November 2016


MINUTES and PAPERS of public meeting on 15 November 2016 at Merchiston Tennis and Bowling Club
  • CC: Community Council
  • CEC: City of Edinburgh Council
  • FOMBL: Friends of the Meadows & Bruntsfield Links
  • MABLAG: Meadows and Bruntsfield Links Advisory Group
  • MCC: Merchiston Community Council
  • SCNP: South Central Neighbourhood Partnership

1. Present


  • Robin Morris (Chairman)
  • Tom Graveson (Vice-chairman)
  • James Geekie (Secretary)
  • Frances Hawarden (Finance Officer)
  • Michael Billinghurst
  • Daniel Cairns
  • Ian Clement
  • Guillaume Evrard
  • Ashley Graczyk
  • Hugh Halcrow
  • Joan Houston
  • Vivien Kitteringham
  • Ewan Klein
  • Bridget Stevens
  • Ted Tate

Elected representatives

Gavin Corbett, Cllr

Police officers

  • PC Pennycook (Oxgangs; South West)
  • PC Fraser (St Leonards; South)

Council officers

Andrew Gallacher, CEC


  • Andrew Burns, Cllr
  • Mairianna Clyde
  • Ian Doig
  • David Key, Cllr
  • Ian Murray MP


Suzanne Senior

RM welcomed all present and emphasized the need for members to give notice when they are going to take part in meetings on behalf of MCC, and report after meetings as a matter of course.

2. Police Reports

Merchiston area (Edinburgh South West)

October was busy with 300 incidents reported in the area, with a peak of 141 in one day. The month’s priorities were house breaking (HB), anti-social behaviour (ASB) and reckless conduct by youths and half-term holiday school children. There was a hallowe’en spike in activity with 17 ASB youths being identified via schools.
PC Pennycook thought the new policing structure was a definite improvement.

Ward 9.
There had been a day of action with a multiagency approach in response to Fountainbridge, Polwarth and Murdoch Terrace residents.
There had been attempted HBs in Polwarth Place, Polwarth Grove and West Bryson Road directed, in the main, at ground floor flats. There had been four minor assaults at Fountainpark, eight pedal cycle thefts, two racist incidents and one cyclist charged with dangerous cycling and obstruction.

The national Police Scotland campaign to collect public opinion (Your view counts) had 1,413 responses from Edinburgh, 46 from Ward 9 and 97 from Morningside; local priorities are HB, violence and drugs.

Merchiston area (Edinburgh South)

There had been 34 crimes recorded with a lot of shoplifting. HBs spiked around Bonfire Night again targeted at ground floor flats. At Hallowe’en PCs patrolled shops advising against the sale of eggs to children and again at Bonfire Night re fireworks.

PC Fraser agreed that the new community policing system was successful; safety talks had been held in schools.

A safer needle campaign aims to identify hot spots and deal with them in collaboration with the council.

In terms of road safety, speed and bus lane checks had been carried out and reflective strips and lighting sets had been passed out to cyclists.

You can record your views on policing in Edinburgh on the survey site published by Police Scotland (external link).

Answers to questions:

Police Scotland circulate reports by email to representatives in Neighbourhood Partnerships and to secretaries of community councils.

Road school restrictions operate when lights are flashing. This is a city-wide pilot, so members of the public are welcome to get in touch with the council with comments on the pilot.

3. Your City, Your Say – Andrew Gallacher, CEC/SCNP

Working with Neighbourhood Partnerships, CEC staff have engaged various community groups to talk about the South-East Locality Area, to which the MCC area belongs, in order to help decide on priorities for the locality area.

The big difference with the previous local community plan is that various agencies have agreed to direct significant resources for these plans (Police Scotland, CEC, NHS Scotland…).

The engagement process collects data as part of the new locality improvement plan (5-year lifespan).

The aim is to deliver better services to the local community, while also accommodating statutory obligations brought onto CEC by the recent Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 (external link) to engage further with the community.

The new locality improvement plan will be published in October 2017 with broad priorities. A second phase focuses on smaller areas within the locality that are especially deprived.

This locality improvement planning process also contributes towards the Edinburgh 2050 vision.

Several MCC members asked questions on how various plans come together or overlap, or substitute one another.

GC pointed out that service planning and locality planning are very different, and expressed some reservation from a councillor’s point of view, as about half the city council is bound to be new by the end of the next local elections as many councillors are stepping down.

4. Edinburgh Rugby proposals to play at Myreside – update

Correspondence was received from the ‘NO to Edinburgh Rugby’ community group.

Apologies were received from Mr Petrie, Edinburgh Rugby.

The planning application from Edinburgh Rugby (16/04715/FUL) will  be discussed in a meeting of the Development Management Sub-Committee on Wednesday 7 December 2016.

5. Minutes of the last meeting on 18 October 2016 and matters arising not on the agenda

6. Regular reports – Neighbourhood Partnerships

South West Neighbourhood Partnership (SWNP)

South Central Neighbourhood Partnership (SCNP)

7. Regular reports – Planning

8. Regular reports – Licensing

See report by Bridget Stevens in item 16 further below: 26 September and 3 November.

9. Regular reports – Health

No report.

IC agrees to be removed from the Astley Ainslie Hospital working group.

VK is interested in Health matters, and agrees to dedicate time with FH.

10. Regular reports – Treasurer

Everything is in order.

11. Councillors – in advance and/or present

GC notes that the Friends of Harrison Park set up a Facebook group.

Attended a public meeeting on 31 October about ASB and drug issues in North Merchiston and Polwarth. Another meeting is to take place on 22 November, with Police Scotland, the residents association, CEC officers, and councillors.

MA Newsagents aka ‘the Twins’ on Ashley Terrace is closing on 31 December.

12. Community Councillors

See report by Bridget Stevens in item 16: 9 October and 24 October.

13. Points raised by residents and members of the public

Suzanne Senior mentioned her cycling accident in the Meadows area because of tactile blocks set in the wrong direction.

14. AOCB

BMS asked about the representation of MCC with FOMBL. MCC is a corporate member of FOMBL. RM suggested to up MCC’s contribution to FOMBL from £10 to £30.

MCC needs better contact with Edinburgh Leisure, for instance because the cricket pavilion of the Meadows is rented without appropriate toilet provision.

DC pointed out the action ‘Cup of tea with a refugee’ campaign set up by the Scottish Refugee Council. MCC is supportive of this initiative and could sponsor an event with renting the Tennis and Bowling Club house. DC to circulate further information.

15. Date of next meeting – Tuesday 17 January 2017, 7pm

16. Papers

Summary report by Bridget Stevens on meetings and events attended for Merchiston Community Council since 20 September 2016

26 September 2016

BMS, with RM, took part in meeting of CEC Licensing Board at which controversial Music is Audible proposal was discussed at length and eventually agreed, contrary to the wishes of local residents, the Police and CEC’s own Licensing Standards Officers.

This means that amplified music noise leakage from licensed premises is now permitted, provided it is judged (by whom?) not to constitute a nuisance (to whom?). Dangerously vague and therefore probably unenforceable.

9 October 2016

Informal meeting: BMS and JG took part in an informal post-election meeting with new MCC members MB, DC, GE, AG, HH, organised by new member Daniel Cairns.

24 October 2016

Friends of the Meadows & Bruntsfield Links: BMS took part in the FOMBL (successor body to MABLAG) Community Councils Group.  Now that CEC has disbanded its MABLAG, oversight of what goes on on the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links is devolved to FOMBL, a group consisting entirely of volunteers. Meeting agreed that some support from/involvement by CEC would be requested, for example, attendance at meetings by Parks officer Mike Shields.  Wide range of topics discussed, notably

  • creation of outdoor gym and exercise trail – financial contributions to be invited from community councils?
  • urgency of improvement in toilet provision to include accessible toilet (BMS suggested this could be a planning gain to be funded by Quartermile)
  • barbecues
  • tree planting

FOMBL had sent to CEC Parks and Greenspace Manager, David Jamieson, a list of 13 projects requiring attention but has not received a reply. BMS suggested this list be prioritised, costed and re-sent to Mr Jamieson.

Reinstatement of Jawbones further delayed.

Next meeting: 30 January 2017 – agenda to include formalisation of role of CCs on FOMBL Committee and financial contribution from them.

3 November 2016

BMS took part in joint meeting of Licensing Board and Licensing Forum. (Forum, which includes community, health and police reps, gives advice; Board, consisting of ward councillors, makes the decisions).

Discussion mainly about alcohol problems in Leith but also passing reference to Music is Audible decision. Licensed premises (night clubs etc.) are already applying for the new permission.

Community reps on the Forum are unhappy about several aspects of CEC’s management of the Forum and will be following these up in time for the next meeting. Board Convenor, Cllr Eric Milligan, is aware of community groups’ reaction to the views criticising them which he has expressed recently in the media.


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