February 2018


MINUTES and PAPERS of public meeting on 20 February 2018 at Merchiston Tennis and Bowling Club

  • CC: Community Council
  • CEC: City of Edinburgh Council
  • EACC: Edinburgh Association of Community Councils
  • FCI: Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative
  • FOMBL: Friends of the Meadows & Bruntsfield Links
  • LB: CEC Licensing Board
  • LF: CEC Licensing Forum
  • MCC: Merchiston Community Council
  • SCNP: South Central Neighbourhood Partnership
  • SWNP: South West Neighbourhood Partnership

1. Chairman’s welcome, report and introduction

2. Apologies for absence

  • Ian Clement
  • Frances Hawarden
  • Gavin Corbett Cllr
  • David Key Cllr


  • Tom Graveson, Chair
  • Jim Geekie, Secretary
  • Guillaume Evrard, Minute Secretary
  • Daniel Cairns
  • Mairianna Clyde
  • Ian Doig
  • Hugh Halcrow
  • Joan Houston
  • Vivien Kitteringham
  • Ewan Klein
  • Bridget Stevens
  • Ted Tate
  • Helen Zealley

Neil Ross, Cllr

  • Rebecca Dawson, Police Scotland, CEC-funded officer
  • Johnny Wong, Police Scotland

3. Remembering Robin Morris

4. Police reports

4.1 Fountainbridge / Craiglockhart

[Waiting on written report.]

4.2 Meadows / Morningside

Nobody to report.

5. Minutes of the last meeting on 16 January 2018 and matters arising not on the agenda

6. Website, emails etc.

Payment for the domain name should be made by MCC who should own the domain name, rather than anyone else.

Web hosting paid by Kin, who gets paid by MCC. Web hosting should be paid directly without involving Kin.

MCC agrees for payments to be made directly to support these two topics.

Proposal for complete disengagement from Kin, to take back complete management

MCC agrees

Security and continuity issues, documentation issues

7. Communication

Agreement on the objectives of the website, to increase the reach, although there is a question of baseline

Some neighbourhood social network send a newsletter update every day, and it’s very easy because it doesn’t need to be read on the website.

Email newsletter could be a useful tool.

Where do we want to be on the spectrum of what the various community councils do?

Branded swag would be useful for public events (tshirts, banners)

For action: all members to produce a short bio and a photograph for the MCC website.

8. Canal towpath etc. – update

No update. Some signage would be a start.

9. Poppy seeds

Sow them by the time of the March MCC meeting

10. Pollution

11. Regular reports

Areas of Responsibility

Localities – South West & South East

Very slow set up in South East

Very unclear in the relationship between localities and community councils; between localities and neighbourhood partnership


Ettrick Road flats

FCI discussing with Vastint on the development programme for the plot next along the Union Canal from the plot owned by CEC.




The Treasurer’s report was accepted in her absence.

Councillors – in advance and/or present

Gavin Corbett, in advance

Community Councillors – in advance and/or present

12. Points raised by residents and members of the public

Not applicable

13. AOCB

EACC, 22 February 2018, 19h00

14. Date of next meeting – Tuesday 20 March 2018.


ID, MCC Communications Team, 2 February 2018 meeting

Team Members

  • ID
  • GE
  • VK
  • EK


The team’s first meeting discussed its objectives and tasks. We suggest objectives include:

  • Overall Objective – Improve the MCC website, its reach and effectiveness. Are we content with the look and feel of the current website?
  • Make website more informative, and thereby attract more ‘hits’. Do we know if current website is reaching MCC residents? Baseline starting point needed
  • Increase relevant information of interest to our various communities
  • Gather information and ideas from residents and local organisations
  • Update information promptly, to prevent out-of-date appearance
  • Promote website as a source of information on local issues. Is objective that website is a COLLECTOR of information from residents or a SOURCE of information for residents?
  • Spread the word about what MCC is doing and MCC’s views, get information out to residents, and get information read

Action plan and next steps

  • Update information on current website. Some link information is out of date. Gaps in information and photographs provided by 10 MCC members;
  • Extend list of web-links to relevant organisations;
  • Resolve admin password and hosting issues with Kin;
  • Links to media articles about MCC in Canalside and elsewhere;
  • Explore sources of information and new ideas with local organisations;
  • We need additional skills resources –i.e. ICT and communications/journalism skills, ideally youngish people with communications ‘flair’. MCC could advertise on NextDoor Merchiston and Canalside etc. – would be good kudos for student’s CV;
  • Enlist a sociology student to poll local residents for pressing issues of interest and concern;
  • ‘News Editors’. Recruit 1 or 2 people to in-gather and edit monthly updates on MCC website (1,000 words target). Role is to gather and post information on MCC website, to provide source of information to residents, as a ‘topical information magnet’.

Examples of ‘news’ information include:

  • Chairman’s report on current Merchiston issues;
  • Planning issues;
  • City Councillors’ reports;
  • Police Report;
  • TRO and parking issues;
  • Health Issues;
  • Education issues;
  • Environmental issues;
  • Other issues.

Other issues discussed

  • We looked at several other community council websites (Leith, Northfield and Willowbrae, Craiglockhart, Gorgie, and Balerno etc.
  • Some other CCs also use Twitter and Facebook feeds. Morningside seems to have abandoned its previous website in favour of now using Twitter instead for communications). Discussed Twitter and Facebook for MCC but not considered a priority at present.

BMS, SCNP January 2018 meeting

The most recent meeting of the South Central Neighbourhood Partnership took place on 22 January 2018 and was chaired by Cllr Rose.

Most of the strategic/policy discussions centred around the Localities and the future role of Neighbourhood Partnerships.

I must say that no clear information about the latter was forthcoming. We were told by CEC officers several times that the NPs will continue but they were unable to answer our question about why no date has been published for the next meeting of SCNP (Dates are normally available for the following 12 months.).

It is, however, clear that residents will have no place on the Locality committees, although we were told that “it may still be possible for NPs and community reps on them to inform their Locality committee.”  No details available.

There is also some dubiety about who in future will make decisions about the award of community grants.

TG, SWNP, 31 January 2018 meeting

Community Learning and Development (CLD). There will be a city-wide review of learning plans using consultations, focus groups, meetings, etc. This will not result in a single service plan rather a plan for joint working across communities to improve opportunities, with co-operative working as the ideal.

HM Inspectors will visit SW.

SW is still gathering views. A draft should be ready in the summer, followed by a review meeting with the aim of signing-off in September. A new measurement framework is planned to determine whether need is being met using better monitoring and evaluation.

Locality Committees. The four Locality committees will be like mini-councils. The SW Locality will cover Wards 2, 7, 8 and 9 with 14 councillors (and will be about the same “size” as Perth). The committee will meet in the Council Chambers every 8 weeks; it will be web enabled and can accept deputations and submissions. As it has budgetary responsibility only city councillors can vote.

There was a discussion about CC participation and how they could be used to garner views. Locality participation could stretch community resources and become another burden. The question of how to prevent the domination of one area was touched on.

Police. There was a short review of policing in SW Locality. All CCs agreed police reports and attendance at meetings was helpful.

SW Community Grant Fund. A full spend is anticipated.

Q&A There were multiple complaints about the state of the Calder Road underpasses and the lacklustre response from the council.

There will be a funding campaign for the new Broomhouse Community Centre.

Date of next meeting – April

HZ, about Astley Ainslie Hospital (AAH) development

1)  A review of reports from the two days of ‘AAH Walks’ which were held in the autumn.
Both days were busy with a total of 250 people joining groups with many of them submitting their thoughts on the future of the site. (see Summary attached)
These collated thoughts provide us with a very useful framework for discussion with the NHS as the formal liaison works with them to develop a Master Plan for the site.
2)  A report from a meeting in the Eric Liddell Centre sponsored by a totally separate group which is exploring a Community Buy Out or Asset Transfer of the AAH site – or part of it.
The meeting was very well attended (around 150 people) and started with a presentation about the site.
This was followed by a presentation about the process of Asset Transfer and Community Buy-Outs from a woman who works in an organisation established to assist communities exploring such possibilities.  Following the presentations there was a lively discussion and plans to have a further meeting of those who are interested to be involved.
As at present the group organising this meeting have no formal status and the ‘formal liaison’ group are worried at the potential for confusion because the most important words in the titles of both groups are ‘Astley Ainslie’.  In discussion we clarified that our main role in the ‘formal liaison’ group is to assist the NHS in the development of the Master Plan for the site including extensive and appropriate consultation with the community.
We agreed that we need to keep in touch with the ‘community buy-out’ group and ensure that we understand and respect each other’s role.
Somehow, and we recognise this will not be easy, we need to try and ensure that the respective roles of the two groups are widely understood.

VK, NHS Lothian Joint Health Protection Plan (JHPP), 17 January 2018 meeting

The JHPP is a statutory document that has to be revised every two years.

The remit for this session proved to be very restricted: the JHPP relates only to protecting the public from “infectious and environmental hazards.” Things like walking and cycling to improve health, maintaining parks, reducing loneliness, and so on, are considered part of health improvement rather than health protection. However, the input from community councillors, of whom several attended, was welcomed in order to suggest ways of improving the plan, in particularly its accessibility for the general public.

The aims of the workshop were to

  1. establish priorities for 2018-2020,
  2. improve the structure of the plan to make it more user-friendly, and
  3. discuss how to involve the community and get feedback.

Probably many more questions were asked than answered, but some points of view that seemed to be taken on board were:

  • To structure the plan in such a way that less detail is contained in the plan itself, with links (in the online version) to appendices for more detail if required. This would mean that members of the public could get an overview quickly and easily, and would make finding relevant information quicker for all;
  • To raise awareness of the plan among the public – though this was somewhat controversial, as many believe that health protection activities should go on unnoticed behind the scenes. However, when an incident occurs working with the community and receiving feedback are essential, so some degree of awareness is needed.
  • To link health protection with health improvement and health and social care in the sense that there needs to be more communication between these areas, possible efficiency savings and “joined-up thinking” – an example being air pollution, which is a health protection issue but can be linked to health improvement strategies;
  • Alongside the statutory aspects of the plan, could it be expanded to include a longer-term view which could indeed include some aspects of health improvement, such as planning housing to improve community cohesion and reduce loneliness?

Possible role for community councils: as yet mostly in making suggestions from the point of view of members of the public (I think our presence at the workshop did stimulate new thinking); increasing public awareness of the plan – possibly via CC websites; working with the Health Protection team on specific issues (for example, if we are looking at air quality).

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