Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Leith Central Community Council, held in Leith Community Education Centre on Monday 21 October 2019 at 7:30pm
Actions and decisions are red italic. nem con means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.
The following items were chaired by Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan, returning officer for the recent LCCC elections.
|Clara Boeker||✓||*||No meeting||✓||A||NA – resigned||No meeting||NA – resigned|
|Jeremy Darot||*||*||A||NA – resigned||NA – resigned|
|Lorraine Moore||A||*||*||NA – resigned||NA – resigned|
|Damian Sefton||*||*||*||*||NA – resigned||NA – resigned|
|Julian Siann||✓||✓||A||NA – resigned||NA – resigned|
|Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan||✓||A||A||✓||✓|
|Cllr Rob Munn||✓||*||A||✓||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
|Ella Taylor Smith||Broughton Spurtle||Kerry Nicol||ISA Architects||Daryl Teague||Glencairn Properties|
|Chris Highcock||CEC||Paul Scott||Scott Hobbs Planning||Laura Maginnis||Glencairn Properties|
|Michael Traill||Leith Links CC|
Sheila Kennedy, Charlotte Encombe, Amy Woodgate, Jack Caldwell, John Hein (all NTBCC members)
3 Declarations of interest
4 Declaration of election result
- The following were declared elected: Amy Woodgate, Charlotte Encombe, Fee Gerlach, Harald Tobermann, Ian Mowat, Jack Caldwell, John Tibbitt, Pierre Forissier, John Wilkinson, Sheila Kennedy, Nick Gardner, i.e. 11 members.
- No local interest groups (LIGs) were registered as wishing to be represented on LCCC.
- Hence it was noted that there is space for 5 co-opted members. [After the meeting, B Ryan found that Edinburgh’s CC scheme permits LCCC to also have 8 members representing LIGs operating in its area.]
- Cllr McNeese-Mechan also suggested that members who couldn’t not attend meetings in person might attend digitally.
5 Appointment of office-bearers
The nominees for chair, secretary and treasurer were elected unopposed and nem con. The election for engagement officer was held over due to A Woodgate’s and J Caldwell’s absence. Cllr McNeese-Mechan stated that Engagement Officers are to increase engagement with CCs’ communities. The meeting appeared to favour that role being shared to ease the workload.
|Chair||Charlotte Encombe||Nick Gardner||Ian Mowat|
|Secretary||Sheila Kennedy||Nick Gardner||Harald Toberman|
|Treasurer||Ian Mowat||Harald Tobermann||John Tibbitt|
|Engagement Officer||Amy Woodgate|
Cllr McNeese-Mechan thanked M Traill and the Kirkgate for hosting the meeting
H Tobermann was appointed as vicechair (proposed I Mowat, seconded P Forissier, nem con).
The vicechair then took over chairing the meeting.
5.a Election process
Cllr Mcneese-Mechan asked the meeting not to discuss elections of other community councils.
C Highcock reported
- There are potentially 46 CCs in Edinburgh, 45 of which are active. They consist of elected members and representatives of ‘local interest groups’ (LIGs).
- CEC councillors were appointed as returning officers (ROs) for CC elections.
- To be CC candidates, nominees must be proposed and seconded, and nominees, proposers and seconders must all be on the electoral register and live in the relevant CC area.
- Previously CEC elections staff could supply electoral registers for each CC area. However, due to ‘software issues’ in 2019, this could not be done easily, so electoral staff offered to check names if they were provided.
- 45 CCs led to over 430 names needing checked, and hence a backlog of work. Hence checking took ‘a little while’.
- In the process, not all nomination forms transmitted to ROs and thence to electoral staff reached their destination immediately. This needed time to sort out.
- Electoral staff have now identified some things that could be done differently in future.
- However, they welcome CC members’ input on how the process could be made more accessible and easier.
- A Dudley noted that nomination forms suggested they could be scanned and emailed [to CEC], but this was not possible for him, so he posted his. However, it did not arrive.
- In response to a question from H Tobermann, Mr Highcock stated that one problem was getting forms and names to electoral staff.
- H Tobermann responded that he had attended a CEC election vote-count, and saw that it received substantial resources, so why did CC elections not receive such resources? (Mr Highcock stated that he did not argue with HT’s observation, and that things could be done better if there was more money and more people involved.)
- Hence CEC electoral staff are looking into electronic voting and online nomination forms.
- I Mowat asked what would happen if A Dudley’s nomination form turned up.
- Cllr McNeese-Mechan noted that she received his form on 18 October, well after the closure of nominations.
- B Ryan asked whether it would be possible to extend the window between close of nominations and notification of results, so there is enough time to process and check matters. He also asked whether volunteer staff could be used in view of lack of budget resources for CC elections.
- Mr Highcock favoured the ‘more time’ suggestion. He stated that it would be fine to use volunteers for some roles, but that issues around privacy of personal data would give him concerns if volunteers took up other roles.
- A Dudley asked if there was a way of confirming receipt of nomination forms.
- Mr Highcock responded ‘we should but we don’t always.’ and said that such a step could be built into the process.
- Cllr McNeese-Mechan stated that she emailed acknowledgements about any forms she received.
- A Dudley reiterated that he had needed help to complete his form [presumably due to his personal circumstances.]
- J Tibbett says he was puzzled by the choice of methods for returning forms, and urged that during the 4 years to the next set of Edinburgh CC elections electronic submission of forms become the main way of submitting forms. However, this would need safeguards so that people who cannot use such technology are not excluded.
- Cllr McNeese-Mechan suggested use of forms consisting of writable PDFs to avoid handwriting issues.
- She also suggested that nominees, proposers and seconders are enabled to enter their own electoral register numbers.
- In response to a query from I Mowat, Mr Highcock stated that the full electoral register is available in the library.
- I Mowat suggested that A Dudley is co-opted onto LCCC now, but declared elected if his nomination form turns up.
- B Ryan suggested that nomination forms should be posted by a tracked delivery service, with CEC reimbursing costs.
- C Highcock and H Tobermann responded that it would be better to invest in other aspects of CC elections.
- H Tobermann stated that democracy should not be done ‘on the cheap’, and asked that CEC ensures CC elections are suitably resourced.
- N Gardner stated that ‘vast’ numbers of people are unaware of CCs’ work, and so are unlikely to wish to join them. Hence it is key that more promotion of CCs is done.
- Mr Highcock responded that there had been lamp-post wraps and some social media activity, but that only reaches a certain audience. Hence CC engagement officers should promote CCs’ work.
- Cllr McNeese-Mechan noted the work of ELREC to promote CCs, especially promoting ethnic minority candidates.
- B Ryan and F Gerlach reported seeing this, but F Gerlach noted that there are still barriers to candidacy, so there should be longer promotional periods to net more candidates, especially if people need to register as voters.
Alan Dudley was co-opted onto LCCC (proposed H Tobermann, seconded I Mowat, nem con).
Action: B Ryan to update LCCC’s mailing list and website.
6 Approval of minutes of 16 September 2019 meeting
It was agreed nem con to defer this to the next meeting due to lack of wifi in the venue making the draft difficult to access.
7 Matters arising
- I Mowat and B Ryan advised that there were no outstanding or urgent matters arising from last month’s minutes.
- B Ryan was reappointed nem con as LCCC’s minutes secretary and webweaver, at £60 per month for this work.
8 Community Police Officer’s report
A Police Scotland representative apologised for not reporting to the meeting, due to being called to an ongoing incident.
9 Pre-application presentation and Q&A: 19/03433/PAN| Residential development (up to 63 apartments) at 14 Ashley Place, Edinburgh EH6 5PX
See also scans of the presentation hand-out.
P Scott, K Nicol and D Teague reported
- The application is well into its PAN process: the PAN application was submitted in July, and there was a public event on 18 September.
- The application is unusual because it’s for over 50 flats, but has a planning history in that planning permission was granted for the site in 2017, following approval of a master-plan (now partly implemented) in 2006.
- Page 01 of the hand-out shows the site-plan – an existing brownfield site (formerly Cornhill builders). It’s bounded by two large residential developments.
- The area was identified in the Edinburgh local development plan as one of 8 areas for regeneration. The Bonnington development brief identifies it as an area for residential developments.
- Glencairn has existed since 2011. (See page 02.) In 2013 it built the Bellevue colonies. Recent projects include a development in Liberton and the repurposing of the cinema on Gt Junction St.
- In 2006, permission for 4 blocks (shown on page 03) was granted (from applications submitted in 2004). Two residential blocks have been built. The other two are this site (block C). The final block (block D) is part of the Miller scheme.
- This planning permission established block C’s massing and scale, as a mix of 5 and 6-storey buildings.
- A 2014 application for just block C was granted permission was granted in 2017. (See reverse of page 03.)
- This was to be purely residential, consisting of 40 units in 4-5 storey buildings.
- It took form 2014 to 2017 to conclude a legal agreement. It has not been implemented, and will expire in 2020.
- Page 04 and its reverse show the different plans’ footprints and massing. Current plans are informed by previous ones.
- The current plans are for 5 and 6 storeys, stepping down along Ashley Pl, with the top storey set back so it is invisible from street level. The whole building would be at least 18 m from the Miller site, and would include a ‘feature corner’.
- The final building would have ~58 units, 25% of which would be affordable. These would be together in one site-block.
- The other two site-blocks would be private.
- There would be a pend near Newhaven Road would enable entry to the site and create more parking-spaces.
- There would be a landscape buffer between this site and the public highway (i.e. Ashley Place). Residential access would also be set back by ~1.5m.
- The design development pages (pages 05) show various studies considering massing, scale and treatment of the corner.
- From early on, there was a preference for brick because it is robust and requires relatively little maintenance. It also allows ‘play’ with buildings’ details and tonal qualities. So there would be lighter brick on the feature corner.
- The top storey would have a lighter feel from zinc cladding.
- Page 06 shows some precedents and inspirations, e.g. for the detailing, colour variations and Juliet balconies.
- Cycle-parking in this development would follow the Edinburgh design guide, including closed provision in each block.
- Page 8 and the following page show how the finished site would look from Tinto Place, and looking to Bonnington Rd.
9.a Questions and answers, and comments
- J Wilkinson: how many car- and cycle-parking spaces would there be?
- 31 car spaces, 120 cycle spaces. (See page 07). Parking around the development would be on land not adopted by CEC. Bollards would prevent vehicular access but permit pedestrian access from Ashley Place to Tinto Place.
- I Mowat: Please give more detail on the affordable flats.
- There would be 14 affordable flats, i.e. 25% of the site, occupying all of site-block A.
- I Mowat: What feedback have you received so far on the PAN application?
- Most has been about simultaneous building of developments ‘plaguing’ the area. Other feedback concerns parking, and access from Ashley Pl to Tinto Pl, used by many school-pupils. There is demand for housing in this area.
- N Gardner: What proportion of the development would be green space?
- It will meet the Edinburgh design guide’s minimum requirement (20%), not including front areas or hard standing.
- N Gardner: What sizes of flats and price-points would there be?
- Flats will have 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms. Prices will be market-driven, so perhaps £220,000 for a 2-bedroom flat.
- Glencairn is In discussion with the Port of Leith Housing Association (POLHA) about such matters.
- P Forissier: How have you addressed policy EMP9, i.e. how would you provide future employment on this site?
- Glencairn starts from that two planning permissions for the whole area have been implemented, and another can be implemented at any stage. That is, this site was granted permission for residential developments in 2017. Hence on-site employment is not necessary. Also, EMP9 is applicable to sites bigger than 1 hectare.
- H Tobermann added that existing residential permission is no guarantee that this application will be granted.
- P Forissier: Who else [apart from POLHA] might manage the affordable flats?
- No-one else is being considered just now.
- B Ryan asked whether affordable flats should be spread throughout the site, leading to ‘tenure-blindness’?
- Tenure-blindness tends to be about the look and quality of materials, i.e. affordable flats should not look different from other flats in the same development. POLHA and other housing associations prefer the flats that they manage to be together to minimise management issues. ‘Pepper-potting’ is possible in large sites but not small ones.
- Sizes of affordable flats will follow POLHA and CEC criteria. So there will be a flat suitable for a wheelchair user.
- B Ryan: You said that that the top storey would not be visible from the street, but this is contradicted by page 08.
- The top storey would be minimally visible from some points and invisible from others.
- F Gerlach: Would there be space for growing and/or a space for nature/wildlife, as well as the lawns?
- There would be a mixture of lawns and social spaces, so this idea could be kept in mind.
- F Gerlach: Would there be designated spaces for storing prams?
- There are no designated pram-spaces, but there are lifts to all flats. POLHA is more onerous than CEC about design.
- H Tobermann: Please give more detail about the 121 spaces for cycle-storage.
- These comprise 2-tier racks. All are indoors and secure. There are also outside spaces for visitors’ cycles.
- H Tobermann: Concerning SuDS, where would rain/floodwater go?
- Into an attenuation tank. A SUDs report has been made. The development would cope with a 1 in 200 year flood.
- H Tobermann: Has there been a daylighting assessment?
- The existing office building set the precedent for massing on this site. An analysis will accompany the application.
- P Foressier stated that he knows the architects to be ‘respectable’ and so he is positive about the general plans.
- N Gardner suggested there are opportunities to include swift-spaces, and spoke in favour of Rankin Fraser as landscape architects. He requested that planning ensures tree-roots and underground services do not impede each other.
- J Wilkinson expressed a preference for drying-greens.
- This could be considered.
- I Mowat stated that he liked the idea of using brick, and asked abut provision for children’s play-areas.
- This would be within the courtyard area, which would be securely gated.
- H Tobermann expressed concern about the proposed number of flats and the height of the proposed buildings, which would not help this area’s high population-density. Hence what planning contributions would be made?
- The main contribution will be building houses that are needed in the area.
- F Gerlach welcomed green-space in the plans but asked the developers to also plan for wildlife and the sharing economy. She also asked how hallway lights would be controlled to conserve energy.
- It is standard for hallway lighting in new builds to have movement and nightfall triggers
- J Wilkinson: Please tell us more about the proposed schedule.
- The full application should be made soon. Demolition would start in early 2020. Completion would be in late 2021.
- J Wilkinson: There is a huge amount building in the area. Is there demand for the planned flats in this development?
- H Tobermann. Please let us see a draft of your record of this meeting that would be submitted with the application.
- H Tobermann noted LCCC’s need for a planning committee. He proposed that P Foressier became its convenor. (agreed nem con). N Gardner and J Wilkinson also volunteered to be on this committee. (H Tobermann and I Mowat indicated that they might also join this committee, if needed.)
- H Tobermann noted that John Lewis’ site is about to become topical, and suggested that it would cover from Water of Leith to Bonnington Rd, including Biscuit Factory. He has been asked by Orbit Communications for a pre-PAN meeting.
- It was noted there has been no further development of the Iona St proposals, apart from local residents setting up a ‘Save Iona St’ campaign to actively influence this scheme.
11 Transport and clean streets
- It was agreed nem con that H Tobermann and C Encombe would continue to represent LCCC on CCTT, which meets with CEC’s trams team (TT) towards the end of each month.
- H Tobermann noted that Constitution St will close in mid-October. However, Lothian Buses is unwilling to share how it will change its routes. He noted that it has been suggested that people will forget if changes are published too far in advance, but insisted that people need good notice so they can, for example, change their work-travel arrangements.
- I Mowat added that there are issues around lack of notice about closed bus-stops and temporary bus-stops.
- H Tobermann responded that TT wishes for only one set of changed routes etc throughout construction, so that disruption is at least consistent, but it cannot influence Lothian Buses.
- J Wilkinson stated that road-resurfacing is going very well.
- I Mowat stated that notifications for Bonnington Terrace were ‘non-existent’, and that work continued until late.
- H Tobermann stated that the engineer in charge is very observant and hard-working but is under-resourced.
- P Foressier noted that Dalmeny St now has no speed-bumps, and so accidents are highly likely. He stated that he has seen correspondence from the engineer stating that the bumps were to be reinstated.
- Action: P Forissier to contact the engineer (Steve Blacklaw) about this.
- F Gerlach noted that there has been much car-horn noise at the Easter Rd/Brunswick Rd junction. (H Tobermann suggested that this might be a police matter. J Wilkinson noted experiencing a dangerous mis-redirection of traffic. J Tibbitt commended work to manage traffic at the foot of Easter Rd, but noted frequent changes to management.)
12 Parks and green spaces
- N Gardner was appointed nem con as LCCC’s parks and green spaces convenor.
- He noted that Montgomery St Park has a successful fun day in September.
- J Wilkinson asked where there had been any further news about Pilrig Park.
- N Gardner noted that there has been a ‘massively successful’ campaign against the Ladyboys of Bangkok performing in Pilrig Park, because the park is not suitable for this. (The performance would occupy almost all the park, causing disturbance to residents and other park-users, and rendering the park unusable. Also loud music next to a graveyard would be distasteful.)
J Wilkinson noted that he had applied to be on Edinburgh’s Licensing Forum, but that closing dates for applications have been changed, so he is not yet aware whether his application has been successful.
Decision: appointment of LCCC licensing is held over until LCCC’s November meeting
14 LCCC Governance and Office Bearers’ reports
16 Open Forum
18 Future Meetings (usually 3rd Monday of the month) and meeting topics/presentations
It was noted that LCCC’s chair has been offered use of McDonald Rd library at £15 per meeting to cover CEC’s cost of locking up afterwards. I Mowat added that LCCC can afford this. Decision: LCCC will take up this offer (agreed nem con)