LHNCC April 2021 minutes

Minutes of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Tuesday 27 April 2021 at 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 Arthur Young LHNCC
Elaine Dick LHNCC Cllr Chas Booth Leith ward
Jennifer Marlborough LHNCC Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith
Douglas Tharby LHNCC ~6 residents/visitors  
Neil Tulloch LHNCC    

1.b Apologies for absence

Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary Cllr Gordon Munro Leith ward Sgt Elaine McArthur-Kerr Police Scotland

2 Declaration of interests


3 Minutes of March 2021 meeting

Approved subject to correcting a very minor typo in the chair’s report (proposed A Young, seconded N Tulloch, nem con)

4 Matters arising, and not on the agenda


5 Police report

Action: J Marlborough to circulate report received yesterday (also reproduced in Appendix 1)

  • The relatively high numbers of calls about missing persons and burglaries were noted, as were the abstractions to tackle attacks on buses and other crimes of violence.
  • The secretary noted a bike-theft from her building, possibly taken during election canvassing.

6 Councillor/MSP/MP reports

6.a Cllr Booth

  • There have been reports of public urination. Police advise that where this (or public defecation) could or does cause annoyance, it is an offence. It should be reported via 101.
  • An application for redevelopment of a garage at 120 Ferry Rd into a shop and flats was approved. The current plans have sufficient open space to meet requirements.
    • J Marlborough: there are concerns over access for waste services via Industry Lane.
  • Some residents’ title-deeds apparently ban them from hanging washing out of doors, which appears ridiculous.
  • J Marlborough: re repainting 92 Commercial St, CEC what does ‘approved with proviso re paint colour’ mean? There are discrepancies in colours of paint actually used.
    • E Dick: the listing requirements insist on consistent colours here.
    • Cllr Booth: I will investigate

6.b D Brock MP

  • Most of my current work is around covid, contracts for covid-related equipment, covid-related support and Brexit. (There are many Brexit-related statutory instruments due to lack of preparation. One problem is around exporting produce to the EU.)
    • Most of my parliamentary attendance is virtual.
  • I am now COP26 spokesperson. It is becoming less likely that this will be in-person, but this is desired by the ‘global south.
  • The application for Arthur St (just outwith LHNCC’s area) is causing much concern.
  • There are also concerns about the proposed Bonnington controlled-parking zone.

7 Chair, Secretary and Treasurer reports

7.a Chair

See also full report in Appendix 2

  • It is very welcome to see some post-lockdown opening up of our area, and organisations working under restrictions.
  • However, there have been some significant losses of businesses.

7.b Treasurer

  • Current bank balance £845.41 (most recent statement dated 1st April 2021).
  • Over the year we have had Income of £845.64 from City of Edinburgh and £0.45 in Interest
  • There are no cheques outstanding so this is effectively the Year End balance.
  • The use of the debit card is very limited. Payments by cheque remain the preferred method.

7.c Secretary

  • There have been queries about who is on Edinburgh CCs.
    • Action: B Ryan to add information to LHNCC website

8 Standing reports

8.a Planning

All reports from J Marlborough unless otherwise noted.

8.a.i Rennie’s Isle Development (presentation and discussion on the planning application from Robert Evans, Director, Ryden Planning for VRS Ltd c/o Union Property Services, and team members

  • Chat-room comments and draft minutes were sent to agents: they have acknowledged receipt but not commented.
    • Cllr Booth: Proposal of application notice came to CEC committee last week. I asked about impact on local and key views. (This chimes with concerns expressed at last month’s LHNCC meeting.) I also asked for the report update to cover compliance with Leith docks development framework (especially about building heights, car-parking, coastal footpaths, cycle-paths).
    • A resident: consultation is open to 26 May, contradicting reports in evening news and elsewhere
    • Action: J Marlborough to work on pre-application response.

8.a.ii Albert Dock update

  • Outcome of appeal to be supplied (date TBC). A site visit may be required.
    • E Dick: SG has advised that a case officer has been appointed.
    • J Marlborough: I’m advised that ‘the reporter may have enough information to make a decision – outcome will be reported in due course’. That is, we are being informed about this long process.

8.a.iii Salamander St/Bath Rd

  • LHNCC has many concerns about this application. It is working with Leith Links CC. The company seeking permission doesn’t own the land – its lease will end soon. Hence the owner wishes to sell the land with planning permission, and has not yet chosen a developer.
  • Meetings with the companies have not been helpful – they have not responded to submitted queries.
  • Salamander St already has much traffic, and this would be yet another large, multi-storey unimaginative development in the area. It would be all build-to-rent, restricting who could live here.
  • LHNCC has submitted its response to CEC and the agents, including references to positive examples in other countries.
  • Action: J Marlborough to circulate LHNCC’s response to full LHNCC membership

8.a.iv Seafield Project update

  • N Tulloch: Seafield group has met with CEC twice since last LHNCC meeting, about rising sea-levels and coastal erosion. CEC is trying to establish its liabilities and obligations around these two topics at Seafield. (It has done so at Granton but CEC is the sole land-owner there.) Until this is done, CEC says that options cannot be determined, but CEC officers are working hard so Seafield can be included in CItyPlan 2030.
    • Seafield Group has suggested an online symposium, involving all coastal communities, on coastal erosion.
    • D Tharby: this suggests that LHNCC should work with other Edinburgh coastal CCs

8.a.v Commercial Quay

See above about paint-colours

8.a.vi Hemmingways (Commercial St)

  • There are concerns over decking installed here not having planning permission. Currently, more unpermitted decking is being installed. There should have been a site-visit last year, but did not happen due to covid. CEC enforcement has thanked JM for her enquiry, noting the subject was raised with it in September 2020.
    • Cllr Booth: site visits are currently not happening. In the case of enforcements, often case officers suggest that developers apply for [retrospective] permission. This has happened here, so the process has stalled. I will check when site-visits can restart.

8.a.vii Western Harbour

  • A new site application has been submitted. There appears to be no move toward carbon neutrality via district heating. One claimed reason is lack of heat networks in the area. The developers are using the current local development plan to avoid adding eco-friendly aspects. Comments on the final application are due by 17 May.
    • S Auld: there doesn’t seem to be much work on the school here. There has been some work on the lighthouse area.

8.b Licensing

A Young

  • There have been two applications, none of which appear problematic.
    • Ocean Mist floating hotel has applied for an alcohol license.
    • Forth Ports has applied for a licence for maintenance dredging.
  • I have responded to the CEC consultation on sexual entertainment licensing.
    • D Tharby: this consultation is open to all.

8.c Transport

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

  • J Marlborough: CCTT will meet trams team this week. Some residents are concerned about rusty rails being installed.
    • D Tharby: this may be non-harmful surface-rust. This was confirmed during discussions
    • D Tharby: I note work is progressing, and that some sections are complete.
    • J Marlborough: trams team says work will complete on schedule
      • Action: Cllr Booth to ask trams team about this
  • J Marlborough: Some residents are concerned about the height of the replacement church wall. I will ask TT about this.
  • N Tulloch: Constitution St is closed for traffic at the junction with Mitchell St. Bins here are full, attracting vermin.
    • LHNCC thanks CEC waste for keeping up services during lockdown etc.
    • Action: Cllr Booth to chase vermin issue.
  • E Dick: some plans on landscaping in the conservation area are not clear. For example, on Constitution St, inappropriate paving materials seem to be proposed in place of Caithness slab etc.
    • D Tharby: LHNCC should press for retainment of the area’s built heritage
    • Action: J Marlborough to raise this with trams team.
  • A resident: near the floating hotel, trees have been cut down. Why is this? Will they be replaced? Will replacement be looked after?
    • E Dick: trams team/CEC will replace trees 2-for-1. They were removed to allow trams, wider pavements. We are pressing for like-for-like replacements, and that replacements are maintained.
  • A resident: Floodlighting at Ocean Drive is diesel-powered. Diesel fumes mal-affect pedestrians.
    • Action: Cllr Booth to raise with CEC officers. (Cllr Booth also suggested contacting the trams team.
    • Action: J Marlborough to raise this with Tram Team
  • A resident: access to Rennie’s Isle seems tight for HGVs. There is speeding on The Shore.
    • D Tharby: LHNCC will keep focussed on these issues.

8.c.ii Edinburgh Bus User’s Group

  • J Marlborough: EBUG AGM will be on 17 June. On Friday 30 April, EBUG will do a bus-stop/bus-lane audit, starting at the Mound and covering George IV Bridge, North Bridge and South Bridge. This will cover removed bus-stops, distances between [currently functioning] stops and resulting pedestrian issues. This is a pilot audit, following similar work by Spokes – it may be repeated in other parts of Edinburgh. It will also report on floating bus-stops.
    • S Auld: there are concerns about Lothian Buses (LB) finances and future due to lockdown restricting travel.
    • J Marlborough: we won’t know what will happen until after trams are running. EBUG plans to meet with LB, and CEC’s Director of Place.
    • D Tharby: I have seen that buses are not much used at the moment.
    • J Marlborough: there are issues with vandalism, but otherwise I feel safe using buses.
    • Cllr Booth: there has been Scottish Government (SG) financial support for LB and similar organisations.
      • Action: Cllr Booth to supply details of such support

8.d Environment

8.d.i Coalie Park Conversations consultation

  • E Dick: I have collated and submitted LHNCC’s response, but I’ve not yet received feedback on LHNCC’s submission. There is some money available to plan improvements. Plans have been generally received favourably, but there are concerns over the number of trees that would be felled and separation of user-groups. There is a sense of place about the park.
    • J Marlborough: there is a car-park off Coburg St – this road might be closed due to the Leith Connections work, but this would remove local access for elderly and people with disabilities to the Water of Leith walkway
      • Action: E Dick to follow up this point

8.d.ii PAS & Zero Waste Scotland, Circular Economy and Planning System event

8.d.iii EACC ‘carbon neutrality’ event

  • D Tharby: EACC is open to representatives of all Edinburgh CCs – J Marlborough is our ‘official’ representative but I also attend EACC meetings as an observer. There were 5 speakers and a short discussion. Speakers included chair of Edinburgh Climate Commission, Head of Climate Change at Scottish Power, CEC Policy and Insights Manager, representatives from Copenhagen and Oslo, an engineer talking about sustainable construction and carbon neutrality. The key message is that there can be no excuses for not taking action.
    • J Marlborough: some of the work in Denmark is ‘breathtaking’: there are cycle-highways, separate from roads, enabling inter- and intra-city commuting. Carbon footprints have been massively reduced. Housing developments include community assets such as churches, retirement homes, shops, cinemas, community heat-plants, green space. In Germany, it is being shown that tower-blocks are not necessarily to accommodate high density. Overall, there are some very inspiring examples.
    • D Tharby: however, Edinburgh has not set any objectives from this. Oslo shows that action can be taken in hilly places. J Marlborough asked about CEC’s policies on district heating as opposed to individual flats having boilers, to be told ‘this complies with current legislation’ – this will no longer be enough. Retrofitting would not be feasible, so new-build should not have individual systems.
    • J Marlborough: the way forward is building homes and communities, not just building indistinctive masses of houses.
    • Cllr Booth: this sounds really interesting – please share slides and notes. CEC is preparing the next local development plan. Consultation was in 2020, and brought up questions on increasing energy-efficiency in new developments but the draft has been delayed due to a cyber-attack on SEPA. CEC is being asked about flood-risk (as mentioned in item 8.a.iv). However, many buildings will not be new, so there will need to be retrofitting. A comprehensive strategy on heating is absent, so I have asked CEC planners what is being done. The consultation also covered 15-minute neighbourhoods so there is less need to travel to such community assets. There is concern whether developers will follow policies set by CEC.
    • J Marlborough: this arises from ‘absentee’ developers building build-to-rent developments with no sense of community, without considering the elderly, disabled etc – many of whom are not eligible for affordable housing.
    • D Tharby: the examples at this meeting show how community-based developments can be places where people want to live. There was also an inspirational example of a recycling plants. There was also coverage of e-vehicle charging points. (There are two local points but they are currently not working.) I have pushed CEC to install more points.

8.e Heritage

8.e.i Heart of Newhaven Community Project

  • J Marlborough: HoN AGM is at 7;30on Thursday (29 April). I may have a diary-clash. Progress depends on SG land fund , progress on the school etc, but there have been lockdown-related delays
    • Action: S Auld to represent LHNCC

8.f Community

8.f.i Edinburgh Civic Forum – Update

No discussion

8.f.ii North East Community Planning Partnership

D Tharby: This meets on 5 May. I have created the agenda

8.f.iii Edinburgh Partnerships Reforms – EACC

8.f.iv Community Council Planning Training Workshop

8.f.v Leith Neighbourhood Network

D Tharby: this last met on 11 March 2020. It will meet on Thursday 29th April at 6pm. The meeting will cover Leith Chooses, neighbourhood environmental program, the now-approved locality improvement plan. I am concerned that membership/attendance may have been lost over this time. This body is Leith’s link with Edinburgh’s Community Planning Partnership board, and has signed off local spend totaling £450,000. LHNCC members will be welcome to attend – I will share a link.

9 Residents’ issues

9.a.i Parking restrictions in Tower Street

No discussion

9.a.ii Overflowing bins: The Shore and Commercial Wharf

No discussion

9.a.iii Abandoned vehicles

  • J Marlborough: there are two vehicles that have been abandoned for a long time: one in Commercial St, another in Dock Place. An inspector has found that the Dock St one is SORN-registered. DVLA says that CEC is responsible for abandoned vehicles on council property, but if vehicles are abandoned on private land, the owner must pay CEC to remove it. I am working on finding out who owns the relevant land.
    • S Auld: there are abandoned vehicles in my development’s car-park. It is taking a long time to find who owns them.
    • D Brock: Please send me details – I will look into how I might help.

9.a.iv Ljghthouse Park and nearby ponds

  • J Marlborough: a resident has asked about this topic: it turns out that Forth Ports doesn’t own the land with the ponds. There are concerns about what will happen to this area in the future.
    • Action: J Marlborough to share relevant information with E Dick

10 Leith Connections consultation and next steps

  • J Marlborough: a recent meeting has helped with many queries. The meeting covered the low-traffic neighbourhood topic, and there was no follow-up on queries from a previous meeting. Also, the presentation from the previous meeting is not yet available. (I did photograph slides, and will circulate these.)
    • D Tharby: I and Leith Links CC’s chair have expressed concerns about lack of ‘join-up’ between projects in Leith to CEC’s Director of Place.
    • Cllr Booth: there is a further meeting on 11 May at 5:30.
    • Action: J Marlborough to share minutes and slides
    • Action: D Tharby to circulate joint letter to LHNCC members, and any responses


  • A resident: We have not heard from Cllr Munro for some time – can he send a written report? Can LHNCC ask for this?
    • D Tharby: CEC members and staff, and the police, cannot use Zoom [on CEC-owned devices].
      • Cllr Booth: Cllr Munro does not have a personal device. We have appealed to CEC IT to allow use of Zoom but they have refused this.
    • J Marlborough: I asked him recently for a report but received no response.
    • Another resident: I thank our hard-working MP for making the time to attend LHNCC’s meeting.
      • Action: J Marlborough to ask Cllr Munro again, and convey LHNCC’s good wishes
  • S Auld: concerning problems reported about traffic on Hawthornvale (see previous meetings), CEC appears to be doing nothing, yet has been able to make changes quickly in other places.
    • J Marlborough: there are now bollards all along this street, leading to significant improvements.
  • J Marlborough: The Quintinshill memorial service is on 25 May (details TBC). LHNCC has ordered a wreath.
  • A resident (who is new to the area): thank you to LHNCC members for devoting time to local matters.

12 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 27 April 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 are being frequently updated:

  • as of 26th April, restrictions are being eased further with mainland Scotland moving to Level 3
  • up to 6 adults from up to 2 households may socialise indoors in a public place, but NO in-house socialising
  • up to 6 adults from up to 6 households may socialise outdoors (under-12s not counting)
  • unrestricted travel to all Level 3 areas
  • consumption of alcohol permitted outdoors (subject to local licensing legislation) but not indoors, with premises closed by 2000hrs
  • gyms & indoor sports facilities open for individual exercise (or in groups for under-18s); all organised outdoor sports allowed except adult contact sports
  • all places of worship and public buildings open, with restrictions on numbers of attendees at life events
  • all tourist accommodation open (subject to in-house socialising rules)

13.b Breakdown of calls in north Leith/Newhaven area (approx 407 in total). stats for period 23/03-24/04

  • 38 calls relating to public nuisance
  • 6 covid-related calls
  • 9 neighbour disputes
  • 45 calls of theft/housebreaking
  • 8 domestic-related calls
  • 19 calls of other violence
  • 18 loud noise/music-related calls
  • 56 concern-for/missing person calls
  • 13 drug-related calls *

13.c Some of the local issues we have been tackling

  • much of our time has been spent abstracted to Operation Proust (youth disturbances on or towards moving buses) and Operation Epanodos, formed in response to open-space disorder including but not limited to The Meadows and Portobello Promenade
  • we have conducted high-visibility foot patrol along the Water of Leith in response to antisocial behaviour such as overconsumption of alcohol, public urination and loud gatherings. Please report any such unsavoury incidents to 101 or via email, with descriptions of those involved whenever possible
  • over the past month, we have craved and executed intelligence-based warrants at three separate private addresses for stolen property and drugs, resulting in three arrests and seizure of controlled substances
  • about 0755 hours on 10th April 2021, the body of a 57-year-old man was found in the Water of Leith near Couper Street. Following extensive enquiries, the male was identified and his next-of-kin was informed. The male is further described as 5ft 5in tall, slim build, grey-haired, wearing a dark red anorak with a fur trim hood, dark blue jeans, black leather Doc Martin boots and a black beanie hat. While his death is not believed to be suspicious, if anyone has any information which is pertinent to enquiries, please call 101, quoting incident 0869 of 10/04/21

13.d Vintage Vibes

We have been liaising with Vintage Vibes, a project tackling isolation and loneliness amongst over-60s in Edinburgh by providing friendship, companionship and support through a volunteer-based befriending service. If you think that you or someone you know might benefit from this service, please contact either Vintage Vibes directly on 01313430955 (tel) or hello@vintagevibes.org.uk (email), or contact us at Leith Community Policing Team for a referral.

13.e Beat Hunger Campaign

Our Beat Hunger Campaign has continued! We began with distributing our Beat Boxes at food banks across Leith to supplement the voucher-based relief packages; however, this has now developed into delivering these care packages to approximately 30 local residents, as identified by local charities and aide groups, at their home addresses on a regular basis. PS McArthur-Kerr is keen to keep the campaign evolving with fresh ideas to target those who can benefit from our assistance.

13.f Impetus Magazine

The opening issue of the local Leith magazine in glossy format has now been released and distributed by local resident Stewart Christie, providing information and signposting to services, social interests, past histories and businesses. We at Leith Community Policing Team are featured on page 30!

14 Appendix 2: chair’s report

I thank you again for attending this meeting. It seems no time since our last meeting which was so well attended by the local community with 45 people on the call. It is good that we have such an ‘involved’ community and it has been interesting to reflect on the Chat room comments that were taking place in the background. Zoom meetings have been working for us although there are still lessons to be learned for Chair and all participants. Perhaps as the Lockdown begins to ease we can look forward to getting back to our Face to Face meetings, certainly in the autumn this year I hope.

The work of this CC takes an interesting diversion. Consultations this time around cover a wide range of different topics and I encourage all of you to play your part any give your comment when you can.

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 12th April. The focus this month was on the redevelopment of Trinity Academy as a Community School. Do remember that this senior school is attended by families in west of our LHNCC area. We have a common issue in Parking Zones and also in the City Mobility Plan.

Both Jennifer and I attended the EACC meeting on 22nd April. This was a special meeting devoted to ‘Carbon Neutrality Edinburgh 2030: what it means and how we get there’ There were five presentations over the evening and some opportunity for discussion although I regret that little real conclusions could be arrived at other than the magnitude of the tasks involved in upgrading our existing homes, our public transport and our facilities to deal with a growing need to use electricity to power our private cars.

Jennifer may have a rather different take upon this, but seeing how such cities as Copenhagen and Oslo were tackling carbon emissions made me realise just how far behind we are in Edinburgh and just what we will have to address immediately ‘with no excuses offered’ to avoid the embarrassment of NOT meeting this target. I feel that as a Community Council we should question every planning application for evidence that it considers not just meeting current legislation on emissions etc. but there is some ‘future proofing’ and I hope that other members can support this.

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

Douglas Tharby, Chair

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