LHNCC minutes: February 2019

Minutes of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council ordinary meeting, held at Leith Community Centre on Tuesday 26 February 2019 at 6.30pm

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

1 Introductions and apologies for absence

1.a Present

Elaine Dick LHNCC vicechair PC Spence Police Scotland
James Duff LHNCC PC Casselden Police Scotland
Don Giles LHNCC/FOWLB Ewan Anderson 7N Architects
Rob Levick LHNCC chair Ben Watson 7N Architects
Jennifer Marlborough LHNCC secretary Lesley McGrath Holder Planning
Douglas Tharby LHNCC treasurer Ian Kerr Infrastructure Manager, Forth Ports
Arthur Young LHNCC Chris Rankin Rankin Fraser
Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary Stuart Wallace COO, Forth Ports
Cllr Chas Booth Leith ward Ruth Mustard SWECO
Cllr Jim Campbell Trinity ward Jamie McFarlane Rettie
Cllr Gordon Munro Leith ward 2 residents

1.b Apologies

Colin Brown LHNCC Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith Cllr Adam McVey Leith ward

2 Minutes of previous meeting

Approved without changes (proposed J Duff, seconded D Giles, nem con)

3 Matters arising


4 Police report

PCs Spence and Casselden reported

  • Police are still trying to deal with boy-racers (BRs) on Ocean Drive. However, there have been fewer calls about this. There has been more emphasis on Ocean Terminal (OT) being part of the solution. Speed-bumps at the front of OT have helped.
    • There was a meeting of ~300 BRs, organised via Facebook (FB), in early January. 6 police and security staff were insufficient to deal with this. The BRs then went to Fort Kinnaird and then to Musselburgh.
    • The police now know of the FB group so hope that things will be better, and a speed-van will be present for a while.
    • It was suggested that temporary traffic lights reduced the number of BR incidents for a while.
    • Response officers are more aware of this issue – they have seized at least 3 cars that had ASBOs this month.
    • It was noted that modifications might invalidate insurance but it is not possible to contact insurers on Saturday nights.
  • School visits around internet safety week have taken place at St Marys and Leith Victoria primary schools.
    • A visit to Leith Victoria around bullying is coming soon.
  • There have been calls to the Western harbour breakwater over cannabis and music. The police try to attend every backshift.
  • The police hope to run more bike-marking events. Anyone interested should email.
    • These will also be advertised via LHNCC’s newsletter if the information is available in time.
  • The police are working closely with the citadel youth group’s ‘new spin’ classes on Friday.
    • They intend to create a leaflet or brochure on integration against hate-crime.
    • Any incidents should be reported via 999, 101 or anonymously via crimestoppers etc.
    • The police aim to be seen not just as crime0fightes but also as a friendly face.
  • They hold surgeries every 3rd Saturday (2 March, 23 March etc) 12 noon to 2pm. These have had good footfall.

5 Forth Ports (FP) project team presentation: Western Harbour revised design

Cllr Booth took no part in this discussion. See also links to slides.

S Wallace and colleagues reported:

  • FP has owned the site for a long time, but FP is now committed to completing the site’s development.
    • FP’s used to ‘build and move on’ but it now intends to be involved with the area long after building is complete.
  • Market conditions have changed very much since FP obtained the site.
    • Demand profiles have changed both in this area and over Edinburgh.
    • Hence the nature, scale, look and feel of the current plans are much changed from FP’s original conception.
    • These are positive changes, building on the success of units at the gateway to the area. These have changed the look and feel of the area, for example ASDA is not in isolation.
    • The proposal focuses residential properties, in line with CEC’s plans.
    • It takes into account modern building regulations, changing demographics and expectations around transport etc.
    • Inter alia, FP wishes to finish the park, a key part of the development.
  • FP is working with the Scottish Government, CEC and institutional investors to fund the development.
  • FP appreciates the input from local people and professionals (e.g. Rettie).

5.a The development plans

  • A revised development framework was presented to LHNCC last summer (slide 3).
    • That paved way for the current applications. CEC approved relevant design guidance in October 2018 (slide 4).
    • That has now been worked up in much more detail.
  • The applications envisage 938 new homes plus the park (slide 7). (The applications are separate but parallel.) These will be
    • 40% 1-bed
    • 40% 2-bed
    • 20% 3-bed, most having direct access to garden spaces. (Others have indirect access.)
  • There would also be some commercial/retail units, and a medical centre (slide 8, slide 9).
  • The park would be roughly the same size as Bruntsfield links.
  • CEC also proposes to build a primary school to the southwest of the park.
  • There would be 440 parking spaces for residents below a raised parking deck to which there is shared access (slide 10).
    • 1/6 of these would have electric vehicle charging points (slide 11).
    • There will also be car-club parking spaces.
    • There would be visitor parking spaces along the side of the park.
  • There would be 2150 secure cycle-parking spaces.
  • The movement strategy (slide 12) envisages a balance between cars, cyclists and pedestrians.
    • Hence the main street in the development, between this site and the site of a future phase.
    • Hence also cycle-route along the side of the park and along the main street.
    • Side-streets would be shared spaces (slide 13, slide 14).
    • Each side street would be slightly different, to aid navigation/location-awareness.
    • The crescent (along the southeast of the park) would be more coherent (slide 15).
    • Building along the crescent/park would use a limited palate of materials: mainly light-coloured brick (high quality, good wearing [slide 16]) with a more vertical appearance (slide 17), as a modern version of tenements (slide 18).
    • Smaller (‘shared’) spaces would have more variety of materials, but appear darker (slide 19).
    • Elevations facing the park would feature light-coloured brick, and be more vertical in look.
  • This plan is for ‘full build-out’, completing use of FP’s site (slide 20, slide 21). (FP does not own the northernmost corner of the area because it sold those plots in 2005.)

5.b The proposed park

  • There is a separate planning application covering the park (visualised in slide 22and slide 24).
  • CEC considers this as a large park, so there are requirements leading to a variety of spaces (e.g. a play-park, space for community growing, open/flexible space for multi-use games, some landform/variety [slide 23]) and to a mix of planting to increase biodiversity (e.g. the woodland crescent-edge would in time provide mature tree cover [slide 25]).
  • A strip of land on the park’s north edge would have space for community growing beds near the school, and some ‘pockets’ of space.
  • To the south would be large spaces, some slightly mounded, and some as sports pitches.
  • Dialogue with the school designers has led to plans for traffic calming at the southwest edge of the park, to enable an interface with the school, to make the school and park ‘holistic’.
  • There would be direct access through the park to bus-stops.

5.c Questions, answers and comments

  • It was noted that the plans address some concerns raised by Victoria primary school parents and teachers, such as potential separation between park and school, school and development not being built simultaneously, roads too close to the school.
  • It was noted that while the park would not directly link with Lighthouse Park(FP does not own it) some connections exist.
  • ASDA owns an area to the southwest of the site. (This area appeared unused on one of the slides.)
  • Carbon-neutrality work will comply with CEC and other relevant building and sustainability regulations. FP will also consider district heating in the long term. This is not part of the current application but the infrastructure will allow it.
  • The 230 units already built by FP are ‘managed rental’. This application would also be managed rental, which fits the needs of many Edinburgh residents. So this would not be social housing but affordable rental/mid-market rent. That is, there is a cap on residents’ household income on the first day of their lease. (Subsequent income increases will not be capped.)
    • The site would remain mid-market rental for at least 25 years, because it is funded by long-term investors.
    • The 230 units had 3600 applicants, despite almost no advertising.
    • The whole development will be ‘tenure-blind’, with high-quality units encouraging long-term rental.
  • The timescale would be
    • Apply for planning permission this week
    • Start construction in early 2020, starting at the south and working north, to enable occupancy 14 months into the build.
    • Complete construction within 4 years.
  • It is envisaged that materials will arrive via the port, hence there are relevant conversations with the supply chain.
    • There may be also modular construction in the port.
    • This would help minimise traffic on existing roads.
  • Scottish Government is not currently an investor, but there is currently dialogue around a long-term low-interest loan.
  • Security of tenure after 25 years will be decided by whoever controls the homes at that point. However, this is not a high-risk project for investors. It is likely to be owned for a long time by FP, which is 100% owned by pension-fund investors.
  • There will not be another public consultation on these plans, because there was one in June, leading to PPP.

6 Reports

6.a Treasurer

Current balance is £801·97 – a large drop since the last report due to payments for Xmas lights

6.b Secretary

  • Information on the routes for new big buses (routes 11 & 16) has been circulated.
  • Emergency works on some roads have caused bus diversions. The first of these caused chaos.
  • Emergency work on a gas leak in Constitution St should be finished soon.

7 Councillors’, MSP’s and MP’s reports

7.a Cllr Booth

  • CEC’s budget was approved last week.
  • CEC’s transport and environment committee will decide about the tram extension on Thursday 28 Feb.
    • The recommendation is to proceed.
    • A data-room has been available to cllrs for the last 2 weeks.
    • The Green position is that the extension makes sense, giving a 1·4:1 benefit:cost ratio. Trams get people to use public transport but alternatives do not.
    • Some concerns cannot be fixed, e.g. maintaining parking and loading outside Constitution St house is impossible.
    • If TEC decides to proceed, then the full council will make a final decision on 14 March.
    • There would then 6 months of ‘early contractor involvement’ (discussions with contractor on fine detail).
    • The work would be complete by the end of 2023.
  • Well done to everyone involved in LeithChooses!

7.b Cllr Munro

The budget includes a 3% council-tax increase. He suggested there should be reform of council tax, and stated that the budget was imposed by the Scottish Government (SG), that Audit Scotland states that Scottish councils are suffering from stress, and that SG is not acting on its 2015 joint report with CoSLA. He stated that unallocated sums in the Scottish exchequer should be spent now on issues that are currently dire, and that this was best done via local authorities which are currently under severe financial pressure

  • Hence CEC was considering removing nursery schools’ head teachers, but this was prevented by an EIS campaign.
  • CEC needs to save £150m, hence to cut at least 700 jobs.
  • 11 of the 30 integrated joint health boards are underfunded, and 8 more are in deficit, according to Audit Scotland. This is allegedly SG’s fault. These boards try to free hospital beds so people can be at home rather than in hospital.
  • CEC gives £2·1 m to police (formerly £2·6m). There is also a £827,000 annual subsidy for CCTV.
  • The tram extension is likely to help with air-quality, provide public transport benefits, and promote development.
    • There will be some issues, e.g. the listed wall of South Leith parish church.
      • D Giles asked how people could be sure that CEC would not mismanage this project’s contract, and whether CEC is confident that the current estimate is accurate.
      • Cllr Campbell responded that the Conservative cllrs do not support the tram because of costs, high risks and comparatively low economic benefits (patronage will mostly come from bus-users), and because of budget pressures.
      • Cllr Booth responded that the trams team has listened carefully to the evidence presented at the trams enquiry. To improve management and accountability, there is a much clearer structure, a board that includes no politicians and has a risk subgroup. This would enable quick decisions free of political input. Further contracts are not bespoke (and hence faulty) but are standard contracts. There is also early contractor involvement (ECI), which should lead to more certainty around outcomes. There is also allowance for optimism bias.
      • D Giles made a strong request that all contractual matters are fixed during ECI to avoid contractors misbehaving.
    • A resident asked why the project was not waiting for the Hardie enquiry to report.
      • Cllr Booth responded that it is not known when the enquiry will report, that all evidence has been given in public and taken into account by the tram team/CEC. Delay-costs would be substantial, both in financial terms and because the current experienced tram team would be lost.

8 Planning update

See also LHNCC planning pages

8.a CW properties: 139 Leith Walk 19/00415/PAN

There are public consultations at McDonald Road Library, Mon 22 April 2019 and Tues 23 April 2019 (both 14:30 to 19:00). However, this application may have been withdrawn.

8.b Cala: Waterfront Plaza (affordable block F) 16/03684/FUL

Building is due to start June/July 2019

8.c S1: Skyliner 19/00414/PAN

  • Public consultation: Ocean Terminal, Wednesday 27 February (12:00 to 19:00)
  • The first application was approved so work can start but a 2nd application is needed because some changes have been made.

8.d POLHA: 2 Ocean Drive 14/05127/FUL

Building is due to start April 2019

9 CCTT (Community Councils Together on Trams)

  • CCTT has been working with the tram team since summer 2018.
  • CCTT is considering a joint statement relating to issues that have not yet been fully resolved.
  • Chris Day (EBUG) and Jennifer Marlborough met with Darren Wraight (Tram Team) to discuss bus stops/shelters and cycle lane provision on Leith Walk.
  • CCTT wishes assurance that subsidiary projects will be funded and completed.
    • R Levick suggested that if CCTT had not pushed, these projects would not have even been considered.
  • Cllr Booth added that all documents seen by cllrs, apart from 3 confidential documents, have now been published.

10 Local events & feedback

See also LHNCC ‘other work’ page

10.a Heart of Newhaven (formerly Newhaven Project)

The steering group met to decide way forward 19/2/2019. It aims to create a community buy-out of Victoria Primary School when it closes.

10.b LeithChooses voting: feedback

D Tharby reported that the votes have now been counted. At least 1297 people came to vote. There was a very good community spirit. The chair thanked all LHNCC people involved – it gave the CC a good reputation. Results will be announced 6 March at McDonald Road library.

10.c Save Leith Walk

  • The planning application for Stead’s Place was refused. LHNCC’s presentation is online.
  • There is a meeting to discuss next steps, including a possible Leith umbrella organisation/development trust, at Thomas Morton Hall 13/3/19 (possibly 7pm)
  • The time-limit for appeal to the Scottish Government is 3 months. The developers may also submit another application.

11 CEC and Scottish Government consultations

See also LHNCC events page

11.a CEC community council scheme

11.b Scottish Government consultation on fireworks

This closes 13/5/19: https://consult.gov.scot/safer-communities/fireworks

11.c SEStrans bus stakeholders congress

This very interesting congress was at Victoria Quay on 8/2/19,


12.a Reviving proposal regarding LRT route 21 via Western General Hospital

  • J Marlborough has contacted other relevant CCs. They support trying again.
  • Hence she will send LHNCC’s original request, Lothian Buses’ response, minutes of a meeting with Lothian Buses to anyone relevant.

12.b Neighbourhood partnership

D Giles asked members to come to the NP meeting at the Kirkgate on 2019_02_27 (18:30). This meeting will cover disbandment of locality committees and NPs, and the creation of area planning bodies.

12.c Other points

  • The bridge from Lindsay Rd to N Fort St is to be demolished, not repaired.
  • The AGM for Leith Festival at will beheld a the Leith Dockers club on 13 March (7pm)

13 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 26 March 2019

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