LHNCC September 2020 minutes: ordinary meeting

MInutes of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council ordinary meeting, held via Zoom on Tuesday 22 September 2020 at 7:30pm

Please note that these minutes are final, having been approved at LHNCC’s October meeting .

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

Stewart Auld LHNCC Neil Tulloch LHNCC Michael Traill Leith Links CC
Elaine Dick LHNCC Arthur Young LHNCC Sally Millar Leith Links CC
Don Giles LHNCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary Lisa Clark For Ben Macpherson MSP
Jennifer Marlborough LHNCC Cllr Chas Booth Leith ward ~5 residents and visitors
Douglas Tharby LHNCC Cllr Adam McVey Leith ward

1.b Apologies for absence

Gordon Munro Leith ward Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith

1.c Declaration of interests


1 Councillors’ reports

1.a.i Cllr McVey

  • Following today’s announcement of extra coronavirus measures, there will be more enforcement work, which will be less light-touch than previously. However, Leith businesses have been ‘absolutely fantastic’ in implementing safety measures.
  • 6 Edinburgh libraries, including McDonald Rd library but not Leith Library, will re-open in mid-October.
    • While CEC aims to open all its libraries eventually, it is constrained in terms of staff (librarians, cleaners, etc) and funds.
  • CEC is working on re-opening community centres.
    • The Kirkgate has been much used in the last 6 months for crisis and resilience matters.
  • Progress on the new school in Western Harbour proceeds quickly, to catch up on time lost to lockdown.
  • Tram work is within budget, but some time has been lost to lockdown.
  • Spaces for People (SfP) projects are in progress across Edinburgh: new projects are being developed, and existing projects are being refined. CEC is trying to arrange a ‘permissive environment’ in terms of outdoor space for small local businesses.
    • B Ryan: Can SfP projects, which are permitted under temporary traffic regulation orders for a maximum of 18 months, which prove to worth retaining, be retained under full TROs? If so, is CEC working on any such TROs to minimise spend?
      • Cllr McVey: we will be, but not yet. CEC will consider what happens next: including removal of ineffective projects and projects that will not be needed post-coronavirus, and retention of projects that will be valuable in the long term. The latter will go through normal TROs. However, the infrastructure that has been used for SfP projects is very temporary (cylinders and road-cones) so little will be lost by replacing them with long-term structures.
    • J Marlborough: pedestrians feel they have been abandoned: floating bus stops and stepping off buses into cycle-lanes are still issues. There needs to be spaces for all people.
      • Cllr McVey: I have recently met with Living Streets, and agree with most of their recommendations apart from those on floating bus-stops, because there are dedicated pedestrian spaces where necessary. At some bus-stops, cycle-ways become parts of expanded bus-lanes. However, this only suits more confident cyclists. CEC will continue to work with concerned people and organisations, e.g. the Edinburgh Access Panel, Living Streets, RNIB.
    • S Millar: how many floating bus-stops are envisaged for Edinburgh just now?
      • Cllr McVey: not many: some in the Leith Walk plans, George IV bridge. They are relatively new to Edinburgh but have part of the Edinburgh street-design guidance for a number of years. They are quite common elsewhere.
    • S Auld: Are hospitality businesses that use pavements being charged a pavement-tax?
      • Cllr McVey: there are licensing fees, and a report in May or June considered this matter. Some discounts were given, but CEC did not want a ‘huge cannibalisation’ of pedestrian space so it tied to reduce fees for use of parking spaces.
    • M Traill: are there risk-assessments and equalities-impact reports on where CEC allows additional use of roads/pavements, and installs floating bus-stops? If so, are these publically available?
      • Cllr McVey: They were done, but I do not know if they are publically available. The LW stops were part of the Leith Walk improvement programme from around 5 years ago. I am happy to find them.

1.a.ii Cllr Booth

  • There were discussions of pedestrianising The Shore. This idea was extremely popular in the consultation on SfP measures, so this will hopefully be brought forward. However, detailed discussions with Lothian Buses are needed, and I continue to push for this measure.
  • There is a possibility of introducing a ‘low traffic neighbourhood’ scheme in Leith. However, this is on hold pending discussion with the trams team. This measure could really benefit Leith pedestrians.
  • Recently, there have been discharges of raw sewage into the Water of Leith basins. We should thank the Friends of the basins for publicising this and working with Scottish Water on this issue. There was a motion to the full CEC last week. Cllr McVey has been tasked with getting Scottish Water’s timetable for work on Keddie Gardens sewage overflow, etc.
    • D Giles: we are starting to get the runabout, especially around sewer-screens near Gt Junction St bridge. Can Cllr McVey add pressure when he writes to Scottish Water?
    • Cllr Booth: I will also take this on.
  • Some constituents have contacted me about trees outside the Tradewinds development; I have engaged with trams team.
  • There is an issue with short-tem lets (STLs) not having appropriate permissions and causing problems for neighbours. The Scottish Government is consulting on legislation to make those wishing to make STLs apply for change-of-use permission.

1.a.iii Lisa Clark for Ben Macpherson MSP

  • Constituents have been concerned that some small cafés etc are not properly gathering customers’ data for contact-tracing.
  • S Auld: what news is there from SG about cladding issues? I understand that action has been delayed by coronavirus.
    • Worried constituents are emailing about this. There was a pause as you mention. I will circulate information to LHNCC.

2 Chair, Secretary and Treasurer reports

2.a Chair

  • Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts is looking for drivers, cyclists, food-packers. I will circulate this request – please share it!
  • The local food-bank has produced some interesting statistics – I will share these too.

2.b Secretary

See links in full report in Appendix 1.

See police report in Appendix 2.

2.c Treasurer

  • Grant received from CEC on 28 August
  • Current balance is £1246·40
  • B Ryan: can councillors give detail on CEC providing budget for CCs to do online meetings, including fees for Zoom accounts.
    • Cllrs Booth & McVey: definitely not Zoom – our IT suppliers have strong security concerns about it. They are piloting MS Teams. If it works, they will roll it out for CCs. Otherwise, CEC has considered other ways to support online CCs.

3 Standing reports

3.a Planning

See also LHNCC planning web-pages at https://lhncc.org.uk/planning

3.a.i Bath Road/Salamander St. PAN Application

J Marlborough: this is a large area. LHNCC planning committee will meet with the developer on 29 September. LHNCC is also working closely on this with Leith Links CC. with representatives attending meeting. See links in my report.

  • It is not yet known how many houses are planned, just that this will be a mixed development. The developers do want to meet with CCs, and encourage community involvement.

3.a.ii Seafield Project – update

N Tulloch: the Seafield group met recently. 4 CCs are collaborating to try to prevent piecemeal development. They believe that a master-plan is required because this is a very large site with many landowners. The group last met with CEC on 3 September, when CEC officials agreed to take this forward. However, nothing has yet been heard.

  • Action: Cllr Booth to press for a CEC response.

3.a.iii Western Harbour – Update (JM)

J Marlborough: LBC applications have been submitted. An extension has been requested. New FUL applications will soon be needed for the ~900 flats and the park. The ‘variation’ applications are to update 2009 plans (including cladding) on materials to be used in this development.

3.b Licensing

  • D Tharby: an offer of training has been received. Action: D Tharby and A Young to collaborate on licensing matters.
  • A Young: there has been a licensing application for an ‘assault course’ in the Salamander St area.
  • J Marlborough: There has concern around Hemmingways (a bar and restaurant on Commercial St) outdoors tables application. The application was refused pending a visit from CEC planning, but has opened. JM has asked CEC to explain.
    • Action: D Tharby/A Young to investigate.

3.c Transport

3.c.i Trams/CCTT (Community Councils Together on Trams)

J Marlborough: no major news, but there have been difficulties accessing documents from the trams team.

3.c.ii EBUG (Edinburgh Bus Users’ Group)

No news

3.d Environment

3.d.i OT Discovery Garden update

  • E Dick: J Marlborough had discovered plans to replace trees here with hard standing. This threat was publicised in LHNCC’s newsletter. It was also picked up by Trees of Edinburgh, leading to over 2000 engagements and much local concern. It has been very difficult to obtain the original plans for the garden. The original designer has felt devastated, and will try to obtain relevant planning documents. He recalls much discussion on greening/softening this area. CEC planning, at the time, was keen on public realm works. Edinburgh Botanic Gardens were also involved with the original design, and will welcome discussion on their role in rejuvenating the garden and providing maintenance, along with other relevant bodies.
  • J Marlborough: the gardens were a haven during lockdown. I visit it daily, and observe tram-workers having tea-breaks there. I am concerned about loss of heritage: the first Edinburgh botanic gardens were on Leith Walk. The original gardener’s cottage was eventually rebuilt to the Botanics’ Arboretum site. The Botanics were moved in ~1820 because they were on valuable building-land. The current bushes help control emissions from cars.
  • J Marlborough: The previous planning application (Ports) here included retaining these gardens, and making them more visible. This application had to go through the normal planning process, but this change to trees and landscape does not, according to the Trams Act. Surely things have moved on since that Act was passed?
  • E Dick: Ocean Terminal has asked for a meeting – likely to be on 1 October. Possible invitees include Cllr Munro, the trams team, CC members (and community members and Trees of Edinburgh, if JM succeeds in getting them invited).
  • A resident: can the meeting cover the 30 specimen trees and substantial hedge at Ocean Way. I am concerned that tram-work in this area is imminent. These trees are ‘a fantastic amenity for everyone in the locale’. While there is a policy of 2-for-1 replacement of trees, I have little faith in this – there is precedent for this not happening. There are issues over who owns relevant land. There are issues around finding place for such replacements, including concerns over who owns relevant land, and the need for the current trees to carry on providing environmental benefits, including some protection of the more than 600 houses that have been built on a flood-plain.
  • E Dick: replacement trees in other areas are dead or moribund, so I would like to work for retaining existing trees.
  • Cllr Booth: I have raised this matter with the trams team. The gardens are owned by Ocean Terminal’s owners, who say the gardens are a source of antisocial behaviour and rats, and work here is not part of the actual tram-works. The tram team is undertaking this work – on behalf of OT’s owners – during its other work in this area. Hence OT should be pressured.
  • J Marlborough: the tram team has a legal agreement to undertake this work, but the relevant document is not available.
  • A resident: I have applied for a tree protection order covering 30 trees. Is this likely to be successful?
    • Cllr McVey: a TPO would provide extra protection but might not supercede the existing application. I am pushing for a final design for the area, and am pushing for the existing trees to be accommodated. I agree that trees should not be felled unless absolutely necessary. I understand that the legal commitment comes from the original Trams Act, not on legislation around the Newhaven extension.
  • E Dick: it has been established that the police have recorded no reports of antisocial behaviour in the gardens.
  • Cllr Booth: there is no truth in the rumour that the trams teams wants the gardens to store tram-materials.
  • A Young: can CEC guarantee that trees will not be suddenly removed without warning?
    • Cllr Booth: unfortunately no, but I will do all I can to prevent this.
    • Cllr McVey: nor can I, but I will follow this up with the tram team as much as I can. I understand that no trees will be removed until after the final design is ready – it is not yet complete. I understand the concerns.
  • J Marlborough: the original tram plans included removal of all trees at the front of Ocean Terminal. Other trees (43) were lost to the Cala development

3.e Heritage

J Marlborough: the estates manager, Alasdair Sibbald, has confirmed that progress is being made towards restoration of the Victoria And Rennie’s Isle Bridges. There is a proposal for commemorative plaque for John Rennie who designed much in this area. A resident confirmed that relevant organisations support this idea, so the next stage is to obtain planning permission.

J Marlborough: Heart of Newhaven has agreement to purchase the old primary school buildings. Funding is now needed.

J Marlborough: please read this article by the Cockburn Association on ‘Our Unique City’.

3.f Community

3.f.i LHNCC – Crown Estate Scotland – Sustainable Communities Fund update

E Dick: discussions are in progress. I will LHNCC update at the next meeting.

Discussions in progress – next meeting

3.f.ii Edinburgh World Heritage – Edinburgh ‘s Climate Emergency 16/9/20

J Marlborough: See links in the report in appendix 3.

3.f.iii Generations working together

J Marlborough: this interesting article touches on the Heart of Newhaven project, which focuses on intergenerational work. In my housing block, there are people of different generations, and we look after each other. Planning should focus on such community-building that includes intergenerational developments.

3.g LeithChooses

D Giles: The funds from SG to operate LC have now all been used to add value to LC iterations. LeithChooses now needs ~£150 to keep its website and social media presences running. SG will not give further funds to this.

  • Decision: LHNCC to donate £50 to LC – or £75 if only one other CC contributes

4 Neighbourhood Networks

D Tharby: the locality community planning partnership (LCPP) will meet on 14 October. The checkpoint group will meet on 7 October. News on the neighbourhood network will come after the LCPP meeting.



5.a Hawthornvale

  • A resident: We have previously raised three issues our street suffers. They have worsened since we raised these about 3 years ago, especially since lockdown: (1) cars parking on pavements, which will become unlawful in 2021; (2) a need for traffic-calming, especially because this is on a school-route; (3) this narrow road should be one-way.
    • These issues stem from parked cars blocking house-doors, which are right on the pavement, and from people driving on the pavement, thus endangering residents. Also, school-children often walk on the pavement to access the sculpture workshop. Also, delivery vehicles often come to stand-offs with other traffic going in the opposite direction. There are elderly residents: some have been forced to journey on wheel-chairs on the road, because of pavement-parking. Also, emergency-services and waste-services vehicles cannot get down this street.
  • D Tharby: I have seen the large number of pavement-parked cars. Some parkers are residents.
  • A resident: when will the parking-ban come into effect, and how will it be enforced? Can double-yellow lines be made?
  • Cllr McVey: I can find the exact date the parking-ban will come into force. CEC will very gratefully receipt the ability to enforce against pavement-parking. The bill has provision for loading/delivery. This street isn’t in Leith ward. Simultaneous actions are needed – when legislation makes them all possible: a one-way restriction (closing off the road at one end) would fit with CEC’s plans for a low-traffic neighbourhood. Making it one-way, and preventing parking on one side, would be necessary to free space for suitable traffic-flows. However, effectively halving the amount of parking on this street will be difficult to ‘sell’ to residents. Traffic calming would be needed to prevent the street from being a ‘rat-run’.
  • A resident: the sculpture workshop has potential for a huge workshop. Can CEC encourage parking there?
  • D Tharby: parking is a city-wide issue. Developers no longer need to provide parking-places for residents.
  • Cllr Booth: police can act on a current provision on footway-obstruction. I am happy to engage with police on this.
  • J Marlborough: I have forwarded residents’ complains to the local police sergeant.

6 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Appendix 1: Secretary’s September report

The following links have been circulated recently and relate to items on Agenda. If you have any questions relating to them or that you would like to discuss please send them to me or raise them at the meeting

Standard Reports


  • LHNCC – Ryden Salamander St presentation – PDF available on request




Community/EACC – Community

Appendix 2: police report

Coronavirus pandemic:

The Police response under Operation Talla has continued in line with the updated Government guidelines from 14th September 2020. During the first weekend thereafter, Police officers attended 405 house parties across Scotland (compared with 392 from the previous weekend) and further enforcement powers have now been granted to Police under Regulations 8 to 11, namely:

  • limiting public gatherings to a maximum of six people from two households
  • limiting indoor gatherings in private dwellings to a maximum of six people from two households
  • a person must not attend a party or social gathering in a private dwelling involving 16 or more people, who are members of more than one household
  • power of entry, including the use of reasonable force, in specific circumstanceswithout the need for consent or a warrant

Breakdown of calls in north Leith/Newhaven area (approx 266 in total)*:

  • 21 calls relating to public nuisance
  • 17 calls of theft
  • 13 domestic-related calls
  • 5 calls of other violence
  • 17 loud noise/music-related calls
  • 28 concern-for/missing person calls
  • 5 drug-related calls

*stats included until 21/09

Plain-clothes patrols across Leith:

Over the weekend of 11-13th September, Police officers from response and community teams conducted plain-clothes patrols across the Leith area focussing on antisocial behaviour and drugs hotspots, including Leith Walk, Buchanan Street, Easter Road, Ferry Road, London Road, Portland Street, Ocean Terminal, public parks and walkways. These patrols resulted in licensed premises checks, numerous vehicles and persons stopped/searched and 3 people charged with drugs possessions.

Some of the local issues we have been looking to tackle include

  • drug misuse in areas of North Fort Street, Madeira Street and Industry Lane, resulting in increased high-visibility foot & mobile patrols
  • post-lockdown opening of David Lloyd gym, Newhaven Place and recent trend of unreported thefts from lockers – there have been no issues regarding the covid-related health guidelines; however, discussions with management have been held over increased security and potential suspects for the thefts
  • dog-walkers & fishermen within “restricted” Forth Ports land at Western Harbour – liaising with Forth Ports regarding vandalisms to fences and locks, uniformed and plain-clothes patrols to highlight dangers of the area to members of public

Filming within Leith Police station

On 7th and 9th September, we were visited at Leith Police station by a film crew from Channel 4’s upcoming third series of Britain’s Most Historic Towns presented by Professor Alice Roberts. The Edinburgh episode will focus on Georgian Edinburgh, looking at how the city was physically and intellectually transformed during the first Industrial Revolution, and how the experiences of people living in the Old and New Town radically diverged during the period. The episode, which will include analysis of Alexander Carse’s painting, THE LANDING OF HIS MAJESTY GEORGE IVTH AT LEITH, 15TH AUG 1822 hung within the Council Chamber at Leith Police station, will air in 2021.

Fireworks Night

I have had a meeting with Asda Sandpiper’s designated Community Champion to discuss their safeguarding plans around the sale of fireworks, which will include double age-checks, increased security presence and CCTV monitoring.

Ocean Terminal shopping centre:

PC Margo Darling has been appointed as Ocean Terminal liaison officer to replace PC Smith. There will be no monthly beat surgery at Ocean Terminal until further notice.

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