Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 8 January 2018, 6.45 – 8.45pm

Gray Room, Nelson Hall, Spittalfield Crescent, Edinburgh, EH8 9QZ

1.      Present: Tim Pogson (chair, TP), Philip McDowell (PMcD), Joan Carter (JC), Robert Hodgart (RH), Kaaren Haughton (KH), Deborah Charlesworth (Secretary, DC), David Benyon (DB), David Wood (DW), Councillor Ian Perry, and 2 members of the public. An apology for absence was received from Liz Logie

2.      Police report (PC Brian Levy). The holiday season has been busy, with half of local officers used to police Princes St, leaving only 6 for local work, mainly targeting antisocial behaviour by youths, including robberies, cars broken into, and bicycle thefts.

a        KH raised the problem of graffiti, which appear not to have decreased, as was hoped. PC Levy had no information, but said that the area has too few CCTVs, and that he will ask Chris Harris who will know more.

3.      Councillors report (Ian Perry)

a        Meeting on 25th January about Nicholson Square problems.

b        Budget: the consultation is finished, and the main issues are charging £25 per year for garden waste (but not for those tenements that have this) and reduced frequency of collection, and cuts to Edinburgh Leisure (to £4.75 million, from 5 million). The music school funding has been restored. The base budget has been increased, some of this being a permanent increase, but some is not guaranteed for more than one year.

c        TP asked about the Localities Improvement Plan. This refers to the entire south east of Edinburgh. These are not yet in place, as the October 2017 deadline was missed, and they are awaiting new localities staff being allocated. Neighbourhood Partnerships will then cease to meet (they currently meet if they wish). The relationship between localities and community councils remain obscure (most CCs are thought to belong within a given "Locality").

d        DB asked about the new "City Deal" (a more than £1 billion plan for a wide geographical area, extending to Fife). A plan is in place and will be implemented, and a staff team will be organised. There will be no local involvement. It will fund mostly social housing (10,000 units to be built in the next few years), infrastructure and "informatics" (with large amounts of funding from the university). Cllr. Perry suggested that Charles Jeffery should be asked to come to one of our meetings to explain what they are planning. Major job creation is expected.

e        There is another event about the Sick Kids site on Wednesday January 10th. Many SCC members feel that local opinion has no effect on the plans, and there is no confidence that the community will gain any benefits, such as a GP practice.

4.      The minutes of the meeting held on November 13th were approved and there were no matters arising

5.      Reports from Chair, Secretary and Treasurer (available on the SCC web site)

6.      Reports from Committees and meetings attended

a        A-BoardsÕ Stakeholder Workshop (13 Nov), attended by Stephen Carter. Nobody objects to banning A-boards, but further consultations are to be held.

b        Edinburgh Association of Community Councils (EACC) AGM (25 Nov). The proposed new planning system was discussed. Andy Wightman is objecting to some of it, and believes that it perpetuates a corrupted system that benefits "developers". Comments can be sent before February 2nd. The "Localities" arrangements were discussed, and it was suggested that CCs should be consulted about development of the different areas. EACC now have a representative on the Licensing Forum. The EACC's Planning group, and Health and Wellbeing groups need members.

c        JC and D attended a meeting about Community Councils in Scotland, and issues common to many CCs were discussed. The English system appears to be better than ours. For example, Parish Councils have resources for a clerk for secretarial work.

d        Local Development Plan Action Programme Community Briefing (29 Nov). DB attended. The meeting included all 4 "Localities", and the main topic was the many new housing developments, and new roads (as the population of the city is projected to increase by about 50%). The Southside is not much directly affected by building plans, but traffic and other side-effects may become important. Many CCs were represented. Another consultation is now being held, although the development plan is occurring at present. The relationship with other schemes (e.g. City Deal, see above) is unclear, and some projects overlap different schemes.

e        A meeting will be held about waste management. It was noted that the cleaning machines do not remove much of the dirt, and that litter remains a serious problem, as does commercial waste being put into communal bins.

7.      Planning Applications.

a        DC raised the issue of the many brightly lit displays. PMcD has requested an audit and has heard nothing back. He will follow this up. Objections should be sent in to both ADV and FUL applications (the ATMs with excessively bright lights have both types of applications). The deadline is February 2nd.

b        The Southside Social has been refused permission for the new large window.

8.      Neighbourhood Environment Programme 2017/8 (Bernard Terrace crossing; our other suggestions have been funded by other sources of funding). PMcD raised the issue of the meeting to support the idea of a pedestrian crossing at the Pleasance end of Bernard Terrace.

9.      Any Other Business

a        JC mentioned that Living Rent are holding a meeting on Saturday January 20th from 1-5 pm at Augustinian Church. They promote rent control, and oppose growth of AirBnB.

b        KH suggested that we should explore that idea of a "blue plaque" scheme for the Southside.

c        PMcD requested offers to distribute leaflets.

10.   Date for Next Meeting: February 12th.