Minutes of meeting on Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 6:45pm

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

Present: Joan Carter (JC), Liz Logie (LL), Tim Pogson (TP, Chair), Philip McDowell (PM), Bob Hodgart (BH), Caroline Barr, Kaaren Haughton, Renu Yadav, Nick Oddy, Mike Shields, Stephen Benson, David Wood, Maggie Peatfield

Also Present: 1 Member of the public

  1. Welcome and Apologies:

    A warm welcome note by TP and apologies received from Stuart Tooley and Daniel Fisher.

  2. Police Report (Karen)

    December report:

    • Murder: Two males, aged 19yrs and 16yrs convicted of the pensioner murder
    • Road safety initiative - 20mph enforcement
    • 27th Dec-Nicolson street west, Assault of youth and robbery reported
    • Hogmanay: South and Central area around 1AM to 3AM, 800 incidents reported.
    • Incident on Meadows: Serious assault of a 37 year old male at 11:15PM reported, person was hospitalised but nothing serious.
    • David raised a concern regarding 20mph road speed limit and how strategic it is? Police officer replied saying road safety is a big thing and try best to carry out routine check-ups. Summerhall and Nicolson St are the most covered areas. Police try their best to cover most streets but mostly on prioritised basis.

  3. Speaker- Mike Shields, Parks and Greenspace officer South East, City of Edinburgh Council

    • Covered Meadows park greenspace issue
    • Mentioned brief details about his tenure:
    • 10 years in current role, been with council for 42 years starting at Princes Street, manages 36 parks, open spaces, etc. Smaller parks, e.g., Nicolson square, Larger parks, e.g., Meadows, London Road, Regent Road,
    • Role: Keep park tidy, infrastructure, planting schemes, benches, liaising on forestry, tree management etc, deal with events and marches etc. cleansing of parks and bins etc

    Meadows Events

    • Fringe event: 3 contractors bidding
    • Explained the management of Meadows event. All costs are recharged to the event organisers
    • Explained about background stuff that they do in preparation for the event.
    • Tim raised a concern of what happens if the community garden people or group get dissolved? Council staff would restore the grounds if the group gets dissolved. Three sites on Meadows currently working well. Groups, such as Greening Our Street, have organised the activities, included local schools and managed to get a few grants etc.

    Toilets issues at Meadows

    • David: Mentioned about opening and closing time of Toilets near Meadows pavilion and raised a concern of fixed times of toilet and it should be advertised as well. The same issue, toilets closure, at Princes Street/ Mound.
    • Mike agreed with the problem and mentioned that it is work of Cleansing Department. Mike will get a key contact person for David.
    • Mentioned that toilet behind café has been shut down for 25 years; toilet in pavilion area is in working condition. It was brought to attention that the café's toilet is shut down November- March during winter and it's only for café users.
    • David mentioned that East Meadows toilet is an issue for the community.
    • Bob suggested that several departments could get together to work with Cleansing Department with respect to management of toilets. Mike responded positively to this suggestion
    • David raised a point of getting University Futures Institute to create safer toilets at top of Middle Meadow Walk and work with developers; underground toilets are not good. It would be good if we could do something about it
    • Caroline mentioned if we can get the Cleansing Department to the meeting to discuss more on this.

    Meadows events issue

    • Tim mentioned that the main issue on events in the Meadows are on bigger scale events and for longer duration, no events are desired for more than fortnight. Compaction of the soil is the main concern. Any opinions were welcomed
    • Mike explained that 2 weeks of events are not financially feasible
    • Joan mentioned Hogmanay, Christmas market, Underbelly (no problem previously with management)
    • Meadows events: Good money for park upkeep. Caroline asked how much the Council receives from this benefit. Mike mentioned that it is confidential information.
    • Tim raised a concern if events are reasonable use of space? Mike replied it is quite reasonable and properly managed.
    • Bob asked if not 2 weeks then what time period? Mike replied 28 to 30 days
    • Kaaren asked if there is any possibility of weight restriction of big wagons
    • Mike: Tracking but with little damage. Managed so far.
    • Philip: Restrictions on spending, barbeque on the ground. Awareness is required.
    • Mike: It is not practical to advise people. Educating people and posters could be one way
    • Liz: Pollution from smoke is an issue.
    • Mike: Less staff members. Mobile staff only across Edinburgh.
    • David mentioned that University can put up notices in student accommodation regarding barbeque. David can check with Uni Social media channels.
    • David also mentioned about tables or benches etc for Tennis club. How to go about it? Mike mentioned budget is an issue.
    • David also mentioned that collaborative approaches could be used i.e. tennis club, community council etc.
    • Kaaren raised a concern about Trees. More tree planting but then not looked after. Is it this department which deals with it? Mike said, photographs could be done and sent to Mike which in turn can take up the matter with Forestry.
    • Liz mentioned if the trees get reused if cut down? Mike replied yes, for many other purposes.

  4. Last MoM Discussions

    Correction in last MoM

    • Apologies missed from Caroline in the last MoM
    • CCTV issue was mentioned by Maggie not by Joan

    Matters arising:

    • Tim mentioned that if council officials are attending, evening meetings of Neighbourhood Network are not preferred. Kaaren raised concern if they are going to arrange any other meetings?

    City Centre network of Community Councils

    • Tim and Liz met with Patrick Keady, chair of Old Town community council
    • Old Town, New Town / Broughton, Tollcross and West End CCs would meet occasionally and talk about issues about commercialisation, Airbnb and student accommodation, etc
    • Tim and Liz agreed with Patrick to support the proposal to convene a meeting in February.

    Childcare arrangement

    • Tim mentioned about childcare arrangement during the meetings for public members. Tim had spoken to Margaret Graham (who runs SCOOSH after school club) who said that there is no room in this building for childcare, and it depends on the age of the children. Joan questioned about the small meeting room. Tim mentioned about professional licensed carer and budget will be handled by CC. Tim said he will go back and check with the person more on ages of children concerned.
    • Joan mentioned about Airbnb update: Hurray!! Pleased to regulate/ licensing. Owners must meet safety requirements and taxes should be paid appropriately.
    • Stuart had responded to NHS question. Uni is very concerned, but no action has been taken up so far.
    • Joan mentioned that Bernard Terr Zebra crossing issue hasn’t moved

  5. Ascertain issues brought up by Members of the Public

    Raised a concern about South Clerk Street flat above Chicken Club

    • Tim asked to send the details to him in an email so that it could be forwarded to councillors.


    • Airbnb- special licence should be required and rule should be enforced
    • Bob mentioned that there is need to maintain pressure on Scottish government and there is a meeting of Citizen Network regarding Airbnb issue.
    • Owners should be encouraged to rent out longer term.
    • Bars and Restaurants dump rubbish in residential black bins. Nick mentioned that builders are the main reason. Public member mentioned that she will get the proof (i.e. photographs etc)
    • Fumes from Vehicles: who should she report it? Environment health was suggested.

  6. Councillor's report: N/A

  7. Reports from Chair, Secretary and Treasurer

    • Caroline gave an update from the Treasurer: funds available: ₤2380.71 and payment to minute secretary.

  8. Reports from Committees and meeting attended

    Miller Hill Waste Energy Plant: Attended by Joan and Liz

    • Interesting meeting and how little people know about it.
    • Provided information about how all waste is taken up and converted to energy and electricity (supplied to 25,000 homes for 24/7)
    • Large waste can be recycled but people put in wrong bins.
    • Air pollution is captured, and heat is re-captured. Send some photos to Philip for the website.
    • Next visit: Food Waste and Bathgate recycling.

    • Philip conducted analysis of the shops. Council has different rules for primary and secondary shop frontages. Analysis will be useful to inform future planning responses
    • Difficult to identify shop and non-shop use. Almost 50% non-shop use.

  9. Planning and Licensing

    • Philip mentioned about Benedict's café: Put in planning application for frontage. No objection to that.
    • Application for HMO (Nicolson street)

    Lutton Place Trees

    • Joan mentioned about Treetime: Edinburgh Lothian Green Trust, 'street trees' initiative. Adopting a tree or give money to plant a tree.
    • Joan is going to pursue more on this and suggested that we as a group can go around immediate areas to contribute some money towards trees.
    • Treetime manages the money and joint funding comes from Council, although it's not entirely clear about where money comes from
    • Kaaren mentioned that several streets' trees need maintenance and replacement. Environment group should help raise money in collaboration with Treetime.
    • Philip asked how much money is involved. Joan replied: varies but minimum approximately ₤600 per tree but could be up to ₤5000 for mature tree

  10. Any other business

    • Maggie: Raised issue of Nicolson Square improvements. Email received from Steven Cuthill; Tim will check with Steven. Some in the area agree with the idea that they cannot go without a bus stop.
    • Maggie raised a concern over pathway outside gardens. David also mentioned that it is not a pedestrian friendly pathway.
    • Bob mentioned about Draft Marchmont Meadows & Bruntsfield Conservation Area Character Appraisal. Deadline was just after our last meeting. Submitted the report and any feedback is welcomed. It would be appropriate to put up on the website.
    • Comments on Edinburgh Airport: Deadline is 6th Jan and published on 22nd December. More time was required. Bob has put up comments as individual as there was not enough time to get everyone's comments. Bob raised a concern that the questionnaire did not allow appropriate engagement.
    • David asked about 20mph speed limit. Will be picked up at next meeting

Next Meeting: 11th Feb 2020