LHNCC January 2021 minutes

MInutes of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Tuesday 26 January 2021at 7:00pm

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 Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Elaine Dick LHNCC Cllr Chas Booth Leith ward
Don Giles LHNCC Cllr Adam McVey Leith Ward
Jennifer Marlborough LHNCC Bill Rodger Trinity CC
Douglas Tharby LHNCC Cllr Jim Campbell Forth Ward
Neil Tulloch LHNCC Cllr Callum Laidlaw Portobello/Craigmillar ward
Arthur Young LHNCC 5 residents/visitors

1.b Apologies for absence

Jim Scanlon Leith Links CC

2 Declaration of interests

  • E Dick is a resident of Albert Dock, considered below
  • J Marlborough is a resident of Commercial St, considered below

3 Minutes of November 2020 meeting

Approved as-is (proposed S Auld, seconded D Giles, nem con)

4 Matters arising, and not on the agenda

None

5 Police report

See full report in Appendix 1.

6 Councillors’ reports

6.a Cllr McVey: Covid situation

Edinburgh’s numbers are now reducing fairly consistently, getting close to the numbers seen in November to December after the holiday ‘boom’, i.e. relatively low transmission rate. The increased transmissibility of the new variant is a ‘game-changer’ but matters are improving. This is due to people and businesses following guidance – please encourage this.

There is pressure on CEC services because more frontline staff are shielding than in late 2020, leading to some turbulence in CEC services. However the teams tacking waste and winter weather have done a ‘fantastic job’, given the numbers shielding. CEC had hoped for a gradual reopening of CEC services but the winter situation didn’t allow this to be as hoped. Testing and vaccination centres need to be found – discussions with public health are ongoing, but they are likely to be within LHNCC’s area. The road to normality (including education) is hence more wobbly. Testing is best done within communities, to minimise transmission-risks.

Tracking data suggests that Lothian Health Board is currently ‘doing OK’ – it has not breached its covid capacity, and hence has not taken resources from other capacities.

  • Action: Cllr McVey to forward relevant materials for LHNCC’s website

6.b Cllr Campbell

  • I am delighted that work should soon progress on Bingham. (The delay has had an effect on progress on Trinity Academy.) I am concerned that there will be enough budget to enable phase 2 of this to happen.
  • According to the BBC, Scotland’s vaccination rate is slower than England’s – so there may be some lessons to learn.
  • Capacity to handle 999 calls in Scotland had been exceeded, leading to some being handled in England.

6.c Cllr Booth

  • CEC transport ctte will approve the start of the legal process to extend the controlled parking zone (CPZ) into Leith. Many detailed comments have already been taken on board. There will be a statutory consultation in the next 6 to 9 months. Please feed back comments to cllrs.
  • A PAN has been submitted for Seafield Rd (Craigentinny/Duddingston area), prior to the local development plan (LDP) being approved. The PAN will be considered tomorrow – I have asked for a presentation on it and the emergent masterplan. This area is not currently earmarked for housing but might be in the forthcoming LDP.
    • Action: Cllr Booth to forward a clarification document to LHNCC
  • Trees on Stevedore Place and at Tradewinds: Cllrs were recently briefed by the trams team, which is keen to meet with local residents. There should be a presentation at the team’s meeting with CCTT this week.
  • Plastic grass in the Cala development on Ocean Drive: I have asked for clarification on this. There should be a landscaping plan, and artificial grass is not normally allowed in these.
  • Low emissions zones (LEZ): CEC is waiting for the Scottish Government (SG) to enable councils to make these.
    • Cllr McVey: proposals are being developed, and there is dialogue with SG. Edinburgh is likely to have a 2-phase process. CEC hopes for the low-emission work to be city-wide but there are two aspects: delivery traffic affecting places where people live across the city; concerns about the city centre. I will keep LHNCC informed
    • J Marlborough: Linkage of strategic review of parking and trams – this report was written before covid.
    • Cllr McVey: the design will be tram-compatible. Phase 1 is due to be implemented in early 2022, before the tram extension will operate.
    • Cllr Laidlaw: I’m a member of the Transport For Edinburgh board and we’ve been told indicative timing for LEZ is between February 2022 and May 2022. Implementation delayed due to covid, partly to allow Lothian buses time to upgrade fleet.
  • Rubbish in Ocean and Melrose Drives, and removal of bins: I will seek clarification of who is responsible for this area.

6.d Cllr Munro

See circulated report on parking. LHNCC sent its regards to the cllr

7 Chair, Secretary and Treasurer reports

7.a Chair

  • The checkpoint group met on 9 December, considering community empowerment.
  • I have been working with B Rodger (Trinity CC) on matters of mutual concern.
  • LHNCC members should regularly check their emails.

7.b Secretary

See also links in Appendix 2.

  • We have also invited the leader of Leith Rotary to this meeting. He lives in Britannia Quay, and is interested to hear about the grass area outside it, which is currently being maintained by tenants.
  • LHNCC has been notified about filming in February. The company is working with CEC transport on street closures. Most work will be at the Shore and Henderson St. Neighbour notification letter was due today – I will share when I receive it. There will be recompense via donations to local groups – details to be confirmed.

7.c Treasurer

Current balance £1131·45, but there will be a cost for sweets for Victoria Primary school, leading to an actual balance of £1085·06. I have also received an invoice for £50 for LeithChooses.

8 Standing reports

8.a Planning

8.a.i Stead’s Place

J Marlborough: closing date for commenting on this application (19/1/21) has passed, so LCCC planning group met to discuss draft and it was approved Grounds for Comment letter on this application was submitted via Planning Portal. Major concerns include sustainability: the developer’s rationale for lack of more sustainable heating methods was distance from a heat-map network, so gas boilers will be installed. Yet other sites will use heat-maps to enable appropriate methods

  • Cllr Booth: this reason is currently allowable. There have been discussion of heat networks linking Victoria Quay, Ocean Terminal etc but these have not been fruitful. CEC insisted that the Cala development could retrofit such heating, but this is difficult to enforce. CEC is trying to include sustainable heating in the forthcoming LDP. Developers are fighting this because they dislike the potential extra costs.
  • D Tharby: there seems to be a lot of this, and electric car charging points in current developments.
  • J Marlborough: I am concerned that buyers of current developments will face large costs to add sustainable heating in the future when legislation introduced
  • D Giles: CEC has committed to carbon-neutrality by 2030. Can it push for extensive ground-source heating here?
  • Cllr McVey: I understand these concerns. Head-pumps are more cost-effective. CEC will publish a road-map this summer for the whole city. There will be change-costs but such systems will probably recoup these costs. The Glasgow CoP is a great opportunity to make a positive legacy for both Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  • B Rodger: CEC must not back off from these efforts, otherwise the next generation of house-owners will bear the costs.

8.a.ii Albert Dock

E Dick: work has been carried out here by Forth Ports without planning permission, causing much upset. Hence we plan to submit this objection. (It was in draft state at the time of the meeting – E Dick asked members to tell her of possible changes asap.) it calls for a strategic approach to the whole docks area, not piecemeal and inappropriate work.

  • J Marlborough: the Stevedore Place application mandated agreement and restoration of bollards and chains, meeting ‘historical’ requirements.
  • C Booth: this may come before CEC’s planning committee so I can’t comment on it. However, the definition of material concerns is quite complex.
  • E Dick: this is one of a raft of inappropriate planning applications and work in a listed area, such as the Commercial St applications (items 8.a.iii and 8.a.iv). The general point is ‘why does there appear to be an assumption that developers can alter the special character of such areas?’ Relevant guidance suggests that CEC’s enforcement team can intervene against such ‘criminal’ acts, but it seems powerless in practice.

8.a.iii 72 Commercial Street

J Marlborough: this application is by a large Guernsey-based company. Similar to this, many developments (e.g. Skyliner, Ocean Point) are being taken over by private companies such that locals cannot know what will happen as more new developments are build-to-rent, limiting their availability. The Guernsey company has already developed much of Commercial St as office-space – much of this has been good – but infilling in the conservation area’s water features with decking is majorly contrary to Leith’s heritage and culture. The application is erroneous: ’72 Commercial St’ is Café Tartine’s address – the office and café work would actually be at 92 Commercial St.

  • J Marlborough: members can suggest changes to this objection (in draft at the time of the meeting)
  • D Giles: this application is very poorly made – developers should be made to recognise cultural and historical matters.
  • B Ryan: from JM’s comment about the applicant, is LHNCC against absentee landlords?
  • A resident: I support the comments against this development – piecemeal developments will ruin the area.
  • A Young: I commend the drafts, and the research they contain.
  • B Rodger: I recognise this general problem. Similar systemic problems have manifested in Granton Harbour and Trinity CC’s area, leading to issues with the masterplan. Coastal heritage is different to that of the city centre, but just as important. A suitable strategy is needed. Trinity CC has been working on a statement of what developments should be.
  • J Marlborough: Leith Heritage and Leith Civic Trust are working on a planning vision for the heritage site.

8.a.iv Hemingway’s, Commercial Street

J Marlborough: Apparently a shed has suddenly been added to the decking here. The original planning application was approved, then a changed one was submitted – this was before the planning review body in December 2019. The body’s report (June 2020) stated need for a site visit to enable determination. There has been no application for this shed.

  • Cllr Booth: The review body (5 councillors who are members of CEC planning committee) is for appeals against decisions by CEC officers. It decided on a site visit but these are currently not possible, so the most recent application is in limbo.

8.a.v Seafield Project

N Tulloch: Seafield group has been meeting fortnightly. The CEO of Cyrenians has been nominated as chair of the sounding board. However, the data of the board’s next meeting has not been fixed, and it’s 3 months since the last one. Can the councillors please prod the relevant CEC officials.

N Tulloch: a PAN has been lodged for development of the Peter Vardy site. This is a major site, and there is an online consultation on Thursday at 3pm. The Seafield group has prepared a list of questions for this. It has also drafted a joint vision statement.

N Tulloch: in November, LHNCC agreed to support the creation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) comprising LHNCC, Craigentinny CC, Portobello CC, and Leith Links CC, as did the other 3 CCs. This SPV has not yet been created, but there has been some expense, so each CC has been asked to input £50.

  • D Tharby: I have considerable concerns about this. It will be tackled this week by the locality community planning partnership meeting. Until then, I strongly suggest that LHNCC does nothing. It would be very unusual for CCs to set up a limited company (the SPV) – doing so would lead to major responsibilities and liabilities for which people may well not be prepared. It could also lead to conflicts of interest. I have concerns about appointment of company officers. No legal advice has been taken. This should be taken up at the next LHNCC meeting.
  • M Traill: I was not happy with how relevant information was presented to Leith Links CC, with pressure at short notice. Questions about governance matters have not been answered, so I support DT’s concerns.
  • D Giles: similar to items earlier in this meeting, the area should have a district heating system.
  • D Tharby: the matter revolves around how the motor industry envisages ownership of relevant properties.
  • J Marlborough: I support community councils collaborating to form community plans, as in this area.
    • D Tharby: I agree thoroughly with this. However, the SPV is not (currently) the right method.
  • Action: D Tharby to fully explains his concerns to LHNCC members.

8.b Licensing

A Young: there were two applications: one for a taxi office, another for 33 Gt Junction St. Neither is problematic.

8.c Transport

8.c.i Trams/Community Councils Together on Trams

  • J Marlborough: CCTT is meeting CEC’s trams team on Thursday. I am concerned that the new design drawing for the application covering Discovery Gardens (which is now on the trams website) has not yet replaced the former one on CEC’s planning portal, and that comments have not yet been transferred as agreed. That is, the new drawing and comments have not been put into the application that is shown as approved. I have had no response from CEC and the trams team about this.
    • Cllr Booth: this is a ‘prior approval’ application (i.e. one saying ‘we think planning permission is not needed’). So the application on the planning portal is probably defunct. If this matter is not definitely answered on Thursday, I will chase it.
    • Minuter’s note: Trams team later stated that it will build the tram stop, retaining the gardens as agreed.
  • J Marlborough: I will also ask about the rubbish build-up on Ocean Drive and Melville Drive.

8.c.ii Edinburgh Bus User’s Group

J Marlborough: CEC transport and environment committee will meet on 28 January, covering Spaces for People. There has been much concern about floating bus-stops. I will also continue to raise concerns about lack of a direct services to the Western General from Leith and Trinity

  • B Rodger: can this body also consider transport in north Edinburgh coastal area, beyond completion of this tram route?

8.d Environment

D Giles: LHNCC should support CEC in pressuring developers to work towards carbon neutrality by 2030.

8.d.i Crown Estates grant

E Dick: this grant application was unsuccessful. There were very many applicants.

8.d.ii Discovery Garden

E Dick: I have been in touch with the Botanics – it is interested in this work. Due to covid, 2021 will also be a ‘year of coasts’.

8.e Heritage

8.e.i Heart of Newhaven Community Project

J Marlborough: information on digital health for schoolchildren has been circulated. HoN is investigating needs and how people can donate.

  • B Rodger: there is no need to be concerned about donating computers – they will be professionally thoroughly erased. Scottish Tech Army is highly recommended.

8.e.ii Leith Heritage group

J Marlborough: this met last week. Circulation of a heritage trail pamphlet has been hindered by covid, but it will go onto Historic Scotland’s website. A written update on the bridges will soon be circulated. Leith Late is planning open-air film-screenings.

8.e.iii Leith Civic Trust (Vision)

J Marlborough: LCT is creating a vision, with Leith Heritage and other groups, concentrating on local heritage.

8.f Community

8.f.i £eith Chooses

D Giles: voting is now open – please vote via https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/cf/vote-leith-chooses.

  • The total ‘pot’ includes £5000 from the trams team, who have also provided much advertising.

8.f.ii Victoria Primary School

S Auld: it was found that Haribo sweets were best for the school’s events last year. There seems to be little building activity at the new school.

  • J Marlborough: the work you have seen may be the Forth Ports development. The time capsule is still lost.

8.f.iii North East Community Planning Partnership

D Tharby: this will meet at 12 on 28 January. Seafield will figure on this agenda

9 Resident issues

9.a Continued concern about graffiti in area

J Marlborough: who is responsible for clearing graffiti from public plaques and monuments? Some is very unpleasant.

  • Cllr Booth: CEC if it owns the relevant building, but generally the building owner.
  • A Young: this problem is widespread across Edinburgh. Can spray-paint sales be curbed or discouraged by CEC?
  • B Ryan: another CC has reported that painting over graffiti eventually discourages offenders.
  • Action: cllr Booth to find what relevant powers CEC has

9.b ‘Fly-tipping’ landfill waste into community recycling bins

J Marlborough: bins have not been emptied. I note Cllr McVey’s comments on pressure on CEC waste staff.

9.c Increase in dog waste across the Shore area

J Marlborough: This is another residents’ concern.

  • D Tharby: I have seen this too.
  • Cllr Booth: You can report dog fouling via https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/dogfouling. Please contact me or one of your other councillors if this does not resolve issues.

9.d Uplift of Christmas trees

A Young: this is the 6th year that trees have not been uplifted.

  • E Dick: CEC uplifted ours on demand.

10 Ocean Terminal – meetings, notices and community engagement

E Dick: OT is keen to be involved in community matters. It has offered a noticeboard and meeting venues.

11 AOCB

  • J Marlborough: can LHNCC members respond to this survey on perceptions of modern architecture (about the ‘banana flats’, which are now A-listed): https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/89WCMLB
    • Action: B Ryan to put this on LHNCC website.
  • A resident: I commend LHNCC’s transparent example of local government.
  • J Marlborough: I strongly encourage LHNCC members to submit their own comments on the matters covered above.

12 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 23 February 2021

13 Appendix 1: police report

13.a Coronavirus pandemic:

The Police response under Operation Talla has continued in line with the updated Government regulations which came into effect on 5th January 2021:

  • new lockdown rules (for level 4) mean that people are only allowed to leave their house if they have an essential reason (such as shopping for food, providing care to someone, attending medical appointments, exercising, accessing support services).
  • there is to be no in-home socialising, with a 2/2 ratio for outdoors.
  • places of worship, gyms, tourism-related accommodation, leisure & entertainment premises are to close.
  • sale of alcohol for consumption off-premises is still permitted; however, alcohol must not be consumed outdoors in a public place.

13.b Breakdown of calls in north Leith/Newhaven area (approx 602 in total)*

  • 81 calls relating to public nuisance
  • 28 covid-related calls
  • 11 neighbour disputes
  • 52 calls of theft/housebreaking
  • 5 domestic-related calls
  • 20 calls of other violence
  • 48 loud noise/music-related calls
  • 58 concern-for/missing person calls
  • 11 drug-related calls

*stats for period 24/11-23/01

As may be expected, there have been many more calls to private addresses rather than public spaces during the second lockdown period, particularly those relating to people’s mental health, neighbour disputes and noise calls. The Police approach in dealing with breaches to coronavirus regulations has not changed, with those people found in contravention being provided with advice in the first instance, and thereafter encouraged to return to a home address or desist in participating in a particular activity, with enforcement (usually in the form of increasing fines) as a last resort.

13.c Winter Road Safety campaign

This year’s annual festive campaign to identify motorists driving under the influence of drink or drugs ran between 1st December 2020 and 3rd January 2021. The campaign saw officers carry out 4,013 roadside tests across Scotland, with 508 drivers detected for either drink- or drug-driving offences. 25 offenders were detected in Edinburgh.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams stated, “It is extremely disappointing to see that people are still willing to take the risk and drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The current pandemic has seen a decrease in the number of vehicles on the road; however, our campaign to improve road safety has been as important as ever and was focussed and intelligence-led.”

13.d Private CCTV

There has recently been a query to Police about private CCTV installations, and I thought it might be helpful to provide a little information about this subject.

In most cases, questions around compliance or privacy aspects of domestic CCTV are not a Police matter – they are the remit of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Domestic CCTV systems are not regulated in the same way that commercial systems are; however they are still regulated, albeit with a much lighter touch. As it is understood, there is no requirement for signage for a domestic system and the relevant regulations permit the installation of cameras in and around private dwellings. The ICO guidance on the subject is here: https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/domestic-cctv-systems-guidance-for-people-being-filmed/

This website allows you to report concerns about breaches of the Data Protection Act; whilst the DPA would not normally apply to a domestic system, this appears to change if there is a belief that the system is recording images of you or others on your private property, as opposed to public spaces or shared communal areas. If that is the case, the system operator would have to respond to your request to view footage, etc, which is something that the ICO may be able to help you with. The link above also includes a toolkit to help the public determine whether the use of CCTV could possibly be criminal.

13.e LGBT History Month

Held during the month of February every year, LGBT History Month celebrates the lives and achievements of the LGBT community.

14 Appendix 2: secretary’s report links

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