LHNCC April 2020 minutes

Notes of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council members-only meeting, held via Zoom on Tuesday 28 April 2020 at 7pm
Actions and decisions are red italic. Nem con means that no-one spoke or voted against an item.

1 Introductions, apologies for absence, CEC requirements for online CC meetings

1.a Present

Elaine Dick LHNCC Neil Tulloch LHNCC
Don Giles LHNCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Rob Levick LHNCC Cllr Adam MacVey Leith ward
Jennifer Marlborough LHNCC Lisa Clarke Representing Ben Macpherson MSP
Douglas Tharby LHNCC Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North and Leith

Apologies

Arthur Young LHNCC Cllr Chas Booth Leith ward Cllr Gordon Munro Leith ward

1.b CEC requirements for online CC meetings

The chair noted that CEC’s CC liaison officer had stated that there is no requirement for CCs to hold online meetings, and that all CC meetings should be open to the public. Hence LHNCC has made it clear that it is trying its best, and has invited public input.

2 Declaration of interests

None

3 Notes of March 2020 meeting

  • It was noted that this meeting was for office-bearers only, to test technology.
  • The notes were approved unanimously.

4 Matters arising

  • All matters arising are covered below.

5 Police Report

No report – no police present, despite J Marlborough asking the local community police to join this meeting.

  • J Marlborough noted that there has been some issues on Leith Links that would ideally come to the attention of the police.
  • J Marlborough noted that a dead swan had been found today in Western Harbour, and that the RSPB is looking into this. She added that a resident had been concerned about owners letting their dogs run wild here, and not picking up their excretia.

6 Reports from councilors and elected representatives

6.a Cllr MacVey

See also section 7.a.ii.
Cllr McVey noted

  • Social distancing is going well. Park rangers are patrolling with police to manage any issues that arise. (These have been very few in Leith)
  • There are some issues around cycle-paths not being wide enough to enable social distancing.
    • The Scottish Government today announced some help around this issue.
    • Action: LHNCC members to inform him of any particular places of concern
  • Waste services
    • Some were suspended due to CEC not having full capacity just now: more staff are off, yet demand is increased and changes are needed. (For example, waste vehicles have smaller crews.)
      • Cllr McVey later clarified that glass and garden-waste collections had been suspended, but food-waste, recycling and landfill collections were not.
    • Glass-recycling collections have just restarted, partly because these was easier to restart sooner.
    • Garden-waste collection is more complex, but will soon restart.
    • CEC did not cease food-waste collections, even though other councils did.
    • Cllr McVey congratulated waste services staff for their ‘amazing, brilliant’ work under the current conditions.
      • LHNCC wholeheartedly endorsed these congratulations to CEC staff keeping life running normally.
    • Business grant requests have now been assessed. Some businesses will receive requests for further information but most funding decisions have been made.
    • CEC committees are not currently working as normal
      • There are 5 main committees normally. However, CEC is will operate a ‘pseudo city-cabinet’ until the normal committees are running normally. This enables the ‘cabinet’ to draw on many more councilors when making decisions.

6.b Lisa Clarke, representing Ben Macpherson MSP

Ms Clarke noted Scottish Government and Mr Macpherson’s work such as

  • that around expanding pavements and roadways to enable social distancing
  • increased work on small business grants
  • Increased case-work on behalf of individuals suffering from social and/or financial stresses due to coronavirus and lockdown.
    • The Scottish Government has allocated £350m funding for third-sector organisations working with vulnerable people, and is trying to disburse this rapidly. Action: LHNCC members to advise her of any gaps.
  • There can be information-overload.

J Marlborough noted the information LHNCC has received about people and organisations doing good things. (See information mentioned in these minutes.) However, it is a problem that those most in need may not have internet access.

  • B Ryan noted that about 800, 000 people in Scotland do not have internet access for various reasons. He asked for information on Scottish Government, UK Govrnment and CEC initiatives tackling this that he could join.
  • Cllr MacVey noted that CEC’s IT staff have security concerns about Zoom video-conferencing software, hence it will not on CEC-supplied devices unless and until these concerns have been eased. He joined this Zoom meeting using his own phone.

6.c Deidre Brock MP

The MP noted

  • The UK Parliament is now using Zoom as part of a hybrid parliament. This is working quite well but it maybe could be better.
  • Information about coronavirus has been posted to every household in Scotland, in part to tackle lack of internet access.
  • MPs have received many enquiries, e.g. from constituents stranded abroad. Support from the UK Government is weak here.
  • Many businesses, ranging from e.g. travel companies to vets to hospitality and tourism) have sought advice on topics such as job retention and loans.
    • Action: LHNCC members to inform the MP of any needs. The MP will use the ‘hotline’ into Whitehall on their behalf, but she noted it is not functioning as well as normal.
  • She commended Cllr McVey and CEC for continuing to run, e.g., waste services.
  • Food distribution in Leith seems to be functioning well, in part thanks to Leith Food-bank. (She visits this weekly.) There are apparently increasing spikes in demand on Thursdays at 5pm, possibly due to voucher-distribution issues. She commended Reverend May for his increased work both on poverty and on an increased number of funerals.
    • R Levick noted that Leithers have been amazingly generous to the foodbank, necessitating more collections from suppliers.
    • J Marlborough noted concerns about charities’ reduced donations.
  • She is concerned about people slipping through various gaps in various schemes.
  • She is doing many meetings online currently, with no indication of when parliament might convene normally.

7 Chair, Secretary and treasurer’s reports reports

7.a Chair

See also full report in appendix 1.

D Tharby noted

  • All locality community planning partnership and neighbourhood network meetings have been cancelled due to lockdown.
  • LeithChooses is supporting organisations that won funding early in 2020 to deliver projects differently due to lockdown.
  • He observes that Leithers are generally complying with social distancing.
  • There has been much email correspondence, but he encouraged people to at least read them.
  • He encouraged members to respond to the consultations on the City Mobility Plan and City Plan 2030: deadline 30 April.
  • He welcomed posting of coronavirus information on LHNCC’s website, noting that such posts are signposts, not recommendations or endorsements. He welcomed further new content, e.g. on local groups working on lockdown issues.

7.b Treasurer

D Tharby noted that LHNCC’s current bank-balance is £690·21

7.c Secretary

J Marlborough noted

  • The CEC interactive coronavirus map, showing help-centres etc, is now on the LHNCC website
  • Keith Anderson is retiring from Port of Leith Housing Association – more details to follow.
  • The need to respond to the consultations on the City Mobility Plan and City Plan 2030
  • Cllr Munro’s newsletter
  • the resumption of kerb-side glass uplifts for recycling.

8 Standing reports

8.a Planning

J Marlborough noted the following planning information.

8.a.i 20/01447/PAN (SCHEME): 106 – 162 Leith Walk, Edinburgh, EH6 5DX

  • There has been much concern about how to respond to this and other planning applications, especially because there is no non-digital way to respond to consultations during lockdown.
    • It is not possible to use libraries to respond digitally due to lockdown.
    • Announcements can be made in the Edinburgh Evening News but these don’t reach everyone.
    • Recent communiqués about planning consultations from the Scottish Government and CEC have been unhelpful.
  • Drum’s website states that it plans to retain the sandstone frontage, and build residential accommodation behind that. However, there is little detail about this available. Hence a public consultation is needed.

8.a.ii 20/01313/FUL: 57 Tower Street – 1 Bath Road, Edinburgh EH6 8BB

  • This PAN was submitted November 2019. The full application is very different, in part due to recommendations from CEC’s planning department. For example, it now includes colony-style housing, and hence a higher population density.
  • The deadline for comments is 15 May.
  • There is concern that if this application is permitted under delegated powers there will be much public upset.

Cllr MacVey responded that

  • The CEC’s development management subcommittee (DMSC) has been reconvened – its first meeting is in May.
  • The threshold for taking applications to the DMSC is now much higher, due to the DMSC’s reduced capacity at present. (The DMSC met in person every fortnight but this is not currently possible.) DMSC will consider applications that are ‘significant or controversial … or of strategic importance to Edinburgh’.
  • However, applications such as the Leith Walk/Drum plan will still go before the DMSC. (He was not sure whether the Tower St application would go before the DMSC under normal circumstances.)
  • Responses to applications have to be online, and processes need to conform to existing legislation. However, this provides some flexibility. For example, the deadline for comments on the development opposite Stead’s Place has been extended.by a month at the community’s request. Similar requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Everyone needs to bear in mind that CEC’s capacity is nowhere near full during lockdown.

Action: LHNCC planning committee to ask for more time to respond to applications, if this is needed.
Action: LHNCC planning committee to carry on with its normal work, calling on other LHNCC memebers as necessary

8.a.iii Letter in response to CEC circular reporting on changes relating to Coronavirus

Not discussed

8.a.iv Feedback from Cockburn Society Civic Trust meeting

Not discussed

8.a.v Scottish Government letter from Chief Planner – circulated to members

See section 7.a.i above

8.a.vi Granton Marina development news

J Marlborough noted this article about a loss of a planning appeal.

8.b Licensing

No items.
Action: D Tharby to check with A Young about communications about this topic.

8.c Transport

8.c.i City Mobility Plan

J Marlborough noted the Cockburn Association’s (CA) concerns about facets of this plan, e.g. under-concern for walking, over-concern for cycling, the state of Edinburgh’s Streets. She offered to share the presentations from CA meetings, e.g. the Civic Trust meeting on 2 April.

8.c.ii Buses

8.c.iii Trams/CCTT (Community Councils Together on Trams) – Meeting 30th April

J Marlborough noted

  • This meeting was noted. It’s to be run using Google video-conferencing software.
  • After she chased the Trams Team, they updated their website with information about their response to coronavirus.
  • There has been concern in the local press about the costs of the tram-work in the light of reduced bus revenue.

8.c.iv EBUG (Edinburgh Bus Users’ Group) –Meeting with Lothian Buses 30th April

J Marlborough noted that this meeting was cancelled due to lockdown. She commended bus-drivers continuing to work.

8.d Environment

8.d.i Water of Leith basins

  • J Marlborough noted a poem by a resident, and the thank-yous she has circulated.
  • D Giles noted that the agreement on keeping the basins clean has been signed, and that one cleanup has been done already, In this case there was little debris because there had been little rain.
  • He also noted that FOWLB has proposed planting of a hedge to disguise the area between Ocean Drive and Victoria Bridge. This would enable movement of the boom. (There was some discussion over why the boom was removed originally.)
    • FOWLB is now waiting on the Conservation Trust’s response to this proposal.

8.e Heritage

8.e.i Update on Steel Shed

J Marlborough noted that the Leith Distillery owners are content to transfer ownership of the shed, but that the distillery needs to become a charity in order to do this. Forth Ports is helping the distillery with this. She also noted that the Distillery is making and providing hand-sanitiser free to those that need it. People should email hello@leithdistillery.com

8.f Community

J Marlborough noted the following:

Action: B Ryan to add to the website information that is not already there.

Action: B Ryan to put on the website a big thank-you to ‘those who make life possible’.

Don Giles noted that the LeithChooses steering group (SG) been aware of lockdown-impacts on projects. Each SG member is supporting 2 or 3 organisations undertaking LeithChooses-funded projects. Many such organisations have been very creative in finding other ways to use funds support people who most need it. More information is on LeithChooses’ website.

9 Choices for City Plan 2030 and City Mobilty Plan consultations

See above discussions

10 Neighbourhood Networks

D Tharby noted that there is nothing to report due to lockdown.

11 AOCB

11.a Newsletter

E Dick noted that the next edition is due to be published soon.

  • Action: D Tharby to help elicit contributions from LHNCC conveners, leads etc
  • Action: R Levick to write/source a piece about Leith food-bank
  • Action: D Tharby/D Giles to write/source a piece on LeithChooses.

11.b Coronavirus and other communications issues

  • J Marlborough noted that Edinburgh Association of Community Councils is asking for information on how CCs are communicating with each other.
    • Action: J Marlborough and D Tharby to respond to this request.
  • J Marlborough and D Tharby emphasised that it is very helpful if LHNCC members respond to emails.
    • Action: E Dick and J Marlborough to work together on triage of information.
  • J Marlborough noted that David Leslie had replied to LHNCC’s questions about the foot of Leith walk only by referring LHNCC to CEC and Scottish Government statements.
  • D Brock MP noted that, at a CC Zoom meeting she attended the previous night, several participants dropped out. Hence consideration needs to be made about this.
    • Action: LHNCC office-bearers and B Ryan to look at this, and video-conferencing ‘housekeeping’.
  • Action: D Tharby to check ASAP whether some LHNCC members who have not been heard from are OK.

11.c Cladding

N Tulloch noted that a fire-safety certificate has now been obtained for his estate. This should enable mortgages to be obtained. He also noted that fireproof varnish is being pained on balconies

12 Date of next meeting

26 May 2020

Appendix 1: chair’s report

Again I thank you for attending this meeting. I have to report that all Council related meetings, Neighbourhood Network, Locality Community Planning Partnership have been suspended and I will keep you advised of any dates for their resumption.

This Community Council’s involvement with £eith Chooses has continued over the period and I am going to ask Don Giles to update us on developments later this meeting.

Like others, I have been taking advantage of once daily exercise during the ‘Lockdown’ and it seems that generally Leithers have been taking ‘social distancing’ seriously. We have had a great month for weather and it looks like sales of bicycles particularly for children have increased considerably.

It has been a very busy month for Chair, Secretary and Minute Secretary, indeed we have been handling up to 30 emails each day on a variety of matters. The business of these emails has been circulated to you and I do hope that you can find the time to read your own emails if not on a daily basis but at least twice each week. I realise that this may be easier to say than to do for some and that you may also have busy days in dealing with household and family but it is important that we are all in touch with what is happening within the area.
I was reminded this afternoon that City Plan 2030 and the draft City Mobility Plan are still open to submissions until 5p.m. on April 30th (Thursday this week) and I urge you if you have not done so already to take time out to consider these and make any submission that you think appropriate.

Jennifer will cover updates on Planning shortly.

That brings me to our website. We have uploaded a number of things recently particularly where we can act as a ‘signpost’ to the community with links on general advice and Scottish Government Health matters etc. I stress that we ‘signpost’ not ‘recommend’ or ‘endorse’ in so doing.

If you have news items which could be included, particularly if they relate for example to food distribution to households in need, how particular streets or other groups are tackling matters of isolation particularly of the elderly and those in minority ethnic groups then please send to Jennifer or myself.

Social media stories where acts of kindness and community involvement are also of interest.

We are very much open for business and we will play our part in this new normal life for Leith.

Douglas Tharby, Chair, April 2020

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