Joan Carter (Vice Chair) (JC), Bob Hodgart (RH), Sakshika Raghav (Minute Sec) (SR), Alison Dickie (Councillor) (AD), Liz Logie (LL), Daniel Fisher (DF), Nicholas Oddy (NO), Stephen Rodger Benson (Sec) (SRB), David Wood (DW), Stuart Tooley (ST) (University Representative).
Members of the Public:
Jack McPake (JM), Allistair Cranston (AC), Betty Offerman (EO), Philip Pinsky (PP).
1. Welcome and apologies
Vice-Chair, Joan, welcomed all.
Apologies from Philip McDowell.
2. Previous Minutes
Adoption of the minutes of the meeting held on 14th Nov 2021 , with the following additions, suggested by RH, agreed:
2.1 to include more details of Cllr Burgess' report. He had reported that the estimated cost of retrofitting some 300 Council buildings (including around 100 schools) to achieve net zero was around one billion pounds, which is roughly the whole annual budget of CEC. He noted the Scottish Government has a fund for Green Investment but that it is quite small and requires bodies like CEC to match fund any awards to councils from it.
2.2 (in Section 4: issues brought by members of the public) that Members of the CC felt Bernadette Mageswari's project in the Meadows on Sundays "was a very commendable project, fostering a sense of community in the Southside and beyond, and hoped any official or practical obstacles it had encountered could be overcome so that it could continue in an appropriate form."
3. Matters Arising
Action ST / SR
3.1 Problems SR raised about University leased student accommodation, Domus Flat, is to be followed up between ST and SR
3.2 Preston Primary School has not yet had someone attend SCC meetings on their behalf.
3.3 No signage at Simon Sq development about the traffic diversion (signs removed by people!) so traffic problems have arisen. AD will inquire
3.4 Scottish Widows - AD is to chase up what is happening there. Who owns it? What are the intentions, plans?
4. Councillor's Report (AD)
4.1 Nicolson Square: some movement with the design; AD pushing that forward
4.2 E Newington Pl proposed development: aware of constituents' concerns
4.3 Continued work on anti-social behaviour issues in the area
4.4 Supporting Preston Street Primary School to try to secure more space around the playground
5. Reports from Office Holders
Vice Chair report - visible on website
6. Reports from Committees and meetings attended
6.1 2030 City Plan: DW gave a presentation about City Plan 2030.
The main planning documents for next 10 years - Strategy, Places, Policies and Sites. The strategy involves new development on brownfield rather than greenfield land, net zero requirements for all new buildings, climate change mitigation and adaption, infrastructure, 20 minutes neighbourhoods and affordable houses.
The policies are divided into place-based and subject-based. The place-based includes 36 but none in the SCC area. The subject-based includes 80 policies that involve housing, environment and design, infrastructure, and economy.
ST: University has no plan to go for student housing plans. The University needs accommodation for post grads as they are not familiar with the city before joining the University.
Trams being extended to Leith. Is University looking for accommodation near Leith when rapid transport is available? ST: The University has already been looking in other areas of the city, though at least one recent development has been denied permission.
RH asked if the minimum requirements for affordable housing (35 %?) in a housing development applied to student accommodation. It was thought that a mixed-use development that includes student accommodation is not exempt from the minimum requirement of affordable housing.
Action DW / SRB
DW and SRB to draft CC response to City Plan 2030 consultation
6.2 Meeting with the developer, Harrisons, at 4b East Newington Place
SRB's report visible on website
6.3 Holyrood Distillery-meetings to discuss neighbours' concerns
Steve Burgess and JC met with several people from the distillery on the 9th December and had a very useful and positive conversation. A meeting with neighbours has been planned (delayed due to omicron- it is to be a face-to-face meeting)
7. Student Housing application, E Newington Pl. (Harrisons)
The application by Harrisons to build 64 studio flats for students at 4B East Newington Pl was submitted but not visible yet on Council website (Planning). All agreed that there were strong material reasons to object, primarily on the grounds of excessive concentration of student housing and transient population in the locality. The site is in a Conservation Area; this may strengthen some of our concerns. There was discussion of relevant planning documents and their important passages.
DW pointed out that an extra week to respond should be given as the application was submitted near Christmas. AD will ask for that.
JC explained that we need at least 21 objections submitted so the decision is brought to full Planning Committee, rather than being decided by an Officer. It is important that we encourage responses through all connections. JM will circulate information to Living Rent.
DF suggested our website has a link so people can just click to get to the right place. We agreed our website should have some other helpful information and list points for people to consider using in their individual comments.
Action AD / JM / JC / All
JC will draft a CC response for comment.
8. Salisbury Court
Allistair Cranston, Operations Manager for Unite, was to address any continuing concerns neighbours may have about noise from the students at Salisbury Court. (His email response explaining action taken to date had been circulated). He also hoped to talk about other positive action and activities at Salisbury Court. Unfortunately he was called away from the meeting before we has the chance to hear him.
JC will contact him to reinvite him in the Spring.
9. Recruiting new members
Philip Pinsky, Betty Offerman, and Jack McPake were all co-opted onto the Community Council.
NO reported that there is no difference in traffic at Bernard Terrace, but zebra crossing does make a difference for pedestrians.
11. Date of Next Meeting
Next Meeting on 8th February 2022.