of the existing warehouse and office building. Construction of general market flatted dwellings, affordable flatted dwellings and student accommodation. 48-50 Iona Street EH6 8SW (Iona Street (Edinburgh) Ltd & Walker Timber Ltd 19/03802/PAN)’

  • H Tobermann outlined the purpose of this presentation: to outline what is being proposed to the community, before submission of the full planning application and a consultation report, in order to get community opinions.
  • Jim Grey of Watkin Jones (WJ) stated that WJ has been active since 1791. It develops student accommodation mixed with residential accommodation throughout the UK. It is interested in this site because of its locale and environment.

5.a Presentation

The presentation slides are here. Ross Manson (planning consultant at Manson Architects + Planners) reported that

  • The development would be residential, with a mix of tenures, split between student and residential accommodation.
  • 25% of flats would be affordable, via work with the Port of Leith Housing Association.
  • The development would include family flats with a gross floor area of 91 m2.
  • The site is currently occupied by a warehouse.
  • The surrounding area is mostly flats with on-street parking.
  • The site is just over 0·5 ha.
  • The site is just outside the Leith Walk conservation area, and near to the Pilrig conservation area.
  • The local development plan has not allocated the site for any particular use.
  • Following CEC policy, the concentration of student housing would not exceed 30%.
  • The site is very accessible, having good bus services, and would have car-club presence and tram service.
  • The planned development would be almost car-free. CEC is proposing a controlled parking zone covering this area.
  • The site is bound by private car parks to the south and west.
  • The site’s eastern boundaries have a tall wall. The developers plan to landscape the site boundary.
  • The development would be sustainable due to a green roof, sustainable urban drainage and photovoltaic panels.
  • It would also have combined heat and power, and the potential to be connected to district heating in feature.
  • The plans would maximise sunlight reaching open space, and improve public realm on Iona St.
  • The building would have a πshape, with the top of the π (the student accommodation) on Iona St
  • There would be amenity for residents via the central courtyard and the private gardens (~30% of the site area).
  • CEC has encouraged reduction of on-site parking and increased open space.
  • Private gardens and drying greens would be on the eastern boundary, for the larger flats on the ground floor.
  • The student accommodation would be in a ix of clusters and flats, including flats for disabled residents.
  • Day-lighting would be in accordance with Edinburgh design guidance apart from 2 minor infringements. An expert will work on this before the full application is submitted.
  • The proposed landscape layout has been prepared by Harrison Stevens. It would include new seating, private gardens, drying greens and footpaths.
  • The development would have a strong frontage and ‘ground-floor activation’.
  • The developers plan to use brick and limestone panelling to be similar in tone to surrounding buildings.

5.b LCCC’s comments and questions

(Responses from Ross Manson and Jim Grey are indented.)

See also item 11 below.

  • Who is the daylight expert? (answer: Malcolm Hollis)
  • How high would the buildings be (answer: 6 storeys on Iona St, 4 at the back of the development)
    • There was then discussion of heights of the proposed buildings in relation to existing buildings. (See slide 15.)
  • Where will the market for student accommodation come from (answer: Edinburgh and Queen Margaret universities)
  • Student lets would be 51-weeks per year (i.e. no tourists)
  • The affordable units are on-site, rather than provided elsewhere or by making a financial contribution.
  • Why doesn’t the map of student accommodation include various nearby student accommodation? (answer: CEC doesn’t define the term ‘locality’, so the developers used the immediate census zone and neighbouring census zones and the ward. All of these would still have less than 30% student accommodation.

5.c Residents’ comments and questions

  • Why do the plans have no roof-top machine-rooms, or chimney-flues for CHP?
    • The site may not use gas, so may not have chimneys. It will be a green roof.
    • Electric lifts have no roof-housing.
  • The student accommodation numbers do not include private student lets, which may put the proportion over 30%.
    • We will get back to the CC.
  • What are the benefits of landscaping for existing residents, who don’t benefit from the site’s internal green space?
    • Landscaping on Iona St would be better.
    • In front of residential units will be a small green space.
    • All building are designed to be secure by design, so there will be no walk-through.
  • Is garden space available to all residents? How many affordable flats will have gardens.
    • WJ’s policy is that affordable flats get exactly the same space as others. 28% of the site will be for communal use
  • How many parking spaces will be created?
    • 2 disabled spaces on site – it’s a car-free development. All nearby residents will need to apply for permits to park in the forthcoming CPZ. Students resident in this development will not be allowed to bring cars into the city boundary.
  • Daylight modelling has been done for the internal courtyard. Is there modelling for buildings outwith the site?
    • Engineers have been appointed to tell us what we need to do. We will comply with this.
  • Did the urban design panel make any specific recommendation on numbers of floors?
    • 6 stories could be acceptable. The buildings would be around 18m high. However, the UDP considered an early design – designs are being changed. We will make sure the buildings comply with the daylight report.
  • As a former student in Edinburgh, I’m relieved to hear of 51-week leases,
  • How will you prevent flats becoming short-term lets (STLs)?
    • We can control student accommodation, but can’t control what happens when residential flats are sold on.
  • Will this development hamper Iona St’s light?
    • We are going to employ consultants to look into this.
  • Why are the materials in the development brick, not stone as in the original buildings?
    • We were steered away from stone by the urban design panel.
  • How many people will live in the development?
    • There will be 270 beds for students and 88 residential flats, so we can’t be exactly sure.
  • The flat roof should not be higher than the eaves of surrounding buildings.
    • The eaves height of both the development and the surrounding buildings will both be 15 m. The tops of the new building will not be visible from street level. If the various studies say we need to change things, we will do so.
  • I hope that CEC can regulate private flats, so holiday lets don’t prevent locals living in this area.
  • I would encourage more housing being built in Edinburgh, and a community garden.
  • How does this project pay attention to what is needed in Leith? (Leith’s needs do not include student housing.)
    • There will be social rent, not mid-market rent, on this development.
  • The 30% student accommodation limit is ‘plucked out of the air’, and calculations of student numbers are dubious. There are already too many students living in this area, and there is much more demand for permanent dwellings.
  • The 2 parking spaces are for maintenance and repair, not for disabled, according to your plans.
  • How can the no-car policy be enforced? If you can do this, why can you not prevent residential flats becoming STLs?
    • If WJ finds a student has a car within the city boundary, the student will be evicted. We have done this elsewhere.
  • This development highlights the area’s population density – what about infrastructure to support the proposed population increase from this development? This development as planned doesn’t fulfil any community need.
  • There are four nearby developments that have student accommodation that are not taken into account. Bike sheds and full acesss routes would be welcome.
    • There will be bike storage for every student, and 2 bike-stores per residential flat
  • A positive outcome is that these proposals have brought people together, and councillors have heard people’s opinions. Please use the area to house local people.
  • We are still at an early design stage, and are gathering information to inform the final plans and application. Thank you for your input.

Cllr Rae: I am ‘utterly taken aback’ that data from Save Leith Walk on Leit’s wants and needs is being ignored. The plans are for a building that would be out of place. The scale and text, inter alia, are completely wrong.

Cllr McNeese-Mechan: CEC feels passionately about STLs, and is seeking powers to curb it. Currently CEC can only use planning enforcecmetn but this is inefficient. There is no point in building affordable housing if it then becomes STLs.

Cllr Munn: I echo McNeese-Mechan. CEC is about to start work on the local development plan, and so wants opinions via the coming consultation.

Ben Macpherson MSP: I have received many messages that while Leith welcomes students, we need to consider population density in the immediate area. We need to asks developers to reduce the amount of student accommodation and increase the amount of affordable housing. There are also concerns about scale. In the past, developers have scaled down sizes of developments in response to community concerns. I welcome calls for a stone façade to match the rest of the street. The Scottish Government is looking to control STLs: both number and concentration.

Deidre Brock MP: I have questions for the developer, who I met recently. How advanced are plans for the connection to a district heating scheme? Do residents not need to vote whether to have controlled parking zones (CPZs)? Please give some examples of how in the past you have changed applications in response to community concerns.

    • There will be plant rooms in the building for CHP. These will be designed as connectable in the future.
    • [See below for discussion of parking and CPZs.]
    • Sugarhouse close was changed, as was Abbeyhill (changes to materials, green roofs following community requests). Glasgow councillors thanked us for purpose-built buildings that then freed existing buildings to be let to the community rather than to students.

6 Planning

6.a 106 – 162 Leith Walk Edinburgh EH6 5DX (18/04349/CON and 18/04332/FUL)

The following points were agreed nem con.

  • that the owner of 106-162 Leith Walk, Drum (Steads Place) Ltd, is not extending or rolling forward leases for the retail premises while their planning appeal is pending, resulting in a whole city block left unused and boarded up
  • that this will be detrimental to the amenity and safety of this section of Leith Walk and is unlikely to strengthen the credibility of the developer’s claim that their proposal is in the interest of the local community

6.b Exhibition 18 September (3.30 – 7.30pm) at McDonald Road Library on 19/03433/PAN| Residential development of up to 63 apartments, associated infrastructure and landscaping. | 14 Ashley Place Edinburgh EH6 5PX

This application and exhibition were noted. The developers wish to increase the height and density of in the current plans.

6.c Status of current planning applications (SEP19)

H Tobermann noted that since LCCC’s last meeting, LCCC has objected to an HMO in Ferry Rd, and to renewal of the Croal Place advert. He also noted that this now operates illegally, so LCCC has asked CEC to investigate.

6.d 2030 City Plan and strategic planning issues

6.d.i community master-planning and co-design event (Saturday21 September 2019, 11-3pm) Leith Proposals: LCCC

  • This was noted – it will feed into the local development plan (CityPlan 2030).
  • D Bremner added that this is part of an opportunity to influence the LDP, via a co-design event with local residents. This is timely, judging by the temperature of today’s conversation.

6.d.ii September Civic Forum and CEC’s commercial needs studies

  • P Foressier reported that he attended. There was a large omission in the number of consultations on purpose-built student accommodation, i.e. CEC has not asked Edinburgh universities and colleges how many students they expect over the next 10 years, due to confidentiality reasons.
  • H Toberman added that commercial needs studies (on hotel, retail space etc) were commissioned, but from potentially biased sources. However increased population needs more infrastructure. So district heating is currently ‘pie in the sky’. Hence LCCC should push back against developments which will not help LCCC’s area.
  • C Encombe asked whether the Iona St development’s 80 students would affect plans for Stead’s Place.
  • A resident who came from abroad to study in Edinburgh stated she lived in a good purpose-built building. Subsequently she has seen other student accommodation: it tends to be very expensive but embarrassingly poor.
  • Ben Macpherson MSP added that the next programme for government will include new legislation on district heating.

6.e Any other Planning matters relevant to LCCC area

  • A resident asked whether Manderson St is subject to a gentrification policy, and what’s to become of industry there?
  • H Tobermann responded that there is no such policy: each application is considered alone. Changes of use need planning applications. He advocated adding ideas such as retention of local industry to the LDP.

7 Transport & Clean Streets

7.a Community Councils Together on Tram (CCTT): update

H Tobermann reported that the last meeting of CCTT and the CEC trams team (TT)

  • discussed waste logistics during and after construction. Some details are still missing but CEC’s manager was well-briefed and knowledgeable. He promised that necessary resources will be deployed.
  • It is likely that on 4 October, CEC will notice to proceed. There will then be 6 weeks for mobilisation (15 Nov), i.e start of digging etc. Work may start at Constitution St.
  • TT will modify the footpath on the east side of Leith Walk to create the southbound traffic lane. This will leave a ~2m-wide footpath, so trees may well be removed.

A resident stated that test-drilling found reinforced concrete under the road, so he is concerned about noise and vibration.

7.b Progress of Extending Parking Controls to LCCC area in multiple phases

H Tobermann reported that CEC’s Transport and Environment Committee recently approved roll out of CPZs. Phase 1 is a CPZ along the tram-route (also including the colonies and Abbeyhill, as LCCC requested. Consultation is due in October 2019, then a report will go to committee in Q1 2020, followed by ~ 7 months of legal processes, with implementation due in mid-2021. This roughly coincides with tram completion, as LCCC wishes. Many other Edinburgh CPZs are being planned

  • B Ryan asked whether legal processes might delay this schedule, as occurred with Leith Walk repairs. HT responded that there are no Reporter stages for Traffic Regulation Orders, but some matters may be referred to Scottish Ministers.
  • Parking fees will be very cheap compared to buying a parking space.
  • I Mowat suggested that Bonnington should be in phase 1.

7.c Update on Rossie Place TRO/19/27 Parking Restrictions

S kennedy reported that Holland House Electricals has ‘plagued’ by parking for 18 months. A TRO for double-yellow lines is in place, but implementation has been delayed many times. The latest news is that consultation on the TRO will be in December, hence implementation is delayed to February 2020.

  • Action: S Kennedy to write on LCCC’s behalf to object to such delays.

7.d Any other Transport & Clean Street matters relevant to LCCC area

No items

8 Parks & Green Spaces

8.a Update on draft masterplan plan (and timeline) for Coalie Park

This will be considered in the local community planning on Saturday.

8.b Friends of Pilrig Park report

N Gardener reported by email:

  • Friends of Montgomery St Park had a successful Summer Fair on Saturday 14th September with some 500 odd attendees and a wide range of activities and music. Holyrood Evangelical Church and Leith Scouts assisted. Pictures can be found on our Facebook page.
  • Colony of Artists are having their annual doors open days cum art fair cum gala with music and food this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, September 21st and 22nd 12 to 6. Programmes available in all good local shops and bars!

Action: B Ryan to circulate this report via email

8.c Other Park Friend’s reports

no items

9 Licensing

  • J Wilkinson volunteered to attend licensing forum meetings. Action: C Encombe to forward relevant details
  • An application for extending the hours for a kebab in elm row to 1am (2am on Saturdays and Sundays). LCCC has objected because the shop is in a tenement outwith the city centre ward, so the extension would be against CEC rules.

10 LCCC Governance and office bearers’ reports

10.a Community Council elections

The following points were noted:

10.a.i Update on publicising Community Council election

  • J Caldwell asked attendees to circulate elections leaflets.
  • H Tobermann asked where CEC advertising of CC elections is in LCCC’s area.

10.b Update on issues around availability of McDonald Rd Library for LCCC meetings and accommodation subsidy for CCs

  • C Encombe noted that she has written to CEC asking if LCCC can use McDonald Rd Library as before, suggesting that security staff could be paid for the extra necessary hour (8pm to 9pm), but has not yet achieved success. She has also written Cllr McVey. Hence she has booked the current venue for the next few meetings, but noted it’s not suitable.
  • J Hein added that the current venue’s lift is switched off before LCCC meetings end, so there is an accessibility issue.
  • Action: Deidre Brock MP and Cllr Munn to look into the venue situation.

10.c Treasurer’s report

I Mowat reported that he has lodged LCCC’s accounts with CEC, and that CEC will pay £150 towards annual venue-hire, but LCCC received this in 2018-19. It is unlikely that LCCC’s grant will increase, so venue hire must be paid from LCCC’s reserves.

10.d Reports from other Office Bearers


10.e Comms Group Report


10.f Report from partnership/locality meetings

C Encombe reported she attended the recent Leith Neighbourhood Network meeting: it’s still not very good.

11 Open Forum[1]

  • J Wilkinson suggested that the Iona St planning application means increased loss of industry in Leith, with accompanying effects of increased traffic pollution.
    • H Tobermann responded that this is not yet a fait accompli, and that it should be discussed at Saturday’s event.
  • S Kennedy asked Cllr Munn what happens when an STL is reported. He responded that it is handled by planning enforcement. Action: Cllr Munn to circulate relevant links.
  • A resident expressed concern about flash-floods in Iona St, based on previous experience, and asked how a policy on building heights could be started.

12 AOCB[2]

J Hein noted that it is about 1·5 years a since police vehicle knocked down a bus shelter, and asked what CEC is doing about it.

13 Bulletin[3]

Edinburgh father and son forced to create DIY ‘flume’ as stinking waste leaks from short-term let above (EN, 30-08-19)

14 Future Meetings and meeting topics/presentations

See agenda.

[1]This agenda point allows members of the public to raise issues of public interest.

[2]This agenda point allows LCCC members to raise issues not covered by the agenda.

[3]This is for information only; any discussion to be brought to a future meeting.