Minutes of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council meeting, held at the Leith Community Education Centre on Tuesday 27 August 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
|Stewart Auld||LHNCC||Arthur Young||LHNCC|
|Colin Brown||LHNCC||PC Chris Casselden||Police Scotland|
|Elaine Dick||LHNCC vicechair||Cllr Chas Booth||Leith ward|
|Rob Levick||LHNCC chair||Deidre Brock MP||Edinburgh North & Leith|
|Jennifer Marlborough||LHNCC secretary||Duncan Bremner||Leith Creative|
|Douglas Tharby||LHNCC treasurer||4 residents/visitors|
|Don Giles||LHNCC||Bruce Ryan||Minutes secretary||Cllr Gordon Munro||Leith ward|
2 Minutes of previous meeting
Approved without changes (proposed E Dick, seconded J Marlborough, nem con)
3 Matters arising
Item 9a: There will be a neighbourhood network meeting on 4 September. D Tharby will chair this.
4 Police Report
PC Casselden reported
- There have been some antisocial behaviour issues over the summer in Dalmeny Park and Leith Links. Hence police have been conducting youth patrols with CEC.
- Police have conducted joint operations with CEC on private-hire cars in Constitution St. 14 cars were stopped; 2 warnings were issued; 1 car was seized.
- Police have conducted a joint operation with trading standards. Premises in Leith were checked, focussing on alcohol and cigarettes. Some premises continue to be subject to spot-checks.
- The police’s safer communities taskforce have been in Leith for a while. They are based in west Edinburgh but are sent to areas across Scotland facing relevant issues. They have been acting on drug issues in Leith, particularly at Cables Wynd and Great Junction St. Several arrests have been made.
- The monthly surgery at Ocean Terminal was productive. Issues with speeding at Newhaven Police were reported. Hence patrols there have increased. 1 person was stopped for various traffic offences. Such patrols will continue.
- Police have been visiting licensed premises, focussing on safety in pubs and the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign.
- There is a suicide-prevention scheme running across Edinburgh. Leith police will be working on this.
Asked about reports of dog-thieves acting in the area, PC Casselden responded that these arose from an incident in Newhaven that did not actually involve a dog. He suggested that this is not a prevalent issue, but that people should take care of their dogs – and are welcome to phone in any issues.
5 Presentation: SOSLeith, ‘Update on the tidying of the lower shore basins’
Ian Anderson reported
- There is now a non-constituted organisation: ‘Save our Shore Leith’.
- It is concerned about the lower Water of Leith Basins, especially their health and welfare: rubbish, silting, state of the walls and the heritage aspects of the bridges.
- SOSLeith will become constituted if this is advantageous.
- It aligns with businesses along the Shore, and with Leithers Don’t Litter. It will also work with other relevant stakeholders.
- Its objectives are to work with community stakeholders to get accountable management and maintenance of the basins.
- It wishes scheduled and flexible action on this, so that extraordinary issues can be dealt with.
- It also wishes monitoring of the basins and relevant mechanisms.
- So far it has written to stakeholders, to try to get them to engage in ‘meaningful discussions’ about the long-term maintenance of the basins. It has also received support and advice from elected representatives.
- It has run a petition campaign at local markets, netting over 3000 signatures.
- It has also built up press contacts.
- It has highlighted the neglect of the local environment in the basins, via a photo-exhibition.
- It has also run a postcard-campaign, focussing on the three active directors of Water of Leith 2000 (WoL2000).
- The current position is that the sea of refuse was removed a month ago. SOSLeith is now seeking updates from those who promised more sustained future action. However, the problem is recurring – and will continue to do so.
- There appears to be some accord between CEC and Forth Ports. However, SOSLeith wishes such things to be public, rather than existing on rumours.
- It will hold a public meeting in October (venue and date TBC).
- It will continue to pursue with CEC options for legal sanction/enforcement, because there are no successful explanations [as far as IA is aware] of why legal sanctions have not been used in this issue. For example, the area could be deemed a litter-control area.
- This springs from the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and from the Scottish Government’s code of practice on litter and refuse. The latter gives a simple and inexpensive pathway for ‘bringing companies into line’ if they do not take care of their areas. If the area becomes a litter control area, citizens can pursue civil cases in the Sherriff Court.
- The major company concerned in this issue is [allegedly] WoL2000. It is nota source of the refuse in the basins but is not clearing up the areas that it controls.
- It was stated that 17% of WoL2000’s rental charges are for water clean-up. (This is not longer stated on WoL200’s website). Rents are £144,000 per boat.
- SOSLeith is copying Leith Links CC’s (LLCC’s) tactic of using the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016. This created the Scottish Land Commission. This body has issued guidance for land-owners on working with local communities on land-management. LLCC wrote to a landlord, asking him/her/it to discuss matters with them to try to establish collaboration on tidying an area under his/her/its control.
- Hence IA has drafted letters to WoL2000 and to Bluefield 1502 who control the basins.
- He asked LHNCC to decide whether to co-sign such letters. (Such letters can only come from constituted groups.)
- Action: LHNCC to consider this.
- It was noted that the buddleia on the harbour walls is causing damage.
- The Water of Leith Conservation Trust has advised ways to control buddleia.
- It was noted that dredging has been considered, and that in the past legal action was not taken due to assurances that Edinburgh Council, Fort Ports or another body would take care of the area. There are concerns about silting, but it would cost £5m to remove a metre of silt from the basins. (There is over 4 metres of silt in the basins.) Silt was described as ‘the real time-bomb’.
- It was noted that CEC and FP had shared the cost of the recent clean-up.
- Cllr Booth noted that he has recently met with Friends of the Water of Leith Basin, and has raised the issue with CEC’s director of place. CEC, Forth Ports and WoL2000 are due to meet soon, and there will be a meeting of a wider selection of stakeholders. He takes on board the issues about transparency and accountability in this matter, and will work on such issues. The three ward councillors will play their part in bringing stakeholders together to find long-term solutions.
- Action: Deidre Brock MP will look into legislative solutions. She will meet with SOSLeith soon.
6 Reports: Secretary and Treasurer
D Tharby reported
- Accounts to 31 March 2019 have been audited and passed on to CEC.
- Annual grant (£845·64) was received in July.
- Current balance £1349·63
- It may be that the grant will increase in future due to increasing population.
She commended the clear-up of the Water of Leith basins, and the campaign that led to this.
7 Councillors’/MSP’s/MP’s reports
7.a Cllr Booth
- CEC was on recess during July.
- 2 weeks ago it was decided unanimously to grant permission for the new Victoria primary school. The likely opening date is to be confirmed.
- He met the police’s Edinburgh commander, and passed on residents’ gratitude for their speed-enforcement work on Ocean Drive. The commander asked whether speeding is still an issue here. Attendees noted that building-related roadworks are preventing speeding.
- Cllr McVey would be the CC elections returning officer but he is on parental leave. However, alternative arrangements are in place. He suggested that candidates submit their nominations early, to enable relevant checks to be done in time.
7.b Deidre Brock MP
- She has taken advantage of the prorogation of the UK Parliament to attend local CC meetings.
- She patrolled with a community police officer yesterday, visiting a Streetworkhostel and the Cyrenians’ lunch club. This is free, using food from supermarkets. She commended this work.
- It was noted that the Guru Nanak temple provides free food.
- Last week, she visited businesses in the creative sector, e.g. the Leith Agency, that are committed to Leith.
- Brexit is taking up much of her time. Her brief is environment and rural affairs. These are much affected by Brexit.
- Westminster party-leaders (apart from the Conservatives) met today, and agreed to work together. However it is not yet known what this will mean in practice. There are concerns whether there will be enough votes for anti-Brexit legislative measures. The SNP will consider any such measures. Parliament will reconvene for 2 weeks, then pause for the 3-week conference season. In the 2-week period there will be only 1 piece of amendable legislation that could contain measures against no deal, i.e. the Northern Ireland Bill.
- Parliament is also working on tariffs and other measures needed in the event of no-deal Brexit.
- She is pessimistic about there being enough time to agree a Brexit deal before 31 October.
- She is concerned about Mr Johnson’s desire to diverge the UK from EU employment and environmental legislation.
- She is concerned about the potential use of much use of tax-payer money for the slaughter of many animals in the event of high tariffs.
- There is uncertainty about such matters as the shared prosperity fundthat would replace some EU funding, because details may not be available until 2020. Meanwhile, what are communities, farmers, businesses etc meant to do?
- She noted that some MPs see Scotland (and/or its MPs) as a ‘nuisance’, due to its/their Remain majorities.
- She has asked the current and former prime ministers about visits to Downing Street by Cambridge Analytica, but has so far received no satisfactory replies.
- She has also asked about munitions dumps in Scottish/UK seas, e.g. Beaufort’s Dyke. Parts of such munitions are leaking, but the Ministry of Defence is not monitoring this matter.
8 Planning update
See also LHNCC planning page. J Marlborough reported as follows.
8.a Industry Lane: Ref. No 18/01876/FUL
This application has been refused and withdrawn.
8.b Aldi: Ref. No. 16/00127/REF
After much investigation, JM has learnt that this store will be built – but not this year.
8.c Tower Street: 19142 PAN Notice
There will be a public exhibition at Leith Library, 16/10/19, 3:00pm – 7:00pm. JM noted that previous Barratts exhibitions have been good.
8.d Bath Road: Ref. No: 18/08206/FUL
Full application granted 5/8/19
9 CCTT (Community Councils Together on Trams)
JM fed back from the CCTT/trams team meeting on 1 August. There was a branding presentation by Chris Wilson (TT/CEC), asking for opinions on visual campaign element supposed to reflect Leith, and covering channels to communicate changes to plans. CCTT delegates responded that presented designs were ‘dreadful’, and that jokes should be replaced with information.
There was discussion of the current ground investigations, and of the new entrance off Ocean Drive.
10 Local events & feedback
See also LHNCC ‘other work’ page. J Marlborough reported as follows.
10.a Leith Heritage Strategy Plan (11/7/19)
- There was a meeting of people interested in restarting the Leith heritage strategy trail. JM has joined a relevant group that includes Kristeen Hannesdottir, Director, Groves-Raines Architects (Lamb’s House). This is collating information on listed buildings and plaques in Leith. (There are many of these.)
- Deidre Brock MP noted her interest in this work, based on such work in her native Western Australia.
- It was confirmed that there will be tram-related removal and restoration of South Leith Parish Church’s wall and graves.
- Cllr Booth noted that the church is amenable to lowering sections of this wall, as has been done at the Fort, but consensus has not been reached.
10.b Heart of Newhaven
There was a ‘great’ taster event (17/8/19) at Victoria Primary School about work towards a heritage centre. The time-frame for this work is very tight, due to the timetable of the land fund.
11 CEC and Scottish Government information and consultations
See also LHNCC events page.
11.a CEC Edinburgh Partnership/Leith Neighbourhood Network report
D Tharby reported
- There will be a Leith Neighbourhood Networks meeting on 4 September at 6pm in the Kirkgate. Invitations will be issued soon. DT has volunteered to chair such meetings. He is a member of the local community planning partnership.
- The LeithChooses launch event will be on 1 October 2019 at 6:30pm at the Kirkgate.
- The LeithChooses voting event will be on 1 February 2020 in the Kirkgate.
- The ‘boost’ voting feature will recur, but amended in response to feedback from last year’s vote.
- DT requested volunteers for the launch event.
- Action: DT to provide relevant copy for LHNCC’s newsletter.
11.b CEC Edinburgh Community Council Scheme review: final phase schedule
- 22 August 2019: Report to Council to approve final Scheme. This was approved.
- October 2019: Final Scheme to be for CC Elections and CC Term
11.c Scottish Government consultation on short-term lets
- This closed on 19/7/19. There was a consultation event on 15/7/19 at Victoria Quay. At this event, there was a majority in favour of legislation to control short-term lets. At the LHNCC meeting, there was some concern over the costs to landlords for normal lets (yet short-term landlords do not face these); and over insurance issues.
11.d 07021 – Forth Ports Ltd
- Maintenance Dredging and Sea Deposit, Newhaven Harbour – Consultation – Response Required by 06 September 2019
11.e CC Elections 31 October 2019
- CC Elections 2019 briefing note is available on Leith Central CC’s website
- J Marlborough urged that LHNCC campaigns around this to try to get more members. She noted that Leith Links and Leith Central have produced A5 flyers, and Leith Links CC’s work to advertise itself.
- R Levick noted that he will not stand in the 2019 elections. He expressed concern about potential use of LHNCC resources to promote current members as candidates but was very much in favour of work to source candidates, whether or not these are current members.
- Cllr Booth noted that Leith Links CC has issued leaflets advertising the election, and informing citizens how to be candidates. He noted that he was returning officer for the 2016 LLCC elections – the only contested CC elections in Edinburgh – and that while this involved quite a lot of work, he was delighted to undertake such local democracy work.
- E Dick noted that there are people who are unaware of community councils.
- Action: E Dick to put material in LHNCC newsletter
- Action: LHNCC to further discuss how it can promote the elections and candidacy for this.
11.f CityPlan 2030
- Information is on LHNCC’s website.
- Despite current concerns about the environment, the current local development plan will remain in force until at least 2021.
- Cllr Booth noted that the Scottish Government had rejected a draft strategic development plan, and that due to the recent Planning Act, strategic development plans will no longer exist.
11.a Visit to HMS Forth
D Tharby noted this visit – he met various high-ranking officials, and thanked the Navy officer who facilitated this visit.
11.b WGH Bus 21 campaign update
J Marlborough passed over a letter she had received.
11.c Leith Conference (Leith Proposals: Leith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council, Sat. 5 October, Leith Community Centre, 11-3pm)
Duncan Bremner reported
- He and colleagues have been working on their making places programme.
- Place-based understanding has become very current.
- They have been undertaking mapping, starting with the creative community in 2015, and the wider community in 2017. They have noted around 70 organisations in Leith that have physical assets and infrastructure, and around 40 organisations (such as CCs) that do not have physical assets. They are interested in disseminating such information to a wider public.
- They are interested in creating a local place plan, combining the built environment with and social infrastructure.
- They propose 3 co-design workshops, one with each of the Leith CCs, and 3 community meals, to feed into a conference in October.
- Concerning spatial planning, they would like to facilitate a discussion and any other relevant additional needs.
- They have had conversations with Planning Aid Scotland, who are willing to aid such events, and with other CCs over such events.
- They do not intend to compete with the neighbourhood networks, and will feed into them.
- They would like LHNCC members and members of the public who are interested in planning to attend the workshops.
Cllr Booth commended this bottom-up approach to planning, as opposed to the mostly top-down planning system.
LHNCC members expressed concern about the date for the proposed LHNCC workshop, because it might clash with elections and personal leave.
Action: LHNCC to confirm to Duncan whether it is interested in such an event asap.
12 Date of next meeting:
Tuesday 24 September 2019 – new time 7.00pm – 9.00pm