LCCC January 2021 minutes

Meeting highlights

  • death of John Hein, resignation of John Tibbitt, co-option of Lucy Watters
  • Planning: Dryden St area, Bonnington area
  • various governance matters
  • LCCC response to Public Spaces Management Plan
  • Transport & clean streets: spaces for people, tram-works
  • Licensing: various matters

Minutes of Leith Central Community Council ordinary meeting, held via MS Teams, on Monday 18 January 2021 at 7:00pm

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

1 Welcome, apologies

1.a Attendees

  • LCCC voting members: Jack Caldwell, Alan Dudley, Charlotte Encombe, Nick Gardner, Sheila Kennedy, Ian Mowat,
Harald Tobermann, Lucy Watters, John Wilkinson,
Amy Woodgate
  • LCCC ex-officio and non-voting members: Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan (Leith Walk ward), Bruce Ryan (minutes secretary)
  • Others: Michael Trail (all Leith Links CC), Alan McIntosh (The Spurtle), 6 other residents/visitors

1.b Apologies

Pierre Forissier (Leith Central CC), Cllr Susan Rae (Leith Walk ward)

2 Welcome, introductions, attendance, apologies

2.a to note: declarations of interest in any items on the agenda

A resident: I have an interest in item 6.c below, due to my co-authorship of the relevant Edinburgh Design Panel report.

2.b to note: J Hein’s death (24/12/20)

The chair noted John Hein’s service on LCCC (~12 years), including a long spell as chair, and that he will be sorely missed.

2.c to note: J Tibbitt resignation (7/1/21)

The chair noted that John Tibbett has now moved out of Edinburgh and so has to resign from LCCC. He probably also has to resign as chair of the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils.

2.d to agree: to notify CEC of the above changes

The chair noted that Lucy Watters is standing for co-option to LCCC.

  • Decision: L Watters was co-opted nem con
  • Action: B Ryan to remind LCCC office-bearers of the requirements for co-option
  • Action: chair to notify CEC of these changes.

2.e to agree: order of business below

Decision: agreed nem con

3 Approval of Minutes of 16 November 2020 meeting

Approved as is (proposed A Woodgate, seconded S Kennedy)

4 Matters Arising from previous minutes (and not included on agenda below)

Item 6a:

  • F Gerlach has resigned from LCCC.
  • Action: A Dudley’s committee roles to be discussed when he is present. (He joined the meeting after this point.)

5 Community Police Officer’s Report

No report provided

6 Planning

6.a to note: restrictions to CEC posting physical planning notifications

H Tobermann: the posting of physical planning notifications has been suspended by CEC, so fewer people may learn of proposed developments.

6.b to agree: to write to CEC and developers deploring deterioration of listed Dryden Street buildings, poor maintenance of Dryden Bridge footpath and damage to bridge

H Tobermann: this is about the old tram sheds to the rear of the Shrub Place site. 2 red brick buildings, one of which was of very fine quality, are badly deteriorating due to negligence by the developers. (They are actually obliged to look after the buildings.) Similarly, the developers have not maintained the Dryden Bridge footpath, so that it is badly dented, water-logged and collecting debris, and have blocked it such that it does not permit coronavirus-related physical distancing.

  • Action: H Tobermann to write to CEC and the developer

6.c to note: update on latest Platform/Bonnington plans (20/01932/FUL) and deadline for comments (23-01-21)

  • J Wilkinson: We recently met with Platform, who have made changes to their plans. Changes include taking planned buildings further back from the Water of Leith (WoL), adding more greenery, reducing some planned building-heights, and redesigning planned rooflines to resemble older industrial buildings. The Biscuit Factory would be retained, as would the building opposite it, so the new buildings will be around them. Some retail units would be created on Bonnington Rd, and construction would be finished around 2024. Affordable housing would be ‘pepper-potted’ around the estate, and Platform would manage the finished development.
  • J Wilkinson: the developers assume that residents will be in their late 20s to early 30s, mostly not owning cars.
  • I Mowat: I welcome the plan to retain the Biscuit Factory as a community asset/hub.
  • H Tobermann: there are some related transport matters:
  • The proposed number of flats has been reduced from ~560 to 453. 1000 bike-parking spaces would be provided.
  • 8% on-site car-parking would be provided (down from originally-planned 15%). Some will have e-car charging facilities.
  • All of this is in the context of a forthcoming controlled parking zone (CPZ) in this area.
  • H Tobermann: none of the above is a done deal – the application will go to CEC committee in February 2021, so the deadline for comments is 23 January. LCCC Planning committee welcomes the reductions in height and number of flats, and the increased space between the flats and WoL, but it is slightly concerned about the CPZ potentially not being in place in time – it suggests that establishment of the CPZ should be part of the planning conditions required by CEC. It welcomes the ‘pepper-potting’ of affordable housing, but is concerned that they will be truly affordable – there should be transparency around rental prices.
  • H Tobermann: construction would start in December 2021 at the earliest, lasting for ~30 months. No flats will be released until the development is complete, a factor LCCC Planning welcomes.
  • Action: H Tobermann to submit comment that the new plans are broadly acceptable, so long as the above concerns are met

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

Action: P Forissier to brief H Tobermann about other planning matters

7 LCCC Governance and Office Bearers’ reports

7.a to note: need for updated publication policy and procedures (website, Twitter, Facebook), learning from recent ‘social’ media issues

The chair recalled adverse online reactions to LCCC social media commemorations of John Hein, due to some of his activities outwith his LCCC work.

  • A Woodgate: comms team has been working to learn from this, e.g. not always auto-tweeting/auto-face-booking new blog posts.
  • Action: LCCC comms team to learn from this, and devise a comms policy. Currently it is concentrating on implementing MS Teams, which has taken more time than anticipated.

7.b to note: verbal report on webinar Scottish Open Government: Delivering on the Scottish Government’s Programme of Reforms

J Wilkinson: I attended this event, organised by MacKay Hannah and chaired by Richard Kerley of QMU. Speakers included:

J Wilkinson: The main benefit of this event was increased awareness of what is being done in such areas, and by whom.

Chair: I urge LCCC members to attend and get involved with such events and happenings – they affect us!

7.c to note: Office Bearers’ decision to set up Clydesdale Internet Banking (T&Cs) and IT spend (MS Teams)

I Mowat: this internet banking has been set up, but there are some issues about the email addresses to be used to do it. Costs per transaction are significantly less than costs for posting cheques, although such costs are very minor.

7.d to note: Treasurer’s report

See item 7c above

7.e to note: reports from other Office Bearers and LCCC groups

7.e.i Chair

  • C Encombe: I attended the Cockburn Association’s (CA) lecture on development of the Edinburgh Festival: the balance around commercial enterprise is now out of kilter, because (after it was found that money could be made) hotel organisations and airports were invited to join in. LCCC members are encouraged to attend CA events.
  • Cllr McNeese-Mechan: this is the opinion of one organization. Other data strongly suggests that the majority of Edinburgh’s population are positive towards Edinburgh’s festivals. (I understand that many of these do not have the Festival ‘on their doorsteps’.) Also the festivals are a huge employment source, which is very important considering current financial challenges to public finances. Hence the question is ‘how do we build back better?’, focusing on environmental stability – including transport and holiday-making (and ‘green payback’). Such questions have been important to festival boards before coronavirus. Performers need to earn in order to eat.
  • C Encombe: it has been found that 70-80% of the local population enjoy the Science Festival, but the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) attracts only 15 to 20% of Edinburgh’s population, so it is right to look at how much of this is for Edinburgh.
  • Cllr M-M: understood – for example opera has a relatively small market. However the free EIF events have mass draw. It is right to understand how statistics are derived.

7.f to note: update on LCCC representation on outside bodies

H Tobermann: Now J Tibbett has resigned from LCCCC, LCCC no longer has a direct link with Edinburgh Association of CCs.

  • Action: LCCC to discuss this matter – and the Festivals – at a later meeting – or possibly in a separate Teams meeting.

8 Parks & Green Spaces

8.a to note: Draft Submission to Public Space Management Consultation and deadline for comments (20-01-2021)

  • N Gardner: LCCC would prefer large events to be held on durable surfaces, and that maximum areas of parks (~20%) be used for events. CEC should aim for better financial details, e.g. taking a minimum %age of events’ profits. CEC should avoid clashes with school holidays. CEC should be able to fine organisers if events cause damage. Many European cities, which are compact and have narrow streets like Edinburgh, stretch their street markets across the cities.
  • J Caldwell: the submission should also mention population density
  • B Ryan: NTBCC has drafted a comprehensive submission, including comments on governance – I can ask them to forward a copy to NG in case this helps the final submission.
  • Action: N Gardner to update, then submit, LCCC’s response

8.b to note: verbal update on Powderhall Railway Path

H Tobermann: CEC obtained funds for a feasibility study, and Jacobs has done some work on this. However, the lead CEC officer has been working on Spaces for People matters. Also Network Rail has not been very forthcoming. The report is now promised ‘soon’, but no firm date has been given.

8.c to note: Friends of Pilrig Park report

J Wilkinson: FoPP’s AGM is due soon.

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

  • S Kennedy: the state of parks (including Montgomery St park) is poor due to much additional use, and discarded masks.
  • N Gardner: clean-ups are difficult due to need for physical distancing.
  • L Watters: I have started a campaign to support community litter-pickers, including taking ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos. There is currently insufficient bin-collection, and hence increased concern.

9 Transport & Clean Streets

9.a to agree: joint email with NTBCC regarding SfP measures (one-sided cyclepath) on London Road and CEC’s ability to maintain these new spaces adequately (snow/ice)

H Tobermann. NTBCC’s transport convenor has approached me about joint work on this. The proposed cycle-path would be one-way only, and not tied into other cycle-paths. Additional snow- and litter-clearance may be hampered by bollards. The island on London Rd does not support physical difference, but is not covered by Spaces for People. London Rd is the boundary between LCCC and NTBCC, hence the call for joint action.

  • Action: H Tobermann to undertake such joint work with NTBCC

9.b to note: verbal update on tram works and final overall impact on LCCC area

H Tobermann: coronavirus regulations permitted restart of construction after the holiday. But at least 8 street-lights were non-functional during the holidays, in part because the CEC lighting team can’t easily access Leith Walk due to tram-work related impedimenta, leading to long periods of darkness. There have also been issues around bin-emptying and information-provision.

Action: These will be raised at the next CCTT/Trams-team meeting, and via other channels.

9.b.i to note: any issues that have arisen for local residents or businesses that have not been dealt with satisfactorily by the Tram Project Team

S Kennedy: the new bins on Albert St are disgusting. What can be done?

H Tobermann: CEC committed to cleaning the whole area each night, but is currently achieving ~3/4 of this, leading to overflow and other knock-on effects.

  • Action: H Tobermann to add this detail to communications with Trams Team and CEC

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


10 Licensing

S Kennedy: LCCC has responded to ~5 licensing requests for cafés to start alcohol off-sales with food, recommending against this. Another 3 have now been received.

  • A Woodgate: this may be so that cafés can sell via Just Eat, Deliveroo etc.
  • B Ryan: some pubs’ off-sales in the NTBCC area have caused problems due to people congregating after buying.
  • L Watters: I thought this practice had been banned, so it’s surprising that cafés are applying to do off-sales.
  • M Traill: consumption of alcohol in public spaces is currently prohibited in tier 4 areas. Purchasing is still permitted.

There was discussion of delegation of action to LCCC Licensing committee – often there is insufficient time for requests to be discussed at LCCC meetings, due to deadlines for submission to the Licensing Board (which is sitting online).

  • Action: LCCC Licensing committee to circulate its submissions to LCCC members, possibly after submission

11 Open Forum

11.a LeithChooses

J Caldwell: LeithChooses voting opens online at on Monday 25 January, closing Sunday 31 January. Anyone who lives, works, studies or volunteers in Leith can vote.

  • Action: B Ryan to email details to LCCC members


12.a Food growing strategy

  • N Gardner: I have submitted, on behalf of LCCC, to CEC’s food-growing strategy consultation. (Closing date was today.) The submission favours raised beds, growing (in private gardens) and sharing (with the community). It would be helpful if CEC sets up a scheme to collect and share such food. Indoor markets need storage facilities to be viable, and cooking facilities. Food-growing would benefit from better integration with planning processes.
  • A resident: the strategy is a city-wide initiative, required under community empowerment legislation. CEC’s consultation avoided the topic of using private gardens to grow food, because this may infringe civil liberties. The strategy would touch on food-poverty, climate change etc. Hence the theme of ‘growing local’. I have mentioned the planning system in my response to the consultation.
  • A McIntosh: Over the last two years, the Spurtle has covered a charity managing back greens to grow food when the owners could not do this. I will share this link with N Gardner.
  • L Watters: this would be of interest to the Edinburgh Edible Economy movement – please share this submission.
  • Action: NG to circulate his submission to LCCC members

12.b Leith Forever

Chair: I encourage LCCC members and followers to visit Leith Forever – it’s full of interesting information

13 Future Meetings (usually 3rd Monday of the month) and meeting topics/presentations

13.a to note: 2021: 15 February, 15 March, 19 April, 17 May (AGM)

13.b to note: future presentations and charrettes

13.b.i tbc: talk by CEC Archeology Officer and FCA on findings at 70, 72 Newhaven Road (17/01183/FUL)