MINUTES of the meeting held on Monday 10 October 2016 at Kings Hall Community Church, South Clerk Street


1.       Welcome and apologies for absence.

Present: Joan Carter (JC, chair), Philip McDowell (PMcD), Deborah Charlesworth (DC, Secretary), David Benyon (DB), Robert Hodgart (RH), Theodora Lola-Luz (D L-L, Southside Association), Tim Pogson (TP), David Wood (DW, Causey Development Trust), Councillor Orr, and 9 members of the public

Apologies for absence were received from Kaaren Haughton (KH), Nicholas Oddy (NO), Svetlana Repanova (SR, treasurer), Alec Edgecliffe-Johnson (student representative)


2. The minutes of the Meeting held on September 12th were approved, subject to being corrected by incorporating the comments in the draft version. There were no matters arising.


3. PC Stuart Fraser to attend at the meeting and provide information about the two serious crimes. 


David Cuthbert is now the Community Sergeant for the Southside/Newington and Meadows/Morningside wards (oddly, he is not on the Neighbourhood Partnership list that appears on our web site).  I have copied him into this email for information.



Councillor Jim Orr’s Report

·         Rubbish bin problems continue, and Cllr. Orr expressed little hope that things will improve under the new arrangement to be introduced at the end of October 2016.

·         Better arrangements have been agreed for residents’ parking at Dumbiedykes, where there have been problems with people visiting the old town using car parking spots.

·         The intersection at E. Preston St., S. Clerk St and Newington Road will not be repaired as had been promised.

·         There was a brief discussion about initiating and encouraging relations with the Mosque in Buccleuch St. Cllr. Orr informed us that the police believe that the damage done to the building was simply vandalism, not specifically directed against the Muslim community. JC went to an event to show support after the attack, and she spoke to members of the mosque, and will visit the imam.

·         JC requested information about changing the kerb at the bottom of the path down to Dumbiedykes to a slope, to make it more convenient for cyclists. Cllr. Orr said that he does not think that it had been agreed to do this work, and that the SCC should apply for funding for this work under one of the funding calls that regularly occur, possibly via the Neighbourhood Partnership.

·         PMcD asked about the recent changes in the wards, when Dumbiedykes has been made part of the Central ward, making it unclear whether Dumbiedykes remains part of the area represented by the SCC. Cllr. Orr replied that such matters will become clear. TP added that the main effect of the change is that our area will be represented by a larger number of councillors.


4. Update on Southside GP Surgery: JC has talked (with Fran Gifford, FG) to Ruth Davidson, to try and get help to ensure that this surgery will continue in our neighbourhood. Although she has tried to help, it seems likely that this will not happen, based on a letter she received on September 21st, and information that the practice manager is already re-allocating patients to other surgeries. A meeting is to take place (JC, FG and Colin Christison from the Southside Association) with Gavin Douglas, the University of Edinburgh deputy secretary for student experience. JC will request the University to make money available to help retain the surgery premises, and hopes to discuss plans to train more young GPs.

5. Causey Project

After a short presentation from DW, chair of the Causey Development Trust (CDT), it was explained by RH that W. Crosscauseway cannot be closed to traffic and pedestrianized, mainly because disabled access to the Community Centre (also to Buccleuch and Greyfriars Church) is at the rear of the former building which can only be reached via Quarry Close.  Disabled drivers and vehicles carrying people with disabilities therefore have to use the latter street and the disabled parking at the end of it. Members of the public, and the SCC members, stated their views, which were deeply divided. Although there was agreement with the aim of reducing and calming traffic, and with the idea of making an improvement in the environment, the safety of the arrangements proposed for W. Crosscauseway was questioned by several. This is a major factor affecting responses to both the RSO ("The City of Edinburgh Council (Buccleuch Street, Chapel Street, East Crosscauseway, Nicolson Street and, West Crosscauseway, Edinburgh) (Redetermination of Means of Exercise of Public Right of Passage) Order 201-") and the TRO (“The City of Edinburgh Council (West Crosscauseway, Edinburgh) (Prohibition and Restriction of Motor Vehicles) Traffic Regulation Order 201-“). Specifically, some speakers were concerned about the dangers to pedestrians and cyclists under the plan for two-way vehicle traffic in a narrow street with no pavement areas separated off or even indicated by different surfaces, especially since vehicles will be performing U- turns at the Quarry Close end of the eastern part of WCC across paths taken by pedestrians and cyclists. DW and RH stated that the plans had been developed in collaboration with a range of stakeholders including CEC, and that an independent safety audit had been carried out on the plans to be implemented through the TRO/RSO and this had suggested that they were safe for pedestrians and cyclists. Overall, opinions ranged from support for the plans proposed by the CDT, to support subject to agreement on certain details, to opposition to the road plans.”


6. TP was elected unopposed as new Chair person with immediate effect.


8. Summary Reports from Chair, Secretary and Treasurer

·         It was decided to ask Ruth Davidson to respond to the questions that had been prepared by JC and PMcD, and it was agreed to try inviting her for another date.

·         It was agreed to support the residents of Lutton Place in their complaints against the contractors working on the site of the student housing in Bernard Terrace, who have cut back large portions of trees in back greens.

·         DC gave a brief update about stair lighting. Cllr. Orr repeated that this is a cost-cutting measure by the council, and it remains unclear why arrangements cannot be made for tenement owners to pay for the service.


9. Summary Reports from Committees/meetings attended

PMcD reported his attendance at the Licensing Board meeting to reconsider the changes to the rules about noise from businesses playing amplified music. It was agreed that the SCC should try to get notification of licensing applications, like the notifications of planning applications, and to get the system changed so that written objections are taken account of properly, rather than objectors being required to attend hearings in person. It was noted that objecting to new applications, and variations in existing licences, need to be examined by residents and agreement needs to be reached with Licensing offices about what constitutes a nuisance (the criterion for action under the new arrangements).


11. JC outlined a proposed Clean-up Event, which she hopes to organize on the morning of 29 October


12. Any Other Business

A member of the public who works in the Oxfam shop told us that drug users were outside the shop, and the police were called. It was agreed that drug problems should be discussed at a future meeting.

PMcD was given permission to contribute £100 to the SA Chritmas event.

Gordon Duffy asked whether Studio Dub’s comments can be taken note of when preparing the SCC response to the CDT proposal (item 5 above), as the CDT have responded to his criticisms. JC ruled that no further submissions can be taken into account.

As agreed in response to RH’s request at the May meeting, RH wrote to Leicester City Football Club to congratulate them on winning the Premier League in England and Wales in 2015-2016 and the way they had brought the various communities of this very diverse city together as supporters to help achieve this. His letter said that Edinburgh’s Southside was also a diverse community and therefore took particular inspiration from LCFC.  A warm letter of thanks from Claudio Ranieri, the manager, was received with a signed photograph.


13. Date of Next Meeting: 14th November, also at the CCE Kings Hall