MERCHISTON COMMUNITY COUNCIL
MINUTES and PAPERS
of public meeting on 17 October 2017 at Merchiston Tennis and Bowling Club
- CC: Community Council
- CEC: City of Edinburgh Council
- EACC: Edinburgh Association of Community Councils
- 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 and report
Scottish Government consultation going on about concessionary travel
Consultation Conservation Plan Calton Hill
- Tom Graveson (chair)
- Jim Geekie (Secretary)
- Frances Hawarden (Treasurer)
- Guillaume Evrard (Minute Secretary)
- Daniel Cairns
- Ian Clement
- Hugh Halcrow
- Vivien Kitteringham
- Bridget Stevens
- Ted Tate
PC John Pennycook, Police Scotland, Fountainbridge area
- Ewan Klein
- Mairianna Clyde
- Ian Doig
- Joan Houston
- Robin Morris
- Helen Zealley
- Gavin Corbett, Cllr
- Nick Cook, Cllr
- David Key, Cllr
- Melanie Main, Cllr
- Andrew Johnston, Cllr
- Ian Murray, MP
- Daniel Johnson MSP
3.1 Merchiston area (Edinburgh South West)
In the past month, various operations and initiatives in Ward 9 (PC Wotton and PC Pennycook) focusing on house break-ins, youth anti social behaviour and high visibility patrols on the canal towpath.
The local Policing Team have conducted drugs raids, executed Court Warrants, conducted joint visits with housing associations, served Court Citations, and targeted problem addresses, neighbourhood disputes and premises in the area.
Operation Pumpkin to kick in focusing on Halloween and Bonfire Night anti-social behaviour.
3.2 Merchiston area (Edinburgh South)
Nobody to report.
4. Minutes of the last meeting held on 19 September 2017 and matters arising not on the agenda
5. Edinburgh Rugby – update
Edinburgh Rugby have taken down several devices until the retrospective planning application is approved.
Petition about Shandon area; CEC Transport & Environment Committee on 5 October agreed with the petition
7. Regular reports
South West Neighbourhood Partnership (SWNP)
Nothing to report.
South Central Neighbourhood Partnership (SCNP)
Nothing to report.
MC (in advance). Please see report further below.
Nothing to report.
NHS Lothian 2017 annual review
SP Energy priority services
Thistle Card, for disabled people
Payments of donations to Canal and Meadows festivals in progress
TG repaid of the litter pickers expenses
Councillors – in advance and/or present
Gavin Corbett report
Car parking in Shandon: I mentioned this at the last meeting and the petition duly went to Transport Committee where it was agreed that it would be the first opportunity to use the council’s new car-parking protocol – with more detailed options now being appraised and feedback sought (probably by way of a drop-in session). The community council has been very supportive of action to tackle parking pressures in the area in recent year; so, I hope that will be a continuing theme.
I know that there will be discussion about cycling on the canal towpath following the quite disgraceful incident involving an 85-year-old which I’ve seen highlighted on the NextDoor platform. It is a timely reminder that on the Scottish Canals website there are draft ideas following a piece of commissioned work over the summer for design and behaviour changes to reduce the canal towpath pressures. Meanwhile incidents such as the one reported should definitely be going to the police and I’ll be checking up to see what, if any, leads they have.
Craighouse: there is a lot going on at Craighouse just now for infrastructure works just outside the main site. Some of it looks very ugly. I have been through it all with the natural heritage officer and the Friends group as regards remedial work.
I visited the new Boroughmuir HS since last we met – along with other ward councillors – and despite appearances to the contrary at times, work is very advanced and the building looks a lot better from the inside than the outside…
Work in progress. The new Community Engagement Group ( ID, IC, VK & JH) has yet to meet.
9. Points raised by residents and members of the public
MC proposed the following motion:
‘That MCC enters into direct communication with Scottish Canals, the owners of the towpath with statutory authority for it, to install chicanes at the narrowest and busiest sections of the towpath where widening and separation of traffic streams are not possible; and that to assist Scottish Canals that we try to secure funding for this under community grants that are available to community groups from various sources.
Notes, that at the recent consultation held by Scottish Canals in May at Polwarth Church, that the problem of speeding cyclists was raised, and acknowledged by Scottish Canals. But further notes that though their proposals for improvement such as widening and separation of traffic streams is welcome, that no adequate solution was put forward for the narrowest and busiest sections where the problem is most acute’.
MC’s motion is not progressed, and MCC will move on with organising a meeting with key stakeholders.
In the first place, Scottish Canals, Sustrans, Police Scotland, MCC, Tollcross CC and Craiglockhart CC, Spokes
Bainsfield Student residence is a good place to have the meeting.
See publications about safe use of towpath by all users
FH, Parking vouchers for carers: distinction should be made for carers attending to an individual; expecting an answer on progress from councillors (GC and MM, Cllrs?)
11. Date of next meeting, Tuesday 21 November 2017, 7pm
- Have reported the change of use of a residential upper apartment to a dog kennels at 10/2 Greenhill Terrace to Planning enforcement on their online form but have yet to receive any acknowledgement. I will chase this up. I asked Melanie if she could try to contact the duty planning officer as I was unable to reach them. I have also reported it to Lothians Joint Valuation Board as an unlicensed commercial activity and business use plus I contacted Police Scotland on 101. Spoke to PC Dewar. The police actually did attend as I had mentioned the homophobic abuse the tenants of 10/1 had received, though that is only one of the offences 10/2 could be charged with. There are also the nuisance laws under the Local Government Act plus the Dangerous Dogs legislation. However the police could find no-one at home in either flat on the Friday evening when they attended, and all quiet.
- Cala will be resubmitting revised plans for their bid for BHS but the plans are not yet up on the portal. As far as I am aware the Council still owns it and it has not yet been sold as Cala’s offer was conditional on vacant possession and getting planning permission. The community bid has gone quiet.
- The SG Reporter attended the Victor Paris site on 5th October. We expect to receive his report soon as to whether he upholds the developer’s appeal or not. The Council rejected the application on valid grounds that it did not meet their criteria for affordable housing quota for a site of this size.
- Ettrick Hotel. You will have heard the news that the contents are to be auctioned off. This does sound like the current owners are giving up, but I have no further news of a developer or if the property will be sold to another hotelier or to a developer. Or if the recent plans will go ahead in current form. We were told that the planning proposal was a fishing exercise on the part of the owners to up the value of the property for insurance purposes. The property is now worth a lot more now that it has secured planning permission. Whether a developer will step forward to carry out the proposals or will make fresh proposals, I do not know. Often properties are sold on with permissions to new developers who then seek to augment the plans even further. In part, they have to, in order to make a profit, since they will have paid an increased price to secure the property. This was what happened with the Orwell Lodge hotel.
My Report from the Astley Ainslie Hospital Community Forum is as follows:
1) The ‘community representatives’ on the Forum have had two very successful days leading walks around the grounds to improve public awareness of the site.
200 people attended on 29 September and 250 on 8 October – a total of 450 people most of whom showed considerable interest in the site and its future.
2) The Forum itself, which comprises the Community Representatives and the Lothian Health and their advisers met on 21st September.
We were informed that :
- they are still working out which services will move away from the site and which may need to stay because alternatives are not available.
- a Consultant has been appointed to draw up an updated ‘masterplan’ for the site but we could not be told until the name has been agreed at a formal Board meeting.
- an archaeological survey is planned for part of the site around St Roque House – partly in the hope of identifying the site of the long lost St Roque Chapel.
- various other surveys are planned e.g.ecological and a complex 3D survey of the site has been made using a drone.
- there would be extensive consultations with ‘the community’ and we were reassured that we would have ample opportunity to contribute to this process .