Minutes of meeting on Monday, 9th October 2017, 6.45 – 8.45pm

The Gray Room, Nelson Hall, 5 Spittalfield Crescent, Edinburgh, EH8 9QZ.

Present Tim Pogson (TP), Philip McDowell (PMcD), Deborah Charlesworth (DC), Liz Logie (LL), Joan Carter (JC), David Benyon (DB), Kaaren Haughton (KH), Robert Hodgart (RH), Nick Oddy (NO)
Apology for absence from David Wood

1. Welcome: TP welcomed three members of the public, TP ascertained issues and it was agreed to discuss them later

2. Minutes of the meeting held on September 11th were approved. There were no matters arising

3. Chair’s report
It was agreed to submit a joint Association/Community Council comment to the police in relation to 20mph enforcement. David Wood has discussed with a couple of members of the Southside Association and will be asked to draft this. Among other issues, it was recommended that we request the city to re-think the policy on removing traffic islands, and also to extend the green man period. It was noted that the central “refuge” on George IV Bridge is greatly valued, and it is believed that no consultation has occurred. Responses should be to Steven Blacklaw and senior roads staff, including Michael Thain, who is responsible for policy (or possibly Cllr. Lesley MacInnnes or Paul Lawrence, Executive Director of Place).

4. Councillors report (Steve Burgess)
Cllr. Burgess informed the SCC of a proposed cutback in janitor cover at Southside Centre, to save money. The discussion highlighted the damaging effect this will have on classes held there, which are important for health and wellbeing, and are not just evening classes. Discussions are continuing, and Cllr. Burgess hopes that less severe cuts may be agreed, given the location and openness to the street. He suggests asking our other councilors for support on this issue. ACTION: JC agreed to draft this.

The company proposing a distillery in the Engine Shed had been given a further extension, having not yet signed a lease. If they fail to sign, it will be re-marketed, as the building is not being maintained.

An air quality monitoring box has been installed near the Southside Community Centre, and levels of pollution are above the upper safe limit (along with other sites in the city).

LL raised the problems of council refuse vehicle depot in Cowans’ Close, emitting pollution very close to the nursery school. Cllr. Burgess stated that a new depot is to open in 2018. JC will attend the waste management forum next week, and will raise this issue. DB asked about what development is likely to take place at the site when the depot moves. This is not yet clear.

5. Public Questions and issues
The meeting discussed problems of graffiti on front doors and elsewhere. DB also raised the problem of the recent increase in graffiti and “tags” more generally. The council is obliged to remove offensive graffiti, but not other ones unless on council property. Cllr. Burgess will request action from the police, and this will be raised with the police at next month’s SCC meeting. Graffiti kits are available from the council. A graffiti clean-up day was suggested.

A member of the public complained that HMO notifications are increasingly being put on lamp posts (rather than on the railings of the property). They are therefore often not fit for purpose, as they cannot be seen to relate to the property. Standards of HMO and let property were discussed, and lack of enforcement.

6. The Secretary and Communications groups presented reports, which are available on the web site. The leaflet is to be distributed, including to student residences. ACTION: It was agreed that posters for use in student halls of residence and student flats should be designed. No Treasurer’s report was presented.

7. Any Other Business
TP enquired about the local development plan. Cllr. Burgess explained that its publication has been postponed. KH enquired about the sale by NHS Lothian of the Sick Kids hospital to a developer, without waiting for the decision about the Marchmont and Sciennes Development Trust application for a community buyout, which had strong local support. ACTION: TP will contact Marchmont and Sciennes CC to coordinate opposition to unsuitable development.

TP has been in touch with Andy Wightman about short-term lets, and the SCC will be informed about any meetings.

8. Reports from Committees and meetings attended.
RH attended the EACC meeting. Future meetings will be open to the public. When we are notified, the details will be passed on to all SCC members.

LL was at a meeting of residents of Carnegie Court and 186 The Pleasance and provided a report. Frustration was expressed with the lack of responses when problems are reported. LL will attend the October 11th meeting.

The SCC’s environment committee continues to be involved with Friends of the Meadows & Bruntsfield Links, including damage to trees when mowing, litter, and the continued problems from use of the grass for long events.

LL and JC went to a meeting about Living Streets. Cllr. MacInnes was mainly interested in big projects.

9. Date of the Next Meeting: 13th November 2017