SOUTHSIDE COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Minutes of meeting on Monday 13 June 2016, 7pm
The Gray Room, Nelson Hall, 5 Spittalfield Crescent, Edinburgh
Present: Joan Carter (JC), Tim Pogson (TP), Philip McDowell (PMcD), David Benyon (DB), Robert Hodgart (RH), Gloria Lo (GL), Deborah Charlesworth (DC, Secretary), Theodora Lola-Luz (D L-L, Southside Association) , Nicholas Oddy (NO), Councillor Rose
6 members of the public, Nick Stewart (representing the group “Music is Audible”, see below.
Apologies for absence: David Wood (DW, Causey Development Trust), Svetlana Repanova, (SR, Treasurer), Barbara O’Loughlin (who is standing down), Candice Peden (CP, Dumbiedykes Residents Association), Councillor Orr
The minutes of the Community Council meeting held on May 10th 2016 were approved.
The Community Day was very successful, and it was agreed to do this again next year. A preliminary analysis of the 59 questionnaires has been made available on the SCC web site. Overall, major topics of interest to people were student flats (some supporting the new buildings and others concerned), lack of accommodation for old people in the area, and problems with overflowing and dirty bins, and with poorly maintained roads and pavements. The responses will be examined further over the summer by DB and RH, and the SCC members will discuss how much to publicise the results.
The problem bus shelter in Buccleuch Street has still not been re-sited, although this was promised earlier in the year, and should have been done by March. The SCC discussed actions to publicise this unsatisfactory situation.
The Meadows Festival was also successful, though our banner was not available. The Secretary will contact Evelyn Kilmurry to ask whether she has the SCC banner so that we can use it in the future.
Two new MSPs, Ruth Davidson (Conservative) and Andy Wightman (Green) will visit the October and November SCC meetings, respectively. They will be invited to present some brief thoughts, and JC will propose questions for them, for SCC members to discuss.
The SCC welcomed the information that the University will have a staff member part of whose duties will be engagement with the local community.
CCs triennial elections are scheduled. The chair led a brief discussion of the pros and cons of holding an election, but, although more SCC members would be welcome, it was decided not to do so this year.
It was agreed that the person who takes the minutes for Tolcross Community Council should be asked if they would be interested in serving as our minutes secretary.
Meetings attended, committees
TP will replace JC as our representative at meetings of the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils
The problem of inadequate time to apply for funding was discussed. The Secretary will make a list of funding opportunities likely to occur every year, and the dates.
GL attended the Licensing Forum, and she explained that the kind of discussions that occur at these meetings, which include representatives of the NHS, businesses selling alcohol, young people, etc. Nick Stewart added some further helpful explanations of its role, and that policy is reviewed every 3 years in the light of these discussions.
The proposed new Planning Concordat was discussed. The SCC welcomed this, as it should be an improvement on previous arrangements. GL will draft a response from the SCC (the deadline for responses is June 24th). Councillor Rose will look at the minutes of NP meetings to see whether support for community councils will be provided for them to comply with duties specified under the new Planning Concordat, and if so what it will be.
SR will attend the Living Streets meeting, and DW will attend the Causey development Trust AGM.
Secretary’s and Treasurer’s reports: The Treasurer had nothing to report, and the Secretary’s brief written report included one matter requiring discussion: the negative response to our request for extra rangers in Meadows, using the additional income received from events held in the Meadows into the infrastructure, features and facilities of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links (see minutes of the May meeting). The Secretary will contact Councillor Orr to ask for the minutes of the Council’s Transport & Environment Committee meeting that took the decision that this additional income should be used to support the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links.
The Secretary will update and circulate a list of SCC members’ contact details.
Councillor Rose’s report
Councillor Rose outlined items of interest from the Neighbourhood Partnership (NP) meeting held the same evening as the SCC’s meeting.
1. He explained that the extra time that was granted to the Underbelly to be present in the Meadows without consultation, due to a lack of time.
2. He explained that, rather than money being used to provide more rangers during the festival (see previous item), the managers of events will be asked to provide community benefits, such as tidying up the Meadows outside the area they actually occupy.
He mentioned matters additional to those in his written report.
1. The Neighbourhood Partnership has decided to dissolve the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links Advisory Group (MABLAG), and it is hoped that the Friends of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links (FoMBL) will suffice.
2. The council have started surveys of the quality of life and wellbeing in the city and nearby areas, and has started with South Queensferry, examining issues such as air quality and housing provision, and potentially providing goals that developers will need to meet. The Southside will be the next pilot area to be examined (though the precise area that will be included has not been defined).
• There was a discussion about the problem of cars on the Meadows, and Cllr. Rose was asked to find out about how regulations preventing cars parking on the Meadows can be enforced.
Consultation on changes to the regulations for amplified music (deadline for responses is July 22)
Nick Stewart (NS, a nightclub owner and member of the Music is Audible group who have been working on the regulations with the Licensing Forum) outlined the proposed change, which specifically states that a nuisance should be the basis for complaints (“Amplified music.....shall not be an audible nuisance in neighbouring residential premises”), rather than merely noise being perceptible, as at present, which is unrealistic, and leaves the legal situation unclear. The Discussion raised a number of points, including that both amplified and non-amplified music should be covered by similar rules, and it was established that the definition of a nuisance is based on the Public Health (Scotland) act, which lists a number of well-defined criteria, including how often the problem occurs, whether it occurs after a certain time of night, etc (NS provided paper copies of this list). SCC members and members of the public suggested that the public are dissatisfied with the lack of enforcement of the existing rules, and outlined some of the kinds of problems they have encountered. NS explained that Licensing Standards Officers ought to be notified of problems when the public report them; if not, members of the public can apply to the Licensing Board for a licence to be cancelled, which should provide adequate enforcement. The SCC will draft a response and discuss it.
Any Other Business
It was agreed to support the SA’s suggestion of Burnes path for the unnamed path on the south side of the tennis courts.
The cessation (at the end of June) of the council’s service to replace stair lights that fail was to be discussed, but there was not enough time. The Secretary has been in contact with Tollcross, OldTown, Merchiston and Marchmost/Sciennes CCs to ask whether they have found out how to do this job in a safe way, including whether a qualified electrician must be employed, or whether this is a do-it-yourself job provided access is not difficult or dangerous, and, if so, how it is done, and where the necessary supplies can be obtained. Several replied that they are very unhappy about this change, and have found no source of information, and would be grateful for some. They agreed that the council should be asked to consider offering a paid-for service to tenement owners, given the severe difficulties of getting all owners on a stair to agree to pay for maintenance work, and the safety implications. It was suggested that Simon Porteous (Community Safety Manager) should be asked about this, as he lead a discussion of this change at a recent NP meeting. He has so far not replied to an email, or to attempts to speak to him on the telephone.
Date of next meeting: September 12th 2016. To be noted: JC will not be able to attend this meeting, and TP will act as chair. From August 22nd, communications for the chair should be copied to TP to deal with.