Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Leith Central Community Council, held at McDonald Road library on Monday 18 November 2019 at 7:30pm
Actions and decisions are red italic. nem con means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision.
|Clara Boeker||✓||*||No meeting||✓||A||NA – resigned|
|Jeremy Darot||*||*||A||NA – resigned|
|Lorraine Moore||A||*||*||NA – resigned|
|Damian Sefton||*||*||*||*||NA – resigned|
|Julian Siann||✓||✓||A||NA – resigned|
|Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan||✓||A||A||✓||✓||*|
|Cllr Rob Munn||✓||*||A||✓||A||A|
|Cllr Susan Rae||✓||✓||A||✓||*||*|
|Cllr Lewis Ritchie||A||✓||A||*||*||A|
|Ben Macpherson MSP||A||A||*||✓||*||A|
|Alison Johnstone MSP||A||*||*||*||*||*|
|Deidre Brock MP||A||A||A||✓||*||A|
✓ = present; A = not present, sent apology; * = not present, did not send apology
|PC Margo Darling, PC Lauren Mitchell||Police Scotland||Alan McIntosh||Broughton Spurtle||7 residents and visitors|
1.a Declarations of interest in any items on the agenda
1.b Order of business
It was agreed nem con to follow agenda as circulated.
2 Approval of minutes of 16 September 2019 and 21 October 2019 meeting
2.a September meeting
These were approved as-is (proposed I Mowat, seconded John Wilkinson, nem con)
2.b October meeting
These were approved, subject to correction of minor typos (proposed J Tibbitt, seconded N Gardner, nem con)
3 Matters arising from previous minutes (and not included on agenda below)
4 Community Police Officer’s report
PCs Darling & Mitchell reported
- Sgt Weaver is off work due to a motorbike accident.
- An operation on bonfires was very successful, with very low call volumes. Police and CEC staff patrolled to prevent unauthorised bonfires. There was only one fire in Leith that night.
- Over Christmas, police and CEC staff will be checking taxis (including private hires and ride-sharing cars) are safe. They will also go into Leith Walk licensed premises to prevent fights.
- On 9 December (10:30 to noon), at Out of the Blue, there will be a ‘staying safe’ drop-in event, and bike-marking.
A resident asked about the one-way lane in on Leith Walk when trams are in construction. The speed limit will be 20mph, and he is concerned about vibration affecting properties. Hence could there be speed controls here.
- Action: the PCs will follow this up. (C Encombe suggested liaising with the trams team.)
A Woodgate stated that Easter Rd had become safer over the past 5 years, and thanked the police for this.
5 Presentation and Q&A: Euan Leitch on Tenements: strengthening the repair & maintenance culture through legislation
Update on the final recommendations of a Scottish Parliamentary Working Group set up to establish solutions to aid, assist and, where necessary, to compel owners of tenement properties to maintain their buildings and upcoming (legislative) developments.
- BEFS’s work on tenement maintenance has been in progress for around8 years, based on concerns about the maintenance of such older buildings.
- The word ‘tenement ‘ covers a wide range of types of building. Multiple ownership makes ithard to agree how to maintain them.
- Hence BEFS coordinated a stakeholder group, i.e. organisations that are all involved in such maintenance, in order to raise the profile of this issue with politicians.
- Ben Macpherson MSP convened a relevant meeting in the Scottish Parliament around 18 months ago. It agreed to establish a cross-party working group to come up with recommendations for potential legislation.
- Such legislation would have effects several parliaments hence.
- The group met for around a year. During that time, Graham Simpson MSP took over from Mr Macpherson, because the latter had become a minister.
- Traction for this work came from it covering both modern and old buildings.
- The working group delivered 3 recommendations:
- compulsory owners’ associations(OAs)
- sinking funds(aka ‘building reserve funds’)
- five-yearly Inspections
- The third recommendationis simplest, and is linked to online logbooks detailing works carried out by OAs.
- However, OAs would need to be legally constituted bodies, to protect owners from liabilities.
- Thiscould be described as compulsory factoring, with the option of owners self-factoring.
- All owners would need to contribute annually to the sinking fund, which would be owned by the tenement (as a whole).
- This is common around the world.
- However such funds might impinge on people’s rights if they are not introduced with sufficient notice.
- Banks and pension funds are interested in such funds. This could be helpful if insufficient funds [to pay for maintenance] have been built up.
- The Scottish Government promised a response bythe autumn, which concludes on 22 December
- A report is due to be published soon. It will recommend that all residential property should meet the same standards.
- The main point is that we need to do regular maintenance now to avoid large bills for repairs in the fut
5.a Questions and answers
- What about insurance?
- This has not been considered in depth. However, it is known that many do not have communal building insurance.
- Are there complications when owners rent out properties?
- Some landlords may pass [sinking fund] bills on to tenants. There are also potential problems around sharing [tenants’] contact details.
- How will sinking funds be managed? There may be issues around changing funds’ signatories.
- See BEFS’s website for detailed recommendation. OAs would need to control the funds.
- Should buildings be maintained to exactly the original standards, and who should decide what standards to follow.
- OAs should take surveyors’ advice, and ensure [at least] that buildings are wind-proof and watertight.
- What about large stairwells that could have lifts, i.e. could provision of these being included in the legislation?
- It will have to be done sometime because Scotland’s population is aging, but this topic is outwith the stakeholder group’s remit.
- How will prices [of contributions] be determined and enforced?
- This has not yet been agreed. [In case of default, costs could be taken from proceeds of sales of flats.]
6.a 19/05092/FUL Demolition of existing building & erection of 58 flatted residential development, 14 Ashley Place
It was noted that the original planning application (granted in 2006) had no day-lighting study. Hence the developers intend to build to the standards in force in 2006, rather than to current standards requiring that the diffuse daylighting of the existing neighbouring flats will not be adversely affected by the new development (a minimum of 27% of diffuse daylighting per window should be achieved). Also the daylighting and sunlight figures of the submitted planning application are not provided by a lighting specialist.
Action: LCCC planning team to submit an objection due to the lack of full daylighting analysis, and to point out the regrettable lack of this analysis in 2006 (agreed nem con).
- It was noted that change of use for the Ferry Rd development has now been granted.
- It was noted that the advertising panel in Croall Place is still in operation.
- There was no further news on the Iona St development.
6.c Other Planning matters relevant to LCCC area
- It was noted that a former garage on Manderston St has become a food, music & events venue without appropriate permissions.
- The owner of a nearby garage suggested that complaints about the noise have been effective because the music has ceased. However, this has not eased concerns around change of use, because no other owners have been able to change the use of their properties.
- At the December LCCC meeting, a resident stated that the noise had not ceased.
- Action: LCCC’s planning convenor to liaise with this resident over possible actions.
7 Parks & Green Spaces
7.a Powderhall Railway Path update
it was noted that there is money available for a feasibility study. This opportunity will be used to request Network Rail to give up the relevant land for a path.
7.b Friends of Parks’ reports
N Gardner reported:
- Friends of Montgomery St Park had a successful September fun-day event.
- Friends of Pilrig Park and Leithers Don’t Litter are doing a clean-up at 11am on 1 December 2019.
- CEC is undertaking its annual [online] consultation on use of parks and green spaces.
- Action: LCCC members to take part in this consultation.
8 Transport & Clean Streets
8.a CPZ consultation update
- S Kennedy reported that his consultation is now closed.
- C Encombe reported that she had attended some of the consultation events
- Several businesses had not been informed of the plans, so were shocked to learn of the proposals for more double yellow lines (DYLs). This would affect garages, of which there are any in the area, which is supposed to be light-industrial,
- Hence CE has ensured that the relevant CEC official is happy to receive comments from this meeting and from CE visiting businesses.
- The maps of the proposals are not a fait accompli, so proposals can be changed in response to comments.
- It is not yet clear what the zones will be.
- A garage-owner stated that he wasn’t informed at all [before these consultation events], and that it took a lot of effort to contact the appropriate CEC staff, and that business such as his need parking spaces. The proposed DYLs would hence make businesses such as his ‘unfit for purpose’.
- S Kennedy stated that CEC had followed its usual format for CPZs, so it is important to comment on such plans.
- Another resident suggested introduction of ‘pay-to-park’.
- N Gardner suggested that LCCC should comment/intervene over lack of effective communications, while J Caldwell suggested that LCCC should stand up for businesses, especially because of the forthcoming tram-work upheaval, and J Hein reminded the meeting that LCCC had raised this issue by campaigning for a CPZ.
- Action: C Encombe to draft letter to CEC/Andrew Mackay
8.b Trams to Newhaven
8.b.i Update on Community Councils Together on Tram (CCTT)
H Tobermann reported
- CCTT has met with the trams team for around 18 months.
- Construction work had started on 15 November on Constitution St.
- There will also soon be preparatory work on Leith Walk: removal of pavement ‘build-outs’ and removal of planters. Leith Walk will close in February or March.
- CCTT is rethinking its approach for the next 2½ years.
J Caldwell reported that residents have contacted LCCC via social media about the ‘awful’ overnight road-resurfacing noise.
- H Tobermann noted that this work is not actually part of the trams project.
- J Tibbitt responded that while he had suffered from this noise, but that the work was necessary.
10 LCCC Governance and Office Bearers’ reports
10.a Community Council elections
10.a.i Problems with election process impacting at least three community councils
- It was noted that A Dudley’s and J Hein’s forms had been lost by CEC, so they were/needed to be co-opted onto LCCC.
- Decision: J Hein was co-opted (proposed N Gardner, seconded J Caldwell, nem con)
- Other issues with Edinburgh’s CC elections were noted, including closing of CC email communications during ‘purdah’.
10.a.ii Vacancies for individual Community Councillors and representatives from recognised (registered) local interest groups
- H Tobermann noted that it is not possible for LCCC to know whether LIGs’ nominations have been lost.
- J Tibbitt noted that EACC will collate incidents of CC election issues.
10.b Appointment of LCCC members to committees, committee conveners and subject leads, LCCC representation on outside bodies
10.b.i Appointment of Engagement Officer
- It was noted that CEC wishes CCs to have EOs but does not insist on them. EOs could be responsible for digital comms (if these weren’t already in place: LCCC has an active website, Twitter presence and Facebook presence). Also CCs need to produce annual reports including at least a section on engagement.
- A Woodgate stated that she is keen to be involved in this aspect of democracy, and that she sees the role as complementary to comms work, and including proactivity, e.g. contacting businesses about consultations.
- J Caldwell stated that he does not wish to stand for this role but is keen to work with whoever is appointed via LCCC’s comms group (himself, B Ryan, S Kennedy).
- It was noted that F Gerlach emailed that she is keen to support who ever becomes EO.
- Decision: A Woodgate to become LCCC’s engagement office (agreed nem con)
- Action A Woodgate to prepare brief proposal about future engagement work
10.b.ii Edinburgh Association of Community Councils (EACC)
- It was noted that EACC’s AGM (2019_11_21) will elect new office-bearers.
- It was noted that John Tibbitt has been nominated for Chair of EACC by other CCs, along with his proposal to improve EACC’s performance
- J Tibbet noted inter alia that he was on Leith Links CC for 3 years, and represented LLCC on EACC. And became vice-chair of EACC a year ago. He was a civil servant and social researcher, and was strongly interested in community development and social justice. In the context of the Edinburgh Partnership, CEC recognises a role for CCs: EACC has a seat on the partnership board that should be put to good use. Hence the EACC should become more active, and should be supported by CCs to set relevant agendas.
- Action: LCCC to nominate John Tibbitt as Chair of EACC as a step towards implementation of his proposal (agreed nem con)
10.b.iii Previous LCCC committees: planning, transport & clean streets, parks and & green spaces; parking working group; licensing subject lead; incoming correspondence triage
held over to December meeting
10.b.iv Committee structure, appointment of LCCC members to committees, committee convener/s, working group/s, subject lead/s and incoming correspondence triage
held over to December meeting
10.c Other outside bodies and need to appoint LCCC reps
held over to December meeting
10.d Treasurer’s report
nothing to report
10.e Reports from other office bearers
nothing to report
10.f Comms Group report
held over to December meeting
- It was noted that there is an election hustings on 28 November, at 7:30 at Broughton St Mary’s church.
- A resident noted the work towards Manderston st being added to the local conservation area.
J Wilkinson asked for input to a consultation on bus lanes. The meeting favoured bus-lanes being full-time.