LHNCC May 2020 minutes

Notes of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council members-only meeting, held via Zoom on Tuesday 26 May 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

Stewart Auld LHNCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Elaine Dick LHNCC Cllr Chas Booth Leith ward
Don Giles LHNCC Cllr Adam MacVey Leith ward
Jennifer Marlborough LHNCC Cllr Jim Campbell Forth ward
Douglas Tharby LHNCC Lisa Clarke Representing Ben Macpherson MSP
Neil Tulloch LHNCC

1.b Apologies

Rob Levick LHNCC Sgt George Nisbet Poiice Scotland
Arthur Young LHNCC PC Chris Casselden Poiice Scotland
Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith

2 Declarations of interest


3 Notes of April 2020 meeting

  • Item 6: D Tharby noted that item 6a stated that waste services were suspended but item 6c implied they were not. Inter alia, Cllr McVey stated that glass and garden-waste collections had been suspended, but food-waste, recycling and landfill collections were not, and that glass and garden-waste collections have been resumed. Cllr McVey added that community recycling centres and special uplifts will soon resume.
  • Item 8f: D Tharby noted that the Victoria primary School gala day has now definitely been cancelled.
  • The notes were approved subject to the above changes being made (proposed N Tulloch, seconded J Marlborough)

4 Matters arising

None, apart from the matters raised in item 3 above.

5 Police report

J Marlborough read out a full report from PC Casselden. At his request, this is précised here rather than reproduced verbatim.

5.a Coronavirus pandemic

Police Scotland’s response (‘Operation Talla’) to coronavirus focuses on ‘Engage, Explain, Encourage, Enforce’, with enforcement (usually fines) being the last resort. Police Scotland’s enforcement follows specific Scottish legislation introduced under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. Patrols have focussed on ‘hotspots’ of public gathering. Police Scotland urges the public to adhere to physical distancing, and to follow government announcements.

5.b Police activity in the last month

Many calls have been about people not adhering to guidance. Officers have been issued with personal protective equipment.

5.b.i Calls in north Leith and Newhaven

These total ~320. Significant types include

  • 60 calls relating to social-distancing
  • 11 calls of pedal cycle theft
    • on 18 May, a person was arrested for 39 such thefts and placed under curfew until the matter can come to court.
    • Police Scotland urges people to use D-locks and cable-locks to completely secure their bikes, to lock them in secure places, keep notes of their bikes’ make, model, frame-number etc, check them frequently and register their bikes.
  • 21 domestic-related calls
  • 9 calls of other violence
  • 7 loud music-related calls
  • 30 concern-for/missing person calls
  • 12 drug-related calls.

Other local issues, resulting in increased/changed patrols, have included

  • drug misuse in North Fort Street, Hamilton Wynd & Quayside
  • people cutting heras fencing to access off-limits areas of Western Harbour – these areas are owned by Forth Ports
  • a person under the influence of drugs accessing private addresses to sell items which may have been stolen.

5.c Monthly police surgery

This has been cancelled until further notice.

5.d LHNCC comments

Cllr Campbell noted that many public sector organisations cannot use Zoom on official devices, due to security concerns. Hence Police Scotland cannot currently join CC meetings on Zoom. He sought LHNCC’s opinion on removal or retention of the graffiti.

J Marlborough noted that there has been graffiti at Lloyds Leisure Group and Lighthouse Park. She noted that the approved graffiti-wall has been made inaccessible by tram-works. S Auld added that this graffiti had no merit – some graffiti does.

6 Elected representatives’ reports

6.a Cllr Booth

He noted

  • CEC’s development management subcommittee met online the previous week. Broadly speaking, this worked, so it is now likely to meet online regularly.
  • there is concern among CCs that in-person public meetings on pre-application notices cannot currently happen, hence he has been pushing CEC officers to encourage developers to hold online meetings.

6.a.i LHNCC questions

J Marlborough asked Cllr Booth for more information about the new weekly map of planning applications that CEC has created.

  • Action: Cllr Booth to look into this.

6.b Cllr McVey

He noted

  • CEC has been allocated £5m funding to close roads, create pop-up cycle-ways, etc. This is from £12m in Scotland overall.
  • People should email spacesforpeople@edinburgh.gov.uk with ideas on how to use this money.
    • 5 are in operation already across Edinburgh. Others are imminent, although it will take time to implement them.
    • CEC will have regard to demand and synergies of potential changes, and changes in distancing requirements.
  • Community thought and input is needed for when more people can travel.
  • Various waste services will soon resume – see item 3 above for details.
    • Cllr McVey praised waste staff, noting a 5-year low in complaints.
    • To manage anticipated demand when recycling centres re-open, a booking systems will soon be introduced.
    • Cllr McVey asked CCs’ to help with relevant messaging. He will send relevant information
  • Many items will go to CEC committees this week, including plans for reinstating full council meetings (technology permitting).
  • CEC is working on its ‘adaptation and renewal plan’ on how Edinburgh can recover from coronavirus’ effects.
    • People should become aware of developments, so the city can recover. Reversion to the ‘old normal’ is not appropriate.
  • The education grants report was published this evening. There is all-party agreement on additional funding to meet demands.
    • It is already recommended that organisations in LHNCC’s area receive funds, so the report may make little change here.

6.b.i LHNCC questions

D Giles asked about

  • Bus services, which are currently on a skeleton service – will this change soon?
    • Cllr McVey responded that CEC anticipates a slow re-uptake of public transport, so will encourage active travel, and noted that many more people are walking and cycling. He noted that such demand is linked to demand for public transport, that CEC is working with Lothian Buses (LB) to reintroduce services, and that many LB staff are on furlough so it can cope with massive financial pressures. Hence reintroduction of services will take time, unless there is major government subsidy.
    • In response to a suggestion that more people are currently travelling actively because they feel less endangered by motor traffic, he suggested that also people do not want to travel as far from their neighbourhoods as normal. He also noted that 50% of people in Leith do not have cars. If car non-owners do not want to use public transport, they can only travel actively.
  • Parking and parking charges – because it is likely that people will prefer to use cars rather than public transport.
    • Cllr McVey responded that CEC can only remove charges for a limited period. Parking policy will centre on capacity, rather than charges. Some interventions to enable physical distancing (e.g. some cycle-lanes) will require removal of parking. Edinburgh does not have the capacity for large amounts of cars, particularly in key commuter routes.

N Tulloch asked whether there has been a fall in payment of council tax (CT), which pays for some CEC services.

  • Cllr McVey responded that, in general, people are continuing to pay CT, although CEC is currently being more lenient.
  • Cllr McVey also noted that CEC is facing £100m of budget pressure (~10% of its budget) due to increased liability, loss of income, anticipated savings being undeliverable due to coronavirus’ effects. All LAs are facing such pressures, but Edinburgh faces more because of currently-reduced financial contributions from LB, parking etc. (This also affects other cities.)
  • In response to a later question, Cllr McVey stated that CEC had received £12·1 million in the most recent tranche of funding (total £155 million in Scotland). Residual pressures total between £53m and £56m, but this funding will reduce that to around £40 million. He is watching out for the results of English local governments requesting £5 billion from the UK government to cover coronavirus issues. If that occurs, ~£400 million of Barnett consequentials will come to Scotland. Because Edinburgh (and other cities) will be under greater pressure than other areas of Scotland, there needs to be a ‘more nuanced’ consideration of how this money is spent. Currently, CEC’s end-of-year position is unpredictable. However it will be the first year in a very long time that CEC has not balanced its budget. He hopes that CEC’s position will return to balance in the next financial year.
  • In response to another question, Cllr McVey stated that the tram project will continue. While lockdown has increased costs, they are still within the permitted bounds.

6.c Cllr Campbell

He reiterated Edinburgh’s financial pressures, and added that it relies on visitors for a lot of its income.

6.d Lisa Clarke, for Ben Macpherson MSP

She noted

  • Many businesses and people have been asking the MSP for advice on Scottish and UK Government funding announcements.
  • Some businesses are trying to pay the 20% of wages for furloughed people not supported by funding schemes.
  • This week, Scotland will move into phase 1 of the lockdown exit. Many businesses and people have been asking about this.
    • Changed lockdown arrangements are likely to be tested by the anticipated good weather this weekend.

7 LHNCC office-bearer’s reports

7.a Treasurer

Current balance is £587·01. One invoice for wreaths (£103·20) is pending.

7.b Chair

See also full report in Appendix 1. D Tharby noted

  • Lockdown continues. A gutter in Madeira Place looks like a salad-bowl!
  • Members should keep an eye on their emails. J Marlborough has been doing great work triaging and circulating information.
  • His thanks to J Marlborough and B Ryan for keeping the website up to date, and to E Dick for her work on the newsletter.
  • LHNCC signposts, rather than recommends or endorses information and organisations.
  • Coverage of LHNCC’s secretary laying a wreath at the Quintinshill memorial – LHNCC should record all such events.
  • Community action on coronavirus and lockdown

7.c Secretary

J Marlborough noted her report (Appendix 2). This is to minimise numbers of emails.

She also noted her list of links to useful information-sources that were sent to members:

8 Standing reports

8.a Planning

J Marlborough noted the following.

8.a.i Steads place

  • Drum has promised an online public consultation but has not yet sent details. However, many people do not have internet access. Part of the sire is within LHNCC’s area, so LHNCC has received CEC’s notification and has been invited to participate in discussions and respond to consultation.
  • D Giles noted the large public interest in the original application, and suggested that this PAN application should be delayed until in-person, inclusive consultation is possible. J Marlborough stated that the Scottish Government and CEC advice on online consultations is unwieldy.
  • Cllr Booth noted that he cannot comment on PANs themselves, but, concerning the overall process, he agreed that the current inability to hold public meetings is unsatisfactory. He is pressing CC officers to encourage better consultation, despite the Scottish Government’s current removal of the requirement to hold in-person meetings on PANs.

8.a.ii Tower St/Bath Road

This is the second phase of an already-approved development. The main change in the current plans is the introduction of ‘colony’ flats. Barratts has been good at informing people about this and previous applications.

8.a.iii Halmyre St/Leith Walk

LHNCC’s area also backs onto this area, across Leith Walk from Stead’s Place, and was also included in CEC notification regarding the consultation. The consultation is online.

8.b Licensing

No items

8.c Transport

J Marlborough noted the Cockburn Association’s response to the city mobility plan consultation.

She noted Cllr Munro’s post about emergency gas-works on Bernard St. These are being organised via CEC’s Trams team.

8.d Environment

No items

8.e Heritage

See information on Edinburgh World Heritage discussion on How can we build a better city (4 June).

8.f Heritage

See secretary’s report

8.g Communications

J Marlborough noted that Heart of Newhaven’s wellbeing team has published a Vimeo (online video) provided by Leith Men’s Shed with instructions and information on reusing cardboard boxes.

She also noted that Edinburgh Police are looking into how Newhaven Gala Day might be celebrated under lockdown.

8.g.i Newsletter

E Dick noted that this will be published soon. She is waiting on some content on the foodbank and CCTT.

9 Neighbourhood networks

9.a LeithChooses

D Giles noted that LC-funded organisations have been asked review their projects, because some original aims are impossible under lockdown. Most have already done so, and are hence supporting vulnerable people in Leith. LC is already thinking about funding projects in 2021.

9.b Neighbourhood network meetings

D Tharby noted that such meetings are on hold. It is anticipated that they will resume in Q3 or Q4 of 2020.

10 Any other business

J Marlborough noted that then next Cockburn Association meeting is on 2 June. She will soon circulate details.

11 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 23 June. D Tharby noted that this will not be an AGM, but he will prepare accounts as if it was.

12 Appendix 1: Chair’s report

I thank you again for attending this meeting.

The hair grows longer, the weeds in the streets grow higher as well, a particularly fine example has been observed in Madeira Place a few days ago. This street runs parallel to Ferry Road for those who do not know it.

It has been a bit quieter this month for LHNCC but we continue to receive emails from a variety of sources. Hope that you are checking your ‘inbox’ regularly.

It is important that we are all in touch with what is happening within the area particularly now as the real impact of ‘Lockdown’ for ten weeks on residents and businesses is becoming clearer. We will hopefully have some relaxation of measures early next week and indeed over the period ahead as we go into what is supposed to be the summer holiday period.

Key components of work include our Website and our Newsletter. The Spring 2020 edition of the Newsletter will be out soon. Thanks to Jennifer, Elaine and Bruce for all your efforts to keep these as professional as they are.

I stress again that we ‘signpost’ not ‘recommend’ or ‘endorse’ the items that we receive where they have a community focus, and we consider are of interest, AND of use to the community.

A recent addition to the website included coverage of LHNCC Secretary laying a wreath at the memorial to the Quintinshill Rail disaster. It would be good to record all such events that our members attend even if these are ‘virually’ as we become regular users of ‘Zoom’ and ‘Teams’. The website is the first point of access to residents and businesses and we should make the most of this resource. I am aware that the Internet is not available in many households but do not forget that mobile phones prevail and smartphones are quite common particularly with the young.

Those who subscribe to our Newsletter as well will get the best that we can provide. We should encourage our various contacts and associates to ‘sign up’.

If you have news items which could be included, particularly if they relate to food distribution to households in need, how particular streets or other groups are tacking or indeed have tackled matters of social isolation, perhaps news of the elderly and those in minority ethnic groups, then please send to Jennifer or myself first of all. We will make use of anything where we can do so.

Social media stories where acts of kindness and community involvement are also of interest. We really need these, after so many weeks ‘social isolation’ and ‘distancing’ the community needs this kind of input as examples of what Leither’s can do for neighbours and friends and how our spirit of perseverance through adversity is our greatest strength.

We have been very much open for business and we look forwards to the future now and we will play our part in the new normal life for Leith that lies ahead.

Stay safe.

Douglas Tharby, Chair

13 Appendix 2: Secretary’s report

13.a Other useful links

13.b Standing reports

13.b.i Planning

13.b.ii Licensing

No items

13.b.iii Transport

13.b.iv Environment

No items

13.b.v Heritage

Cockburn Association AGM (21/5/20) presentation ‘Our Unique City’ extracts, full document will be available on website. This focuses on

  • A new perspective – more localism: support local identities, social cohesion and community wealth building by:
    • More home working:
    • Local mixed use, multi-purpose neighbourhood hubs;
    • Cherish local public spaces and create new ones;
    • Respect streets and places to make them work for children, the elderly and disabled
    • Decentralise the festivals and stagger them
  • Our concerns:
    • Back to normal blinkers. Tourism Strategy Implementation Group is again meeting behind closed doors
    • More delegation to leading officers and politicians
    • Repeat of post-2008 rush to attract developers
    • Scottish Government – relaxed requirements for public engagement in planning, delay on Low Emission Zone

13.b.vi Community: Covid19 virus – help and advice available

The latest Government and CEC advice and information is regularly updated on our website and available on links below

Other helpful links:

Jennifer Marlborough, secretary@lhncc.org.uk, 21 May 2020

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