J Marlborogh highlighted the missing person report about Alice Byrne.
D Tharby had observed people sleeping rough under Junction Bridge. He had found it hard to get relevant bodies involved.
Action: Cllr Booth to take this up
6 Councillor/MSP/MP reports
6.a Cllr Booth
At the end of 2021, CEC unanimously agreed Cllr’s Rust’s motion to ensure that CCs receive suitable, timely notification about key information and consultations, recognizing that CC members are volunteers.
Action: Cllr Booth to forward details to LHNCC and Trinity CC
A planning application for 111-115 Constitution St (in Leith Links CC’s area) is due to come to CEC planning.
6.b Cllr McVey
He will visit the new Victoria primary school tomorrow. Safe routes to it are not yet in place, so he will chase this.
He welcomed the start of work by Forth Ports on Victoria Bridge.
The Rabbie Burns statue is now back in place.
Tram work is on schedule.
6.c Cllr Campbell
He confirmed that CCs are asked to respond to many CEC consultations, as are parent councils.
7 Chair, Secretary and Treasurer reports
7.a Chair (D Tharby)
See also text of report in Appendix 2.
The chair encouraged voting in LeithChooses, and thanked Utilita for support of voting by digitally excluded people.
He attended Trinity CC’s December and January meetings, including presentations on ‘Opening up the waterfront’, and on ‘Edinburgh’s Mental Health and Wellbeing’ by a member of the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership.
Victoria Bridge now sports some historical information boards. Repairs to the bridge have just started.
Victoria primary school is now open.
Tram works appear to be progressing well.
7.b Treasurer (D Tharby)
Balance £628·70 (2021_12_30)
7.c Secretary (J Marlborough)
See also links in Appendix 3
She had been informed that works on Victoria Bridge would start on 17 January; that work would occur in 3 phases
Phase 1: north and south walkways (which will be kept open at all times)
Phase 2: central deck, painting (summer 2022)
Phase 3: turning circles (early 2023).
8 Standing reports
All points by J Marlborough, unless otherwise noted
8.a.i Crosslane: Residential Serviced Living. Ocean Point 2
The PAN application has been submitted. See account of presentation in November minutes
8.a.ii 130 Constitution Street – extend and alter hotel
This contentious application would alter and extend a hotel that is currently used for homeless people. LHNCC will make a submission.
8.a.iii City Plan 2030
LHNCC’s representation was submitted 14/12/21
8.a.iv Ocean Terminal
LHNCC’s pre-application consultation response was submitted 23/12/21
8.a.v Other items
Planning applications for Rennie’s Isle are anticipated.
D Tharby: work on the distillery has started
8.a.vi Seafield Project update (N Tulloch)
Since last meeting, there have been two sounding board meetings. The Seafield group has met with CEC officers and a representative of a landowner.
Work is proceeding towards a place brief and master plan.
CEC officers will soon report to CEC policy and sustainability ctte, in the hope of obtaining approval to work in partnership with the four CCs, and approval of the draft brief for the masterplan. CEC’s director have place has stated that development of Seafield is a priority
Funding is still an issue, but CEC officers and the Seafield group are investigating possible sources (including Crown Estates).
CEC officers are preparing a list of key issues on which to find community views.
A meeting with the above-mentioned landowner was disappointing: it plans to apply for planning permission in principle for one of its sites soon, rather than waiting for the masterplan. The Seafield group has stated it is not happy about this.
8.a.vii Planning process issues
J Marlborough: planning applications are now handled by ‘group 1 officers’ and ‘group 2 officers’, rather than named case officers. Emails are also going into spam boxes, especially if there are attachments. Surely it is now possible to have online conversations with officers, even if they are working at home.
Cllr McVey: CEC spam filters may be overzealous. I will follow this up. I will also follow up with planning about capacity
A Young (via J Marlborough): there are no contentious applications in LHNCC’s area. Applications are:
Premises: Leith Theatre Trust: Guido’s (16 Great Junction St)
Santosa (21 Albert St)
A skin piercing/tattoo licence
8.c.i Controlled parking zone (J Marlborough)
LHNCC’s response to the consultation (covering North Leith & Leith N8) was submitted 13/12/21
This was hard work due to out-of-date maps used in the consultation.
There was no confirmation of receipt because the consultation was a TRO process.
E Dick: many Leith residents could not respond to the consultation because of the poor maps. What are the next steps?
J Marlborough: this issue was highlighted in LHNCC’s submission. Other than that, I do not know.
8.c.ii Community Councils Together on Trams ( J Marlborough)
Landscape designs have finally been received, and discussed at an extra meeting with the trams team.
Hard copies were received by CCTT at the end of December, but are not yet on the trams team website.
There is confusion about the hard landscaping that is in progress at Ocean Terminal: plans have changed quite extensively; there is confusion about which set of plans will be implemented at Discovery Gardens
Note: hard landscaping is engineered structures (pavements and similar); soft landscaping involves soil.
E Dick: I thought the plans I’d received for the gardens were final. What is different in the new plans. I’ve not received replies from CEC tree officers.
E Dick: the trams team have held good, regular meetings with Stevedore Place residents, but I fear there will be less tree-planting and more concrete at Ocean Terminal than originally envisaged. I will engage via the SP meetings.
Cllr McVey: 2-for-1 tree-replacement will occur all along the tram route, as close to original locations as possible.
Cllr McVey: it may help if the trams team presents to an LHNCC meeting. (D Tharby concurred.)
D Tharby: the trees that are being planted will grow to 5m.
D Tharby: there is a problem with pedestrian barriers along the route: he was forced to walk on the road in some places. Tree-planters are being put in place just now.
8.c.iii Edinburgh Bus User’s Group (J Marlborough)
EBUG is working on its manifesto for the May council elections.
It is working on bus-stops, in anticipation of contacting relevant authorities.
EBUG sympathises with drivers over the frequent changes to route. Lothian Buses is currently operating a Saturday service.
EBUG is concerned about what will happen when the trams are running. No answers are yet available.
8.d.i Water of Leith Conservation Trust: Coalie Park (E Dick)
Plans are going forward. WoLCT stated that the next step is to apply for planning permission for works.
Action: E Dick to circulate plans with next set of meeting papers.
8.d.ii Friends of Water of Leith Basin
8.d.iii Sewage Related Debris and the Water of Leith – response from Scottish Water (6/22/21)
A resident, representing SOS Leith:
Combined sewer outlets (COSs) are for exceptional weather events.
At the end of 2021, LHNCC supported a letter from SOS Leith to Scottish Water about CSOs and unmonitored discharge into the lower basins.
Since then, thanks to Ben Macpherson, SOS Leith has met with Scottish Water (SW). SW states that we will need to live with CSOs for some time yet. SW would start qualitative and quantitative monitoring of CSOs but has not committed to a timescale for starting this.
Hence SOS Leith fears that discharge of sewage and debris into the lower basins via CSOs is becoming normalised.
SW is currently upgrading 7 sites on the Water of Leith (WoL), but these are upriver of the basins, and are a very small proportion of the actual and potential pollution input into the WoL.
Hence SOS Leith is pushing for prioritisation of monitoring and remediation in the basins. These are already choked with silt, and there is little river-flow. Hence sewage-related debris (SRD) is more likely to remain in this area of the WoL, which is more populated than other stretches – and due to be even more populated from the new developments being built here, and the high density of hospitality on The Shore.
SOS Leith has found that Scotland is doing worse than England in this context, yet English water companies are privatised while SQ is government-owned.
SOS Leith now has funds to install a barrier-boom to deflect litter and debris at the swan nesting-site at King’s Wharf. WoL Conservation Trust will install this on 2 February.
Cllr Booth: A motion in recent months had made CEC take a robust attitude to SW Hence there has been robuse communication between CEC and SW, obtaining some positive responses. However, investment in CSOs is needed to prevent routine use of CSOs, and hence sewage in water courses. I and other representatives will continue this pressure.
B Rodger: is CEC pressuring for monitoring equipment? What is CEC’s position?
SOS Leith rep: our first requirement is qualitative and quantitative data on CSO ‘outputs’.
Cllr McVey: CEC is in constant dialogue with SW. Some sewage sources are difficult to monitor, but it needs to be done. Capacity is needed for severe rainfalls, which are becoming increasingly frequent, e.g. last July.
S Auld: there is not much precipitation just now. What is being deposited?
SOS Leith rep: excreta, including SRD (sanitary items, toilet paper, etc), some inappropriate materials
Cllr Campbell: it is important to report incidents to SEPA. It is likely that currently there is under-reporting.
A resident: problems are exacerbated by more building near rivers, leading to more CSO use. That is, extreme weather is something of red herring.
E Dick: lack of tidal flush in the WoL basins is adding to effects there.
D Tharby: these are our flood defences.
8.e.i Leith Culture & Heritage Group
J Marlborough: the Custom House is becoming a museum about slavery, to the surprise of some local groups, but CH belongs to the people of Leith, and so they should decide what happens there; they may well not wish for it to be dedicated to one specific area. It has been suggested that CH should be a maritime museum, which would also include slavery.
Action: J Marlborough to circulate detail of other items covered by the recent LC&HG meeting.
8.f.i Leith Neighbourhood network (D Tharby)
DT is trying to revive LNN – it last met in April 2021. There have also been CEC staff changes, including dedicating staff to support NNs.
NNs are to bring communities together, to facilitate discussion of shared issues, work with the Edinburgh partnership to develop solutions at neighbourhood level, develop new methods of engagement and resident participation where existing routes are not working optimally. NNs would have a role in disbursal of devolved budgets
Results will be announced at an online meeting (Tuesday 15th, 6:30pm)
New members of the Steering group are welcome.
The steering group is very grateful to Donna hall of Utilita for facilitating voting by digitally deprived people.
9 Resident issues
9.a North Fort St – Lindsay Road bridge
A resident: what is happening to this bridge? CEC has scheduled it for demolition but not yet stated a date. The Dreadnaught pub owners are campaigning for the bridge to be retained.
J Marlborough: There has been discussion over the past few years. The bridge is part of a cycle route, and seems to be well used.
Cllr McVey: CEC officers scheduled demolition some years ago, but have maintained a watching brief since then. Very recently, an engineering assessment stated that the bridge should now no longer be used. Cllrs Booth, Munro and I are meeting officers onsite soon. The pub have animated the space very well, and painted it. People are keen on making the area useable again, but the bridge is ‘beyond economic repair’ (i.e. demolition and replacement would be cheaper than maintenance of the existing bridge). I will give a fuller update at the next LHNCC meeting.
E Dick: the pub has not engaged with LHNCC on this. However, the cycle route goes underneath the bridge.
B Roger: surely the bridge can support pedestrians. We should encourage 20-minute neighbourhoods and walking.
Cllr Booth: the rail track here belongs to network Rail, not CEC. The bridge has been closed on clear safety grounds. This link should be retained if at all possible – infilling may be possible if it enables safety. I will discuss this with officers.
9.b Leith Library
A resident: are there immediate plans for the library to reopen? If not, has there been any exploration of alternative sites for covid testing centres?
D Tharby: Evelyn Kilmurry, new head of Edinburgh Libraries, may be able to inform on this topic.
Cllr McVey: the library is in use as a symptomatic testing centre (STC), so there is high virus prevalence. Hence closed spaces such as Ocean Terminal cannot be used for this purpose, and STCs must be on-street. CEC is in dialogue with government about this. 4 libraries are being used as STCs, and CEC is struggling to find alternative venues. CEC is also investigating alternative provision of library resources while libraries are being used as STCs.
10.a Extraordinary General Meeting 20/1/21
J Marlborough: this meeting covered amendments to EACC’s constitution, but these have not yet been finally approved.
D Tharby: there will be a further meeting on 17 February
11.a Trinity CC area (B Rodger)
Progress is happening on Trinity academy. Its head now attends Trinity CC meetings.
Victoria Primary School is also attended by Trinity residents.
Trinity Community Council will meet with Daisy Naryanan on 27 January about the east-west travel connection, and congestion on Ferry Rd and Lower Granton Rd. An LHNCC member will also attend.
11.b Victoria Primary School
Cllr Campbell: There are issues getting pupils across roads the new school building.
D Tharby: police are working on this. See police report (item 13.d, point 3, below)
Cllr Booth: the crossing warden was on duty this morning
12 Date of next meeting
Tuesday 22 February 2022
13 Appendix 1: text of police report
13.a Breakdown of calls in north Leith/Newhaven area for December 2021 (approx 377 in total); statistics for period 19/11/2021 to 27/12/2021:
22 calls relating to public nuisance
1 covid-related call
19 neighbour disputes
32 calls of theft/housebreaking
7 domestic-related calls
17 calls of other violence
2 incidents with hate motivation
19 loud noise/music-related calls
42 concern-for/missing person calls
10 drug-related calls
13.b Breakdown of calls in north Leith/Newhaven area for January 2022 (approx 181 in total); statistics for period 28/12/2021 to 22/01/2022
7 calls relating to public nuisance
2 covid-related call
10 neighbour disputes
15 calls of theft/housebreaking
16 domestic-related calls
8 calls of other violence
1 incident with hate motivation
10 loud noise/music-related calls
20 concern-for/missing person calls
0 drug-related calls
13.c 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.d Some notable actions/events/incidents:
On 30th November, we attended at Prince Of Wales Dock to visit the Leith Sea Cadets and discuss matters relevant to young people, including their views on the Police and policing values, drugs, alcohol and personal & online safety. The talks were well-received and seemed to be enjoyed by both the cadets and our officers!
During December and early January, we were attached to the policing of Edinburgh winter markets at Princes Street and George Street, providing a visible presence for the safety and assistance of members of public.
Officers from across Edinburgh have been assisting with enquiries into the whereabouts of Alathea Byrne, who was reported missing from the Portobello area on 1st January. Please see the penultimate slide for the Police Scotland information appeal.
Victoria Primary school has now relocated to its new home at Western Harbour Drive. We have liaised with the school and conducted uniformed patrols at pupil drop-off & collection times, with the Council-appointed School Crossing Patrol Guide due to start on Tuesday 25th January. We have also spoken with the Heart Of Newhaven community project regarding their exciting and varied plans for the old school building at Newhaven Main Street and are hopeful of having a part to play in its use in the future.
With football and rugby matches now being attended by large crowds, we are to be once again deployed at the high-profile SFA matches and the 6 Nations rugby matches in the near future.
13.e Some of the local issues we have been tackling:
We conducted dedicated uniformed patrols of Ocean Terminal following an incident where a group of youths began fighting outside Subway on 10/12/21. We engaged with local businesses, security staff and those using the centre and there was no repeat incident reported.
Acting upon intelligence obtained by local community officers, drugs warrants were executed at private addresses on North Junction Street & Western Harbour View in November & December, with £1000 worth of heroin, bags of blue tablets, 127g of crack cocaine seized and four persons arrested on drug-supply charges.
We have conducted uniformed & plain-clothes patrols of main stairs at Ferry Road, North Junction Street and Admiralty Street and public parks in the Leith area, following calls to Police about drug misuse and antisocial behaviour.
In the next few weeks, we shall be conducting road traffic operations and uniformed patrols to combat driving offences and antisocial behaviour at local hotspots in Leith.
13.f 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
Quiet a time since our last meeting and perhaps over recess period there is not so much to report.
Most urgently, our £eith Chooses Online VOTING is this week until the 31st January. There are 20 applications to consider and notes on each area available. If you have NOT already done so, please visit the Leithchooses.net website, click on Participatory Budgeting and follow through to the Voting link. Please pass the onwards to any local group and your neighbours. Voting is limited to those LIVING, WORKING, VOLUNTEERING or STUDYING in Leith, covering the THREE CC areas.
We are very grateful to Donna Hall, Retail Team Leader at Utilita in the Kirkgate for extending support with a dedicated access point and staff available for those who are ‘digitally excluded’ or want help with this voting. Members of the Steering Group will also be in attendance for main opening hours of the branch.
I have also attended Trinity Community Councils meetings on 13th December when there was a presentation given by Michelle Macleod from Ocean Terminal on ‘Opening up the waterfront’ and on 10th January where a report on ‘Edinburgh’s Mental Health and Wellbeing’ was given by Dr Linda Irvine-Fitzpatrick of the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership. This is not an organisation that I suspect many of you have heard from, she has already reported some time ago to the Locality Community Planning Partnership, but I have received her commitment to make contact with Community Councils when ‘consultations with the community’ are involved which hitherto have been limited to the voluntary sector interests and medical practitioners. I made the point that this has to be about the ‘whole community’ and not just those on the radar as it were.
Last Thursday 20th was a busy day with our North East Locality meeting. Due to the Convenor being indisposed I was in the Chair to receive reports on a number of Housing Developments (Council Owned) where the community was consulted as to improvements that could be made. We have had similar with our own Cables Wynd House some years ago. Minutes and these presentations will be available in the Spring.
On Thursday evening there was an EGM for the Edinburgh Association for Community Councils. I have to add my disappointment in that the Draft Constitution did not get over the line, a further meeting on 17th February will hopefully resolve this.
Our Victoria Bridge now sports some historical information boards and some detail on the works being carried out by Forth Ports. This is a great improvement, will give greater access to pedestrian and cyclist users, and works have begun, and a real asset of this community which I hope will bring a new lease of life to this part of Leith.
Victoria Primary School is now open and the groundworks are advancing well. Great to see this, more news from Jennifer on the Heart of Newhaven will confirm the plans for this. I am hoping that this will be open to the community shortly.
Tram workings are still progressing well, indeed some works such as on Constitution Street are almost complete. It may indeed be worth all the frustration that we have experienced.
Stay well, Stay Safe and make time for Leith where you can.
Douglas Tharby, Chair, January 2022
15 Appendix 3: secretary’s report (links for further information and related areas of interest on agenda)