LCCC December 2019 approved minutes

Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Leith Central Community Council, held at McDonald Road library on Monday 16 December 2019 at 7:00pm

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

1 Welcome, introductions, attendance, apologies

1.a Attendance

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

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

Carl Baker Collective Architecture Ella Taylor Smith Broughton Spurtle
David Robertson Senior construction project manager, CEC PC Chris Casselden Police Scotland
Elaine Watson Learning estate planning officer, CEC Richard Price NTBCC
Neil Watts Construction project manager, CEC At least 2 residents/visitors

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

Item 6a: H Tobermann noted that Glencairn Properties had invited him to see its Abbeyhill site due to his LCCC planning role. While he works for Out Of The Blue, which owns an adjacent property, OOTB has no involvement with Glencairn.

1.c Order of business

Decision: follow supplied agenda

2 Approval of minutes of 18 November 2019 meeting

These were approved (proposed H Tobermann, seconded Alan Dudley), subject to

  • 1a attendance: removing a hint that J Hein would resign in 2020
  • 6a: removal of statement that a planning permission had now expired
  • 6c: noting that the noise has not stopped, despite a resident stating it had.
  • 7b action: replace NTBCC with LCCC

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


4 Community Police Officer’s Report

PC Casselden reported

  • The regular beat officer is still off sick.
  • From item 4 (Nov minutes) if speeding in tram-construction areas becomes an issue, police will take appropriate steps.
    • Currently, police are focussing on drink-driving.
  • On 6 and 14 December, there were multi-agency actions
    • 6 December was on taxis and private-hire cars. More than 50 were stopped, of which 2 were taken off the road,
      8 ordered to be repaired.
    • 14 December was on normal cars: 37 were stopped, of which 2 were seized. There was also an arrest on warrant.
  • At the end of November, there was a focus on LW primary school at drop-off and collection times.
    • This was due to parking issues on Montgomery St, so parents were educated about yellow lines and box junctions.
  • There were two bike-marking events.
  • There was a multi-agency winter-safety advice event at OOTB.
  • Leith community police officers are often being abstracted to the city centre/Christmas markets.
  • There have been calls about use of drugs in stairwells at Buchanan St and Dryden Gait.
  • Residents were advised to ensure intercoms work.
  • There is an issue of drug-use in Shrubhill Walk, hence there are extra patrols to nip this issue in the bud.
    • H Tobermann suggested that drug-use here is due to poor design and poor running of the facility.
  • There was damage to the community garden greenhouse. This is not locked up overnight so it is accessible.
  • There was a spate of arson of communal bins early on 4 December.
    • PC Casselden appealed for relevant information.
  • Actions: PC Casselden to supply updated information on night-shelters to B Ryan, B Ryan to publicise this

5 Pre-application presentation and Q&A regarding Powderhall stables, bowling greens and former waste transfer station site (19/04682/PAN)

See PDF of slides at

C Baker, D Robertson, E Watson and N Watts reported

  • This is a mixed-use site, aimed at Edinburgh’s shortage of affordable housing and need for early years centres.
  • The site is fairly central to Edinburgh, next to the Water of Leith (WoL, slides 2-3).
    • It’s on the edge of the ‘urban range’ (slide 4).
  • The site has an historical context (slides 5-7).
  • It is near to open space, including parks, allotments and playing fields (slides 8-9).
  • It is near to residential, educational and commercial/light-industrial buildings (slide 10).
  • Building-heights in the area are shown on slide 11. NB not all storeys are the same height.
  • Slide 12 shows a view of where the waste-transfer building used to be.
  • The project builds upon the 2018 place-brief and consultation (slides 13-16, LCCC in October 2018 minutes [item 5]).
  • Slide 17 shows the site’s areas: 1 = former waste-transfer site, 2 = former bowling greens, 3 = listed stables building.
  • Slide 19-21 show the site after the waste transfer station has been demolished.
  • Site constraints include steep level-changes, few access points, underground services and Bonnington Rd (slides 22-25).
  • Site opportunities include potential cycle-paths, connections with WoL, access to/from the nearby school (slide 26).
  • Slides 27- 30 show potential strategies for the site, including connections (slides 28-29) and public space (slide 30).
  • Slides 32-34 show relevant design principles, including south-facing gardens (slide 33) and balconies (slide 34).
  • The next planning application will cover area 2, the former bowling greens (slide 36).
    • Detail of this area’s constraints is on slide 36. Photos are on slides 37-39.
    • Details of this area’s opportunities are on slide 40.
    • This area would be used for a nursery and older persons’ housing, thus enhancing intergenerationalism.
    • This stems from consultations in March 2019 (slides 42-45).
    • The buildings would be in an ‘L’ shape (slides 46-48). The preferred option is on slide 47.
  • Concerning area 1 (former waste-transfer site)
    • This is a long-term site, so plans have not been developed in any detail.
    • Constraints are shown on slides 50-51.
    • Opportunities are shown on slide 52.
    • Potential strategies are shown on slides 53-56, including public space (slide 55) and zones (slide 56).
    • Design options are on slides 57-59.
  • Concerning area 3 (stables building)
    • Possible ways to use it, including artists’ spaces and community uses, are shown on slide 61.
  • Next steps are shown on slide 62. These include
    • January 2020: decision on stables building funding application, second PAN consultation and Bowling Green planning application
    • Consultation on development proposals for waste-transfer station area.
    • This will include CEC finding a joint applicant, because CEC cannot build housing for sale.

5.a Q&A

  • H Tobermann: please confirm PAN is for the whole site, but that the 2020 planning application will be for area 2 only.
    • confirmed
  • H Tobermann: There has been a second application for Scottish Government regional regeneration grant funds: why did the 1st fail; what is the status of the 2nd?
    • No specific reasons for failure: no Edinburgh projects were successful in that funding round. CEC has now committed to filling funding gaps. (In the first application, all funding sought would need to have been obtained.)
    • We are still waiting for the result for the second application.
  • H Tobermann: Please confirm area 2 will be only have a nursery and an old peoples’ home, while the rear bowling green will remain open.
    • Confirmed. The primary school would like the rear green fenced off for its uses (sports and allotments), so access is via the school. Currently the school uses the front two greens, but this is disadvantageous for several reasons. For example, the nursery would include a toilet that can be used by pupils, rather than them returning to the school.
  • C Encombe: It is bad that the green space will be inaccessible, given Leith’s population density and lack of green space.
    • We will reflect on this, but the bowling greens are inaccessible now, so nothing relevant will really change.
  • N Gardner: permeability will be good, given nearby siloed developments. However, how much contamination is there; were there other types of development/amenity requested in the consultation; what will the housing mix be?
    • There is less contamination than expected – it’s mostly metals. A high-level drainage strategy has been worked out with help from SEPA so that contamination would be contained. Soft landscaping would allow natural drainage. Hard standings would need drainage that does not pass through the ground and hence release contaminants.
    • There were comments on lack of public services. NHS Lothian said that the site is within 6 GP catchment areas, and that GPs could increase their hours rather than building a new surgery. There will be a multi-purpose room.
    • Housing mix will be 20 to 25 1-2 bedroom units on the bowling green area and up to 240 units on area 1. Some of these will be family units (3 bedroom). Around 10% will be suitable for wheelchairs. At least 35% will be affordable.
  • I Mowat: will there be benefits from the envisaged intergenerational features? Could the school green-space be used out of school hours by other organisations?
    • Yes: older people enjoy hearing happy children. Such projects are advocated.
    • Potentially yes. There are precedents, but the school head is concerned that such access will lead to harm to pupils.
  • P Foressier: Please comment on social housing amounts.
    • The nursery will be exclusively social housing. The waste transfer area will be at least 35% affordable housing, i.e. a mix of social housing and mid-market rental housing.
    • H Tobermann added that LCCC would prefer social housing.
  • J Caldwell: please comment on tree-removal.
    • Some trees above a sewer will need to be removed.
  • R Price: is any of the site being sold off
    • It will have a mix of tenures, so some will be sold via a private developer that will build according to a master-plan.
  • Various: who will run the old peoples home? Will there be a concierge etc?
    • This is independent living, not a managed old peoples’ home. Hence no concierge etc
  • A resident: is this common-good land?
    • No, but it has been owned by CEC for years.

6 Planning

6.a Glencairn Properties have acquired 11-23 Montrose Terrace (former filling station)

H Tobermann noted OOTB’s non-interest in this site (item 1b above), and that

  • the site is heavily contaminated with petrol.
  • the current plan is to build purpose-built student housing
  • the developers are doing a PAN-like process, with an exhibition on 19 December
  • the developers will send plans to LCCC’s planning subcommittee: it may comment on these at this point.
  • the developers are likely to apply for planning permission in early 2020.
  • a presentation at the February 2020 LCCC meeting is likely
  • LCCC should be a statutory consultee, so if it objects this application will go to committee

6.b to note: status of current planning applications (December 2019)

P Forresier noted

  • there has been no movement or formal planning application for Iona St
  • there was an exhibition on 10 December about Bonnington Rd Lane/Biscuit Factory. The developers wish to present to LCCC in January, and aim to apply for planning permission in February.

6.c to agree: LCCC submission regarding 19/05092/FUL – demolition of existing building and erection of 58 flatted residential development @14 Ashley Place

P Foressier noted concerns raised in November meeting (item 6a) e.g. about lighting and lack of greenspace

Action: H Tobermann to submit an objection (agreed nem con)

6.d to note: update on place briefs for East and West side of lower Leith Walk

H Tobermann noted:

  • After the rejection of the Stead’s Place plans, he wrote to CEC’s planning convenor suggesting that now is the time to do a proper masterplan covering that and the site on the other side of LW.
  • CEC stated in December that it is arranging 3 community drop-in events for the east side only
    • It is not covering the west side due to lack of resources.

6.e to note: any other Planning matters relevant to LCCC area

  • H Tobermann noted that Cityplan 2030 is moving to the ‘main issues’ stage. There will be consultation soon.
  • A resident was concerned about lack of planning enforcement in Manderston St.
    • H Tobermann suggested that enforcement is one of CEC’s very weak points.

7 LCCC Governance and Office Bearers’ reports

7.a Community Council elections

  • C Encombe congratulated J Tibbitt on becoming chair of EACC.

7.a.i to note: update on problems with CC election processes in October

J Tibbitt noted that EACC has collated issues about the recent CC elections (e.g. lost nomination papers, delays in informing candidates). These were then discussed with the relevant CEC official (R Murray), who acknowledged many shortcomings. Much of these stemmed from the requirement for CEC officials (not returning officers) to check eligibilities. These officials had to deal with a large number of last-minute applications. R Murray also stated that CEC will be prepared for this at the next set of elections, and that both councillors and officials will have changed by then.

Action: LCCC office-bearers to write a formal letter of protest to CEC, noting CEC’s admission of lack of resources (nem con)

Action: LCCC office-bearers to complain to Electoral Commission (nem con)

7.a.ii to note: vacancies for individual Community Councillors and representatives from registered local interest groups

A potential applicant was asked to send in a brief CVs.

7.b Appointment of LCCC committee-members, committee conveners/subject leads, LCCC representation on outside bodies

7.b.i to agree: remit of LCCC Engagement Officer

The following was agreed nem con

The LCCC Engagement Officer (EO) will champion a proactive approach to engagement with the wider LCCC community (residents and businesses) to:

  • build a better understanding of the LCCC area demographic to aid LCCC activities, representation and relevance;
  • contribute to awareness raising activities of the LCCC to members of the local community;
  • support other committee members where possible in engagement based activities.

The EO will write and present LCCC’s annual engagement report outlining activities that have taken place over the year.

7.b.ii to note: previous LCCC committees: planning, transport & clean streets, parks and & green spaces; parking working group; licensing subject lead; incoming correspondence triage

C Encombe and H Tobermann noted that LCCC committees are permanent, and report at each full LCCC meeting, while LCCC working groups are ad-hoc, reporting as appropriate.

J Tibbitt suggested that there should also be regular reports from the Edinburgh partnership board. (This meets quarterly.)

7.b.iii to agree: committee structure, appointment of LCCC members to committees, committee convener/s, working group/s, subject lead/s and incoming correspondence triage

Decision: membership to remain as it was

Action: H Tobermann to list memberships

7.b.iv to note: other outside bodies and need (or otherwise) to appoint LCCC reps

Held over until January

7.c to note: Treasurer’s report

I Mowat noted that LCCC has not yet been invoiced for venue-costs. (C Encombe noted she has asked for this.)

7.d to note: reports from other Office Bearers

  • C Encombe noted she had attended a recent neighbourhood partnership meeting. The only community representatives were her and two other CC chairs. The meeting covered greenspace and a emergent community directory.
  • C Encombe noted lack of engagement by LCCC members with major topics.
  • A Woodgate noted she is auditing local businesses, schools and places of worship in LCCC’s area. She asked LCCC members to tell her the specific areas they live in, to understand coverage and potential engagement channels.

7.e to note: Comms Group report

Held over until January

8 Parks and green spaces

8.a to note: Powderhall Railway Path further update

H Tobermann noted the brief in the link above.

8.b to note: Friends of Pilrig Park report

N Gardner noted that Leithers Don’t Litter did a clean-up on 1 December.

8.c to note: other Park Friend’s reports


9 Licensing

I Mowat noted that there was an application for a tattoo parlour, but this was not a concern.

10 Transport and clean streets

10.a to note: Controlled parking zone update

C Encombe noted that she has chased the CEC official running the local CPZ consultation to express concern over safeguarding Leith’s business ecosystem, and that many businesses were not aware of the proposals.

  • CEC has replied, stating that it has taken these concerns into account but there is no current update. Firm recommendations will be made to the relevant CEC committee in February.
  • There was discussion of student parking in LCCC’s area, and aspirations for park-and-ride facilities outwith LCCC’s area.

10.b Trams to Newhaven

10.b.i to note: update on Community Councils Together on Tram (CCTT)

  • H Tobermann noted CCTT is asking the trams developers for relevant data on construction issues etc, but has not yet received it. CCTT is now organizing itself due to construction now having started.
  • Decision: H Tobermann and C Encombe to continue to represent LCCC on CCTT.

10.b.ii to note: start of full works in Constitution Street and preparatory work in Leith Walk

H Tobermann noted that the first 2 weeks of work were a ‘mess’. However, the logistics hubs are working ‘not too badly’.

10.c to note: any other Transport & Clean Street matters relevant to LCCC area

H Tobermann was concerned that streets are not being swept. However, other members have observed sweeping.

11 Open forum[1]

No items

12 AOCB[2]

No items

13 Bulletin[3]

13.a RNIB takes candidates on “blindfold walk” (Third Force News, 3-12-19)

A Dudley noted that various MP candidates had attended this, and that it had raised awareness of concerns, but no clear actions had yet resulted.

14 Future Meetings (usually 3rd Monday of the month) 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