Minutes of Leith Central Community Council ordinary meeting, held via MS Teams, on Monday 18 October 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, Sheila Kennedy, Ian Mowat, Harald Tobermann, Lucy Watters, John WIlkinson
- LCCC ex-officio and non-voting members: Bruce Ryan (minutes secretary)
- Others: Alan McIntosh (Broughton Spurtle), ~4 residents and visitors
- Nick Gardner (LCCC); all Leith Walk ward councilors, Deidre Brock MSP
1.c to note: declarations of interest in any items on the agenda
- item 5a: J Caldwell works for Out of the Blue
1.d to agree: order of business below
2 Approval of minutes of the LCCC ordinary meeting on 20 September 2021
- Approved subject to noting in item 5b that I Mowat was to contact CEC transport convenor about CPZ arrangements
- Proposed L Watters, seconded P Forissier, nem con
3 Matters arising from previous minutes (and not included on agenda below)
- Item 3: June AGM minutes approved, proposed I Mowat, seconded C Encombe, nem con
- Item 5c: held over to next meeting.
- Item 6aII: the response to the councillor’s email is that the Pilrig St traffic lights were set up by the trams project, not Spaces for People. The lights were removed soon after the councillor’s email.
- Item 6b: C Encombe has had an email conversation with someone interested in joining LCCC.
- Action: C Encombe to answer this person’s queries about joining LCCC.
4 Policing matters
4.a to note: Community Police Officer’s October report
- Action: C Encombe to respond to police, noting paucity of content relevant to LCCC, asking for crime statistics in LCCC area (as had been supplied previously), and noting that layout and file-format (small fonts, PDF) etc make the supplied newsletter much less accessible for visually impaired people than is desirable.
5 LCCC governance
5.a to agree: to hold the November LCCC meeting at Nelson Hall or, failing that, at Hillside Bowling Club (138 Montgomery St)
- C Encombe and S Kennedy have investigated some options for in-person meetings. The bowling club is available ‘for a donation’ (possibly £30 per month) until next spring.
- I Mowat (LCCC treasurer) noted that venue-hire costs of £30 per month are possible for LCCC.
- Out of the Blue was mooted (by P Forissier) – likely cost £30 plus £1 per chair – but L Watters noted OOTB would avoid hosting simultaneous meetings, potentially limiting its availability.
- Action: LCCC office-bearers to continue to investigate options
5.b to agree: to invite Steve Kerr (chair EACC) and Simon Holledge (secretary EACC) to November LCCC meeting for a talk and Q&A on the Future of Community Councils In Edinburgh
- minute-taker’s note: this was also agreed in September (item 11bi)
- Action: H Tobermann to send invitation to S Kerr and S Holledge.
6 Transport and clean streets
6.a to note: update on Trams to Newhaven works and final design
- H Tobermann: pavements and bicycle lanes are about to be finished (between Annandale St and McDonald Rd). The work-sites here will be flipped around the end of October 2021, to enable work on the other side of Leith Walk, thus moving uphill traffic into the normal downhill lane. This was due at the end of October.
- H Tobermann: There has been little headway on getting the trams team (TT) to make all pavements meet the Edinburgh Street design guidance. (See September minutes, item 5ai and relevant previous minutes). It is unlikely that further effort by LCCC will lead to change. However, TT has admitted that it decided pavement widths via a poor process. This admission should be used in calls for post-completion fixes.
- I Mowat: LCCC should register its dissatisfaction now in writing to CEC councillors, noting it has not given up on this. This letter should specifically be about the pavement issue – other actions can be taken about crossings etc.
- H Tobermann: this is intended, as is writing to CEC transport convenors. It is important to handle final design issues (e.g. by writing to CEC transport convenor) separately from issues only occurring during construction.
- J Caldwell: there should be action on this issue by LCCC.
- P Forissier: many Leith Walk businesses and residents are very frustrated by the current crossing-points, and inability to cycle in this area. How can they engage with CEC about this? Who is responsible for decisions on crossings, etc? Problems appear to be increased by lack of communication (e.g. of TT’s schedules), and by TT/contractors being unaccountable.
- H Tobermann: I concur crossings are poorly placed. At the last CCTT/TT meeting, TT promised to improve matters (e.g. clearly show where crossings are, move crossings closer to desire-lines). However, these have not yet been done.
- The TT/CEC contact is R Armstrong. However, he is badly over-worked. However, ultimately, it was CEC councillors who approved the project’s final business case, promising local residents wouldn’t suffer.
- CEC councillors agree (via the FBC decision) to the main contractors, and how they are supervised by TT. TT is headed by Hannah Ross, who reports to a board that probably meets weekly. LCCC cannot contact this board directly. Neither can CEC councillors, due to promises of no political interference in the project.
- Hence I suggest contacting local CEC councillors on major themes, and TT on specific things.
- L Watters: I have arranged a meeting of local businesses from Albert St to Arthur St at 5pm on 27 October at Out of the Blue. CEC, TT and contractor staff will attend. (Other LCCC members commended LW’s action.)
- I Mowat: it should be possible to email CEC officials about trams matters.
- J Caldwell: as well as taking action on the pavement-width issues, LCC could help publicise schedules to which TT is working via its digital channels.
- Action: I Mowat/H Tobermann to write to CEC about pavements issue
- Action: L Watters to circulate details of 27 October meeting
- Action: I Mowat/H Tobermann to attend 27 October meeting, then act as appropriate.
6.a.i to note: collaboration with Living Streets and NTBCC over complex split bike lane design at Elm Row (London Road end)
- H Tobermann: the planned layout here would be very confusing for cyclists and pedestrians. There may be some ‘movement’ by TT on this. LCCC is collaborating with Living Streets and NTBCC to get TT to ‘move’ further.
6.b to note: CPZ Phase 1 and Phase 2 updates
- I Mowat: rollout of phase 2 has been postponed to enable more consultation with residents and other local stakeholders. LCCC would also like to engage over the Easter Rd CPZ, about which significant numbers of residents are concerned.
- There is also a ‘West Leith’ area (actually in south-east Leith and Restalrig), which is partly in LCCC’s area.
- Cllr Doran has replied that a CEC official will contact LCCC to set up desired engagement.
- Action: I Mowat to suggest CEC attends LCCC January meeting (unless there is time at the November LCC meeting).
6.b.i CPZ phase 1
- S Kennedy: phase 1 is most urgent because CEC officials have said the relevant TRO is imminent. The Abbeyhill Colonies would become a permit-parking area, i.e. only residents allowed to park here (but visitors and tradespeople will be able to obtain parking permits, unlike in ‘mews’ parking zones). Edina Place and Bothwell St are in this area (the new parking zone N6), and this is unsuitable for these streets and the colonies: people would need to park in Meadowbank if they cannot park in their streets because they could not park in the colonies. Hence this area should be in parking zone N1.
- C Encombe: please circulate emails to LCCC members describing these proposals, so LCCC can take informed actions.
- S Kennedy: I have been informed of this by other channels, so cannot do this. But by the time the TRO comes in, it will be too late to change zones.
- J Caldwell: it would help if documents/information can be shared, to enable LCCC members to understand issues.
- I Mowat: LCCC transport committee can meet sooner, if this issue needs it.
- Action: S Kennedy to share a relevant map
6.c to note: Transport and Clean Streets committee meeting in October
- I Mowat: it is welcome that LCCC transport committee recently met in-person. Discussion included adoption of a transport hierarchy putting pedestrians first, meeting quarterly, and collecting then taking action on ‘cleaner streets’ issues.
- B Ryan: LCCC transport committee has two draft transport hierarchies at on its website.
- Action: LCCC transport committee to decide on a single transport hierarchy.
- Action: LCCC members and residents to notify IM of any such issues.
- Action: LCCC transport committee to enable engagement over such issues with relevant CEC officials at LCCC meetings.
6.d to note: any other transport and clean streets matters relevant to LCCC area
- J Wilkinson: the footpath outside the Broughton Rd stable block has been made very narrow. Workers here have agreed to suggest widening it with bollards to decision-makers.
- Action: J Wilkinson to email details to I Mowat
- Action: I Mowat and J Wilkinson to undertake a site visit.
7.a to note: CEC’s ‘fast track’ decision on 21/03965/FUL (Conversion and extension of building Existing garage Class 5 for Class 4 Business Office Light Industry | 27A Arthur Street EH6 5DA) without taking LCCC’s objection into account
7.a.i to note: further papers published for neighbouring 21/00991/FUL
- Items 7a and 7ai were noted
7.b to note: email to ward councillors regarding unpublicised drawings appearing on the Edinburgh Planning Portal
- P Forissier: to avoid repetition of CEC not taking CC objections into account, LCCC should use the CEC planning portal, rather than sending emails that ‘do not reach’ addressees.
- C Encombe: This issue will be discussed at the next Edinburgh Civic Forum, as will lack of transparency about decisions wither to use the fast-track process or the committee process. There is no way to object to fast-track decisions.
- Action: P Forissier to write to CEC about this and items 7a and 7ai.
- Action: P Forissier to email Cockburn Association.
7.c to note: progress and details of City Plan 2030
- H Tobermann: this consultation ends in November. The plan sets a long-term agenda, so LCCC should speak up now.
- I Mowat: LCCC should focus its response on specific areas and themes, e.g. Jane St, changing areas from mixed use to majority-residential, very limited plans for infrastructure (e.g. parking, schools, electric-vehicles charging) in such areas.
- C Encombe: moves to majority-residential are contrary to 20-minute neighbourhoods
- A Macintosh: Concerning Jane St: This is similar to seemingly uncontrolled/unthought-through development of Beaverhall area – as increasingly residential rather than mixed residential/light-industrial uses.
7.d to note: Short-Term Let Control Area consultation (closes 5 November 2021)
- Action: LCCC members to make their own submissions
7.e to note: Cockburn Association to the Net Zero Carbon Strategy 2030
- C Encombe: the Cockburn Association says the government strategy has warm words but few concrete plans for action.
7.f to note: any other Planning matters relevant to LCCC area
- P Forissier: Drum has applied to demolish warehouses at the back of the Steads Place red sandstone buildings
8 Parks and green spaces
8.a to note: announcement of stage 2 of Powderhall Green Corridor for 2022/23, but no sign of stage 1 report
8.b to note: any Parks & Green Spaces matters relevant to LCCC area
- C Encombe: Friends of Montgomery St park will have a Halloween party on 31 October (5pm to 8pm)
9 Open forum (local residents)
- No other issues raised
10 AOCB (LCCC members)
- P Forissier: Leith Walk is being neglected and getting worse: potholes are not being fixed.
- J Wilkinson: road-signs that have been blown down are being left that way, adding to the problems. Signs that are no longer relevant are not being removed.
- C Encombe: TT has promised to look at this issue (where it operates), but has not yet taken action
- J Caldwell: a resident has asked about an issue with a short-term let, noting that it is taking up to 12 weeks for CEC officers to reply to communications.
- B Ryan: the resident may wish to contact PLACE Edinburgh.
- C Encombe: CEC has stated that those who need it can get assistance to put out their bins
- Action: C Encombe to circulate information
- C Encombe: it is unwelcome recycling-bin stickers can only be ordered up to the end of November. What about people who move house after that date?
- Action: C Encombe to engage with CEC councillors over this
- C Encombe: it is no longer possible to order blue badges by phone, only via email. This is unacceptable
- Action: C Encombe to engage with CEC councillors over this
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)
- The following dates were noted.
- 2021: 15 November
- 2022: 17 January, 21 February, 21 March, 18 April, 16 May (AGM)
 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.