LCCC February 2022 minutes

Minutes of Leith Central Community Council ordinary meeting, at Hillside Bowling Club, on Monday 21 February 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, Ian Mowat, Harald Tobermann, John Wilkinson, Lucy Wood-Waters
  • LCCC ex-officio and non-voting members: Bruce Ryan (minutes secretary), Cllr Susan Rae (Leith Walk ward)
  • Others: Alan McIntosh (Broughton Spurtle), ~2 residents and visitors,

1.b Apologies

  • Nick Gardner, Sheila Kennedy (both LCCC); PC Dariusz Sadlik (Police Scotland); Cllr Rob Munn, Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan (both Leith Walk ward)

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

  • J Caldwell is Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Leith Walk ward in the May elections to Edinburgh Council.
  • C Encombe has an interest in item 6.a, due to being chair of MSTC Lothian which has approached the developer about accommodating this charity.

The above recused themselves from relevant discussions.

1.d to agree: order of business below


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

  • Approved subject to correcting the attendance record and two typos.
    • Proposed A Dudley, seconded P Forissier, nem con

3 Matters arising from previous minutes (and not included on agenda below)

  • Item 3 (point 1) P Forissier has drafted a letter to CEC. See item 6.c below. Action: PF to circulate draft to all LCCC members.
  • Item 2 (point 2) I Mowat/J Wilkinson will not wait to see what happens about affected pavements.

4 Policing matters

5 Transport & Clean Streets

5.a Update on Trams to Newhaven works and final design

5.a.i to note: Tram Project Board’s response to joint submission regarding critical concerns about design of Elm Row public realm

  • H Tobermann: CCTT (along with Spokes, EBUG, Living Streets) used this area as an example of concerns about design. In this case, inter alia, the downhill cycle-path is one side of the trees, the uphill path on the other side, near to a small road and a floating bus-stop. The trees will obstruct downhill cyclists’ views, while bus-users may not look out for them. The tram board has acknowledged the sense of the requested changes, but has decided it is too expensive to implement these now. Hence this matter will go onto a list of post-project desiderata to be pursued by CCTT, along with narrow pavements further down Leith Walk.
    • CCTT is sending a deputation to the next CEC transport and environment committee meeing.

5.a.ii to note: design and implementation issues including pavement width

  • H Tobermann: the tram team has agreed with CCTT to compile a register of post-project desiderata. (This is extra to snagging.) CCTT will then lobby CEC to make ‘expert-backed’ fixes. The register will be published, at least in CCTT minutes.

5.a.iii to note: construction issues, including pedestrian crossings

  • A later iteration of the map of crossings, showing the entire route, is on LCCC’s website.
  • H Tobermann: the issue is that some gaps between crossings exceed 200 m. There should be crossings at all desire-lines.
    • C Encombe: the flags that marked crossings have been removed because, in the recent strong winds, they caused heras fencing to topple, causing a serious injury.
  • H Tobermann: Albert St was closed due to emergency work by Scottish Water.
  • H Tobermann: some junctions with side streets on the east side of Leith Walk (e.g. Brunswick Rd) are now open.
    • L Wood-Waters: traffic is turning left onto Dalmeny St due to issues further up Leith Walk.
  • H Tobermann: there is congestion on Picardy Place, due to bus detours. Changes appear to be via trail and error (or a ‘black magic art’), rather than advance planning and due consideration of pedestrians, wheelchair-users etc.
  • J Caldwell: Springfield St will be closed from Wednesday, to replace new paving slabs that have cracked already.

5.a.iv to note: issues for businesses during construction (and final design)

See item 5.a.v

5.a.v to note: business data provided by CEC

  • H Tobermann: occupancy appears to be ‘decent’, although the variety of types of shops appears to have narrowed.
    • L Wood-Waters: the next Leith Walk businesses meeting is on 5 March. There appear to be ongoing issues with deliveries after the flip of work to the other side of the Walk. Crossing points are vital. Constant changes without notification are a major issue.
    • H Tobermann: the flip may take some time to bed in. However, the only change here should be when two halves of a crossing are joined in the middle, when that crossing will be out use [for obvious safety reasons].

5.b to note: progress of roll out of Communal Bin Review Phase 1 and 2

  • P Forissier: over the winter holiday, the number of bin locations doubled, as did the number of bins in each location. However, CEC now has twice as many bin-trucks.
    • I have asked CEC how bin-locations were decided, because some make no sense (e.g. in front of residential windows).
    • Some bin-locations obstruct wheelchair-users.
    • The bins are wheeled, and so may be replaced poorly after refuse-collection. In effect the ‘bin hubs’ simply corral randomly placed bins, inviting misuse and fly-tipping which is likely to prevent refuse-collections.
    • CEC has said that it undertook consultation, but the relevant leaflet was entitled controlled parking zone implementation information, so many people will not have understood it to be a consultation on the ‘bin-hubs’, or will have ignored it because they do not have cars.
    • Further, very few people received this leaflet. Hence PF will lodge an FOI request to find how it was distributed.
    • Online drawings were not easily understandable by non-architects. They did not show what the bins would look like.
    • L Wood-Waters: food-bins are outwith the hubs, obstructing parking.
  • P Forissier: if cars are parked next to hubs, collections are prevented.
    • H Tobermann: this is why the controlled parking zone is needed.
    • I Mowat: bin roll-out in Bonnington has reduced the number of parking spaces because old locations are still occupied.
    • Action: Cllr Rae to pursue this with the relevant CEC official
    • Cllr Rae: there are fly-tipping issues (i.e. people are misbehaving, not CEC). Also, people ignore signs, and move bins from where they wish to park, for example obstructing deliveries to supermarkets.
    • P Forissier: if the bins were better designed, this problem would not occur. Also, glass recycling should not be outside domestic windows, and collections should be scheduled at non-antisocial times.
    • J Caldwell: what data was gathered and published from the Albert St trial?
    • H Tobermann: such data may be unreliable because the trial was undertaken by a ‘crack’ team of refuse collectors.
    • L Wood-Waters: what was the guidance on glass recycling bins? (There isn’t one on my street.)
    • P Forissier: these will be installed soon.

5.b.i to agree: to invite a CEC officer to the March LCCC meeting

  • Action: I Mowat to make this invitation

5.c to note: Transport and clean streets November minutes

  • I Mowat: most discussions were on the TRO for the controlled parking zone. An objection was submitted.
    • The T&CS committee has also objected to double-yellow lines outside business premises on Spey St Lane.
    • It will also request widening of the route at Dryden St Bridge.

5.d to agree: a transport hierarchy to guide LCCC’s future decisions

  • I Mowat: the following was agreed by the T&CS committee:
    1. Pedestrians (including walkers and wheelchair users)
    2. users of public transport and taxis
    3. cyclists
    4. waste collection and street-cleaning vehicles
    5. delivery vehicles to local businesses (i.e. any businesses within LCCC’s area, including branches of national chains)
    6. delivery vehicles to private addresses
    7. through traffic
  • The above was agreed by the full CC nem con.
  • Action: B Ryan to update website.

5.e to note: any other Transport & Clean Streets matters relevant to LCCC area

  • J Wilkinson: Network Rail has installed a big fence outside the stable block.
    • A McIntosh: this is because much of the embankment is in a very poor state.
  • P Forissier: was there any notification about a builder’s 3-storey portacabins covering 1/3 of Iona St? These may be in place for 2 years. Surely these should have planning permission.
    • J Caldwell: there is a similar situation, i.e. no notification, on South Fort St.
    • J Wilkinson: there are similar issues on Anderson St.
    • Cllr Rae: subcontractors are parking on streets, despite having large sites. CEC is pushing contractors on this.
    • Action: Cllr Rae to pursue this.
    • H Tobermann: permissions may have been granted by the un-minuted CEC traffic management review panel.
    • Action: H Tobermann to write to CEC Director of Place
  • I Mowat: part of the Water of Leith walkway remains closed, due to the state of the retaining wall.
    • J Wilkinson: work is being undertaken at Dean Bridge and Balerno.
    • Action: JW to report further details of this and further relevant conversation.

6 Planning

6.a to agree: PAC report for Land East of 139 Leith Walk

  • Action: P Forissier to check that this report accurately reflects LCCC’s input at the January meeting.

6.b to note: Status of current planning applications in LCCC area (DEC21)

  • P Forissier: this does not yet show that planning permission for Spey St Lane has now been granted.
    • There were many objections to this application, yet it was passed without comment by CEC.
    • Action: P Forissier to archive old applications

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

  • P Forissier: I was contacted by the local press about this, who has noticed issues with CEC planning processes.
    • Hence I am drafting a letter in the name of all Leith CCs, stating
      • Many planning applications are incomplete or do not meet relevant standards. These should be rejected, rather than burdening CEC planning officers.
      • it is not uncommon for new significant information to be lodged by an applicant on CEC Planning Portal without any notification made to the public. The public is also not allowed to comment on this new information. If new information is significant, comment ‘windows’ should be re-opened so that people can engage with it.
      • CEC has decided not to publish comments on live applications. They should be published, anonymised if needed.
      • CCs’ objections have been ignored in planning reports, leading to approvals via delegated powers. CCs’ comments should be acknowledged and published.

7 Parks and green spaces

7.a to note: any Parks and green spaces matters relevant to LCCC area

  • J Wilkinson: Friends of Pilrig Park is seeking ideas for spending ~£2000
    • J Caldwell: a muddy path needs improvement.
    • C Encombe: it results from an underground river.
    • Action: J Wilkinson to ascertain how people can submit suggestions.

8 LCCC governance

8.a to agree: Spurtle advertising spending (for reference: 2020 invoice)

  • I Mowat: the most recent invoice covers 14 months, and is for advertising in the printed edition. Previous invoices were for both the printed and the online edition.
    • Decision: LCCC wishes to advertise itself in both editions
    • Action: A McIntosh to advise actual costs, including online advertising.

9 Open forum (local residents)[1]

No items

10 AOCB (LCCC members)[2]

  • J Wilkinson: do we know when building will start on the Ashley Place John News site?
    • H Tobermann: no. Owners have 5 years from grant of permission to start building. There are national labour and material shortages which may have caused delay here.
  • H Tobermann: LCCC organises presenters according to need and availability. See for example item 5.b.i above.
  • J Caldwell: LCCC has recently paid for a further year’s subscription to MS Teams
    • J Caldwell: I am happy explore use of hybrid meetings, but online attendees may not be able to take part fully.
    • B Ryan: other CC hybrid meetings I have attended would have worked well if audio systems hadn’t been poor.
    • Other members also reported poor experience of hybrid meetings.
    • H Tobermann: it should be possible to stream meetings, so others can observe them, as CEC and parliaments do.
    • C Encombe: if members are monitoring remote attendees, this makes it difficult for these members to take part fully.
    • I Mowat: I would be concerned if others could capture (and hence abuse) livestreams
    • B Ryan: only LCCC can Teams-record its meetings, but any attendee could point a phone at his/her/its computer screen to record the live-stream. Also, it would be possible for in-person attendees to secretly record meetings.
    • H Tobermann: it would be possible to know who made unauthorised in-person video recordings. It would not necessarily be possible to know who recorded a livestream outside the meeting venue.
    • Action: this discussion to be continued at LCCC’s next meeting.
  • C Encombe: McDonald Rd library is being used for COVID testing until possibly the end of March.
  • J Caldwell: LCCC’s Facebook page has now received 1000 likes.

11 Future ordinary meetings and meeting topics/presentations

11.a to note: future meetings on 3rd Monday of each month at 7pm (except July,December):

21 March, 18 April, 16 May (AGM)

12 Appendix 1: police report

Calls of interest to the Police in our area 12/01/2022 – 20/01/2022 Crimes (undetected and detected) between 12/01/2022 – 20/01/2022
Total number of calls between 12/01/2022 & 20/02/22 976 Number of crime reports raised between 12/01/2022 – 20/02/2022 115
Disturbance calls 35 Crime reports reported for disturbance calls 12
Vandalism reports 26 Vandalisms 22
Crimes of Dishonesty reports 76 Crimes of dishonesty reported 76
Drugs misuse reports 33 Drugs 5
Public Nuisance / Antisocial behaviour 62

12.a Community issues

12.a.i Antisocial behaviour

Police officers identify and attend protracted neighbour disputes in the relevant areas. They triage and advice reports accordingly and link with City of Edinburgh Council FHS department when appropriate to resolve reported issues.

CPT responded to increased youth disorder in the area of Dalmeny Park and Easter Road over the school holiday period leading to a number of youths being identified as responsible.

Targeted patrolling in the area of Dicksonfield / McDonald Road for disorder and drugs misuse.

12.a.ii Road Traffic matters

‘Safely to school’ campaign is running across all of the Community areas with Community officers patrolling areas during children drop off/pick up times ensuring children arrive to schools safely.

Number of road checks carried out on Pilrig Street/Bonnington Road leading to detection of a number of road traffic offences. Local CPT is determined to continue with these road checks to maintain safety on local streets.

12.a.iii Community support

Community surgeries scheduled

  • 28/02/2022 McDonald Library,
  • 07/03/2022, The Out of the Blue Drill Hall
  • 21/03/2022, McDonald Library

Intention to hold community surgeries at those location every month. Details of the surgeries were emailed to the community council.

12.b Some notable recent incidents in the Central/South Leith area:

  1. 1 x male was charged with supply of class B drugs from business premises. A report has been submitted to the COPFS office. The value of seized drugs was in excess of £1400.
  2. Warrant executed to business premises in the area which resulted in recovery of prescribed drugs worth approx. £9,000. Enquiries are ongoing into the incident.
  3. There is an ongoing investigation into multiple vandalisms within the relevant areas of communication network cabling which causes significant disruption to domestic Internet connectivity.

12.c 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

12.d About Us

  • Local Area Commander: Chief Inspector Kieran Dougal
  • Leith Community Policing Team based at Leith Police Station:
  • Inspector Colin Fordyce
  • Sergeant Samantha Rose
  • Plus 8 officers dedicated to community issues in Leith

12.d.i Contact Us:

[1] This agenda point allows members of the public to raise issues of public interest.

[2] This agenda point allows LCCC members to raise issues not covered by the agenda.