LHNCC August 2021 minutes

MInutes of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Tuesday 24 August 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 Jim Preacher LHNCC Bruce Ryan Minutes secretary
Elaine Dick LHNCC Douglas Tharby LHNCC Cllr Jim Campbell Forth ward
Don Giles LHNCC Neil Tulloch LHNCC Steve Kerr EACC
Jennifer Marlborough LHNCC Arthur Young LHNCC ~4 residents/visitors

1.b Apologies for absence

PC Chris Casselden Police Scotland Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith Cllr Chas Booth Leith Ward

2 Declaration of interests

none

3 Minutes of June 2021 meeting

Approved as-is (proposed J Marlborough, seconded D Giles, nem con)

4 Matters arising

Action: J Marlborough to ask Cllr Booth for feedback on actions from June meeting

5 Police Report

See full report in appendix 1.

J Marlborough confirmed there is much noise from antisocial drivers on Ocean Drive and Portland Place.

6 Steve Kerr, Chair, Edinburgh Association of Community Councils: ‘The future of Community Councils In Edinburgh’

SK reported

  • This is an initiative to improve how Edinburgh CCs work and are perceived.
  • He became EACC chair in January 2021. He was then asked to participate in an Edinburgh Partnership working group.
    • EP deals with community planning. An audit of its performance had been highly critical.
    • Hence the working group was set up to review this.
    • SK was keen for CCs to be an integral part of this.
  • CCs are statutory bodies. They have some respect but sometimes this is lost. There are different perceptions of their role.
    • Hence SK set up a steering group covering Edinburgh:
      • Steve Kerr, Chair EACC (Corstorphine CC)
      • Simon Holledge, Secretary EACC (New Town & Broughton CC)
      • Judy Wightman, Treasurer, EACC (Ratho & District CC)
      • Sally Millar, Leith Links CC
      • Graeme McKinley, Queensferry & District CC
      • Nick Marshall, Northfield and Willowbrae CC
      • Tim Pogson, Southside CC
      • Bill Rodger, Trinity CC
      • Keith Symington, Currie Community Council
      • John Tibbitt, consultant (former Chair, EACC)
    • This has met several times to consider how to take matters forward.
    • NB The above membership isn’t fixed – it was what could be done at the time.
  • The first action was to invite CEC director of place to speak with CCllrs
    • He agreed that the relationship between CCs and CEC wasn’t working.
  • There were deliberations on engagement, empowerment and governance/advocacy.
  • Engagement
    • The partnership is putting much into neighbourhood networks and community planning partnerships. These are perceived to work well in the north and west, but have not met at all in other areas.
  • Empowerment
    • While this can mean different things to different people, the clear message from CCs was that empowerment does not mean being given large budgets to deliver services. Instead, it’s being intimately involved in decision-making, policy-making and implementation, not being ‘consulted’ afterwards.
      • A ‘defense’ for the status quo is that opposition councilors do not have such influence, so why should CCs?
      • SK’s response is that CC members are apolitical community representatives with a different statutory role
    • Advocacy and governance
      • Moving CC elections to be at the same time as other council elections may be beneficial. Hence next one might be 3 May 2024.
      • There needs to be a boundary review. Some areas of the city have grown considerably in populations, so their representation needs to be considered
      • CCs need to be more diverse to be representative. Membership numbers for both elected members and local interest group representatives are capped. This should be removed, to encourage many people to take part, and bring in other expertise e.g. on planning on environmental matters.
      • EACC has been vocal in comparison to EVOC (represents third sector – NB SK strongly respects this sector), despite being well funded. CCs, who are statutorily responsible for community representation, have no well-funded advocacy body. EACC is a voluntary body that has no staff.
      • There used to be a Scottish Association for CCs, and CCs suffer from this, e.g. in participation in the nascent national care service. Hence EACC favours reestablishment of the SACC.
      • There needs to be a best practice review, learning from other areas and other countries.
    • SK is now assembling a grid of who can do what as part of the Edinburgh Partnership review.
      • Action: S Kerr to forward this grid to LHNCC

6.a Discussion

  • B Ryan: much of my research is around community councils. Let’s talk!
    • S Kerr: I was a member of the Macintosh Commission that considered the relationship between the nascent Scottish Parliament, local councils and community councils. All I propose above was suggested then by the commission, and endorsed by all parties and CoSLA. So it’s about implementation of these ideas.
  • J Marlborough: such issues were raised when CEC localities were introduced 3 or 4 years ago. We feel uncared for.
    • S Kerr: McIntosh established a concordat between the Scottish Parliament and local authorities, which had feared that SP would take over their roles and responsibilities. It is a matter of regret that there is no such concordat between LAs and CCs. Locally, this could start with a concordat between Edinburgh CCs and the Edinburgh Partnership, building the empowerment agenda. For example, CCs were not involved in decisions on 20-minute neighbourhoods.
  • D Tharby: CCs represent service users. Most other partnership members are service providers.
    • S Kerr: there needs to be a rationalisation of bodies. For example the voluntary sector forum talks about the same things as the community planning partnerships and other bodies.

7 Councillor/MSP/MP reports

7.a Cllr Campbell

  • It was interesting listening to S Kerr. There is a genuine feeling that CEC isn’t representing the city’s wide range of views.
  • Proposed parking controls for South Newhaven are now being consulted on. This includes part of LHNCC’s area. There is a strong reaction against this in my correspondence. I encourage everyone to take part in this consultation. My position will be to support the majority view in my ward.
    • J Marlborough: haven’t all CPZs been delayed until after the next CEC election?
    • Cllr Campbell: the committee decided to delay implementation of phase 2 areas. In these areas, 70% of residents oppose introduction of parking controls. This hasn’t affected the consultation for phase 4 areas (Trinity and Newhaven).
    • J Marlborough: what about phase 1, which affects LHNCC?
    • Cllr Campbell. I believe phase 1 areas are at TRO stage.
    • J Marlborough: this TRO seems to be in limbo.
    • Cllr Campbell: in the past, parking control has expanded with residents’ consent. Current actions don’t match this. Wardens are moved around the city, so parking times vary to match this.

7.a.i Electric charging points

  • D Tharby: I understand these points are to be introduced. When will this happen?
  • Cllr Campbell: I don’t know detail. In general Edinburgh is behind the rest of Scotland. Older charging points are now obsolete and are being upgraded. We do have Scottish Government funds for more points. The SG is a significant provided of charging points within the UK, but smaller than commercial operators. The main challenge is that the national grid can’t support a large increase in electric vehicles. The UK energy regulator needs to work to solve this, including transfer of energy between areas of the UK. Vehicle taxation is yet to be resolved. Charging technology is evolving quickly. Inductive charging might help but it is very costly to install under-tarmac chargers.

7.a.ii Other topics

  • E Dick: The demise of the Just Eat bike scheme due to wrecking of infrastructure is unwelcome.
    • Cllr Campbell: there was a high vandalism rate in Edinburgh. We had raised how police could address this. Local policing in Edinburgh is quite light. The city had got a good deal for the bikes – no cost to the public. The provider has now found that continuance is not viable, and other arrangements could not be made yet.
  • S Auld: At the junction of Craighall Road, Stanley Rd and East Trinity Road, a mini-roundabout has been removed, and remaining road-markings are very faint. Cars are cruising through this junction. What can be done?
    • Cllr Campbell: I receive regular correspondence on this. There seems to be a move away from marking roundabouts.

8 Chair, Secretary and Treasurer reports

8.a Chair

See full report in Appendix 2

8.b Treasurer

D Tharby:

  • Current balance of our bank account is £1,421·80 taking into account all cheques and our monthly charge for Zoom.
  • This includes our annual Grant from City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) of £845·64 which we received on 16th
  • The Accounts for the year end 31st March were handed to our Accountant/Independent Verifier David Kay on 8th July following our June AGM and these were approved and forwarded to CEC and accepted on 13th
  • It should be recorded in the Minute that a very special Thanks be extended to David Kay for his services in this connection.

8.c Vicechair

  • Meeting format
    • We need a new venue. Ocean Terminal has offered a conference room with screen. Other spaces may be available.
    • We need to test-drive technology to enable hybrid meetings.
    • We have talked about moving from Zoom to Teams. Cllrs can’t use Zoom on CEC devices, nor can police.
    • We need to do more outreach. OT is offering poster space.

Residents were positive about hybrid meetings enabling remote meetings. There was discussion of mask-wearing. (Masks can affect those with hearing loss.)

  • B Ryan: can EACC push for CEC to provide better wifi in its venues used by CCs?
  • N Tulloch: given that we are about to discuss OT’s planning application, LHNCC should not accept OT’s offer.

9 Standing reports

9.a Planning

All points by J Marlborough unless otherwise noted

  • There is still no news about Hemmingways site visit.
    • Action: J Marlborough to chase for this
  • There have been concerns about Commercial St water features having been turned off and left unkempt. A resident is pursuing this.

9.a.i Ocean Terminal – PAN Application

  • This closes in November. OT has been very supportive of the community during the pandemic, despite loss of revenue,support from trams and unhelpful media comments. We have met with developers and agents to express community concerns on housing.
    • E Dick: it needs to be clear that LHNCC is a conduit for community views, not a decision-maker. If the community does not want certain things, we must say that.
    • D Tharby: the drawings show greater access to the Britannia.
    • E Dick: this is a good point, as is access to the Shore, and more community space. I suspect the housing block will be tall and high density. How will we respond to the PAN?
    • J Marlborough: OT is due to circulate information widely but this has not yet been done.
  • S Auld: gardens at OT have been shut off recently
    • J Marlborough: this is temporary, while a wall is renewed

9.a.ii Albert Dock

  • E Dick: there is no sign of reinstatement of the bollards and chains.
  • J Marlborough: they have been given time to come up with other options.
  • E Dick: is there no deadline? There should be.

9.a.iii Hemmingways

  • D Tharby: more decking has appeared here.
    • S Auld what is the harm of this?
    • J Marlborough: it’s the plastic flowers and lack of listed building consent.
    • A Young: plastic flowers are a widespread disgrace.

9.a.iv Seafield Project update

N Tulloch: The quarterly sounding board met last week. Cityplan 2030 is due to go to consultation next month. It has 3 options for Seafield: (1) to keep the plan as-is; (2) to allow partial application for housing-led development on safe parts of the site; (3) an options appraisal including a masterplan. The current sea-defences would be retained and reinforced but no funding has been decided. All land-owners to the north, including Lothian Buses, have instructed their own flood-defence assessment. The report should be circulated by the end of August. Scottish Government is committed to funding the master plan. Community representatives have asked for a brief for consultants to create the masterplan.

The Seafield group agreed some matters are not going appropriately, especially around community involvement in planning. Hence they will email these concerns.

  • S Auld: is more than Seafield vulnerable?
  • N Tulloch: while there was a report on only Seafield, the problem extends to Musselburgh. Defences that far will be very costly.
  • E Dick: isn’t there a presumption against building on the coast for such reasons.

9.b Licensing

  • A Young: nothing to report

9.c Transport

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

  • J Marlborough: at the last meeting, there were concerns about the new TROs, congestion and signage. The latter has been improved at least on Ocean Drive. There have been problems at Pilrig St. The closure of Starbank Rd has also caused congestion. Hence moving in Leith is very difficult.
    • A resident who has been in frequent contact with the trams team has not had a satisfactory response. CCTT is supporting this resident, who is spokesperson for his area. The trams team will soon meet with him.
    • The project is suffering from lack of concrete.
    • The project is not £6m overspent – in fact it has underspent by this amount due to lockdown.
    • The final landscaping designs are not yet ready, yet this work has started.
    • E Dick: feelings are running high because some people who purport to act on behalf of their area are not sharing information as they should.

9.c.ii Edinburgh Bus User’s Group

  • J Marlborough: this will meet soon.
    • E Dick: has there been discussion of a bus service from Leith to Seafield or Portobello? It’s odd there isn’t one.
    • J Marlborough: this is raised with every relevant planning application.

9.c.iii Government Risk and Good Value Meeting: Audit Report Spaces for People

See this URL: https://democracy.edinburgh.gov.uk/documents/s35897/8.1%20-%20Internal%20Audit%20Annual%20Opinion%20for%20the%20year%20ended%2031%20March%202021.pdf

9.d Environment

  • Action: J Marlborough to circulate presentation on low-emission zone
  • J Marlborough: we were given 1 day’s notice of an event on climate strategy.
  • S Kerr: the EACC/CEC net zero strategy workshop event is on Thursday. The poor notice is due to CEC.

9.d.i Coallie Park and Newhaven Trees

  • E Dick: Having gathered community responses, there is a stakeholder meeting on 31 August at Custom House
  • E Dick: I wrote to CEC tree officer about recently planted trees being neglected. There is no tree management plan. What is the point of planting them if they are not looked after. Cllr Campbell is pursuing this matter. The species that was planted was unlikely to survive.
    • J Marlborough: they were planted because residents didn’t want to lose their views.

9.d.ii FOWLB

  • D Giles: there has been much canoeing activity in basin 3. People are concerned that this will affect wildlife, especially if canoes are being landed in sensitive areas.
    • J Marlborough: Citadel have approval for a shed for their canoes here. Canoeists are getting stuck in the silt. Has supervision been adequate?
    • D Giles: this may be because much water is being abstracted into the sewage system. There is a breach in the system, and if much water gets in, sewage will end up in the river.

9.e Heritage

9.e.i Leith Heritage Trust

  • J Marlborough: There will be a Leith Forever celebration on 18 September at Leith Market. The Leith CCs will share a stall. We have banners, badges etc
    • D Tharby: LHNCC will pay its share towards this.
    • J Marlborough: there will also be a lights festival, projecting images onto buildings.
    • Action: LHNCC office-bearers to create rota for staffing the stall

9.f Community

9.f.i North East Community Planning Partnership

  • D Tharby: This has agenda-planning pre-meetings. The meeting last Thursday was poorly attended. There was a report on safer communities. Much of this centres on issues across the locality. Crime statistics have not significantly increased over the last 5 years in our locality.

9.f.ii Neighbourhood network

  • D Tharby: the next NN meeting will be organised soon. There is a shortage of representatives. Cllr Staniforth is working to reinvigorate the NN

10 Resident issues

  • A Young: there is a tremendous amount of traffic on Junction St and Commercial St, is air quality being monitored? If not, it should be. We need to know if there is cause for concern. Can Cllr Booth advise?
    • J Marlborough: The trams team should also be asked because they are doing the TRO affecting this area. There is a huge amount of congestion right now.
    • D Giles: there used to be a monitor in Commercial St.
    • D Tharby: there was one on Salamander St.
    • Action: D Tharby to ask Cllr Booth about this.
  • J Preacher: The tram works on Ocean Drive are full of litter. There has been no work here since Christmas. Roads are closed everywhere but no work has been seen.
    • D Tharby: this is due to supply chain issues and labour shortages.
    • S Auld: we were told that the work would not go onto the next area until the previous one had finished. This is not happening. The whole route is under construction.
    • E Dick: they have been working hard on Constitution St. Perhaps labour is being concentrated here.
    • J Marlborough: there has been work on Constitution St early on Saturdays and Sundays, including cutting stone there. Could they not do this elsewhere? This may be connected to lack of final landscaping designs.

11 AOCB

  • There was discussion of emailing list opt-ins.
  • Action: B Ryan to create an LHNCC email address for J Preacher

11.a Meeting times

Decision: future meetings to start at 6:30pm

12 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 28 September 2021

13 Appendix 1: text of police report

13.a Breakdown of calls in north Leith/Newhaven area (approx 261 in total)*:

*stats for period 26/07-22/08

  • 12 calls relating to public nuisance
  • 0 covid-related calls
  • 11 neighbour disputes
  • 31 calls of theft/housebreaking
  • 11 domestic-related calls
  • 9 calls of other violence
  • 4 incidents with hate motivation
  • 8 loud noise/music-related calls
  • 25 concern-for/missing person calls
  • 7 drug-related call

13.b Coronavirus pandemic

The Police response under Operation Talla has continued in line with the updated Government regulations

On 9th August, all major COVID-19 restrictions were lifted; however, Government advice to stay safe includes to:

  • get the vaccine when offered
  • wear a face covering when required
  • wash your hands regularly
  • self-isolate/take a PCR test if you have symptoms
  • take regular tests if you don’t have symptoms
  • meet outside if you can, and open windows when indoors
  • keep your distance from people not in your group
  • work from home if possible

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

  • In response to the resurgence of vehicles with engine modifications being driven in an antisocial manner and/or at excessive speed at Ocean Drive & Portland Place, we have been conducting proactive patrols with Roads Policing Department and we continue to liaise with Ocean Terminal security. Upon each Police attendance, vehicle occupants have been spoken to and provided with advice as to appropriate driver behaviour, and when an offender has been identified they have been issued with Fixed Penalty Notices or Antisocial Warnings where relevant. We continue to welcome calls regarding this issue via 101, but please remember to note down and pass on details of particular vehicles including the Vehicle Registration Plates so that we are able to identity the offending vehicle.
  • We have been conducting plain-clothes drugs patrols across Leith in the vicinity of Trafalgar Street, Cables Wynd, The Shore, Quayside Street, Admiralty Street and Coburg Street. Over the last month, we have had a number of good results, including 2x Recorded Police Warnings for possession of cannabis, 2x summons reports for possession of heroin and cannabis, a summons report for Sections 2 & 170 of Road Traffic Act 1988 RTA and numerous intelligence entries.
  • On 11th August, plain-clothes Leith Community Police Officers observed a 21-year-old male acting suspiciously at Tolbooth Wynd and, following a foot chase, effected an arrest; the male was charged with being concerned in the supply of heroin (worth over £3000) & crack cocaine (worth about £300), possession of cannabis, possession of a knife, resisting arrest and assaulting a Police officer; the male was released with conditions on undertaking not to enter the surrounding area of Leith (including The Shore & The Kirkgate).
  • We shall be routinely patrolling the festival and funfair on Leith Links until the end of August.
  • We shall also be holding a stall at Leith Market as part of the Leith For Ever celebrations on 18th September – feel free to pop along and say hi!

13.d Some notable recent incidents in the north Leith area:

  • During the hours of darkness on 9th August, Edinburgh Community Food partnership had its delivery vehicle stolen from the unit at Tennant Street. Following a witness appeal via local news and social media, thankfully the van was recovered over the next couple of days in a driveable state within the north Leith area. Enquiries are ongoing to identify those responsible; if there are any local residents who may have information pertaining to the investigation, please contact Leith Community Policing Team via one of the links on the last page.
  • During the afternoon of 19th August, Police received 6 calls about an intoxicated female running through traffic, jumping on cars and shouting & swearing at passersby at Lindsay Road – local officers attended immediately and traced the female at the scene, removing her from the area and charging her with threatening behaviour & assaulting a Police officer.

13.e 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

13.e.i Contact Us:

14 Appendix 2: Chair’s report

It seems in some ways a long time since our June AGM and yet the time has gone past quite quickly. Good weather has brought visitors a plenty to Leith and the popular Shore business in particular seems to have benefitted. It has however brought greatly increased traffic to our roads and sometimes gridlock at certain times of the day so perhaps the plans for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood have a point to make afterall.

Tram workings progress to the extent that with tracks now laid we can begin to see the end of the works AND the beginning of this valuable, although contentious, transport link with the City.

The other day there were ships Tenders landing at Newhaven and one large cruise ship at anchor offshore. A bit of hope for the future. Next year perhaps.

The new primary school is still covered in scaffolding. Looks like next year now.

The Festival, with revised timings and venues, has meant that our City centre is almost as busy as in pre pandemic years. I have reports however that the continuing controversy caused by large numbers of Air BNB properties in Leith is back on the radar…

Our Kirkgate Community Centre remains closed. Victor Hugo is yet to open. The Granary still has that blue colour.

The only date in the diary in this ‘holiday’ period was on Thursday 19th August when the North East Locality Community Planning Partnership met. A rather shortened Agenda on the day due to some members being on holiday or otherwise engaged. I had an ‘Action’ to report an update on Seafield and with the assistance of Neil and his reports at previous LHNCC meetings I was able to give that update. Councillor Alex Staniforth was able to assist with a short update on the recent Sounding Board. Looking forward to hearing from Neil shortly.

Stay well, Stay Safe and enjoy that sunshine while it lasts.

Douglas Tharby, Chair

August 2021

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