Monday 11 January 2016, at 7pm

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


Present: Philip McDowell (PMcD, chair), David Benyon (DB), Joan Carter (JC), Kaaren Haughton (KH), Robert Hodgart (RH), Barbara OíLoughlin (BOL), Theodora Lola-Luz (D L-L, Southside Association), Councillors Burgess and Orr

Apologies for absence: Svetlana Repanova, Gloria Lo, Tim Pogson

Police Report

PC Neil McKay reported decreased antisocial behaviour events during the holiday season, compared with the previous year. He also described increased police patrols in Morningside as there have been episodes of fire raising.

The minutes of the 14 December 2015 meeting were approved.

Matters arising

1.    Trade bins: If bins have not been removed, this should be reported to Kathy Evans (see for her phone number and email address).

2.    Bike storage: Councillor Orr has contacted the council officer Alan Tinto, but has not had a reply.

3.    Bus shelters: There is a regulation that at least 1.4 m space from a wall is required, unless a narrower space has been approved for a specific reason. The shelter in Buchleuch St. is to be removed. For complaints about other problems, please contact Councillor Orr.

4.    Dangerous traffic light: the pedestrian traffic light in S. Clerk St. at the corner of Lutton Place has been noticed as dangerous, as motorists have been seen going through red lights. Similar problems may affect the pedestrian traffic light at Rankeillor St and Gifford Park. DC will contact the councilís Road Safety Officer to ask them to inspect these traffic lights and suggest improvements to the safety. It is hoped that introduction of the 20 mph speed limit will allow motorists to notice these pedestrian lights better than at present, and that the problems will decrease.

5.    Wider participation of the community in the Community Council:

5.1.  Jonny Ross-Tatam, president of the Edinburgh University student union attended the meeting and provided his email address for future contacts. He will attend meetings when possible, and it was agreed to co-opt him as a member of the Community Council so that he has access to the papers for meetings and other communications. The union will consider including electing student representatives to the CC in their election system.

5.2.  JC has contacted Oliver Escobar to ask if any of his students would be interested in participating.

5.3.  DC will contact the mosque and ask if they would like one of their members to become part of the Community Council or liaise with us in some way.

Councillorís report. Councillor Burgess reported on the proposed cuts in funding for many non-statutory functions, including cuts now needed due to a further loss of £16.7 million, recently announced by the Scottish Government. A budget will be published on January 15th, and final decisions will be taken on the 21st. Many functions important for the Southside will be affected. Questions were asked about two of the specific cuts.

           The loss of free musical instrument tuition: Councillor Burgess explained that funds will be available so that tuition for children from the poorest families will be supported. Consequently, the worst affected children will be those from families whose incomes are above that level, but who may not feel that they can fund this tuition. Means-testing is an inevitable consequence of this cut.

           The loss of the unit to deal with noise at night. It was noted that if the area is known for noise problems. It will lead to owner-occupiers leaving, and the proportion of transient residents increasing. The low effectiveness of the present measures to combat noise nuisance was discussed. Councillor Burgess explained that persistent complaints can lead to landlords of HMOs being refused renewal of their HMO licence. The CC requested information about the council officer to whom to make complaints about landlords (or, in cases when students prove to be responsible, the student union officer who can help contact the students in question to try and resolve the problems).

Cllr. Orr mentioned a report by Inspector Nisbet (St.Leonards) on the police success in confiscating new psychoactive substances (NPS).

Chairmanís and Secretaryís reports PMcD will meet Rob Arthur, the operations director of the cinema division of G1, who are renovating the Odeon. Several meetings have been announced, and will be attended by CC members. KH will attend a meeting about the new Localities scheme. Jo Scott (of the Southside Association) is a member of a group involved in the plans for redevelopment of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Morningside, and has sent the minutes. BOL will attend future meetings of this group, to represent the Southside CC. D L-L will attend a grant application workshop. PMcD and KH will attend the information evening about the proposed distillery in St. Leonards. DC will contact the Southside Association to coordinate a community response to the LED street lights.

Treasurerís report: The CCís constitution has been ratified and a bank account will open soon.

Communications committee:

BOL and DW will attend a meeting with Ian Sharman to view possible logo designs for the CC.

The planned Community Day will probably involve a table near Tesco, rather than in St. Patrick Square. It should take place after in the Scottish Parliamentary elections, which are on the first Thursday in May.

Other business.

1.      Two visitors from the SNP attended, and introduced themselves, Roz Currie, Senior Parliamentary Assistant, Office of Tommy Sheppard MP, and Alison Dickie, The SNP candidate for Edinburgh Central.

2.      RH gave members copies of a paper he has written.

3.      Cllr. Burgess announced a talk about the climate change meeting in Paris (January 18th, Appleton Tower, 7.30 pm).


Date of next meeting: February 8th 2016