Minutes of Leith Central Community Council ordinary meeting, held via
MS Teams, on Monday 15 March 2021 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
- LCCC voting members: Alan Dudley, Charlotte Encombe, Pierre Forissier, Sheila Kennedy, Ian Mowat, Harald Tobermann, Lucy Watters, John Wilkinson, Amy Woodgate
- LCCC ex-officio and non-voting members: Bruce Ryan (minutes secretary), Cllrs Amy McNeese-Mechan, Rob Munn, Susan Rae (all Leith Walk ward)
- Others: ~11 residents and visitors
Jack Caldwell (LCCC), Nick Gardner (LCCC), Cllr (Leith Walk ward)
1.c Declarations of interest in any items on the agenda
1.d Order of business below
This was agreed nem con.
2 Approval of minutes of the ordinary LCCC meeting on 15 February 2021
Approved as-is (proposed H Tobermann, seconded A Woodgate, nem con)
3 Matters arising from previous minutes (and not included on agenda below)
All actions in February minutes had been undertaken apart from item 4b (chair to communicate with CEC about budget needed for online arrangements) and item 4c (B Ryan and A Woodgate to draft LCCC publication policy and procedures)
L Watters to join LCCC transport and clean streets committee
4 Community Police Officer’s Report
No report received
5 Transport & Clean Streets
5.a Trams to Newhaven
5.a.i to note: deterioration of local basic services along the tram route
- H Tobermann: I contacted the Trams team (TT) about this, noting 5 major problems, including ice not being cleared from pavements on Leith Walk and its side-streets, street-lighting not functioning, ponding on pedestrian routes, bin-collections being deficient and pavement-parking. No-one has taken responsibility for this, despite the area having a high population density and low car-ownership. Yet it had been promised that CEC services would not deteriorate during tram-construction. TT has agreed there are problems, but states that these issues are due to CEC, not TT.
- A Woodgate: street-lighting is a (currently topical) safety issue.
- L Watters: please raise with TT that commercial properties bins are now taking up much pavement near Dalmeny St.
- H Tobermann: businesses must make their own contracts for waste-removal. The TT logistics hubs should help.
- Action: H Tobermann to raise this issue with TT
5.a.ii to note: Atkins report on ground borne noises & vibrations
- H Tobermann: this report was commissioned to show that trams (once in operation) will not cause damage or inconvenience through ground-born noise and vibration. (Such issues during construction are a separate matter.) The report notes the planned uses of standard track-bed, soft-pad track-bed (raise sits in a rubber container) and floating slab track-bed (rubber matting under the concrete track-bed), and concludes that there will not be unacceptable issues. (The report notes which buildings would be most vulnerable to noise and vibration, e.g. theatres.)
- P Forissier: the report now needs to be assessed by experts appointed by various property owners. The original aim was to answer ‘how have ground-born noises been addressed?’. The report notes US limits of 35dB, but the limit in the report for this tram system is 40dB, i.ea lesser standard. The report is based on data provided by the trams contractors; Atkins did not gather any data independently. LCCC should write a reaction to the report.
- A resident: is this the first time this topic has been raised at LCCC? What are the contractual expectations on this?
- P Forissier: the tender included various requirements, but ground-born noise limits were not among these, i.e. the contractors did not design according to a contractually-required limit on noise and vibration. Now the contractors state they meet requirements, based on this report. However, LCCC may state that normal requirements (i.e. noise < 35dB) have not been met. I have made a FOISA request on this topic, but have not yet received a reply.
5.a.iii to note: update on current tram works, final design and impact on LCCC area post-construction
H Tobermann: see link in heading for full details of current works, and details of pedestrian management. The final design of the public realm is not yet complete: it is emerging in the form of traffic regulation orders (due in March or April). The Trams Act enables many otherwise applicable objections to be set aside. We still do not know whether the completed tram-system will lead to reduced car-traffic and pollution in LCCC’s area. Much of this traffic is commuting from outwith Edinburgh. Hence the controlled parking zone will be important for controlling traffic and pollution.
5.a.iv to note: any issues that have arisen for local residents or businesses that have not been dealt with satisfactorily by the Tram Project Team
- P Forissier: a resident has asked about plans to remove two trees from Leith Walk. CEC/TT had promised not to do this. LCC should escalate this.
- H Tobermann: the evidence I’ve seen does not constitute a promise to retain the trees, just to investigate options. Trees need space – there are very few examples of flourishing trees in our area. Replacement of the trees elsewhere would be acceptable. Trees whose roots break up pavements would not be welcome.
- Cllr Rae: I’ve looked into removal and replacement of these trees (at the same time as considering trees at Ocean Terminal). This is unfeasibly expensive.
- C Encombe: planting trees in urban areas costs between £5k and £10k per tree. I believe trees planted in Leith Walk would be unlikely to survive – the below-ground structure would inhibit them. It would be better to plant elsewhere.
- Cllr Rae: I and Cllr McNeese-Mechan have been trying for adoption of green walls, which sustain themselves, reduce noise and capture pollutants.
- Action: Cllr Rae to circulate information on green walls
- S Kennedy: this idea was raised some time ago. LCCC was not impressed. I’ve seen some where a lot of greenery had died.
- Resident: Leith Walk without trees is unthinkable. What happened to discussions of new shops from 12 months ago?
- C Encombe: please join LCCC mailing list, and that should keep you up-to-date.
- Cllr McNeese-Machan: green walls cost ~£20k each but are better at trapping particulates than many tree-species. Edinburgh is aiming to be a million-tree city, but choosing the right species is essential.
- H Tobermann: LCCC cannot act until it sees the facts, in this case whether retaining these trees was promised.
5.b to agree: LCCC response to CPZ consultation for Bonnington area (background here) as part of Citywide Parking Review
- I Mowat: this is one of several such consultations, and has raised some local concern. Much of the CPZ would be in LCCC’s area. Other CPZs in LCCC’s area are due to be implemented sooner.
- Chair: it is vital that these CPZs are implemented before trams start running, i.e. summer 2022. The consultation was ≤ 1 year ago; most objections were from small businesses, e.g. small garages. CEC is working on a suitable scheme.
- I Mowat, I believe there have been no responses form Bonnington businesses. I understand that some residents do not see the need for the CPZ – they can find parking-spaces already, and are concerned that numbers of spaces would decrease under the CPZ. I suggest that LCCC responds to the consultation, stating residents’ opinions, asking for consideration of ‘mews’ parking.. I am concerned that some relevant streets were not informed of the consultation.
- Chair: the CEC head of parking has told me of concerns about lack of notification. CEC required leaflets on this topic to be distributed separately so they were less likely to be seen as junk mail. Leafletting routes are recorded. I understand that CEC is considering NE Edinburgh as a whole – as soon as this area becomes a CPZ, other nearby areas will suffer from extra parking. In a busy city, residents cannot assume ability to park right outside their homes.
- A resident: the key points about Connaught Place as in the notes. Can LCCC advise on how residents can effectively communicate our views? We do not have a residents’ association. The proposed new parking places would be dangerous. We cannot see comments made by others on this topic. No timeline was given on the leaflets.
- Chair: I suggest that as many residents as possible submit comments, and combine into a group.
- Cllr Munn: I understand that a report will go to CEC’s transport and environment committee in August 2021. The Bonnington drop-in was well attended. I’m very aware of pressures on the centre of LCCC’s area, but recognise that other parts’ residents do not feel a need for CPZs on their streets. CEC is doing this because of possible knock-on effects from other CPZs. It was good to test ideas, but it may have helped to access local knowledge in advance.
- I Mowat: LCCC should still state that two streets were not leafletted, and that residents are do not see the need for a this CPZ. Also, data on needs was gathered before COVID. Should we not wait to see the post-COVID world? I am concerned that boundaries have not been drawn correctly: the Water of Leith would make a better boundary.
- S Kennedy: LCCC started the drive for CPZs. Phase 1 was approved in January 2021 – this was 2 years later. Zoom consultations have made residents more aware of possible drawbacks. Phase 2 is due to come in later, but it’s not a new idea. There are varying views.
- J Wilkinson: there was not much enthusiasm for this CPZ. The proposals in the consultation will not necessarily go ahead. There are large parts of LCCC’s area not covered by the proposed CPZ. Implementation would be in 2023.
- Action: LCCC transport committee to write LCCC’s submission
5.c to note: consultation Retaining ‘Spaces for People’ measures – deadline 5 April 2021
- Action: LCCC transport committee to write LCCC’s submission, communicating via email
5.d to note: any other Transport & Clean Street matters relevant to LCCC area
6.a to note: status of current planning applications (MAR 2021)
- Forissier: LCCC planning committee is working on keeping this document up to date.
6.b to note: LCCC objection to demolition of house and development of apartment building in Conservation Area at 50 Pilrig Street (21/00246/FUL and 21/00248/CON)
- Forissier: this objection has been submitted. A key point was complete lack of consultation by the developer.
6.c to note: LCCC objection to change of use of old Rosslyn Bowling Club from leisure(class 11) to residential (class 9) at 54 Rosslyn Crescent (21/00528/FUL)
- Forissier: this objection has been submitted, following conversations with residents and Cllr Rae. The current owners had promised a community-led future, but the actual application was for a private house and garden. LCCC believes that such clubs should become community assets.
- Forissier: In general, I draft planning objections, then circulate them to other members of the LCCC planning committee and to residents. I will make this objection accessible.
6.d to note: proposed development of apartments at 27 Arthur Street Edinburgh EH6 5DA between Arthur Street and Leith Walk (21/00991/FUL) and associated demolition in Conservation Area (21/00990/CON); developer presentation by Thistle-Peat at April meeting – deadline for comments 7 April (public) and 23 April (LCCC)
- Action: all LCCC members to read up on this, and prepare questions, in advance of the presentation in April.
6.e to note: any other Planning matters relevant to LCCC area
7 LCCC Governance and Office Bearers’ reports
7.a to note: update on emerging publication policy and procedures (website, Twitter, Facebook)
- Action: B Ryan, A Woodgate to progress this for April meeting
7.b to note: Treasurer’s report
- I Mowat: LCCC now has online banking. LCCC’s Teams instance cost less than anticipated. The current balance is ~£2000.
- C Encombe: will members agree to an ongoing annual subscription to the Cockburn Association?
- H Tobermann: such costs should be reviewed annually – their value may depreciate over time
- A Woodgate: but such payments should be made electronically
- Decision: to join the Cockburn this year, paying electronically, and reviewing membership in subsequent years
7.c to note: reports from other Office Bearers and LCCC groups
7.d to note: update on LCCC representation on outside bodies
- Chair: I have mentioned attendance of EACC. I also attend Cockburn Association meetings.
- H Tobermann: LCCC is also represented on Community Councils Together on Trams – see reports elsewhere
7.e to agree: to obtain a report from EACC on their activities
- A Woodgate: I asked EACC why new CC members should engage with its work. The reply was not impressive.
- Action: chair to circulate to members information she has
8 Parks & Green Spaces
8.a To note: Friends of Pilrig Park report
8.b to note: other Park Friend’s reports
8.c to note: delays to Stage 1 report on Powderhall Green Corridor study
- H Tobermann: the official leading this work has been abstracted to Spaces for People work, hence lack of progress.
- S Kennedy: nothing to report
10 Open Forum
- A Woodgate: LCCC comms/co-operation team looking into other engagement methods, e.g. walkarounds, litter-picking. We are also looking into ways to use our digital tools to cover matters of community interest, and be future-focused.
- P Forissier: some people could not join this meeting. Can joining be easier, so residents can speak for themselves?
- A Woodgate: I am happy to help people with logging on.
- Chair: a resident of the Leith Walk end of Balfour St has asked if this could be permanently pedestrianised. LCCC will discuss this at a later meeting. Other such local ideas are welcome.
13 Future Ordinary Meetings(usually 3rd Monday of the month) and meeting topics/presentations
13.a to note: 2021: 15 March, 19 April, 17 May (AGM)
- Chair: office-bearers should meet outwith ordinary meetings to decide on running of the AGM