Minutes of Leith Central Community Council ordinary meeting, held via
MS Teams, on Monday 20 September 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: Jack Caldwell, Alan Dudley, Charlotte Encombe, Pierre Forissier, Ian Mowat, Harald Tobermann
- LCCC ex-officio or non-voting members: Bruce Ryan (minutes secretary), Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan
- Others: Alan McIntosh (Broughton Spurtle), ~2 residents and visitors
- Nick Gardner, Sheila Kennedy (both LCCC); Cllrs Rob Munn, Susan Rae (both Leith Walk ward); Ben Macpherson MSP (Edinburgh Northern and Leith)
1.c to note: declarations of interest in any items on the agenda
1.d to agree: order of business below
2 Approval of minutes of the ordinary LCCC meeting on 16 August 2021 meeting
Approved subject to correcting a typo in item 10 (proposed I Mowat, seconded C Encombe, nem con)
3 Matters arising from previous minutes (and not included on agenda below)
Item 2 (approval of June AGM minutes): This will be considered in the next ordinary meeting
4 Policing matters
4.a to note: Community Police Officer’s September Newsletter
4.b to note: antisocial behaviour in Montgomery Street area in early September (Edinburgh Live 6 September 2021)
- Cllr McNeese-Mechan: CEC and other relevant agencies will be meeting about increased antisocial behavior this week.
4.c to note: Fire Service Area Commander’s response to LCCC queries regarding fire at Inchkeith Court on 30/31 May 2021
- H Tobermann: Cllr Rae had suggested that CEC and the fire brigade’s responses could have been better, so I asked for the brigade’s area commander’s opinion. He is concerned that double-parking caused ‘slight delay’ to deployment, and so is seeking enforcement against double-parking.
- J Wilkinson: double-parking on Albert St is hindering buses.
- H Tobermann: the forthcoming controlled parking zone may help with such issues.
5 Transport & Clean Streets
5.a Trams to Newhaven
5.a.i to note: Tram Team’s response to LCCC protests about proposed narrow pavements on Leith Walk, with c. 250m not meeting minimum in Edinburgh Street Design Guidance
- H Tobermann: The final design is now being implemented on Leith Walk. LCCC was notified just before its last meeting that some lengths of pavement would be below the ESDG minimum width. Pedestrians should be at the top of the transport hierarchy yet only footpaths have been narrowed. Hence various protests have been raised, but I’m not aware of any actions yet.
- A Dudley: I walk Leith Walk daily in both directions. I am not aware of pavement widths thanks to my guide-dog but I get the feeling that much is going on.
- H Tobermann: this is about the state of the to-be-finished pavements, not the current status.
- J Caldwell: this is an utter disgrace – it is very unwelcome that the information was not available until August. It puts pedestrians and cyclists at odds with each other because pedestrians will step into cycle lane.
- B Ryan: is it possible to get wheelchairs or baby-buggies through such narrow stretches?
- C Encombe: we will raise this at the next CCTT/trams-team (TT) meeting, although I believe TT’s position is that the design was agreed and cannot now be changed.
- I Mowat: it’s interesting that the guidance allows compromise – is this a recent change?
- H Tobermann: this is unlikely – the guidance has to go through various approval processes. However the point is that there is rarely a chance to completely redesign Leith Walk is a very pedestrian street (in part because car-ownership is very low here), yet the design does not support this. I accept that there are many competing pressures here, e.g. shops’ loading bays, bus-stops, trees, necessary street-furniture. It was CEC/TT’s responsibility to optimize the design. Until about a month ago, available plans did not show that pavements would be so narrow. So how should we proceed – perhaps write to press, perhaps make common cause with New Town & Broughton CC.
- Cllr McNeese-Mechan: I don’t believe CEC officers purposely hid information. However I share these concerns and would like to know whether designs can be changed.
5.a.ii to note: inadequate signage and litter issues around tram works; potholes on Leith Walk running lane
- C Encombe: on-ground signage traps litter and forms trip-hazards. LCCC should ask CEC to put signage on lamp-posts.
- J Caldwell: several bus stops had bins – can these be reinstated?
- J Wilkinson: signs placed in bike-lanes (not a good thing of itself) are being blown down. They should be checked regularly.
- C Wilkinson: TT has said it will look into the issue – but his doesn’t mean TT will actually fix it.
- H Tobermann: residents have complained about potholes leading to much traffic noise.
- Action: C Encombe to raise these issues at CCTT/TT meeting
- C Encombe: a traffic-light has been installed on the junction of the Cambridges and Pilrig St, possibly by Spaces for People. This is now not needed – can it be removed?
- H Tobermann: this traffic light may have played a role in a serious cycle accident around 6 weeks ago
- Action: Cllr McNeese-Mechan to email CEC officers
5.a.iii 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: at a recent event, residents’ most frequent complaints were around noise emanating from the tram-works and associated potholes. People feel there is no way to have their concerns recognized. There is no apparent way to know the numbers of such complaints. There should be on-street guidance on how/where to complain. There should also be on-street information about when work on individual stretches is due to finish, to reassure residents.
- A resident: it is not clear when work will finish.
- H Tobermann: such information is on the TT website – the overall project is due to finish in Sprint 2023. The last few months will be used for testing the system, so there should be no construction-noise. In these months. Before work started, we suggested that TT should provide reassurance that work will finish on given dates. The quality, level and consistency of the actual signage is disappointing, especially for a multi-million pound project.
- J Caldwell: phasing map with dates is at https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/tramstonewhaven/downloads/file/352/construction-phasing-map-pdf-. Information on traffic management dates is at https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/tramstonewhaven/construction-information/proposed-timelines?documentId=4&categoryId=8
- Action: LCCC to raise these issues at the next CCTT/TT meeting
5.b to note: CPZ update
- I Mowat: at the last CEC meeting, it was decided to postpone decisions on CPZs for Bonnington and South Leith decisions to after summer 2022, to enable more consultation. LCCC should welcome this, and be involved in it.
- Action: I Mowat to contact CEC transport convenor on behalf of LCCC transport committee.
5.c to note: LCCC Engagement Group proposals for next Ward Walk and litter-picking
- J Caldwell: the next LCCC ward walk is on Friday 1 October. Previous walks have prompted us to raise issues around Easter Rd such as overflowing bins and poor pavements. CEC has since reported that some of these have been fixed, while others are private landlords’ responsibilities
- J Caldwell: I have also proposed LCCC litter-picks. I have litter-pickers. We would also need to be conscious of health and safety.
- C Encombe: CEC should be dealing with the litter-problems mentioned earlier. LCCC should concentrate on areas that are hard for CEC to reach.
- H Tobermann: there are no public areas that are hard for CEC to reach. (There may be a problem financing such work.) Hence any LCCC litter-picks should photograph or otherwise measure the scale of litter problems, then publicise such CEC ‘shortfalls’.
- Action: J Caldwell to develop a full proposal
5.d to note: any other Transport & Clean Street matters relevant to LCCC area
- H Tobermann: According to CEC’s lead for new community bins, these have been trialed in Albert St. The TRO that would enable bins to take up some current parking-spaces is due for consultation in October. It is anticipated that this will lead to only minor changes in the final TRO and hence implementation would start in LCCC’s area in November.
6 LCCC Governance
6.a Future LCCC meetings
6.a.i to note: continuing unavailability of Nelson Hall
- noted – Nelson Hall is currently being used as a COVID testing centre
- Cllr McNeese-Mechan: I share LCCC’s frustration but COVID testing centres are run by the UK government, which took over NH without notice. Concerns around sharing such spaces are around sanitisation and minimizing transmission.
- B Ryan: isn’t public health a devolved matter?
- Cllr McNeese-Mechan: in this case, Scottish Government is working with the UK government
6.a.ii to agree: to redouble efforts to resume future LCCC meetings face to face at a suitable venue
- Action: C Encombe to investigate use of a **suitable** room at the Kirkgate/Leith community centre
Action: C Encombe to investigate use of Pilrig church hall
6.b to note: need to review convenors and membership of LCCC committees and LCCC vacancies
- C Encombe: LCCC currently has 6 vacancies
- H Tobermann: LCCC is currently does not have a transport and clean streets convenor. It also needs more active members, then committees can be more complete.
- J Caldwell: we have new leaflets – members should help distribute these.
- Cllr McNeese-Mechan: more diversity would also be welcome
- Action: C Encombe to inform a resident who asked about this about how she might join LCCC
- Decision: I Mowat to become LCCC’s T&Cs convenor (while H Tobermann continues to chair CCTT) – agreed nem con
6.c to note: verbal report on LCCC participation in Leith for Ever Event 18 Sep 2021
- J Caldwell: LCCC shared a stall with the other Leith CCs, explaining what CCs do and gathering valuable information and feedback. It wasn’t a moan-fest. LCCC should undertake other such events, ideally working with neighbouring CCs.
- P Forissier: a strong lesson is that many people do not know anything about CCs, or conflate them with CEC.
7.a to note: LCCC objection to 21/03828/FUL | Erection of 1.5 storey 4-bedroom dwelling house. | Land South Of 1 St Clair Road Edinburgh
- H Tobermann: LCCC objected to this because it would block neighbouring properties’ daylight, would be over-development, would be at odds with typical local layouts, would ignore building lines, and would have no on-site parking.
- J Wilkinson: it would also remove two ‘rather nice’ cherry trees.
- P Forissier: this application has been very poorly drafted – it should not have reached this stage.
7.b to note: LCCC objection to 21/03965/FUL | Conversion and extension of building Existing garage Class 5 for Class 4 Business Office Light Industry | 27A Arthur Street EH6 5DA
- H Tobermann: this is a companion to a larger application – if that is refused, this one should also be refused. Also it has negative implications for gardens in Pilrig St.
7.c to note: any other Planning matters relevant to LCCC area
7.c.i 50 Pilrig St
- P Forissier: new documents have been lodged but it’s hard to make out what has changed
7.c.ii 17 Spey St Lane
- P Forissier: this application has had many changes but it’s not possible to comment on them – this is a serious problem.
- Cllr McNeese-Mechan: CEC’s development management subcommittee overturns many applications as it probes them.
- Action: Cllr McNeese-Mechan to investigate making commenting on changed applications possible
7.c.iii PAN for 29 Beaverhall Rd
- P Forissier: this has now been approved. The developers should present to us.
- H Tobermann: it’s just outside LCCC’s area.
8 Parks and green spaces
8.a to note: any Parks & Green Spaces matters relevant to LCCC area
8.a.i Powderhall green corridor
- H Tobermann: there has been no progress on this due to the relevant CEC officer being abstracted to Spaces for People.
- Action: HT to chase CEC about this.
8.a.ii Pilrig park
- J Wilkinson: Friends of Pilrig Park’s AGM is coming soon. FoPP has £2000 so seeks suggestions on how to use this
8.a.iii Montgomery St park
- N Gardner (via email): Friends of Montgomery Street Park are planning a Halloween event, for families, in the park for Sunday October 31st at 6.00pm – a tried and trusted format. Also looking at slots for a regular litter pick.
9 Open Forum (local residents)
9.a 20-minute neighbourhoods
- A resident: I attended CEC’s climate change strategy meeting: CEC is looking for pilot areas for 20-minute neighbourhoods. Would LCCC like to put in an expression of interest?
- Action: resident to send details to I Mowat
9.b Stead’s Place
- A resident: many shops here are still boarded up. What are the current plans?
- P Forissier: Drum hasn’t yet signed an agreement with CEC to continue the planning application – it has another 3 months to do so. Meanwhile leases are being signed. Drum has some issues related to the tram works, and there is a shortage of contractors in Edinburgh. Other relevant discussions are ongoing.
10 AOCB (LCCC members)
- H Tobermann: The ‘Pilrig muddle’ (wheels from the former cable-based tram system) was unearthed recently. One should become a local exhibit.
- Action: LCCC to send a developed proposal to CEC archaeologist (agreed nem con)
10.a Abbeyhill colony of artists
- N Gardner (via email): This is finished for another year. The mural project is spreading round the area, the group are creating deeper links with local organisations such as Abbeyhill Primary, Hillside Bowling Club, and many local businesses, who tell us that for some of them, it is their Christmas, the best weekend of the year.
11 Future Ordinary Meetings (usually 3rd Monday of the month) and meeting topics/presentations
11.a to note: future meetings on 3rd Monday of each month at 7pm (except July and December):
11.a.i 2021: 18 October, 15 November
11.a.ii 2022: 17 January, 21 February, 21 March, 18 April, 16 May (AGM)
11.b to note: future presentations and charrettes
11.b.i to agree: to invite Steve Kerr (chair EACC) and Simon Holledge (secretary EACC) for a talk and Q&A on the Future of Community Councils In Edinburgh
Decision: agreed nem con
 This agenda point allows members of the public to raise issues of public interest; during online meetings, please raise your virtual hand.
 This agenda point allows LCCC members to raise issues not covered by the agenda.