LHNCC October 2021 minutes

Minutes of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council ordinary meeting, held via Zoom, on Tuesday 26 October 2021 at 6:30pm

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

Elaine Dick LHNCC Douglas Tharby LHNCC Bruce Ryan minutes secretary
Don Giles LHNCC Bill Rodger Trinity CC 0 residents/visitors
Jennifer Marlborough LHNCC Cllr Chas Booth Leith ward

1.b Apologies for absence

Neil Tulloch LHNCC Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith
Arthur Young LHNCC PC Chris Casselden Police Scotland
Cllr Gordon Munro Leith ward

2 Declaration of interests

none

3 Minutes of September 2021 meeting

Approved as-is (proposed J Marlborough, seconded E Dick, nem con)

4 Matters arising

All covered in subsequent items

5 Police report

See text of report in appendix 1, or PDF on LHNCC website

  • J Marlborough read out the main points in this report. The pressure on police due to CoP26 was noted.
  • PC Casselden’s absence was due to abstractions of Edinburgh police officers due to CoP26.

6 Councillor/MSP/MP reports

6.a Cllr Booth

  • CEC is consulting on proposals to make all of Edinburgh a short-term-let (STL) control area, so any STL would need planning permission. Current planning rules would mean most such applications are granted, but the proposals would add some control here. The consultation, which has only 2 questions, closes 5 November. I support the proposals.
  • CEC finance committee has recently agreed a new strategy for providing accommodation to homeless people. This would both save money and provide better accommodation.
  • CEC is due to receive and independent report on Sean Bell, a former senior CEC social worker who committed suicide after he was found to have perpetrated much abuse. CEC has apologised to survivors. The enquiry has found that CEC did not take appropriate action when it should have done so, and so it covers methods to prevent further such lapses.
    • From the public version of the report, I understand 2 specific senior officers were criticised. Both have left CEC, one quite some time ago. Hence it is difficult for CEC to take action against them. The enquiry has also found evidence of an ‘old boy’ network leading to action not being taken when complaints were received. There is also a police enquiry. I understand that some procedures were in place that could have prevented continuance of the abuse if actions had been swift. I do not know whether CEC is now liable for claims for compensation.
  • J Marlborough: CEC’s planning system no longer states officers responsible for each application, just ‘local team1’ or ‘local team 2’. Replies to recent emails from JM have been delayed.
    • Cllr Booth: this change affects the public and councillors too. I’m not convinced it’s a step forward. The change is so that other CEC officers will pick up work if an individual officer is unavailable.
  • J Marlborough: a resident has sent thanks for dealing with a bin at the Newhaven roundabout.

7 Chair, Secretary and Treasurer reports

7.a Chair

See full report in appendix 2.

7.b Vice-chair

  • LHNCC is in transition to MS365 so it can meet online via Teams and store documents on Sharepoint

7.c Secretary

J Marlborough: I attended Forth Reflections, a display at Ocean Terminal on Saturday of reactions to the shore made during lockdown. Some of the exhibits were enthralling. It is hoped that the display may go to other venues including the National Museum of Scotland.

7.d Treasurer

  • Current balance of our bank account is £734·17, taking into account all cheques written and our monthly charge for Zoom.
  • Some clarification on the costs of MS Office will reflect in next month’s figures.

8 Standing reports

8.a Planning

All points made by J Marlborough unless otherwise noted

8.a.i Ocean Terminal – Pan Application Online consultation

  • LHNCC has recently submitted this response. Receipt of the response has been acknowledged.

8.a.ii Maritime St. Application consultation

8.a.iii Hemmingway’s – LRB decision: refused

  • This is a complex situation. How long can it take for matters to be settled?
  • Cllr Booth: This decision is ‘refuse and enforce’. Hence Hemmingway’s could either remove what has been done entirely, or submit a new application for something that might be acceptable (or completely ignore this decision, in which case CEC enforcement might swiftly become involved).
    • E Dick: in Albert Dock, there was a decision to refuse, but enforcement has not happened.
    • C Booth: that decision was only ‘refuse’, while the Hemmingway’s decision is ‘refuse and enforce’. The Albert Dock decision stemmed from a belief that some safety measures should remain. Hence there is no decision to enforce here – yet. Also, procedures simply may not be enforced quickly.

8.a.iv Salamander St./Bath Rd. PPP Application notification

  • The closing date for LHNCC comments on this application is now 9 November. (Other citizens may have less time to respond as extension only applies to CCs.) LHNCC planning committee will compose a response.

8.a.v Crosslane: Residential Serviced Living. Ocean Point 2

  • J Marlborough has circulated information on this today. The proposed development would be between Ocean Point and Skyliner. LHNCC is concerned that it would be a high-rise set of flats, taking up green space.
    • E Dick: there are three large build-to-rent developments within 1km2 comprising well over 1000 flats with no nearby amenities. Skyliner has 350 flats, Crosslane would have over 300 flats. There are also the nearby Rennie’s Isle and Salamander St developments.
    • J Marlborough: North Junction Street Park had been cited as nearby greenspace but this is rarely used apart from being abused by drug-users and dog-walkers. Each development should have a large park within 800m. The majority of developments in the area do not meet this requirement. These include Leith Links, Victoria Park, Pilrig Park and the planned park at Western Harbour that is quoted regularly by developers.
    • D Tharby: is CEC aware of the volume of build-to-rent schemes across Edinburgh?
    • Cllr Booth: CEC has a policy of affordable housing, and CEC is usually keen to receive applications for affordable housing that do not require subsidies. Most people would define ‘affordable’ as ‘socially rented’ (i.e. rented from the council or a housing association), but in planning ‘affordable’ includes ‘mind-market rent’, ‘build to rent’ and more. I am keen to narrow the definition to just ‘socially rented’.
    • E Dick: we are not asking you to comment here on individual applications [because this would mean the cllr could not speak on them at CEC planning meetings). We are concerned that so many high-rise housing developments would be in a small area, without amenities or infrastructure.
    • Cllr Booth: there are two issues here: density and infrastructure. I agree that houses need nearby infrastructure (greenspace, schools, hospitals etc) to provide healthy lives. The current draft city plan has a specific reference to 20-minute neighbourhoods: community needs should be within 10 minutes’ walk each way. I welcome this. Concerning density, higher density can reduce needs to travel, and travel should be sustainable. Hence I am against low-density housing on the outskirts of cities, far from facilities and infrastructure, and necessitating more travel. There is a debate on the balance between these two.
    • J Marlborough: there was a very positive example in an application for Salamander St. that included Colony housing but this has been withdrawn and replaced with high rise block. ‘affordable’ housing in ELDP includes housing for elderly or disabled people, but there should be accommodation specifically for these groups because not all would be eligible depending on personal circumstances as eligibility is based on personal finance
    • Cllr Booth: the proposed cityplan was approved by CEC planning about 3 weeks ago. The ‘period of statutory representations’ invites comments – it starts on 7 November and runs for 6 weeks. See https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/local-development-plan-guidance-1/city-plan-2030?documentId=12552&categoryId=20305
    • D Tharby: the problem is that things are happening now, and future planning policies can’t prevent them.
    • Cllr Booth: I don’t disagree, but planning applications must be determined according to current planning policies.

8.a.vi Mill Lane Clinic, 5 Mill Lane

  • Neighbours have been asking about this. Apparently such changes do not go through normal procedures. Why is this?

8.a.vii Short-term lets

  • D Tharby: the closing date for the consultation on short-term lets is this week. I thank colleagues for their input, and suggest we all submit our own reactions to the consultation. I thank Simon Holledge of EACC for his co-ordination work.

8.a.viii Seafield Project update

  • N Tulloch (vial email): Representation at the sounding board – following CEC Sustainability Committee resolution that only ward councillors from Craigentinny/Meadowbank should attend future sounding boards, fears remain that the four community councils are team-working in a way that elected councillors are not.
  • Conduct of the sounding board – council officers raised the Seafield Group’s concerns with the Chair, who has offered to meet the group to address them. A date is yet to be fixed for this.
  • KAYA Consulting report on coastal erosion, defences etc – still not available either to Seafield Group or council officers.
  • City Plan 2030 – the provision of 800 houses at Seafield will probably be an underestimate but the framers of City Plan 2030 concluded that until coastal and climate change issues are known and resolved, a conservative approach should be followed.
  • Draft development framework – when we met with council officers on 1 October, it was agreed that they will begin to fill out details in the draft and there will be regular consultation with the Seafield Group on the content of the document. No date has been fixed for our next meeting..

8.b Licensing

No items

8.c Transport

8.c.i Community Councils Together on Trams (CCTT)

  • J Marlborough: the next CCTT/TT meeting is on Thursday. It will cover concerns about what is to happen to buses after the trams are running – this does not appear to have been considered, certainly not in the light of the housing schemes that are due to be developed here. Distances between stops do not at all support a 20-minute-neighbourhood in the Leith Links area. We would like a representative of Lothian Buses to attend a CCTT/TT meeting.

8.c.ii Edinburgh Bus User’s Group

  • J Marlborough: following on from the previous points, there are no buses from Commercial St to Salamander St.
  • D Tharby: this is contrary to the desire to reduce private car use.
  • D Tharby: it is currently hard to know who to contact, due to changes in CEC personnel. It is vital that CCs know who to contact.
  • Cllr Booth: I share this issue – I’m not always told of changes.

8.d Environment

8.d.i Water of Leith Conservation Trust: Coalie Park

  • E Dick: there was a fun-day at Coallie park, organized by WoLCT. 3 LHNCC members attended. There was a presentation of possible signage designs.
  • D Giles: according to WoLCT, the day was reasonably successful – about 300 people attended. People still want missed use to be developed across a range of things, some of which might attract ‘the wrong people’ (e.g. the skatepark) but young people need activities.
  • J Marlborough: there was concern about a seal trapped in the basin. It has reappeared a few times.
  • J Marlborough: one of the cygnets was found dead under Victoria Bridge. It may have flown into the bridge. It has now been taken to a vet for post-mortem to ascertain how it died. Other cygnets have been caught in wire mesh under the Victoria bridge.

8.d.ii Friends of Water of Leith Basins

  • D Giles: FOWLB is looking for new committee members.
    • Action: D Giles to forward relevant information

8.e Heritage

  • J Marlborough: A plaque to John Rennie was recently unveiled yesterday. Ben Macpherson MSP and Deirdre Brock MP attended
  • D Tharby: LHNCC could develop its work on this topic, perhaps working with Citadel Youth.

8.f Community

8.f.i North East Community Planning Partnership

  • D Tharby: this body is due to meet tomorrow. I will share minutes when they are approved, in the name of transparency.
  • D Tharby: I have been pushing for the leith Neighbourhood Network to meet.

9 Resident issues

9.a Concerns about Mill Lane proposal for sheltered housing

Covered in item 8.a.vi above

D Tharby gave indication of a proposed change of use for a residential property at 5 Mill Lane to become a hostel for women, max 8 persons. Some resistance from neighbours, and requires a licence from CEC to operate.

10 EACC

10.a EACC meeting 21/10/21

11 AOCB

  • J Marlborough:LHNCC’s Remembrance Sunday wreaths will be laced when arrangements have been clarified
  • D Tharby: 77th year of the Scottish Service for Seafarers, 1944 – 2021. Church service 11 .00 a.m., followed by a Reception in Church Hall then wreath laying at the Memorial near Malmaison at 1.30 p.m..

12 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 23 November 2021

13 Appendix 1: text of police report

Compiled by Leith Community Policing Team – 28/09/21

13.a Breakdown of calls in north Leith/Newhaven area (approx 263 in total: stats for period 27/09-23/10)

  • 12 calls relating to public nuisance
  • 1 covid-related call
  • 8 neighbour disputes
  • 28 calls of theft/housebreaking
  • 15 domestic-related calls
  • 7 calls of other violence
  • 3 incident with hate motivation
  • 22 loud noise/music-related calls
  • 21 concern-for/missing person calls
  • 6 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:

13.c.i Road Safety

  • Road safety is a priority for local CPT officers, with checks and enforcement regularly being carried out at vulnerable spots including near parks and schools.
  • On Sunday 17th October 2021, we carried out a static road-check in Leith targetting speeding motorists, use of hand held devices and general poor maintenance of vehicles.

13.c.ii Drug and Alcohol Misuse

  • We regularly carry out plain-clothes and uniformed patrols regarding allegations of drug and alcohol misuse combined with antisocial behaviour in our local parks. This proactive approach led to a reduction in antisocial behaviour and positive engagement with the youths involved.
  • We carried out plain-clothes patrols in the Cables Wynd area, stopping groups of youths and seizing a quantity of cannabis.

13.c.iii Antisocial Behaviour

  • We have conducted focussed patrols within community parks and open spaces after receiving complaints regarding antisocial behaviour.
  • We have carried out checks at local licensed premises (bars, pubs and off-licences) to ensure compliance with legislation in attempts to reduce alcohol-fuelled antisocial behaviour.

13.d Operation Urram

Later this year, the UK will host the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

COP26 will be held over two weeks from 31 October – 12 November 2021 at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow. World leaders, climate experts, business leaders and thousands of delegates will come together to discuss and agree actions on how to tackle climate change on a global scale.

Operation Urram is the designated name for Police involvement in terms of security & safety for the event, with officers from across Scotland brought into Glasgow to bolster local resources. This means that in Edinburgh and the other divisions outwith Glasgow, response teams will be backfilled with community and office-based Police officers.

13.e Some notable actions/events/incidents:

  • On 6th October 2021, an elderly vulnerable male was robbed within his home address at West Cromwell Street by a female who pushed her way in and stole his wallet. Following extensive Police enquiries including door-to-door, CCTV and forensic investigation, the perpetrator was identified, arrested and held in custody to appear at court on the next day, at which point she was released with bail conditions not to approach the locus or the victim. Fortunately the victim was not seriously injured and did not require further medical treatment.
  • Leith CPT officers have carried out hate-crime inputs at Primary Schools in our area as part of National Hate Crime awareness week. The inputs were a success with lots of interaction with the children and teachers. We have further inputs planned on a range of topics (including drug misuse, violent crime, online safety) to a variety of schools and youth groups in the near future.
  • Resources are in place for Bonfire Night (5th November 2021). Leith CPT and local agencies have arranged various services for local youths which include support from Citadel Youth Centre, The Ripple Project and Scran Academy.

13.f 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
  • Your local Community Beat Officer for NL26 Constable Chris Casselden
  • Plus 8 officers dedicated to community issues in Leith

13.f.i Contact Us:

14 Appendix 2: Chair’s report

Seems hardly any time since my last report.

On Sunday 3rd October it was good to see so many of our members at the Water of Leith Conservation Trust ‘Funday’ at Coalie Park. An opportunity to catch up with our local Water of Leith based charities and also those new on the water such as The Citadel Youth Centre. Willy Bar is very proud of his ‘container’ and I am sure that we all wish him and his team all future success in using our waterway sensibly and safely. On the same day I attended Starbank Park for a Multicultural Afternoon of music and food which was well attended.

I regret that due to some prevailing ‘car issues’ I was unable to attend the official ‘dedication’ of the information board for John Rennie. I know that several of you did attend, I went along that afternoon and was most impressed by this board. It has also got me thinking about any other ‘Local Heroes’ for want of a better way to think of them that we should also be celebrating.

Perhaps we have our own Doreen Lofthouse, although we do already get considerable support from a small number of local personalities.

I have been attending Trinity Community Council for some months now and attended via Zoom the meeting on 11th October. Some mutual interests in Ocean Terminal were established and I hope to have more on Traffic Management in future reports.

Due to ill health I was unable to attend the EACC meeting on 21st October. Missed yet more on Edinburgh 2030, I have commented upon this in earlier reports. Was this yet another ‘iteration’ on the previous? Warm and cuddly?

Stay well, Stay Safe and make time for Leith where you can. Have you seen your neighbour recently? Perhaps check up on them if you have not done so.

Douglas Tharby, Chair
September 2021

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