LCCC January 2022 minutes

Minutes of Leith Central Community Council ordinary meeting, held via MS Teams, on Monday 17 January 2022 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

1.a Attendance

  • LCCC voting members: Jack Caldwell, Alan Dudley, Charlotte Encombe, Pierre Forissier, Nick Gardner, Sheila Kennedy,
    Ian Mowat, Harald Tobermann, John Wilkinson
  • LCCC ex-officio and non-voting members: Bruce Ryan (minutes secretary), Cllrs Amy McNeese-Mechan, Susan Rae (both Leith Walk ward)
  • Others: PC Callum Clark, PC Darek Sadlik (both Police Scotland); Bruce Weir (CW Properties), Ross Manson, (Manson Architects); Foysal Choudhury MSP’s representative; ~7 residents and visitors

1.b Apologies

  • Nick Gardner (LCCC), PC Chris Johnstone (Police Scotland), Cllr Rob Munn, Deidre Brock MP

1.c to note: declarations of interest in any items on the agenda

none

1.d to agree: order of business below

agreed

2 Approval of minutes of the LCCC ordinary meeting on 15 December 2022

  • Approved subject to correcting the attendance record and two typos.
  • Proposed I Mowat, seconded S Kennedy, nem con

3 Matters arising

  • Item 8d: Action: C Encombe to write to ombudsman
  • Item 3, point 4: Action: I Mowat/H Tobermann to write to CEC about pavements issue arising from tram installation

4 Policing matters

See report PDF on LCCC website, or text in appendix 1.

PCs Clark and Sadlik reported:

  • PC Sadlik is the community officer for NW23 beat (McDonald Rd, St Mark’s park).
  • PC Clark is the community officer for NW24 beat.
  • PC Johnstone is the community officer for NW29 beat. He compiled the report.
  • Contrary to the report, the local area commander is now CI Kieran Dougal.

4.a Crime statistics (see data in report)

  • There were 165 reported crimes, hence 18·5% of calls led to reported crimes. A call may lead to several reported crimes.
  • The ‘other’ crimes include sexual crimes.
  • Dalmeny park and nearby streets have been a focus of antisocial crime for some time, including fire-raising.
  • A significant number of calls are about vulnerable people.
  • The police ran a festive drink-driving campaign, charging one drink-driver and another =with driving without a license.

4.b Other points

  • The police plan to carry out two surgeries per month, as well as having increased patrolling.
  • The PCs highlighted that coronavirus is still present.
  • The police also highlighted drugs action, parking/driving near schools and bike thefts, as part of a rise in acquisitive crimes.
  • There were abstractions due to coronavirus and assisting with other matters.
  • There is a national ‘take 5 to stop fraud’ campaign, using the slogan ‘stop, challenge, protect’.

4.c Q&A

  • It was requested that future reports have the same data classifications, so LCCC can look for trends.
    • Action: the PCs to feed back this request. They warned that crimes may fit several categories, so analysis may be skewed.
  • There was a call to classify sexual crimes separately, not in ‘other’ or in ‘serious assaults’
    • The PCs agreed that separate classification may help. They will ask that the classification method is reviewed.
  • It was noted that acquisitive crime increases when the economy is poor. How will police respond to coming conditions?
    • The PCs stated that they identify trends, provide preventative advice whenever possible, work with partners (e.g. on preventing bike thefts), raise awareness. However, due to coronavirus, these plans have not yet been implemented.
    • It was noted that the Edinburgh community safety partnership is working on tackling crimes against vulnerable adults, and suggested that the PCs link with this.

5 Pre-application consultation: presentation & Q&A on ‘Land To East Of 139 Leith Walk’ (19/00415/PAN) – in the context of the 2020 Leith Walk/Halmyre Street Place Brief

This potential development is described as ‘Refurbishment of the existing building, or potential demolition for sui generis flatted accommodation (residential apartments), class 7 hotel/ serviced apartments, student accommodation and commercial uses (class 4 business use) and class 11 (gym) with associated footpaths, roads, landscaping and potential reconfiguration of existing car park’.

5.a Presentation

See presentation slides (PDF) on LCCC website.

R Manson and B Weir reported

  • The former is the applicant’s agent and planning consultant; the latter is the applicant, and owner of CW Properties.
    • Slide 11: CW owns site 1, which in 2019 was leased by its then owner to the Scottish Government as a file-store. The site’s former owner also owns Allander House (leased to the NHS), which is joined to Inchkeith House (owned by the NHS).
    • The site 1 warehouse was seen to have reached the end of its life. CW has been looking at how to redevelop this, and the yard adjacent to sites 2 and 3. The Allander House owner is keen to keep renting to the NHS, who also own and lease parts of the carpark.
    • Projekt42 used the building for a while – they now store some items there. The compound is now being used by the Trams to Newhaven contractor.
    • CW has now engaged with the full place ‘place’ process, and nearby owners (site 2 is used by Mecca Bingo). The place brief was adopted in autumn 2021. The current proposal takes in relevant comment (on the brief) and interests.
    • The ‘build to rent’ (BTR) block in the plans would be owned and managed by the current owner.
  • Slide 4 describes the project: ‘a mixed residential development with a commercial/community use space, new public and private open space, active travel routes and a reconfiguration of the NHS car park’.
    • The current warehouse would be demolished.
    • The NHS would receive better parking arrangements, including electric vehicle charging points.
    • The development would be car-free, with cycle storage and cycle-hire spaces.
    • It would aim to reduce carbon emissions by including solar panels and air-source heat-pumps.
    • The affordable housing provision would exceed CEC requirements: ‘19 affordable flats (= 40%), 27 private rented flats (minimum 91 m2, some with direct access to gardens), 122 student rooms in the purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), 22 cluster flats.
    • The plans speak to the current Leith Walk/Halmyre St masterplan (MP).
  • Slide 6 shows the transport considerations, with N-S and EW active travel links, as required by the MP. It also shows potential vehicular access, via Halmyre St.
    • Active travel through the site would have ‘passive surveillance’, thus increasing the sense of safety.
  • Slide 7 shows the potential block layout, active frontages and massing. This generally matches the MP.
  • Slide 8 shows constrains and opportunities, including noise from the railway arches, nearby listed buildings. (165 Leith Walk is C-listed), other overlooking buildings.
    • Hence the developers commissioned a townscape visual impact assessment (TVIA). This will cover the listed buildings.
    • The slide also shows potential public open space, e.g. west of site 2 (Mecca Bingo), running through site 1.
  • Slide 9: the MP calls for the design to promote active travel and be distinctive, and have green space.
  • Slide 10: the MP calls for recognition of local (industrial) heritage, including sympathy in materials and to nearby buildings.
  • Slide 12 shows the Leith Conservation area (hatched red lines) and the town centre designation (purple tint).
  • Slide 13 shows the sites’ historical industrial use, and the roof-forms, which the current plans reflect.
    • Much contamination and remediation is expected from the former industrial use.
  • Slide 14 shows the site’s connections with buses, trams, cycle routes, core paths
    • Hence the proposed active-travel features, including a contribution to the city car club.
  • Slide 15: the building would have solar panels, air-source heat-pumps, EV charging points in the NHS car-park. The flat-roof buildings will have blue roofs to collect and store rainwater, and hence avoid run-off and associated issues.
  • Slide 16: affordable housing would be to the north of the site (communal open space to the west, public open space to the east; PBSA (and undefined space on the ground floor) in the middle; NHS car-park, alternative ground floor use and communal open space and the BTR accommodation to the south.
    • There are some suggestions from the community for the 1600 ft2 undefined space from the community.
    • Vehicular access is from Halmyre St.
    • These plans spring from the MP’s block layout, but the open space has been moved to optimise sun-lighting etc.
  • Slide 17: the developers have considered impact on neighbours, e.g tenements on the east of Leith Walk.
    • Privacy would be respected by >19m gaps to the tenements, and few facing windows.
    • Daylight would be respected by controlling the development’s height (assuming ground floors are not residential).
  • Slide 18: the development would provide ~1000 m2 of open space. This exceeds MP requirements.
    • The MP calls for this space to be multifunctional. It would form drainage basins that are above-ground SuDS features.
    • They would also provide play areas and nature habitats, and support active travel with good lighting.
  • Slide 19 shows elevations in the surrounding context. The MP calls for a variety of roof forms and heights.
    • These plans will be assessed as part of the TVIA.
  • Slide 20 shows that three types of brick would be used, to help break up façades, and provide variety.
  • Slide 21 shows that the PBSA’s eaves are set back, and are similar in height to properties on Leith Walk.
  • Slide 22 shows the PBSA entrance and active ground floor. The south elevation (west to east) shows how heights step up and down, and the public open space.

5.b Q&A

  • Cllr McNeese_Mechan: I like the inclusion of SuDs features. Will cycle-parking be secure? Will there be e-bike charging?
    • R Manson: Cycle-parking is within the buildings, except for the PBSA, which will have an enclosed external store.
  • Cllr McNeese-Mechan: What conversations are occurring about the undefined community space?
    • R Manson: We have had several community suggestions. Projekt42 has some interest in the space. We will probably submit an application that hasn’t settled on a use.
  • J Caldwell: The consultation was over the holidays. How many people responded? Will anything be done to make up for submission issues during the consultation period?
    • R Manson: There were ~350 visitors to the website – more than would come to an in-person event. ~50 sent in comments via the website or email. The issues may well have been due to word-limits on online consents, so we invited further comments via email. This netted some ‘more comprehensive comments’.
  • P Forissier: The MP calls for a variety of roof heights, but these should not exceed the height of a 4-storey tenement. The drawings appear not to obey this. See slide 21: this clearly does not fulfil the requirement. The community does not want this breach of the place brief.
    • R Manson: Some buildings would be higher than a 4-storey tenement, so we have instructed the TVIA. The pitched roofs will help, and match tradition. The eaves height is important too.
    • R Manson: The MP brings material considerations, including heights. We have introduced rooms in the roof of the PBSA, and chosen the pitched roof to site comfortably in the site. We should also examine the TVIA when it’s been done. There is a variety of heights in the overall area, and hence in our plans.
  • P Forissier: it took a long time to create the MP. It says that student housing may be considered, but there must be consideration of its impact. 60% student housing does not comply with community wishes.
    • B Weir: As far as we know, sites 2 and 3 will be purely residential. Our residential accommodation would be 40% affordable, and the site 60%PBSa, 40% residential. We have to consider things in the round and the MP, to tick a lot of boxes. The whole area would meet the place brief.
  • P Forissier: CEC policy is for limited student housing. How is this being achieved?
    • R Manson: 60% of the sites area would be PBSA, 40% would be housing. The site is part of the much larger place brief, which would have more housing, so the overall %age of student housing would be within requirements.
  • P Forissier: what was discussed when you presented to the Edinburgh urban design panel (EUDP)?
    • R Manson: This would be published with the application, but we can supply it sooner. It took place in 2019 before the MP was prepared, so the MP and designs have taken in EUDP comments. We have not returned to the EUDP.
    • B Weir: An example of cognisance of the EUDP is the view along the northern lane. Just now, this view is blocked by Mecca bingo, but it may go later. We can reconsider EUDP’s points.
    • B Weir: the EUDP called for saw-tooth roofs, and a variety of roof heights, so we have these in our plans.
  • H Tobermann: the ratio of student housing and residential (affordable and BTR) relies on the other sites. How many units?
    • R Manson: 236 single-bed student units
    • H Tobermann: there is already much student accommodation on Leith Walk. LCCC is likely to counsel reducing yours.
  • H Tobermann: how many BTR units?
    • R Manson: 27, 20% of which would be 3-bed family units
  • H Tobermann: the MP calls for ‘colonies’ on the neighbouring site. The substation on that site would have a larger footprint than is on the MP, leading to fewer colony units.
    • R Manson: We can’t comment on CEC plans just now.
    • B Weir: as far as we know, CEC plans to build on its tram depot site. The designs we’ve seen are nearer to flats than colonies. We think the substation is bigger than shown.
  • H Tobermann: please show how active travel would work.
    • R Manson: such travel will go south to north through the council site, through the rail arches, thence onto Manderston St.
    • R Manson: such travel will go west to east from Leith Walk along the southern boundary of our site to Halmyre St.
    • R Manson: such travel will go west to east from Leith Walk between the affordable housing and PBSA. If the Mecca bingo building is demolished, it would continue east to Thorntree St. if not, it will turn right to get to Halmyre St.
    • H Tobermann: the southerly route will be shared with carpark access.
    • R Manson: Yes for a short time. Then there would be a pend from Halmyre St under the PBSA to the NHS carpark, if needed. This is subject to further discussion with CEC and the NHS.
    • B Weir: we have been mindful of the NHS carpark’s operation, and the existing facilities in Allander and Inchkeith houses. The NHS is keen to maintain ‘left-in, left out’ access to and from its carpark. We have engaged with the CEC roads officer. The northern public route would be only for pedestrians and cyclists
  • A resident: the factory has an asbestos roof. How will it be demolished, following regulations?
    • B Weir: We have previous experience, and would use a specialist, experienced contractor. We would prepare a methods statement and proper process, but have not yet prepared these. We can supply them when they are ready.
  • A resident: slide 21 shows 6 windows on the PBSA that would face onto my property, and a stairwell doing the same. Slide 22 shows 9 windows. Is that the final drawing?
    • B Weir: You were right that the elevation shown at the online consultation was blank. There would be 6 windows according to our current plans, but this may change from conversations like tonight’s. We invite comments.
  • A resident: will there be a gym on the ground floor (west elevation)?
    • B Weir: yes, but it will be small, akin to a hotel gym, for the PBSA only. Projekt 42 is interested in the commercial space, but not for a gym. You might ask them what they intend.
  • A resident: there are 6 car parking spaces planned near the short-term let area. Why, if the development is to be car free?
    • B Weir: the current land-owner wants 27 BTR flats, for long-term tenants. There is no plan for AirBnB to be involved.
  • A resident: There is much pressure on parking here. Could your residents park on neighbouring streets?
    • R Manson: students’ leases would preclude cars. We have incentivised use of public transport and active travel. We have also considered contributions to the city car club. If the CPZ comes in, new (and existing) residents would not be allowed to apply for parking permits.
  • C Encombe: the drawings seem to overestimate the sun that would reach ground level, so gardens would not grow, and will be cold and dark.
    • R Manson: we have looked at the public open spaces in the centre of the site. We rotated the BTR block to maximise sunlight here. Much is south-facing, so it will receive as much sunlight as possible. Properties will be lower near Smith’s Place. We aim for 50% of gardens to receive 2 hours of sunlight. We will do more detailed analysis.

Action: B Ryan to supply draft minute of presentation and Q&A to office-bearers.

Action: office-bearers to supply this minute to R Manson and B Weir.

Action: R Manson and B Weir to supply their take-away from this meeting to LCCC.

6 Transport and clean streets

6.a Trams to Newhaven (TtN)

  • H Tobermann: the flip of the TtN work area and running lane on Leith Walk will take place soon, so the running lane will be on the west side while work occurs on the east side. The flip is likely not to simultaneous all along the route. The post-flip state will persist for ~6 months.
  • H Tobermann: access to Broughton St from Picardy Place (PP) will be blocked for ~5 months, so tracks can be extended across the junction to the PP tram-stop. Hence traffic (including service 8 buses) will be diverted, and take longer. There have been ‘teething’ problems, and people should expect further congestion.
  • H Tobermann: completion of building is still expected within 2022, then the start of 2023 will be used to finish and test.
  • A resident: when will detailed landscape plans become available?
    • H Tobermann (later, via email): It would appear the final landscape drawings are still not on the TtN website. The latest version there is titled ‘Summer 2021’ (but dated 19 May 2021), while the hard copies CCs received just before Christmas are dated 23 November 2021. I have copied in TtN, and trust they will fix this promptly and alert everyone when the November drawings are live.
  • H Tobermann: I am not able to disseminate hard copies.
  • P Forissier: More than half of the ‘support for business’ money available from TtN has not yet been given out. LCCC should pressure TtN to advertise this money better (and do some advertising itself). Some businesses report having applied but receiving nothing.
    • Cllr McNeese-Mechan: the businesses need to show that sales etc have dropped during the tram-work, but at least one was reluctant to share its accounts.
    • Action: P Forissier to email relevant links to LCCC comms group.
    • Action: LCCC comms group to advertise these links.

6.b Controlled parking zones (CPZs)

  • I Mowat: LCCC transport and clean streets committee (T&CS) has submitted objections to the CPZ phase 1 plans concerning Abbeyhill and Spey St Lane (Pilrig area). There was a positive response from a CEC official.
  • I Mowat: the pavement outside the Powderhall stable block has now been re-opened.
  • Action: I Mowat to supply LCCC with T&CS’s decision on its transport hierarchy in February.

7 Planning

7.a Unadvertised changes to planning applications

  • P Forrissier: I mentioned this issue to CEC’s head of planning. He will look into this.
    • Action: PF to send follow-up email

8 Parks and green spaces

  • Cllr McNeese-Mechan: has anyone been approached by CEC officers about a proposal to install a skateboard/steet-hockey park in the ward?
    • Everyone: no
  • A resident (via chat/chair): the same week that Elm Row hedges were removed, Friends of Montgomery St park planted ‘a wee hedge’ without much support from CEC

9 Licensing

No items

10 LCCC governance

No items

11 Open Forum

11.a LeithChooses

  • B Ryan: the gallery of projects is now online. Voting is open (online only) 24 to 31 January.

12 Bulletin

No items

13 AOCB

No items

14 Future meetings and planned meeting topics/presentations

  • C Encombe: February’s meeting (2ist, 7pm) is likely to be online.
  • S Kennedy: I have booked the bowling club from February to April: £30 per meeting at this venue.
  • Action: SK to advertise address

15 Appendix 1: text of police report

Calls of interest to the Police in our area 1st Dec 2021 to 12th Jan 2022

Reported Crimes Dec 21/Jan 22

Total number of calls between 01/12/2021 & 12/01/22 891
Youth calls 11 Assaults 37
Disturbance calls 27 Crimes of dishonesty 62
Crimes of dishonesty 39 Public nuisance 12
Public nuisance 26 Road traffic 24
Antisocial behaviour 66 Vandalism 6
Drugs 13 Drugs 7

15.a Community issues

15.a.i Antisocial behaviour

Fire raising within Dalmeny Park.

Community and antisocial issues in and around Albert Street, Elliot Street and Dickson Street.

Numerous vulnerable individuals who, as a result of numerous lifestyle or mental heath issues cause antisocial behaviour in and around their property. Community officers are actively assisting partner agencies to address the ASB along with gaining some form of support for their ongoing issues.

15.a.ii Road Traffic matters

Drink driving festive campaign

Over the festive period, officers carried out numerous vehicle stops within are area with one drink driver having been arrested and charged with the relevant offence. Even one is to many however this is a positive outcome with hopefully the message getting across.

There were also numerous other offences detected including driving without the relevant documentation and drugs offences.

15.a.iii Community support

Plans to carry out two community surgeries a month at the Drill hall on Dalmeny Street. All welcome.

Increased patrolling both in and out with high rise blocks to reassure the community as well as dealing with any issues that may arise.

15.b Coronavirus pandemic

The Police response under Operation Talla has continued in line with the updated Government regulations

As of the 17th January 2022, all major COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted; however, Government advice to stay safe includes to:

  • get the vaccine when offered
  • wear a face covering when required
  • wash your hands regularly
  • self-isolate/take a PCR test if you have symptoms
  • take regular tests if you don’t have symptoms
  • meet outside if you can, and open windows when indoors
  • keep your distance from people not in your group
  • work from home if possible

15.c Some notable recent incidents in the Central/South Leith area:

  1. Approx 3 misuse of drugs warrants executed at addresses within our area as a result of community feedback and intel gathered causing disruption to both the dealing and consumption of drugs and the anti social behaviour that accompanies it.
  2. We are aware of a number of fires and Anti Social behaviour within Dalmeny park. Communication has been conducted with the Cec to have the area cleaned and bins emptied with high visibility patrols planned.
  3. Action around parking and possible dangerous driving around our primary schools is to be conducted with a letter being sent to parents in conjunction with partner agencies and the schools themselves. There will also be a high visibility presence at dropping off time at Leith Walk primary for the next 3 weeks.
  4. A report of bike thefts from underground car parks near to Easter Road. Community to work closely with the local community and the relevant factors/housing associations in an effort to trace the offenders and offer crime advice to stop this happening in the future.
  5. Your Community team have been assisting with a variety of events and major investigations over the last month including (but not limited to) the Winter City celebrations within the city centre over the festive period, assisting with a CID enquiry into a serious incident with the Leith walk corridor, numerous sporting events and Hogmany celebrations

15.d About Us

  • Local Area Commander: Chief Inspector Murray Tait
    • Minuter’s note: this role is now held by CI Kieran Dougal.
  • Leith Community Policing Team based at Leith Police Station:
    • Inspector Colin Fordyce
    • Sergeant Elaine McArthur Kerr
    • Plus 8 officers dedicated to community issues in Leith

15.d.i Contact Us: