Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Leith Central Community Council, held at McDonald Road library on Monday 20 January 2020 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
|Clara Boeker||Y||*||No meeting||Y||A||NA – resigned|
|Jeremy Darot||*||*||A||NA – resigned|
|Lorraine Moore||A||*||*||NA – resigned|
|Damian Sefton||*||*||*||*||NA – resigned|
|Julian Siann||Y||Y||A||NA – resigned|
|Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan||Y||A||A||Y||Y||*||A||*|
|Cllr Rob Munn||Y||*||A||Y||A||A||*||Y|
|Cllr Susan Rae||Y||Y||A||Y||*||*||A||*|
|Cllr Lewis Ritchie||A||Y||A||*||*||A||*||*|
|Ben Macpherson MSP||A||A||*||Y||*||A||*||A|
|Alison Johnstone MSP||A||*||*||*||*||*||A||*|
|Deidre Brock MP||A||A||A||Y||*||A||A||A|
Y = present; A = not present, sent apology; * = not present, did not send apology
|Douglas Tharby||LHNCC||Colin Smith||Turley||Alastair Stewart||Orbit Communications|
|Alan McIntosh||Broughton Spurtle||Mary McCabe||Turley||Ariadua Roca||Orbit Communications|
|Sgt George Nisbet||Police Scotland||Cian Phelan||JM Architects||Matt Willcock||Platform|
|At least 7 residents/visitors||Brian Thomson||JM Architects|
1.b Declarations of interest in any items on the agenda
P Foressier noted that he used to work for JM Architects.
1.c Order of business
There were no changes to the published agenda.
2 Approval of minutes of 16 December 2019 meeting
The draft was approved without changes (proposed J Tibbitt, seconded I Mowat, nem con)
3 Matters arising from previous minutes (and not included on agenda below)
Item 4: Action: Sgt Nisbet to supply B Ryan with details of night shelter, B Ryan to advertise these on LCCC website
4 Community Police Officer’s report
Sgt Nisbet reported
- PC Kevin Weaver is still on light duties while recovering from injuries.
- In early December, police tackled issues with taxis and private-hire cars, leading to some seizures and prohibitions.
- Police visited every pub in Leith to make sure all licensing is being adhered to.
- There were extra police on patrol at weekends: there was very little trouble evident.
- There was a burnt-out car in St Mark’s Park. Progress is being made.
- Last week, the Leith community team seized £22,000 of cocaine and heroin, thanks to community intelligence.
- In response to a recent sexual assault in Dalmeny park, there were extra patrols. There is no further risk to public safety.
5 Pre-application presentation and Q&A regarding build-to-rent proposal
This covers proposed development 19/05515/PAN, which would be between Bonnington Road and the Water of Leith (former John Lewis depot and former CEC Health and Social Care Bonnington Centre) by Platform (PAC exhibition boards)
M Willcock noted
- Platform, the site-owner, was launched in 2014
- It has ~6 build-to-rent sites in London and the south of England, all operating in >95% occupancy
- Platform builds and actively manages its developments, so it is a long-term active investor in its developments.
- It prefers developments larger than 100 units, to achieve more efficient management and economics.
- It is now building developments in Cardiff and Sheffield, and has consent for a 500-unit development in Glasgow.
- This Edinburgh development would be ~500 units.
- It would not be a ‘yuppie’ development: units would be affordable by 50% of Edinburgh’s working population.
- See pp2-3 of the exhibition boards for details of current tenants’ salaries.
- However, it would not be an ‘affordable’ development.
- The development would be actively managed, with 24/7 presence of janitors and other staff.
- Current Platform tenants are aged 25 to 67 (average ~30), and are generally non-drivers.
- Hence there is low car-park take-up is between 10 and 15%. (The highest is 39% in the Bedford development, which is not in a city centre and hence not close to public transport.)
- Platform developments generally have bike-clubs, with tools, noticeboards, benches etc
- Platform encourages community aspects and ‘living in the whole building’. Hence it builds and lets in one go.
- Developments tend to be ¾ built before letting starts.
- Platform prefers >3-year tenancies, but shorter tenancies can happen.
- Apartments tend to have keyless access, good internet connections, smart thermostats and remote utility monitoring.
C Phelan and B Thomson noted
- The site contains the former John Lewis depot and a CEC complex.
- The development would tie into the local masterplan.
- The site was industrialised in the early 1900s so it has Victorian industrial heritage with remnants of many train-lines.
- The site has much form-diversity, including industrial heritage to art deco tenements.
- The architects are taking into account options for connectivity, including trams, buses and cycling.
- The architects are also taking into account ‘urban grain’, the Water of Leith (WoL) and the importance of green space.
- The site is clearly brownfield. It has no specific policy designation but the presumption is for residential use.
- The Bonnington development brief (from 2008) suggests what should happens in this area.
- The John Lewis part has planning permission in principle for ~220 dwellings.
- Platform now proposes a higher density, build-to-rent development. This implies lower car-ownership.
- A development by Miller Homes is adjacent to this site.
- The proposed development would lead to better place-making
- Because car provision would be low, there is exploration of routes through the development, not just around its edges.
- Courtyards would be used for markets etc, and there would be emphasis on pedestrianism and cycling.
- There would be some concierge and communal facilities, located in the centre of the development.
- The architects are also considering the interface with the WoL and its walkway.
- The development would have ‘positive’ edges and resident-accessible green terraces (maybe roof-top allotments).
- Thoughts on massing are shown on page 7 of the exhibition boards.
- Massing would relate to the nearby bond warehouse and the Miller development.
- Next steps are shown on page 8 of the exhibition boards.
- Further consultations are due soon.
- The planning application would be submitted in March 2020.
5.a Responses from LCCC and residents/visitors
- H Tobermann: permission in principle is currently at ‘minded to grant’ status, not yet actually granted.
- H Tobermann: the development should be at least 15m from WoL, presumably for flood-prevention.
- H Tobermann: permeability of the site is desirable, as would be a new crossing over the WoL.
- The 15m distance will be adhered to. It also enables biodiversity.
- There is a stone wall the other side of WoL that is likely to make bridge-building difficult.
- P Foressier: the Bonnington brief specifically would extend Bonnington Rd Lane towards WoL. It also advises that all new developments should have significant elements of new small-business space, including space for light industry.
- The lane can be extended within the area owned by Platform but much of the land needed for the brief’s extension is outwith Platform’s ownership.
- Non-residential/employment space will be made, mostly near Bonnington Rd. Details are in discussion with CEC.
- C Encombe noted that LCCC would prefer that the brief is adhered to, but the architects stated that policies such have active travel have changed since the brief was created.
- P Foressier: the brief mandates predominance of building of 4 to 5 storeys, so why are 10-storeys buildings proposed?
- Sites now need to work much harder, but we have ‘de-scaled’ in response to CEC planners’ requirements.
- Edinburgh has an objective need for sufficient houses.
- C Encombe asked the developers for a plan showing proposed building-heights
- Platform is more an operator than a developer. It wants to create product that is used and desirable.
- J Tibbitt: You have rightly thought about in-development place-making, but please take into account the wider community. How can you meet these needs, and needs for space for entertainment, social services, employment etc?
- There will be a marked difference to the adjacent Miller development (which is traditional build-to-sell, leading to cars on streets). We have much more emphasis on public space in our development, leading to permeability from Bonnington Rd to WoL. We will look at how the wider community might use the envisaged spaces.
- There is a requirement to provide replacement employment. The frontage could do this – it cannot be residential.
- S Kennedy: what sort of heating is envisaged?
- There are two main options, following a sustainable options appraisal: (1) all electric with heat recovery and photovoltaic cells on roofs; (2) gas-powered CHP. This appraisal was against ground-source heat-pumps.
- Government policy (SAP10) is no fossil fuels in residential developments by 2032. This is likely to be CEC policy in the near future, but CEC’s building control currently requires SAP6, which doesn’t include decarbonisation.
- Hence Platform is currently in a difficult position.
- S Kennedy: will tenants’ rent partially cover the costs of the envisaged gym?
- The gross rent covers the running cost of the development.
- C Encombe: Will there be public access along the south side of WoL?
- We are not building a gated community, but CEC planners don’t want a path there (to maintain biodiversity). There will be a path along the north side.
- B Ryan: the slides show retention of old cobbles and train tracks. Can these dangers to cyclists be removed?
- Various attendees: we are very much in favour of these ‘design features’.
- J Caldwell: please comment on job-creation for local people.
- The future use of skilled labour has to be local
- A McIntosh: What is the exact number of units to be built?
- The current plan is for 535 but this not yet fixed.
- A resident: what did CEC’s urban design panel say about the plans?
- They were broadly very positive about the presentation they saw, mainly about quality and regeneration.
- A resident: Can the proposed greenway be coordinated with this development to make a cross-city green route?
- We have not looked at this yet but can do so. In general, the more connectivity the better.
- Another resident: the WoL is a dark valley, so will there be plenty of windows overlooking it to provide light?
- Absolutely – blocks will have windows looking over WoL.
- The WoL Conservation Trust and CEC want to get native species in this area.
- Another resident: The Bonnington development plan is for mixed development. There is no community focus feature in this are, but communities need facilities, e.g. doctors, shops. Can the Bonnington Rd frontage provide this?
- There is ongoing discussion about non-residential use.
- Another resident: have you taken into account local wages, to avoid pricing out local people?
- CEC is drafting policy on affordable housing. Current policy requires 25% of each development to be ‘affordable’.
- 60% of Platform’s tenants 60% earn less than £30k; the average Edinburgh salary is £32k.
- P Foressier stated the median salary (not the average) is the relevant measure.
- P Foressier asked why this development (and others) are build-to-rent, because this is pushing people out of the housing market. This is important because many pension arrangements rely on property ownership.
- Edinburgh is short of housing, yet much is going to short-term lets. This development will be managed long-term but is not a panacea. It’s priced at the relevant market, and provides much housing in one go.
- A resident: There is need for safe access to cycle network, which is not yet available in northeast Edinburgh.
- We are in relevant discussions with Spokes, and are very bike-focussed.
- The same resident: there is much housing development in Leith, but is CEC ready for increased needs for doctors etc?
- H Tobermann: the local plan should cover this issue. We are contributing to this as much as we can.
- H Tobermann: LCCC encourages affordability in build-to-rent, especially affordability for local people. LCCC supports cycling, but pedestrian access must come first.
- H Tobermann: what is the time-table for the planning application?
- There is a pre-application session on 30 January.
- The detailed application is due in the middle of March.
5.b Highlights of DMSC report on 19/05515/PAN and 17/05742/PPP
H Tobermann noted this report will go to CEC soon.
6.a Status of current planning applications (JAN 2020)
- P Foressier noted that there is a new a application for Stead’s Place.
- He also noted that there is an application for student accommodation at Montrose Terrace. The full application is due in February.
6.b Digital display @ 10 Croall Place (19/06049/ADV): background, extended period for comments to 24-01-2020
H Tobermann noted that this has been operating illegally since April, but enforcement has not yet happened, and that the developer has submitted an application for a slightly smaller hoarding. Action: H Tobermann to submit a ‘fierce’ objection.
6.c Update on place brief for east side of lower Leith Walk between Leith Walk and Halmyre St
P Foressier noted that CEC had a consultation to create a place brief. (This consultation closed on 31 January.)
- There will be a further drop in event (Out of the Blue Drill Hall 22_01_2020 13:00 – 17:00)
- LCCC’s draft consultation response will be finalised at its February meeting.
- The map on the online consultation is misleadingly fuzzy.
- H Tobermann noted that in March 2019 CEC committed to prepare a brief for both sides of Leith Walk, i.e. Halmyre St and Stead’s Place. CEC now says it will pass on to it Stead’s Place area developers relevant comments on Halmyre St.
6.d Delegation of response to Scottish Government planning performance & fees consultation to LCCC’s planning committee
This delegation was agreed. H Tobermann noted that CEC’s planning department’s performance could be far better. Ideally CEC should obtain money for sufficient staff from its planning fees, but these are set by the Scottish Government.
6.e Local plan progress: highlights of the ‘Choices for City Plan 2030’ (main issues report) and the formal consultation
- H Tobermann noted the report covers sustainability, home-affordability, reducing car-use, sharing economic success.
- J Tibbitt noted that EACC is likely to comment on this report.
6.f Opportunity to suggest revisions to Scottish planning policy as part of National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) programme
- HT noted that this is at a higher level than City Plan 2030, that NPF3 is currently in force, and that local authorities and developers must adhere to NPF policies. Hence this is LCCC’s opportunity to influence national planning policies.
- Action: LCCC planning committee to draft a response.
- C Encombe noted she had circulated the call for ideas, and for responses to questions framing relevant discussions.
- H Tobermann suggested members should submit their ideas directly.
- A Woodgate noted she would try to get input from hard-to-reach groups.
6.g Any other Planning matters relevant to LCCC area
7 LCCC Governance and Office Bearers’ reports
7.a Update on recent Community Council elections
- H Tobermann noted he has written to the Electoral Commission, asking for help with responses to the electoral mishaps.
- J Tibbitt noted that EACC will soon meet CEC about this issue.
7.b LCCC committees, committee conveners, members and subject leads, LCCC representation on outside bodies
- Decisions: the following was agreed.
- Action: B Ryan to update website accordingly
|LCCC member||LCCC office||LCCC committees, working groups etc||LCCC representatives on external bodies|
|Planning committee||Parks & green spaces committee||Transport & clean streets committee||Communications working group||Parking working group||Licensing working group||Checkpoint community planning group||Leith Neighbourhood network||Edinburgh Association of CCs|
|Caldwell||member||To be decided|
7.c Treasurer’s report
I Mowat noted that there is now a direct debit to pay Data Protection fees. He asked that invoices are presented promptly
7.d Engagement Officer’s and Comms Group report
- A Woodgate noted
- there is currently a review of Scottish fire and rescue service’s communications. LCCC was asked whether it wanted more involvement in this outreach. Decision: there is no room for regular reports in LCCC agendas but LCCC is keen to receive reports and news of relevant campaigns.
- She continues her analysis of the area, including community notice-boards. Action: J Caldwell to help with the latter.
7.e Reports from other Office Bearers
- C Encombe noted LeithChooses requests for the voting-day: volunteers and a ~£30 contribution to refreshments costs.
- Decision: if LC cannot obtain funds from CEC or Save Leith Walk, LCCC will help with costs.
- Action: Cllr Munn to raise this issue with CEC
- C Encombe noted the Neighbourhood Environment Programme (NEPs). See LCCC blog-post for details.
8 Parks & Green Spaces
There were no reports from the Friends of Pilrig park and the other parks’ friends groups.
- S Kennedy noted an uninformative application for on- and off-sales at 3 Elm Row. Action: SK, I Mowat will look into this.
- J Wilkinson noted that his application to join Edinburgh’s licensing forum is suffering from CEC administrivia.
10 Transport & Clean Streets
10.a Update on Community Councils Together on Trams
H Tobermann noted that main works in Constitution St, and exploratory/preparatory work in Leith Walk, have started. The former has been ‘a bit shaky’. CCTT and the trams team (TT) have agreed on-going discussion topics, looking at high-level matters and matters that local residents cannot resolve via TT’s ‘rather good’ customer relations team.
10.a.i Any issues that have arisen for local residents or businesses that have not been dealt with satisfactorily by the Tram Team
A resident noted non-receipt of a promised report on vibration that might affect his property. Action: CCTT to chase this.
10.b 8 week consultation from Feb 2020 on City Mobility Plan; highlights: from 2022 – behaviour change campaign to encourage moves away from car dependency; from 2025 – reallocation of road space on all arterial routes for improved public transport and dedicated active travel infrastructure; 2030 – 7 park and ride facilities will be upgraded to support fast and frequent public transport along strategic bus lanes and mass rapid transit from these interchanges into the city
H Tobermann noted CEC’s ‘massive ambition’, suggesting it is ‘broadly OK’. Action: LCCC’s transport ctte to draft submission.
10.b.i Any other Transport & Clean Street matters relevant to LCCC area
C Encombe noted that she has contacted CEC about the controlled parking zone (CPZ) in LCCC’s area. The report to CEC’s transport and environment committee has been delayed for a month, partly to cover traders’ concerns over lack of consultation.
H Tobermann noted that he’ll meet (as part of CCTT) with CEC’s waste management team over concerns about bin placement and collection. Also there is concern that the CPZ requires changes to such waste-management issues.
A resident noted local residents’ concerns about a proposed development in Montrose Terrace (to be covered in LCCC’s Feb 2020 meeting), including building-height at the rear of the development and omission of some pavement refurbishment.
D Tharby reiterated Leith Chooses’ request for volunteers for the voting day on 1 February 2020.
J Wilkinson noted he had attended a consultation on bus-lanes. Taxi-drivers are apparently generally against the proposals for bus-lanes operating 7am to 7pm, 7 days per week.
14 Future Meetings (usually 3rd Monday of the month) and meeting topics/presentations
14.a 2020 meetings
17 Feb, 16 Mar, 20 Apr, 18 May (including AGM), 15 Jun
14.b Future presentations and charrettes
14.b.i tbc 17 Feb: Montrose Terrace student accommodation by Glencairn Properties
H Tobermann noted that a full application is due. Decision: developers will be invited to LCCC’s February meeting if the application is submitted in time, or to a subsequent meeting if it’s submitted later.