SOUTHSIDE COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Monday May 10 2016, at 7pm
The Gray Room, Nelson Hall, 5 Spittalfield Crescent, Edinburgh
Present: Philip McDowell (PMcD, chair), Svetlana Repanova (SR, Treasurer), Joan Carter (JC), David Benyon (DB), Kaaren Haughton (KH), Robert Hodgart (RH), Deborah Charlesworth (DC, Secretary), Theodora Lola-Luz (D L-L, Southside Association) Tim Pogson (TP), David Wood (DW, Causey Development Trust), Councillors Burgess and Orr
5 members of the public
Apologies for absence: Nicholas Oddy, Gloria Lo
Annual General Meeting
After reports from Officebearers, Councillor Burgess took the chair of the meeting elect new Officebearers. Joan Carter was unanimously elected as the new chair (proposed by PMcD and seconded by KH), and Tim Pogson was elected as the new vice-chair (proposed by KH and seconded by DC). It was noted that PMcD will continue to maintain the web site and post the documents for meetings. SR was unanimously elected as the Treasurer, continuing her work in this role (proposed by PMcD and seconded by JC). Deborah Charlesworth agreed to continue as Secretary until a replacement is found. KH’s suggestion of a paid Secretary was welcomed, and she will investigate this possibility further. KH will continue to chair the Environmental group. It was agreed that RH will represent the SCC at meetings of the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils, replacing JC, and it was noted that KH will attend MABLAG meetings, with RH deputizing when she cannot attend. Councillor Burgess thanked the past officebearers for their work.
The date of next the AGM will be 8th May 2017.
Regular Business Meeting
Ward Office Ross Stewart (firstname.lastname@example.org) reported that most crimes are again greatly decreased, although “housebreakings” (which includes thefts of cars from driveways) are slightly increased (a 15% increase compared with last year). Driving while using mobile phones was discussed. As nothing can be done unless two policemen witness this, and as unmarked cars are no longer used (meaning that motorists can see when police are nearby), enforcement of the laws forbidding this are unusual.
Logan Vaughn, a volunteer from the charity Health in Mind (HPS.Volunteer@health-in-mind.org.uk) and another person from this charity, Jenny Green, described their work befriending various categories of people, including people moving into a neighbourhood (see also April 2016 minutes). Volunteers are needed, and they described the system, including explaining that the time commitment is not large, and that excellent training is given, and that there is careful matching of volunteers and those they help.
Councillor Burgess outlined the results of the SouthCentra£ Decides process, from which several projects in the neighbourhood will receive funding. He also described a large project to save energy costs in Dumbiedykes.
KH initiated a discussion of the situation in our neighbourhood, with large proportions of HMOs in some areas. Unless planning permission is needed, no control over this proportion is exercised by the council’s present procedures. The situation with regard to the increasing letting of such flats through AirB&B (see, for example Airbnb Edinburgh) was discussed. This means that the new student residences that are being built may not result in freeing flats for local families. Concern was also expressed that landlords are operating such flats on a business basis, without safety or other controls, and possibly without payment of taxes.
The minutes of the Community Council meeting held on April 11th 2016 were approved after minor corrections.
Matters arising: Notification has been received of the launch of the new Greyfriars Charteris Centre (Kirk O'Field).
Treasurer’s report: The Treasurer reported that there is now money in the bank account.
Report from the communications committee: Arrangements for the community day were finalized, and SCC members were asked to sign up for times to help man the table. The questionnaire was discussed, and it was decided to drop the word “homezones” this time.
Any other business
Cllr. Orr suggested that the SCC should ask selected newly elected MSPs to each come to a future meeting. There was interest in inviting Ruth Davidson and Andy Wightman, and JC will invite them.
TP suggested that it would be valuable to hear from people with expertise in housing, specifically Elaine Scott, Programme Manager, 21st Century Homes, City of Edinburgh Council, and he was asked to invite her for a date in the autumn, to give enough time for notice to be circulated, as many people in the neighbourhood may want to attend
Candice Peden from the newly formed Dumbiedykes Residents Association was coopted as a member of the SCC. She described the Residents Association’s recent work to improve car parking, reduce dog fouling, support the bike path and campaign for a bus service to be restored, as this is badly needed.
RH proposed emailing Leicester City football club to congratulate them on winning the League. It was agreed that he will do this.
Date of next meeting: June 13th 2016.