LHNCC February 2021 minutes

MInutes of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Tuesday 23 February 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 Douglas Tharby LHNCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Elaine Dick LHNCC Neil Tulloch LHNCC Cllr Chas Booth Leith ward
Jennifer Marlborough LHNCC Arthur Young LHNCC 3 residents/visitors

1.b Apologies for absence

Don Giles LHNCC Cllr Adam McVey Leith Ward Jim Scanlon Leith Links CC
Cllr Gordon Munro Leith ward Jim Preacher Leith Rotary Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith

2 Declaration of interests


3 Minutes of November 2020 meeting

Approved as-is (proposed J Marlborough, seconded S Auld, nem con)

4 Matters arising, and not on the agenda


5 Police report

See full report in Appendix 1.

J Marlborough noted Sgt Elaine McArthur-Kerr (new Leith Community Policing Team Sergeant). She replaces Sgt Nisbet. Sgt McArthur-Kerr had emailed a self-introduction: I’ve been in the police for 27 years with a predominately investigative background so community policing is new to me yet a challenge I look forward to. You have a great beat officer in [PC Casselden] & I’m happy to support the relationship.

  • Action: J Marlborough to send a note of thanks to Sgt Nisbet
  • Action: B Ryan to add Sgt McArthur-Kerr to LHNCC externals emailing list

6 Councillors’, MSP’s and MP’s reports

6.a Cllr Booth

6.a.i CEC budget

CEC approved its budget [for 2021-22] last week. The Greens had tabled amendments to invest in energy-efficiency and tackle the climate emergency, but these were not accepted. The Greens and other opposition parties did obtain a 1-year rent-freeze for council tenants – who tend to be on low incomes but receive little or no benefits.

6.a.ii City Mobility Plan and similar

  • CMP was approved by the transport and environment ctte, with the aims of reducing road-casualties, greenhouse-gas emissions, air pollution etc; supporting walking, cycling, public transport; expanding either tram or light rail.
  • The Leith Connections consultation is about a new cycle route between the foot of Leith Walk and Ocean Terminal. Detailed proposals as far as Victoria Quay are ready, and under consultation. A low-traffic neighbourhood for Leith is not yet at detailed-design stage.
  • There is a consultation on extending the controlled parking zone to Leith. The principle of extension has been agreed but the detail is not yet decided, so the cllr welcomes input on detail, e.g. ‘colonies’ potentially having double-yellow lines.

7 Chair, Secretary and Treasurer reports

7.a Chair

See full report in Appendix 2

  • I thank members and residents for attending. There has been much work since the last meeting.
  • I attended Trinity CC’s February meeting. A common concern is graffiti – we may use What3Words to report it to police.
  • See later for report on LeithChooses results night – the big local event.

7.b Treasurer

  • Current balance £1117·06 (statement on 2021_01_12)
  • Since then, LHNCC has paid: LeithChooses contribution (paid via Leith Links CC), December minutes, ICO fee, Zoom fee.
  • Hence current balance is £987·67.

7.c Secretary

J Marlborough: there are additions to the agenda, due to topics arising since the agenda was circulated. Other items of interest not on the agenda include

8 Standing reports

8.a Planning

8.a.i Albert Dock update

  • J Marlborough: this application was refused, but after the work had been done. The planning officer is looking into enforcement, and has stated “I would like to confirm that we will now allow the applicant the opportunity to decide how they wish to proceed. If the matter does move to appeal then we will place the matter on hold and await the outcome.”
    • E Dick: despite reporting just as work commenced and despite the refusal, it appears that little can be done to enforce restoration. This is disappointing because LHNCC and residents toiled to demonstrate the work’s inappropriateness.
    • J Marlborough: we had asked for details of risk assessment. There has been reporting of a person who rescued a child from the dock, and was taken to hospital. There is no evidence that Forth Ports has submitted the required RIDDOR report about this incident.
    • E Dick: my general question is about CEC teams’ lack of power to enforce, even when issues are reported in time.
    • J Marlborough: there is a precedent of Cala doing similar work to a desirable design, this was in original planning application for Stevedore Place in 2013.
    • A resident: I saw a letter stating these fences will come down – I believe they will strongly reduce safety. Where is the process [of enforcement] lacking.
    • Cllr Booth: I cannot comment on live/specific applications because I am on CEC planning committee, but in general it is not uncommon for CEC to refuse retrospective applications and enforce reversion to the previous situation. I understand that pursuance of enforcement is on a risk basis – not all incidents will be enforced.

8.a.ii Seafield Project

N Tulloch reported:

  • A meeting at the end of January between the Seafield Group (SGrp) and Scottish Government (SG) officials:
    • confirmed that SGrp work is in line with SG regeneration policy.
    • noted availability of funding for a masterplan. CEC is working on costs to put to SG.
  • The Seafield special-purpose vehicle is now on a ‘back-burner’, in part due to agreeing with CEC Head of Place that a CEC-community partnership should be pursued. It was suggested that the masterplan needs to be infrastructure-led, to combat coastal erosion and rising sea levels ahead of development. (These issues may even prevent development.)
    • Infrastructure in this context includes coastal defences, transport, education, housing and other factors.
  • Cllr Booth and N Tulloch attended a sounding board meeting, along with councillors, CEC officers, the four CCs, land-owners. Ewan Aitken was confirmed as chair of the sounding board. CEC officials represented Lothian Buses, which owns two sites. Not all landowners were present (there are at least 10), so a land ownership plan is being constructed.

8.a.iii Commercial Quay

J Marlborough reported:

  • These applications had received over 400 objections; both have been withdrawn. A new application for only 92 Commercial St (formerly Quay Commons) has now been lodged There is concern over already-implemented noticeable changes of doors and windows, contrary to required visual continuity, and lack of design statement.

8.a.iv Rennie’s Isle

J Marlborough reported:

  • A new PAN has been lodged; information will soon appear in the local press. This is for the former Visa Global/Royal Bank site, just outwith the conservation area. The planned development would be a circular tower of housing, of similar height to Skyliner (14 storeys) and Ocean Point. There will be online consultation, starting 15th March and lasting 6 weeks.
    • E Dick: this development would also take in the public amenity area, leading to very dense accommodation.
    • A resident: there are currently 90 flats on Rennie’s Isle. This development would add 180 units.

Action: J Marlborough to invite developers, residents’ association and other neighbours to LHNCC March meeting.

8.a.v Rennie’s Isle dock: advertising board to commemorate 200 years of death of John Rennie

A resident: the title and location on this application were incorrect, so a corrected version should soon appear on CEC portal.

8.a.vi Planning Edinburgh virtual customer forum

J Marlborough later circulated this link: https://planningedinburgh.com/2021/02/23/planning-virtual-customer-forums.

8.b Licensing

A Young: there are no licensing issues that LHNCC needs to discuss.

8.c Transport

8.c.i Trams/Community Councils Together on Trams (JM)

J Marlborough reported:

  • CCTT is pushing for release of Atkins’ report on vibration, especially about Stevedore Place and Constitution St. There is much concern about this. Also, the Trams Team is one of the prime-movers for Leith Connections.
    • A Stevedore Place resident: there are serious problems with current levels of noise and disruption, due to engines being left to run when machines are not being used. Workers spit, swear, sit in machines when taking breaks, smoke when working at/near gas-mains. There is very deficient monitoring, poor data-basis, and lack of communications.
      • There are also other health & safety concerns, e.g. lack of implementation of mandatory coronavirus precautions close to residents’ dwellings . I have complained every day for at least 5 weeks. Many people are suffering physical and mental health issues, exacerbated because many people are working at home [i.e. right next to tram-work.]
      • I have met with Morrisons (utility contractor] but am concerned that any progress will be lost when the site is handed over to SFN (infrastructure and systems contractor.
      • Surveys by the Trams org are deficient; mine is just a few photos of my property, of the side away from the work.
      • In summary, action is needed, not warm words.
    • J Marlborough: I have received a very large number of complaints about this work.
    • Cllr Booth: I am not on trams all-party oversight group or CEC transport ctte, but I am happy to take this up.

8.c.ii Leith Connections consultation

  • J Marlborough reported that the consultation seems to have been created by the trams team, CEC and other groups, to cover cycling and walking from the Foot of the Walk. It first came up with the trams team about 2 years ago – the ideal route would have been along Constitution St but there is no room here. Suggestions included going via the Kirkgate.
    • The proposed route completely ignores Leith’s waterfront. Its route via Victoria Quay appears very dangerous.
    • A consultation meeting on 4th March is 5 days after the consultation closes – I have been invited.
    • Consultation has been extended to 5 March, but new consultations only last 20 days. This is problematic for CCs.
    • Leith Links CC is holding a public meeting on 1 March about this: register via Eventbrite.
  • E Dick: there is lack information about the overall plan. The route to Victoria Quay will be important for its workers.
  • Cllr Booth: there should be consultation. There is a national cycle route starting at Victoria Quay – isn’t this reasonable? Details of the proposals are at https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/sfc/leith-connections.
  • Action: J Marlborough to draft LHNCC’s submission from LHNCC members’ input.

8.c.iii Edinburgh Bus User’s Group

J Marlborough: there is a Sustrans questionnaire on temporary bus stops design guidance. Extra information is here.

8.d Environment

8.d.i Coalie Park Conversations consultation

  • E Dick: there are landscaping and park proposals from Water of Leith Conservation Trust. The trust seeks LHNCC’s views.
  • J Marlborough: there is information available online
    • Action: LHNCC members to send their views to E Dick and D Giles
    • Action: E Dick and D Giles to collate these into LHNCC submission

8.d.ii Tree felling and replanting – Ocean Way

  • E Dick: 30 trees have been felled for the tram-works. Stevedore Place and Tradewinds residents are liaising with trams team about 2-for-1 tree-replacement. There is now a landscaping proposal (appendix 3). Stevedore Place residents do not want trees on their side of the road, but trees will be replaced in Tradewinds and at the Port of Leith end.

8.d.iii PAS Sustainability event

J Marlborough: I have attended one of these events – it was good. Dates for 4 further events have now been circulated.

8.d.iv Space for People

J Marlborough: there is now a consultation on making Spaces for People changes permanent. (There are none in LHNCC area.)

8.e Heritage

8.e.i Heart of Newhaven Community Project

J Marlborough: HoN is moving forward, but awaiting government funding. Other work is in progress.

8.e.ii Leith Heritage group

J Marlborough: LH is meeting next week. There is currently much work on Custom House, e.g. on costs and facilities. Historic Environment Scotland has created a small Leith Heritage Trail leaflet but this concentrates on The Shore; LH wants to do wider work. 100 days of Leith website is still online, and being extended.

8.e.iii Leith Civic Trust (Vision)

J Marlborough: the Trust continues working with the Heritage group on 100 days of Leith.

8.f Community

8.f.i £eith Chooses – results

B Ryan: results are online on LeithChooses’ website. 11 of the 26 applicant projects were fully funded; 1 ‘runner-up’ has been offered partial funding. Turnout was just under 3000 voters – significantly higher than in previous years. This may be due to online voting. The boost-vote mechanism worked very well: several projects that will support ethnic minorities would not otherwise have been funded. Soon LC steering group now must think how to combine online and in-person voting in 2022.

8.f.ii North East Community Planning Partnership

D Tharby: I attended a NECPP meeting on 28th January. A major project was outlined, as was an update on the locality improvement plan. Minutes of this meeting are not yet available. Emerging issues include neighbourhood networks:

  • Leith NN has not met for over a year. Other NNs are in similar states, so NNs are under review.
  • Leith NN is dominated by the not-for-profit sector.

I presented a paper on Seafield– this area’s population is over 116,000 people (a large proportion of Edinburgh people.

Action: D Tharby to keep LHNCC and NECPP informed as appropriate.

9 Resident’s issues

9.a.i Concern about tram work vibration levels and temporary road works on Constitution St.

See item 8.c.i

9.a.ii Lack of attention to streetscaping and placemaking

J Marlborough: A resident is concerned about lack of maintenance and litter in some of Leith’s beautiful areas, such as The Shore, Coalie Park and Henderson Street. Some of these are in the conservation area.

9.a.iii Continued concern about graffiti/dog waste

  • J Marlborough: graffiti is seriously prevalent in LHNCC area, especially on council signage. The new police sergeant has stated Generally the police will investigate / action the removal of offensive graffiti through the council, however if it is generic graffiti in an area I would suggest a CC approach to the council for advice / guidance / identification of costs
    • According to D Giles, CEC is only treating graffiti in Edinburgh’s central ‘heritage’ areas.
  • D Tharby: a listed building near me has been treated. We need to identify perpetrators from CCTV.
  • Cllr Booth: responsibility lies with owners, so CEC tackles its signage, prioritising offensive graffiti. I can report back specific examples if they are missed by CEC work. My advice would be to link in with [the police] on this to get a better picture on removal of graffiti etc & how to report anything offensive to the police for action.
  • E Dick: there is one main, repetitive perpetrator, who has put the same 2 messages all over the LHNCC area.

10 Ocean Terminal – meetings, notices and community engagement

E Dick: Ocean Terminal has offered physical meeting spaces which are bigger than Kirkgate meeting rooms, and has offered poster-space. There is likely to be better wifi and other useful facilities at Ocean Terminal than at the Kirkgate.


Action: B Ryan to add a UK Government mandated accessibility statement to LHNCC website.

Action: LHNCC members and residents to advise B Ryan (minsec@lhncc.org.uk) of any website accessibility issues.

12 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 23 March 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 15thFebruary 2021:

  • all international travellers entering Scotland from outwith the UK will have to enter a 10-day period of managed isolation at a specified hotel in Aberdeen, Edinburgh or Glasgow (exemptions apply)
  • continued 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 228 in total)*: stats for period 24/01-20/02

25 calls relating to public nuisance

11 covid-related calls

14 neighbour disputes

24 calls of theft/housebreaking

13 domestic-related calls

9 calls of other violence

10 loud noise/music-related calls

22 concern-for/missing person calls

5 drug-related 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 Incidents & events of note:

  • on 8th February, an 82-year-old female was seriously assaulted and robbed of her handbag at Hamburgh Place. Following an extensive investigation, widespread witness & CCTV appeals and hi-visibility foot patrols in the area, a 33-year-old male was identified, charged with the offence and held in custody for court. No other persons are wanted in connection with the isolated incident.
  • over recent weekends, Community Police officers have been conducting plain-clothes and hi-vis patrols across the Leith area focussing on antisocial behaviour and drugs hotspots, including Leith Walk, Newhaven Road, Cables Wynd, St Marks Park, Green Street, Pilrig Street and walkways.

13.d Beat Hunger Campaign:

Leith Community Police officers led by Sergeant Elaine McArthur-Kerr have embarked upon a campaign at tackling food inequality and poverty in the North East area of Edinburgh, whilst building upon already positive relationships that exist between the Police and the wider community. The ‘Beat Hunger’ Campaign launches in February 2021 and will initially be open to identified groups within the foodbank community, specifically single young adult males and families who will receive additional support to their foodbank emergency food boxes.

Additional support supplied by Police Scotland in the appropriately titled ‘Beat Box’ will include:

  • a recipe book by Michelin-starred chef MARTIN WISHART, containing simple nutritious meals cooked using basic utensils with step-by-step instructions and tips on food management; it will also contain signposting to additional support services (e.g. mental health / family support)
  • a selection of basic cookery utensils
  • fresh nutritious ingredients to supplement long life items typically issued by foodbanks and items typically found within the household.

We are delighted that local major food retailers and wholesalers have agreed to be partners in the campaign by providing top-up vouchers or utensils to be included within each Beat Box, thereby encouraging the purchase of basic proteins / additional fresh produce. We feel that this is a crucial part of people making better choices in order to make positive lifestyle choices and improve their wellbeing.

14 Appendix 2: Chair’s report

I thank you again for attending this meeting. A special welcome to those who have joined us from the local community.

It hardly seems any time since our last meeting, but the work of this CC has built up a pace.

Our various standing reports will follow shortly and we have a number of updates for you.

Once again I attended the meeting of Trinity Community Council on 8th February. One common matter of concern is graffiti and I am sorry to say that this seems to be getting worse. I suggested that this might be reported using the app ‘What Three Words’ and this information given to the Police 101. This initiative I am hoping that we can share over the months ahead.

The big event was obviously the £eithChooses Awards night on 16th February. Almost 50 people attended, online of course, and Don will report on this later on. You may indeed have already followed the link to the £eith Chooses website from our excellent LHNCC website, thanks to Jennifer, Elaine and Bruce for this.

I have news on our Neighbourhood Network and associated Partnership Meetings which are outlined elsewhere.

Douglas Tharby, Chair

15 Appendix 3: landscaping proposal for Stevedore Place

a map showing the proposed landscaping around the tram route on Stevedore Place

5 thoughts on “LHNCC February 2021 minutes

  1. I would like to raise the issue of pavement cyclists and note, with some concern, the situation appears to be getting worse. It is an Offence for ANYONE to cycle on a pavement. Edinburgh’s Transport and Environment Committee state that – ” It is illegal for all cyclists ( regardless of age ) to cycle on footways ( commonly referred to as “pavements” ) in Scotland under Section 129(5) of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984. This includes cyclists under the age of 12 years. The only exceptions to this Law are:-
    1 – where a footway has been legally redetermined for shared use (pedestrians and cyclists) and is signed as such; and
    2 – where a cyclist is crossing a footway to reach a cycle path or private access (eg from a carriageway).”
    Unfortunately, after many altercations with recalcitrant, selfish idiots, I have realized that the Police are largely powerless and that nothing will be done until someone is killed.

    • Hi Colin. Good to hear from you. I’ll ask LHNCC folk to raise this with police contacts. Do you have any specific details that should be passed on? Thanks, Bruce

      • Dear Bruce, Thanks for your swift and positive reply. As regards specific details, you have heard me, when I was on the Committee, give an account of my worst event, requiring dental treatment. I find that reporting such occurrences, in the cold light of day, especially “on paper”, can often make them seem trivial and petty. However, be assured that these frightening experiences are very real at the time and I stand by my initial E-Mail in stating that the Police appear to be powerless to act and that nothing will be done until someone is seriously injured or killed.

      • Hi Colin. I recall your description of the event vividly! I’m sorry you (and others) continue to suffer from such selfish idiots. I agree they need to be stopped. (On a personal note, it’s embarrassing for me as a cyclist!)

  2. Thanks Colin. I recall that description vividly, and I’m sorry that you continue to suffer. As a cyclist, I am embarrassed by these selfish idiots’ activities and I agree they should be stopped.

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