LHNCC February 2022 minutes

LHNCC’s minutes secretary apologises for the late publication of these minutes.

Minutes of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council ordinary meeting, held via MS Teams, on Tuesday 22 February 2022 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

Stewart Auld LHNCC Douglas Tharby LHNCC Cllr Adam McVey Leith ward
Elaine Dick LHNCC Neil Tulloch LHNCC Cllr Jim Campbell Forth ward
Don Giles LHNCC Bruce Ryan minutes secretary PC Chris Casselden Police Scotland
Jennifer Marlborough LHNCC Bill Rodger Trinity CC ~3 residents/visitors  
Jim Preacher LHNCC Cllr Chas Booth Leith ward    

1.b Apologies for absence

Arthur Young LHNCC Cllr Gordon Munro Leith ward Deidre Brock MP Edinburgh North & Leith

2 Declaration of interests

  • N Tulloch and J Preacher are a member of Britannia QuayProprietors association, and therefore may have interests in items 9b and 9c.

3 Minutes of November 2021 meeting

Approved subject to replacing ‘monitoring’ with ‘upgrading’ in item 8.d.iii (proposed S Auld, seconded J Marlborough, nem con)

4 Matters arising

All covered below

5 Police report

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

  • There were fewer calls in January than in December. Relaxation of covid regulations may be connected with the number of calls for this period this year being approximately double that of the same period last year
  • Police policy is to inform CEC of graffiti such as in item 13c (point 1).
    • A resident: CEC had not had a reference for this incident but do now.
    • PC Casselden: CEC appears to be quick to remove ‘hate’ graffiti, but not so quick to remove other graffiti.
  • Police are seeking information on the vandalisms mentioned in item 13c (point 4).
  • Police are undertaking proactive actions, as noted in item 13d.
    • Police are monitoring crossings at Victoria Primary School. Yellow lines etc are anticipated.
  • Concerning rough sleepers mentioned in the January meeting, in late 2020, some Romanian families were staying under the bridge after covid accommodation was closed. Police helped them get housed. For the most recent group, one was waiting for housing. Police had received a call that this group was intimidating. This group has now moved on.
  • Police are still seeking information about Alice Byrne.
  • LCCC thanked Sgt McArthur-Kerr (who has now moved on) and looked forward to meeting Sgt Rose.

6 Councillors’, MSPs’, MP’s reports

6.a Cllr Booth

  • CEC sets its annual budget on Thursday. It is likely to include extend the freeze on council rents for a further year.
  • I have received much correspondence about the rainbow bridge next to the Dreadnaught pub. I’ve visited the bridge. Its middle span is unsafe but the outside ones are OK. Interim options were discussed with engineers.
  • A report on the Seafield masterplan, recommending allocating budget, went to CEC’s policy and sustainability committee.
  • The Mill Lane planning application was approved. There were not strong planning reasons to call for a presentation. Permission is for a ‘class 8’ residential development[1], but this is necessarily homeless accommodation. It could be:
    • residential accommodation and care to people in need of care other than a use within class 9 (houses);
    • a hospital or nursing home; or
    • a residential school, college or training centre.

6.b Cllr McVey

  • The Seafield report was approved, so £50,000 is available now (with £80,000 contingency) for consultants.
  • Tram works are ongoing, but some areas have been re-opened.
    • There is dialogue about east-west pedestrian connections on Constitution St. There is now an additional crossing.
  • CEC will benefit from ~9·8m underspend by Scottish Government in 2020-21. (The total across Scotland was £120m.)
    • This will help with core service improvements, and cost of living crises.

6.c Cllr Campbell

No report

7 Chair, Secretary and Treasurer reports

7.a Chair (D Tharby)

See also text of report in Appendix 2.

  • 1657 people voted in LeithChooses. 13 of 20 projects will receive full funding; 1 will be offered partial funding.
  • I attended the EACC AGM
  • I have been discussing with Trinity CC creation of a group considering traffic movement across north Edinburgh. This group will meet for the first time on 4 March. It is anticipated that traffic will be affected by the creation of Edinburgh’s low emission zone. I hope that another LHNCC member will join me on this group.
  • Electric charging points are being constructed at Sherriff Brae.

7.b Treasurer (D Tharby)

  • Balance £528·93. LHNCC will soon stop paying for Zoom, now Teams is working.

7.c Secretary (J Marlborough)

No items

8 Standing reports

8.a Planning

All points by J Marlborough, unless otherwise noted

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

  • Public consultation closes 4th March

8.a.ii Seafield Project update (N Tulloch)

  • £130,000 from CEC in addition to £20,000 from Scottish Government should enable masterplanning to start soon.
  • An application for the Peter Vardy site has been submitted. The Seafield group will meet soon to discuss its response.

8.a.iii Other planning matters

  • There are concerns about large, high-density developments in Leith. CEC officials appeared to be sympathetic to these concerns. Concerns include lack of public transport, and people being afraid to go out at night.
  • There are also concerns that when appeals are completed, no information is added to the CEC planning portal.
    • Cllr Booth: planning applications are considered by CEC’s development management subcommittee if they have received a certain number of objections, or are ‘major’ developments. Other applications are handled by CEC officers under ‘delegated authority’.
    • If applications are refused, applicants have a right of appeal. Appeals go to the local review body (5 councillors who have been trained in planning)
    • Notices should be posted on the planning portal – please let me know of specific cases.
    • Concerning Hemmingway’s, enforcement officers expect to start action imminently. I will ask for an update.
  • The Skyliner site has been sold again.
  • An application for Baltic St/Constitution St site is anticipated soon. This site has a new owner.

8.b Licensing

No items

8.c Transport

8.c.i Community Councils Together on Trams (J Marlborough)

  • Information on the crossings along the route is now available, but crossings will need to move as work progresses, so updated signs/information are needed. Flags marking crossings have been removed due to safety issues.
  • There have been many issues at the junction of Melrose Drive and Ocean Drive, leading to frequent changes to TROs.
  • LHNCC has complained to CEC, which has taken over ‘cleanliness’ of ground beside Portland Gardens. See item 9.a.
    • A resident: the trams team has enclosed 3 litter bins.
  • CCTT/trams-team meetings have been productive, although CCTT is very concerned about plans for Elm Row.
  • Final designs for Discovery Gardens are now available. Trams team and Ocean Terminal blame each other for delays.

8.c.ii Edinburgh Bus User’s Group (J Marlborough)

  • EBUG is online at https://edinburghbususers.group. New members are welcome.
  • New TROs covering the Meadows to George St have now been issued. They seem to remove many bus stops (e.g. on the Mound), and introduce many double cycle-lanes. The impression is that it will become nearly impossible for people with infirmities or disabilities to travel from the suburbs to the city centre, because bus-stops will be very far apart.
    • Cllr Campbell: the trams business case assumed a reduction in bus services on Leith Walk, and that 87% of tram patronage would come from former bus patronage. There would be ~19,000 tram journeys per day. CEC may struggle to fund both current bus services and tram services.
    • B Rodger: if there is less traffic, why remove bus-stops?
    • Cllr Campbell: to reduce journey-times, to increase bus-use. Bus-stops are closer in Edinburgh than in other cities.
    • J Marlborough: EBUG has asked for a moratorium in changes until the trams are running. Changes appear to be far too frequent.

8.d Environment

8.d.i Water of Leith Conservation Trust: Coalie Park (D Giles)

8.d.ii Friends of Water of Leith Basin (D Giles)

  • The AGM is due soon.
  • FOWLB is liaising with SOSLeith about sewage, and trying to work with Scottish Water.
    • This problem does not appear to be a high priority for Scottish Water.
    • Unsightly screens are hopefully now working, and may reduce discharge via combined sewer outlets.
    • It would help to review sewer capacity, given the number of new developments.
  • Flooding
    • Cllr Booth: planning applications in flood-risk areas always include consultations with CEC flood-prevention team. There may also be consultations with SEPA; SEPA is likely to object if there are high risks of flooding. It is presumed that new developments will have sustainable drainage systems, i.e. deal with drainage on-site. City Plan 2030 was delayed in part due to waiting for input from SEPA, which had been cyber-attacked.
    • Cllr Campbell: ~3000 gullies await clearance. They can be reported online. Blocked gullies may exacerbate flooding.
    • Cllr Booth: the main reason for flooding is increased extreme weather events. When I report blocked gullies, these are dealt with quickly.
    • E Dick: another contributing factor is the increase in hard surfaces, leading to increased run-off.
  • The conservation trust is organising a clean-up at Victoria bridge.
  • There is a plan to tackle buddleia problems.

8.d.iii Sewage Related Debris and the Water of Leith – response from Scottish Water (6/22/21)

A resident reporting for SOSLeith:

  • SOSLeith has taken legal advice from the environmental rights centre. It will undertake some monitoring, assisted by groups from Edinburgh Napier and Edinburgh universities.
  • SEPA has been unable to provide some data due to the cyber-attack.
  • The Scottish Government reply to SOSLeith’s petition included notice of Scottish Water’s very recent Improving urban waters route map. This states that only the worst problems will be tackled. Hence SOSLeith’s task is to ensure local issues are prioritised and hence tackled.
  • SOSLeith is not impressed by the performance of the new boom at King’s Wharf; wind-blown debris has evaded it

8.e Heritage

8.e.i Leith Culture & Heritage Group

  • J Marlborough: this group will meet in early March.

8.f Community

8.f.i North East Community Planning Partnership

  • D Tharby: there have been changes to CEC staff, including a new head of community development, starting 28 February.

8.f.ii Leith Chooses

See chair’s report (item 7a and appendix 2)

8.f.iii Leith Community Centre

8.f.iv Heart of Newhaven

  • J Marlborough: this project is now investigating possible architects, design, etc. Police are monitoring the building while it is empty. The project now has access to the building.

9 Resident issues

9.a Refuse bins in Lindsay Rd/CPZ area

  • J Marlborough: moving these bins to the nearby rad junction means that collection lorries are holding up traffic. These bins were moved when they were full, and have not been emptied since. The movers stated it was not their job to empty them I thanks Cllrs McVey and Munro for their responses about this.
    • Cllr McVey: The only response I’ve had from officers to date is that the bins will be serviced.
  • There are issues with bins in the CPZ area. It appears CEC departments are not collaborating.

9.b Portland Gardens/Melrose Drive derelict building

  • J Marlborough: This building is now dangerous. The owners have not responded. The trams team is unwilling to remove this building using Tram Act CEC has stated that compulsory purchase is too expensive.
    • A resident: the building is infested with pigeons. Slates and planks are coming off, causing danger. Movement of the path will increase this danger.
    • Cllr Booth: all three Leith coincillors have written to the owners. CEC’s powers are limited. I will ask council officers if a ‘blight order’ can be implemented.

9.c Melrose Drive

  • N Tulloch: traffic from Newhaven is being redirected along Melrose Drive. Poor signage is causing drivers to need to U-turn. There is a lack of crossings on Melrose Drive.


10.a Extraordinary General Meeting 17/2/21


No items

12 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 22 March 2022

13 Appendix 1: text of police report

13.a Breakdown of calls in north Leith/Newhaven area for February 2022 ~226 in total)* (stats for period 23/01-20/02/22)

  • 15 calls relating to public nuisance
  • 1 covid-related call
  • 11 neighbour disputes
  • 9 calls of theft/housebreaking
  • 6 domestic-related calls
  • 14 calls of other violence
  • no incidents with hate motivation
  • 17 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:

Current Government advice to stay safe in relation to COVID-19 includes to:

  • get the vaccine or vaccine booster
  • take regular lateral flow tests – especially before mixing with other people or visiting a hospital or care home
  • follow the guidance on self-isolating/booking a test
  • wear a face covering where required
  • limit your social contact – gather in groups of no more than 3 households
  • wash your hands regularly and cover your nose and mouth if coughing or sneezing
  • open windows when meeting indoors
  • work from home, if you can
  • use the apps: COVID status, Protect Scotland and Check-in Scotland

13.c Some notable actions/events/incidents:

  • On 27th January 2022, the Sandy Robertson statue on Water Of Leith was vandalised using spraypaint, with the perpetrator having reportedly stated that he was “trying to make him look happier”. On 3rd February at Leith Walk, the perpetrator was recognised by Police from photographic evidence – he was stopped, found in possession of a can of spraypaint and charged with the relevant offence. City of Edinburgh Council were requested to remove the spraypaint.
  • On 12th February 2022, Police attended a report of a male having fallen from a second-floor window at Nichollfield. The male was escorted to hospital and treated for his injuries. No other persons are being sought in connection to the incident and no criminality has been established.
  • On 13th February 2022 at Dreadnought public house, North Fort Street, two persons caused a disturbance after they were refused service, with staff and members of public assaulted to their injury. Following the intervention of other patrons and a swift Police response, the two people responsible were traced at the locus, arrested, charged with numerous public order and violent offences and held in custody for court.
  • Enquiries are ongoing into a spate of vandalisms across the Leith area, where Sky/Virgin broadband cables of private properties have been deliberately cut. These generally occur overnight between the hours of 2300 and 0100. If any local residents have any information which could assist with the enquiry, please could they contact the Leith Community Policing Team so that the information may be passed to the specialist proactive team dealing with the incidents.
  • Leith Community Police Officers have been deployed at several SPL football matches including Hearts-Celtic, Hearts- Motherwell and Hibs-Hearts, and the Scotland-England rugby match at Murrayfield as part of the 6 Nations tournament.

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

  • On 27th January 2022, we attended with the Preventions, Interventions and Partnerships department at Platinum Point at the request of the residents committee. We met with local residents and conducted a crime prevention visit, assessing the building & garage security & safety and advising accordingly.
  • On 28th January 2022, we visited the new site of Leith Victoria primary school, met with headteacher Laura Thomson and were given a tour of the new building. The repositioning of the Council-appointed crossing guard seems to have reduced safety concerns at drop-off & collection times; however, we shall monitor the situation and patrol if and when required.
  • In response to recent intelligence, drug warrants have been executed at business premises at London Road and Leith Walk, and at private addresses at Cables Wynd House & Linksview House, in joint operations between Leith community Policing Team, the Local Alcohol & Violence Reduction Unit and Proactive CID. As a result, significant amounts of crack cocaine, cannabis, etizolam, valium, steroids and cash were seized, and 7 people were arrested on suspected drug-supply offences.
  • Over the past month, we have engaged in high-visibility road traffic initiatives in conjunction with the DVLA to combat driving offences, speeding and antisocial behaviour, at various locations across Leith including Pilrig Street, Commercial Street, Bonnington Road and Great Junction Street. Officers utilised a handheld speed gun at Bonnington Road near the Gaelic school and Bellevue Road in response to repeated reports of vehicles speeding. As a result of these Police actions, 4 vehicles were seized for driving without a licence and/or insurance and a number of drivers were charged with a variety of offences including careless & inconsiderate driving, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone/handheld device whilst driving.

13.e About Us

  • Local Area Commander: Chief Inspector Kieran Dougal
  • 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.e.i Contact Us:


14 Appendix 2: chair’s report

There is not so much to report this month but I do have a request that I would like you to consider, more on this later.

Our £eith Chooses Online VOTING ended at midnight on 31st January at total of 1,657 voter were eligible, the rules for which you are already familiar we hope, and 13 of the 20 applications received all of the funding that was requested and a 14th partial funding which we hope they will accept. Those who can remember the result from last year will remember that this is down on last year, however as there was no ‘school’ application this probably is why this came about. £56,102 was handed out.

I attended Trinity Community Councils meeting on 14th February, after our household ‘valentine dinner’ of course. Like ourselves, they are back into having a hybrid meeting on similar basis to our own.

On Thursday 17th February there was another EGM for the Edinburgh Association for Community Councils. This time the Constitution got over the line. We were ‘entertained’ to a presentation by some representatives from factions of the Edinburgh Festival focussing on the way forward to 2030, Sustainable Festival City. Sorry, not a lot in what is proposed for us here in Leith other than disrupted traffic across the City and the usual increase in litter on the streets although this will now be circularly managed. Some ‘warm and cuddly’ words of commitment to vision and collaboration, the usual stuff, and to inspire everyone. I feel that we should put more effort into promoting our venues although this year is perhaps not the best time to do so as restrictions are eased or lifted. I have noted some interesting developments at Leith Theatre which is encouraging.

My meetings with Trinity and in discussion over a few months between the various Community Councils in the North West Locality we have spent time considering traffic movements across North Edinburgh. There is a plan to set up a working group which will hopefully involve LHNCC, Leith Links as well as Craigentinny and Meadowbank and Portobello in the East Locality to consider the impact of this with the support of CEC. If this is of interest to members, we have agreed two from each CC, then please let me know. The first meeting will be on Friday 4th March late p.m. which I will attend but would like another to join me. With the advent of Low Emission Zones in the City this will inevitably route traffic down our way and collective action and response seems to be the only way forward.

Finally, our Electric Vehicle Charging ‘station’ is finally under construction at Sherriff Brae. Hopefully this will be the standard that is to be adopted across the city. More ‘bins’ are now in the area although this is causing some concern to residents.

Stay well, Stay Safe and make time for Leith where you can.

Douglas Tharby, Chair, February 2022

[1] Under the Town & Country Planning (Use Classes) (Scotland) Order 1997

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