MINUTES of meeting on Monday 8 Febuary 2016, at 7pm

The Gray Room, Nelson Hall, 5 Spittalfield Crescent, Edinburgh

Present: Philip McDowell (PMcD, chair), Deborah Charlesworth (Secretary), Svetlana Repanova (Treasurer), David Benyon (DB), Joan Carter (JC), Kaaren Haughton (KH), Robert Hodgart (RH), Barbara O’Loughlin (BOL), Tim Pogson (TP), Theodora Lola-Luz (D L-L, Southside Association), David Wood (DW), Councillors Rose and Orr

Seven members of the public attended

Apologies for absence: Gloria Lo, Jonny Ross-Tatam

Police Report: PC Sacha Ponniah (who also covers the Meadows and Morningside areas) reported on a number of crimes, including a robbery in the Meadows. He also told us that the traffic control near schools that was tested at Sciennes has now been introduced at other schools. Police have been working with Kevin Hawes to check stairwells for signs of drug use, and this has decreased since these patrols started.

Report from Councillor Rose: In addition to the written report, Cllr. Rose told us about an informal consultation about evening parking in the city centre. Final proposals by the Transport Committee will then be subjected to a formal consultation. Questions were asked about street lighting, bins, and Community benefits accompanying the new student housing developments

1. LED lights: The council are aware of dissatisfaction with light levels in some streets, and the newer LED lights are brighter (or set to higher levels).

2. Bins: One can report strategic problems to Gareth Barwell ( and other problems, such as bins not being emptied on the council’s web site:

A map of bin locations was requested, and Cllr. Rose will enquire about this, but a new IT contractor is being used, making it difficult to get this information.

Trade bins are scheduled for removal by 12th February, and the rules will be enforced after that date (see Kevin Hawes report below). Exempt bins should be labeled, and bins should have their collection times displayed.

3. The new student housing developments have no associated Community benefits. Residents have contacted the developers of the Homebase site requesting replacement of trees in Lutton Place, and improvements to the playground of Preston St. School. It is hoped that the developers will agree to do these things on a voluntary basis. Cllr. Rose will pass on the SCC’s concern that planning permission was given without such benefits being included, and that such developments are not necessarily required to include benefits in a legally binding manner.

4. Builders working times for large projects: Cllr. Rose will pass on the SCC’s concern that the working times for the builders were not restricted, so as to spare residents from noise nuisance early in the mornings, or in the evenings. The SCC requested that the default situation should require restricted working hours, similar to those in effect in London, and that permission for work outside those hours should require explicit special permission.

The minutes of the CC meeting on 11 January 2016 were approved (after correcting misprints), with an addition to note that RH went to the MABLAG meeting on 16th Nov. 2015 and presented a written report on that meeting at the  11 January SCC meeting.

Kevin Hawes report: Worked with the police to discourage break-ins to cars, by checking that valuables are not left in cars, and with the Roads team to check A-boards have permission (and, if not, to tell shop owners to remove them). Pease also see Police and Councillor’s reports above. If needles are found, Mr. Hawes would like to be informed (phone number: 529 5104, email: Community Safety (Office hours) 0131 529 5106.

Chairman’s and Secretary’s reports: In addition to the items in the written report, PMcD told us that Rob Arthur, the head of the cinema division of G1, who are renovating the Odeon, will visit a meeting of the SA, and we would like him to come to an SCC meeting as well.

The proposed joint meeting of the Old Town (OTCC), Tollcross and other CCs with CEC staff (see Chairman’s report) was welcomed. DC will respond to Barbara Logue  (OTCC) supporting this idea.

Matters arising

1.      SR will attend the Alcohol Focus Scotland meeting.

2.      JC will attend the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils (EACC) meeting.

3.      JC suggested that the Community Day (May 14th) might include asking for opinions about good places for bike storage. She is finding out where storage is already in place and whether residents find it helpful. TP has already heard good reports from S. Oxford St.

4.      CPR training was offered by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the British Heart Foundation and it was agreed to accept this offer.

5.      In responding to planning applications for the distillery in St. Leonards (the former Engine House), it was agreed to request some community benefit, and that SCC members should consider possibilities for this, to be discussed at the March meeting. A possibility would be maintenance of the adjoining bike path.

6.      Ideas were requested for projects for “South Centra£ Decides” funding for neighbourhood improvements (deadline March 25th). SR mentioned that Dumbiedykes residents have received individual letters about this, and so others in present or former council owned housing have probably also received letters. Cllr. Orr urged the CC to develop a proposal.

7.      It was agreed to apply for funding under ScotRail’s new Cultural and Arts Fund, and to ask for funding for a music event at Preston St. school. D L-L will discuss this with the school.

8.      DC was asked to contact the mosque at Roxburgh Street.

9.      It was agreed to propose the Gifford Park mural for the Scottish Civic Trust My Place award.

10.  The Secretary will write in the name of the SCC.  Ideas were sought for naming the path in the Meadows running west of the tennis courts and the small playground. “Burnes Path” has been proposed. (Burnes with an e in memory of Robert Burns father, William Burnes).

Treasurer’s report: The letter from Bank of Scotland to verify our bank account has arrived and the account should shortly be opened.

Environmental report: Please see written report on the web site. It was noted that Kathy Evans ( should be emailed about HMO notices that should have been taken down, and A-boards, tables on pavements that do not comply with the regulations/guidance (the information is helpful to her team). KH and JC’s recent survey found that about half of 80 A-boards were non-compliant, and also that about 10% of shop premises in the main road are empty.

Planning: GL will meet Jo Scott. JC advised SCC members to keep a lookout for large developments, even if not in the SCC’s area.

Communications committee:

BOL and DC attended a meeting to view possible logo designs for the CC. They will be discussed at the March meeting, and/or the opinions of the wider community will be sought via Facebook if acceptable to the course tutor at ECA.

The planned Community Day will  be on May 14th, with a table near Tesco.

Other business. The paper on democracy by RH will be discussed in the March meeting if time permits.

Questions from the public

Students from a course on conservation architecture asked how the presence of students affects the neighbourhood. As time was short, several CC members offered to meet separately to answer their questions.

Date of next meeting: March 14th 2016