LHNCC minutes: August 2018

Minutes of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council ordinary meeting, held at Leith Community Centre on Tuesday 28 August 2018 at 6.30pm

Actions and decisions are red italic underlined. Nem conmeans that no-one spoke or voted against an item.

1 Introductions

Stewart Auld LHNCC Douglas Tharby LHNCC treasurer
Elaine Dick LHNCC Adrian Graham Leith Links CC
James Duff LHNCC Bill Atkinson Trinity CC
Don Giles LHNCC/friends of Water of Leith Basin Cllr Chas Booth Leith ward
Rob Levick LHNCC chair Cllr Gordon Munro Leith ward
Allan Mackie LHNCC John Higgins and Craig Lynes Cala Homes
Jennifer Marlborough LHNCC secretary 9 residents/visitors

2 Apologies

Arthur Young LHNCC Gillian Meek Victoria Primary School parents’ council
Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith

3 Minutes of previous ordinary meeting and AGM

These were not approved because a 2017 minute had been circulated. Action: LHNCC to approve these at a later date.

3.a Matters arising

D Tharby reported that there was an arson attack on the Sikh temple that morning. C. Booth provided information relating to this.

4 Police report

No police present, possibly due to the arson attack.

5 Presentation: Cala Waterfront development update

Mr Higgins and Mr Lynes reported:

  • Cala submitted its full planning application in June 2017.
    • There was then much debate with CEC, in particular over inclusion of retail space in the plans.
    • There are plans to have an apartment and cafe at the easternmost point of the site. This will be completed first, then used for management, show-house and sales.
    • CEC eventually held a hearing on this application, leading to CEC’s development management committee unanimously approving the application in December 2017.
  • Cala has since been working on developer contributions (affordable housing, transport etc).
    • This has now been signed off, so Cala have begun work on the site.
  • Hence they are now engaging with LHNCC, to be up-front about potential issues etc.
    • They are keen to install a noticeboard on the site to help publicise matters.
    • They are happy to update LHNCC every 3 or 6 months, over the anticipated 5 years of building.
  • The development will have 388 units, split into various blocks, including affordable housing, ‘colony’ units and townhouses.
    • Building of affordable housing may well be subcontracted, and will start at the same time as building of the other parts.
    • However, it will delivered sooner than the other parts. Hart builders and POLHA will complete this approximately a year from now.
    • There will be commercial space (café, etc) ‘dotted through the ground floor’ of the development, near the public realm parts of the development. Plans may change depending on the market for commercial units.
  • There is much preparation (9-10 weeks) to be done before actual building can start.
    • This will involve piling (8am to 17:30), which is unfortunately inevitably noisy, but which will be monitored.
    • Cala will take precautions against piling harming existing buildings around the site.
    • Piling and subsequent building will be phased.
  • Asked about trams, it was stated that relevant land will be handed over to CEC, as agreed by the former owner (Forth Ports).
    • There are discussions between S1, Cala and CEC over how trams and developments would interface.
    • Cala hope for a southern construction-only access point and a residents’ access point on the north side of the site.
    • There are questions about pedestrian paths along the proposed tram-route. These are best raised with the trams team.
  • A nearby treatment plant will be retained.
  • It is planned that the development will include 300 parking spaces. The ratio of spaces to homes is an ongoing debate.
    • Car-club and e-car spaces are being considered by Cala.
  • Flood risk and defenses have been considered, but will not be installed during this building. Forth Ports owns the key walls and is responsible for their maintenance.
  • Spoil will be taken to Falkirk. The route is constrained by various sites being developed around Edinburgh at the same time.
    • LHNCC members mentioned that up to three adjacent developments will be under construction simultaneously, so are concerned about traffic-management. Cala has plans to minimise inconvenience caused by their construction traffic.
    • Plan for site development will be such that traffic management will be contained on site for as long as possible.
    • There was discussion regarding developer contributions.
  • It was suggested that any trees planted in the development must be very hardy.
  • All plans are available on the CEC planning portal.

6 Reports

6.a Secretary

Action: J Marlborough to circulate a full report via email/the website in due course

6.b Treasurer

  • Current balance in main bank account £1438·96, £0·65 in other bank accounts. DT intends to merge these accounts.
  • DT is about to submit LHNCC’s accounts to CEC.

7 Councillors’, MSP’s, MP’s reports

7.a Cllr Booth

He noted that Police Scotland investigations into the fire at the Sikh temple are ongoing.

  • He has contacted the Sikh community to offer his help and support.
  • He suggested that Leithers might also offer their own support.

7.b Cllr Munro

  • He has been helping the Save Leith Walk campaign.
  • He has been working on CEC governance matters.
    • This includes considering the cost of CCTV undertaken for Police Scotland (PS), which is not being reimbursed by PS.
    • CEC is currently heading for £50m overspend this financial year, primarily due to health and social care costs, and other identified savings not being made. He suggests that Scottish Government’s underspend is used to cover such costs.
    • CEC needs to make over £100m cuts.

8 Planning

See also LHNCC planning page: https://lhncc.org.uk/planning.

There was discussion of how to submit comments and objections. Because the CEC planning portal does not work as well as desired (concurred by the CEC cllrs present), CEC’s planning committee has directed CEC’s planning department to accept input by email and letter.

8.a Steads Place

J Marlborough reported:

  • The full planning application has now been submitted.
    • LHNCC was not notified of this, and so was left with just a week to comment.
    • JM obtained an extension to 14 September. A further extension was then given to 28 September, because not all plans are yet available via the CEC planning portal.
  • Save Leith Walk website has a list of potential objection points.
  • There will be a small number of parking spaces.
  • There will be 53 affordable flats, 523 bedrooms for student accommodation, a 56-room hotel, a restaurant, and other retail/commercial/community space.

There was discussion of how to make objections germane to the planning application, e.g. based on ratio of students to other residents, materials, transport factors. Objections can be made to both the demolition and the subsequent construction.

It was pointed out that student residents are likely to be post-graduates, hence resident all year round, with families.

Actions: LHNCC members to draft response before next meeting (25 September).

Action: LHNCC to set up a working group to facilitate response-writing

Action: JM to invite developers to LHNCC meeting.

9 Community Councils Together on Trams update

J Marlborough reported:

  • She had circulated CCTT’s brief: 2 representatives of each affected CC make up the Steering Group. This group will meet with the tram team on the last Thursday of each month, as a direct point of contact. Residents’ groups representatives or individuals will continue to meet with the tram team independently or request/be invited to CCTT monthly meetings.
  • Constitution St residents’ group is apparently not getting the feedback it wishes, following workshops with the tram team.
    • The agenda for the next meeting (2 days hence) will include the ‘supplementary ‘ work (bus-stops, waste, landscaping etc) that are apparently not in the project budget. The budget only covers the tram route. (Cllr Booth challenged this.)
    • D Giles stated that the trams team has already missed a contract deadline, and expressed concern over future slippage.
  • Cllr Booth challenged the accuracy of DG’s information-source and reiterated his willingness to ask questions of the trams team, as a member of CEC’s trams oversight committee. He has concerns about aspects of the current design.
  • He stated that trams to Newhaven are likely, not a fait accompli, but that how this is to be achieved is not settled.
  • There was a request for a list of supplementary items that would help create a sense of place.
    • A resident raised concerns about plans for Constitution St, for example her suggestion that it is too narrow for trams.

Action: CCTT steering group members to clarify and advertise details of open meetings

10 Events & feedback

See also LHNCC events page: https://lhncc.org.uk/events.

10.a Granton Marina Development – public meeting

JM reported on a developers’ public consultation meeting:

  • Residents are seeking support around various issues with this development, e.g. money for improving Lower Grant Rd.
  • She will circulate details of a further meeting in due course.
  • In general, CCs’ mutual support is increasing, which (she stated) is a good thing.

11 Other work

See also LHNCC other work page: https://lhncc.org.uk/lhnccs-other-work

11.a LRT transport to WGH

JM reported:

  • LHNCC has met with LRT, and so far obtained a refusal to consider changing the 21 route.
  • There are many changes to LRT routes and timetables (costing £750k), so it is disappointing that the change LHNCC requested has not been made, or even trialled. (This would cost £150k, according to LRT.) This is especially because LRT review routes and timetables every 6 months, and LHNCC’s request was submitted well before the most recent changes were made.
  • An LHNCC member stated that LRT’s new buses are all diesel, not hybrid, but another member responded that the new buses’ engines are high-efficiency new models.
    • Cllr Booth responded that buses on the 1 route are electric. LRT fleet-strategy policy will soon be published.
    • CEC is pushing LRT and other organisations to be environmentally friendly.

11.b Request for speed-bumps on Ocean Drive

JM reported that she has emailed Darren Ryan, asking for an update.


12.a AirBnB

A Platinum Point resident stated there is an annual survey of residents’ concerns. This year, a major concern has been over short-term lets. The resident stated that residents would need to present detailed notes of any problems to CEC to obtain enforcement of planning conditions (i.e. that if a flat is solely used for short-term lets, this is a breach of planning permission). He asked for clarity around how to submit objections. He noted some success around enforcement in other areas of Edinburgh.

  • Cllr Munro suggested that new legislation is needed to enable councils to enforce such conditions, while Cllr Booth stated that if flats are only being let for short terms contrary to permitted use, this is a matter for planning enforcement, but that councils’ powers in such cases are limited. CEC is attempting to engage with the Scottish Government over this. Cllr Booth also recommended engaging with MSPs, because a planning bill is now being considered by the Scottish Parliament. Andy Wightman MSP has submitted an amendment pushing for local authorities to have stronger powers in this area.
    • Action: Cllr Booth to forward details of CEC policy to LHNCC secretary, secretary to circulate this to members.
  • A Mackie stated that at Britannia Quay there have been issues around key-boxes and difficulty in getting police or CEC action to combat nuisance from such party flats.
  • D Tharby stated that there are several short-term letting websites, and that associated problems occur in other countries.

12.b LHNCC membership

J Marlborough expressed concern over the falling number of LHNCC members. (A member has automatically resigned by not attending for more than 6 months. Another is on long-term sick-leave. A further member is about to move out of LHNCC’s area. This would leave 8 voting members (7 elected members and 1 representative of a local body), which is near the lower limit.

Action: office-bearers to contact local bodies who might wish to be represented on LHNCC.

12.c SS Explorer request for support

J Duff reported:

  • The SS Explorer Society has applied for a lottery grant to enable the ‘business’ side of the society. He asked whether LHNCC would submit a supporting letter. Agreed nem con.

12.d Edinburgh Partnership review of governance

See also NTBCC blog post.

D Giles stated that LHNCC should contribute to the consultation (closing 9 September). There was some concern that Neighbourhood Partnerships might be abolished, but it was noted that NPs are continuing to act. Cllr Munro urged LHNCC to submit its views.

12.e Steads Place

D Giles asked for contact details for people interested in this issue.

12.f MV Fingal

A resident noted that this ‘party/hotel boat’, serving up to 200 people, has now received planning permission, and that the owners have now applied for an alcohol license (11am to 1am every day, with extensions to 3am during the festival and winter holidays). The resident asked LHNCC to object to these hours, requesting closure at midnight (1am during festival and winter). He also expressed concern about drinking outside the ship, which would probably greatly increase noise in the area. Comments can be lodged up to 7 September.

Action: LHNCC to urgently submit a letter of objection, requesting reduced hours and a noise-management plan, and mentioning CEC’s environmental health concerns

12.g Hearings/Steads Place proposed development

A resident asked about who can request and speak at a formal planning hearing. Cllr Booth responded that planning hearings can be requested by relevant CEC cllrs, but are used sparingly because they take a lot of time. However, controversial and larger issues are likely to have hearings. CEC’s development management subcommittee decides whether any planning matter will have a hearing (following requests from CEC cllrs). If they do, CCs can speak at such hearings.

Cllr Munro noted that Leith Walk ward cllrs can request a hearing for Steads Place, because this proposed development is in that ward. (There were suggestions that parts of the development are in Leith Ward.)

Action: Cllr Munro to ascertain whether the development is in Leith ward.

Date of next meeting

Tuesday 25 September2018

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