LHNCC May 2021 minutes

Minutes of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Tuesday 25 May 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 Neil Tulloch LHNCC
Elaine Dick LHNCC Arthur Young LHNCC
Don Giles LHNCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Jennifer Marlborough LHNCC Cllr Chas Booth Leith ward
Jim Preacher LHNCC ~4 residents/visitors
Douglas Tharby LHNCC

1.b Apologies for absence

Cllr Gordon Munro Leith ward Sgt Elaine McArthur-Kerr Police Scotland
Cllr Adam McVey Leith ward Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith

2 Declaration of interests


3 Minutes of April 2021 meeting

Approved as-is (proposed J Marlborough, seconded A Young)

4 Matters arising


5 Police Report tbc

See full report in PDF format on LHNCC website, or text of report in Appendix 1.

Significant items included

  • About 200 calls in the last month, including 20 calls about missing persons
  • Advice and support on coronavirus regulations, cold-calling, how to contact the police
  • Cllr Booth: it’s not an offence to just drink in public: it becomes an offence if there is public nuisance.
  • Action: J Marlborough to thank the police for these reports

6 Councillor/MSP/MP reports

6.a Cllr Booth

  • Full council has recently discussed public toilets: there is now funding for temporary public toilets at Leith Links. CEC aims to reopen permanent public toilets.
    • Action: Cllr Booth to check whether future provision will be unisex and whether there will be attendants.
  • CEC planning has not dealt with anything directly affecting LHNCC area.
  • CEC planning did cover affordable housing policy. Currently, 25% of homes in any development must be ‘affordable’, but there is contention over the definition. For example, ‘golden share’ buyers get 25% off.
    • I am waiting on information on impact of this and other relevant policies.
    • J Marlborough: I am concerned that elderly and disabled people are not properly catered for by rental policy.
    • C Booth: it seems that insufficient new-build housing is accessible enough. We intend to push CEC on this. CEC’s own build has a good record on this topic. All new-build ground-floor houses should be step-free.
    • Action: J Marlborough to email relevant information to CLlr Booth, Cllr Booth to take this up
  • CEC finance & resources agreed to extend leases for Leith Athletic and Earth in Common (previously called ‘Crops in Pots’).
  • There is no news on when the Hardie tram-enquiry will report. This enquiry is fully independent

6.a.i Q&A

  • Cala’s plastic grass: residents asked me about this in February. As far as I know, this wasn’t in the developers’ landscape plans. I have asked CEC planning staff whether the developers are in breach – no substantive reply yet.
    • Action: Cllr Booth to work with colleagues to ensure use of real grass in future
    • J Marlborough: local development plan does not specify that ‘grass’ must be real[1]. Other plans do not define green space.
  • Hemmingways: no site-visit date yet. (Site-visits have been permitted only very recently).
    • Action: Cllr Booth to push for this site-visit

6.b Others

  • J Marlborough: Deidre Brock MP has been helping a lot with my work on abandoned vehicles
  • J Marlborough: Cllr Munro has promised us a report soon

7 Chair, Secretary and Treasurer reports

7.a Chair

See full report in Appendix 2

  • Jim Preacher is welcomed to LHNCC as representative of a local interest group (Leith Rotary), from this meeting onwards.
    • JP noted he is secretary of Leith Rotary, and is personally interested in the Britannia Quay development.
  • The community seems to be opening up more, although there seems to be accompanying problems with through-traffic.
  • Progress on the tram-route is welcome.
  • It is sad that Ocean Terminal appears so empty.
  • I’ve seen building-work at Stead’s Place.
  • I welcome the re-opening of public toilets.

7.b Secretary

See links in agenda on LHNCC website

7.c Treasurer

  • Current balance: £679·23, taking into account all cheques written and our monthly charge for Zoom.
  • The use of the debit card is very limited. Payments by cheque remain the preferred method.

8 Standing reports

8.a Planning

All points made by J Marlborough unless otherwise noted

8.a.i Rennie’s Isle Development

  • LHNCC has now submitted its objection. The Cockburn Association will also submit a comment.
  • The consultation finishes this week. It is not yet known when the report will be published.

8.a.ii Albert Dock update

This matter will go to appeal on 23 June (10 am). This will be viewable online.

8.a.iii Hemmingway’s (Commercial St)

Site visits are now possible. (See item 6.a.i above.)

8.a.iv Sandpiper Drive, Western Harbour (opposite ASDA to the west)

  • Deadline for responses is now 28 May – LHNCC is preparing its submission. Topics to consider include
    • ‘AMC (Approved of matters specified in conditions) application
    • Each flat is due to LHNCC would prefer a district heating scheme, ideally using heat-pumps, to help meet carbon-neutrality targets. However, current legislation permits individual boilers.

8.a.v Seafield Project update

  • N Tulloch: the Seafield group has contacted Professor Harry Smith at Heriot-Watt University’s Urban Institute. He uses Seafield as a case study. His students will soon make presentations to the Seafield group.
    • Action: NT to suggest to students that they attendan LHNCC meeting
    • Action: NT and J Marlborough to liaise about this. It may need a separate meeting.
  • N Tulloch: the sounding board met on 13 May, considering a report by Glasgow University on the effects of climate change at Seafield and elsewhere. CEC is still scoping its duties in relation to this topic at Seafield. The existing sea-defenses are past their design lifetime. The status of Seafield in CityPlan 2030 is still uncertain.
    • There will be a site-meeting on 9 June on such topics.
    • NT is due to meet with CEO of major owner of land in Seafield.
  • J Marlborough: there has been recent press coverage of Seafield, extension of docks inland etc

8.a.vi Commercial Quay update

  • Cllr Booth: applicant is to provide details of paint-colours to be used to planners, planners need to approve this. (It’s normal for planners to insist that colours are consistent in conservation areas.)
  • J Marlborough: who maintains water features here? They are currently murky and malfunctioning.
  • Actions: Cllr Booth to look into this

8.a.vii The Granary, The Shore

  • J Marlborough: I have submitted a complaint about preach of planning permission concerning the colour of the façade. The case officer has already contacted the owner about this.
  • J Marlborough: there will soon be a new delicatessen here. I have written to welcome them, and to suggest appropriate paint colours for frontage.

8.a.viii Sub-planning Group – letter to David Givan, CEC Chief Planning Officer

  • LHNCC has expressed its concern about so much happening regarding planning in its area simultaneously. These all need their own work by LHNCC. No response yet.
    • Action: JM to circulate this letter to LHNCC members only
    • Action: Cllr Booth to chase for reply

8.b Licensing

  • A Young: there are licensing applications by Pizza Express/Victor Hugo and Dr Bells. Neither is problematic.

8.c Transport

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

  • J Marlborough: residents were given very short notice (notification late on Friday 21st, operation starting on Monday 24th) about the closure of Ocean Drive, and diversions via Rennie’s Isle for pedestrians and cyclists. These are via private roads whose maintenance is paid for by residents. The cobbles are not suitable for cycling, wheelchairs, prams etc.
    • J Marlborough: trams team says that the diversions are via rights of way, and that residents were informed by the newsletters, but the relevant newsletter is not on Tram website yet or at OT.
    • E Dick: cobbles are not an issue for cyclists if they are properly maintained. I would not like our historic cobbles to go.
    • A resident: I have still not been advised officially about pedestrian and cycle diversion at Rennies’ Isle. The alternative routes cross kerbs, steps, broken pavements and a car-park, so are not suitable for wheelchairs or prams.
    • JM: trams team is looking into use of diesel generators and the noise in Ocean Drive
    • JM: Caithness slabs have been retained for replacement.
    • JM: There are plans for Victoria Bridge restoration work being prepared by FP. There is also planned complex Ttam work on Victoria Dock Bridge (Ocean Drive) so it will be closed for a significant amount of time.
    • Action: JM to raise these matters at this week’s CCTT/TT meeting

8.c.ii Edinburgh Bus Users Group

  • J Marlborough: EBUG AGM is on 17 June.
  • JM: EBUG has audited bus-stops from foot of the Mound to Chambers St. A report will be presented at the AGM
  • JM: EBUG is trying to boost its membership. Following meetings with Councillors, it will now be included in relevant Communications

8.c.iii Leith low-traffic neighbourhood

  • Cllr Booth: this consultation should have started yesterday, but has been delayed.
    • J Marlborough: it is a great shame that the map I’ve been shown can’t be shared. I have asked for a high-quality consultation, in contrast to a previous one on this topic.
    • Action: J Marlborough to forward her concerns on these consultations to Cllr Booth
    • Action: Cllr Booth to find out why the consultation was delayed , and to raise concerns about consultation quality with CEC.

8.d Environment

8.d.i Discovery Gardens

  • E Dick: I’ve been trying meet with CEC arboriculture team and the trams team, because some trees have ash die-back.
    • I’ve also now heard back from the botanic gardens and the Shoreline project, concerning upgrading of signage here.

8.d.ii Unplanned green-space at Lighthouse park

  • E Dick: a resident has contacted me about the importance of this area. I will keep the CC informed.
    • J Marlborough: we are trying to find who owns this land – it’s not Forth Ports.
    • Action: ED to check ownership with Registers of Scotland
    • A resident: this area is rich in wildlife because it’s not managed – nature can do what it wishes here.

8.e Heritage

8.e.i Heart of Newhaven Community Project – AGM

  • J Marlborough: HoN is still waiting for a grant for the land fund. HoN is doing much community work. Access to the old school building has been delayed due to delays in finishing the new school.

8.e.ii Leith Heritage Trust

  • D Giles: minutes of the recent meeting are not yet available. I will share them when they are.

8.f Community

8.f.i Meeting with Paul Lawrence on cumulative effects of tram, controlled parking zone, Leith Connections, Spaces for People, low-traffic neighbourhood, refuse changes

  • D Tharby: LHNCC and Leith Links CC recently wrote to Mr Lawrence, CEC’s director of place about the many developments due to take place in the area. The resulting meeting (11 May) expressed that the area is a crisis due to this. We would like a city-wide masterplan to see how the many schemes would work together.
    • J Marlborough: this meeting was valuable, and complaints were not ad hominem. We know that the tram will go ahead. We fear that the other items do not speak to each other. Until the tram-work is finished, it’s not possible to know what things will be like. Subsequent meetings are likely.
    • E Dick: I wonder how much the apparent issues are a matter of disjointed presentation. Can they be considered together, to decrease car-traffic overall.
    • JM: we support most of what is planned in general. However, the resulting total workload is overwhelming. So we are not asking for plans to be abandoned, just for some respite so we can be sure they will meet community needs.
    • Cllr Booth: I recall the meeting ending on a positive note. CEC officers know that co-ordination and communication are key. There is an ambition for CCTT meetings to cover wider transport issues. On the Leith LTN, the thing to happen imminently is a consultation. I appreciate that there are many calls on community volunteers. Just as there are calls to make developments climate friendly, so is there a need to reduce the environmental impact of transport.

8.f.ii North East Community Planning Partnership

  • D Tharby: This met on 5th I am on this partnership (as vice-chair) as chair of Leith Neighbourhood network. It focuses on positive destinations, social connectedness, safe and welcoming places to live.

8.f.iii Leith Neighbourhood network.

  • D Tharby: this met on 29th It covered, inter alia, the revised locaiity improvement plan. There were 17 attendees, of ~100 contacts. Other NNs in Edinburgh appear to be less successful.

8.f.iv Leith Connections

  • J Marlborough: LHNCC and LLCC have asked for an extension to the most recent consultation on this. A joint public meeting has been suggested for 9th

8.f.v Quintinshill memorial service

  • J Marlborough: LHNCC laid a wreath at this service, accompanied by D Tharby

9 Resident issues

9.a Traffic signals Bernard St/The Shore/Commercial St

  • J Marlborough: there is concern about the very short times allowed for pedestrians at these signals
    • Action: JM to raise at next CCTT/TT meeting
    • Action: Cllr Booth to pursue if the above has no success.

9.b Western Harbour

See item 8.a.iv above.

9.c Abandoned vehicles – update

  • J Marlborough: thanks to Cllr McVey and our MP Deirdre Brock, I have found that the problem with the caravanette on Dock St is due to the land-owner. Once this was raised with Forth Ports, the vehicle was very soon removed.
    • Another vehicle has also been removed from Forth Ports land – but is now outside by building.
    • Cllr McVey informs me that responsibility for vehicles on private land lies with landowners. SORN vehicles must not be on the road.


  • J Marlborough: fences that had blocked off cycle-racks at Ocean Terminal have now been sorted.

11 Date of next meeting

AGM + ordinary meeting Tuesday 22 June 2021

12 Appendix 1: text of police report

12.a Calls from 25/4/2021 – 19/5/2021

12.a.i Breakdown of calls in North Leith/Newhaven:

  • Approx 200 calls in total
  • 1 road traffic calls
  • 2 neighbour disputes
  • 24 Calls of theft/hb
  • 5 domestic related calls
  • 1 assault call
  • 26 public nuisance/noise calls
  • 20 concern for/missing person
  • 3 drug-related calls

12.a.ii Local Issues we have been tackling

  • Anti-social behaviour at Ocean Terminal
  • Speeding in built-up areas
  • Bogus workmen
  • Public drinking
  • Parking issues outside schools

12.a.iii Police action taken

  • Regular Patrols of Ocean Terminal and public parks
  • Speed checks carried out at Hawthornvale and Newhaven Road
  • Visits to vulnerable residents to provide advice on doorstep crime
  • Patrols of Leith shore and walkways
  • Patrolling round local schools at busy periods

12.b Advice and Support

12.b.i Coronavirus cegulations

Edinburgh is now at Level 2 and you can meet socially in groups of up to:

  • 6 people from3 households in your home or theirs – and can stay overnight
  • 6 people from3 households in an indoor public place like a café, pub or restaurant
  • 8 people from8 households outdoors

12.b.ii Looking forward

  • Each month we will be providing advice and support on initiatives we are running.
  • This month we will address ‘Cold Calling’…
  • Please let us know if there is a particular issue you would like us to address in the monthly newsletter and we will do our best to accommodate.

12.b.iii Questions?

  • In the temporary absence of Community Officer PC Casselden, please contact PC Campbell E0019 if you have any questions about the information provided in this report.
  • Contact details are provided on the last page.

12.c About Us

  • Local Area Commander: Chief Inspector Murray Tait
  • Leith Community Policing Team based at Leith Police Station:
    • Inspector Colin Fordyce
    • Sergeant Elaine McArthur Kerr
    • Plus 8 officers dedicated to community issues in Leith

12.d Contact us

13 Appendix 2: Chair’s report

I attach this as a formal report on meeting had or attended on behalf of the Community Council or the Neighbourhood Network.

Thursday April 29th, This was the first meeting of the Leith Neighbourhood Network since the Lockdown, the last meeting was on 11th March 2020. The event clashed with other diary events which I suppose is becoming inevitable as so much is now going on in the North East of Edinburgh, however it was good to see a number of members return and to give an update to them on £eith Chooses, The Neighbourhood Environment Programme, the revised Locality Improvement Plan (LIP) and to get news from the membership which we can share. I do hope that we can build upon this in the months ahead with hopefully another meeting in the autumn if not before.

Wednesday 5th May I attended the North East Locality Community Planning Partnership as a Teams meeting. The previous meeting was in January this year and a number of update were received. It was good to report that our Leith Neighbourhood Network had met and to hear that the other two Networks in the North East, Craigentinny & Duddingston and Portobello & Craigmillar, were making some progress. It was good to note from our self-regulated Action Tracker that our various Partners are continuing to work together on what matters in the community over what has been a very difficult year for most of us in some way or another. There is still much to do, Priorities refocussed and we now move forward thinking beyond 2022 when the current LIP will be due to end.

Once again I attended the meeting of Trinity Community Council on 10th May. The focus this month was on a survey of Trinity residents on ‘Living in Trinity’. Some interesting observations, but not entirely unexpected, were made by the analysts the meeting discussed this. An interesting concept of ‘Thinking Forward and Thinking Back’ was introduced which served a useful purpose for community engagement. We have a common issue in Parking Zones and also in the City Mobility Plan.

Both Jennifer our Secretary and I attended an early evening meeting on Tuesday 11th May with colleagues from Leith Central arranged with Paul Lawrence, Director of Place at City of Edinburgh Council along with other officials and councillors. This was a special meeting which we had jointly requested and was devoted to our concerns about the various initiatives around Parking, the removal of a Roundabout and replacement with Traffic Lights, Vehicular Access and Cycleways proposed recently and updated this evening. The group discussed Trust and a focus on working together to rebuild this Trust over the months ahead.

I believe that it was a positive meeting with a number of points made, not least by your Chairman that we would like some sort of ‘Master Plan’ covering the whole City with supporting data attached. This Plan would permit us to best see just where all this change is now believed necessary and indeed where we here in Leith fit into this overall scheme of things. The Planning Sub Group and myself will be monitoring this closely and will keep CC members and the public informed and advised of the best response we have to make as these initiatives are progressed.

A chance meeting with LHNCC former Chairman Rob Levick on The Shore on the morning on Tuesday 18th May was a chance to get an update on the work of our local Foodbank. I was pleased to note that over the Pandemic and associated Lockdowns no individual or family that approached the Foodbank was turned away without receiving supplies to enable cooked meals to be prepared. I was saddened to hear, however, that so many had been forced to appeal for such help which must always be a difficult thing to do and through no fault on their part. Thankfully food got to the right people although there were some small strains upon the logistics to make this happen which I suppose was inevitable.

Lastly, on Saturday 22nd at 11.00 a.m. Jennifer and I attended the memorial to the Gretna Rail Disaster of 22nd May 1915 in Rosebank Cemetery to lay a wreath on behalf of the LHNCC. A small gathering at the memorial was led in prayer by Rev. Iain May. The sun shone that morning in what has been a generally poor month for weather. It was genuinely a chance to ‘Think Backwards’ to the events on that fateful day but then to ‘Think Forwards’ to the warmer days ahead, to meeting with family once again and to enjoy that drink and food not prepared by oneself or delivered by a kamikaze cyclist.

Stay well, Stay Safe. Get your vaccine when you can, that is if you have not already done so.

Douglas Tharby, Chair

[1] Appendix E. Glossary (p155) Greenspace: any vegetated land or structure, water or geological feature in the urban area including playing fields, grassed areas, trees, woodlands and paths

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