CC Members: Daniel Fisher (DF) (Chair), Philip McDowell (PM), Liz Logie (LL), Stephen Rodger Benson (SRB), Philip Pinsky (PP), Nicholas Oddy (NO), Joan Carter (JC), Bob Hodgart (BH) (from 7:20).
Councillor: Tim Pogson (TP).
Members of the public: Alex Alderton (Minutes), Nahid Aslam (NA), Jake Martin (JM) (until 7:15).
DF welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Apologies from Betty Offerman.
JM was attending on behalf of Preston St Primary School and raised concerns about traffic issues outside the school, with cars mounting the pavement and speeding up at lights causing several incidents. A police officer has attended the school but not much else has been done and the school wants to escalate. They have been asking to have the bus stop moved; they have tried temporary pedestrian barriers but these are not effective. The traffic is especially bad on St Leonards Street due to resurfacing works and there are still no road markings outside the school; the weather is making things worse. TP pointed out there is a meeting happening next week with Ward Councillors but JM responded that this was for the Preston St Vision, a different topic. TP is willing to be informed of any issues in the interim. Air pollution monitoring was another concern, in that it seems to have paused since Covid. Action: TP to chase up the issues raised and schedule a meeting with the other Ward Councillors.
JM also provided an update regarding the Christmas Lights event - he has made contact with Greggs who have agreed to donate food. JM has a meeting with an Area Manager coming up to discuss the details and it was noted that Greggs are happy to donate food on the whole but only to registered charities. JM had also contacted Mosque Kitchen, who are unavailable for the Christmas event but recommended Kebab Mahal who are happy to help.
NA was attending on behalf of Southside Community Centre and provided an update on its behalf. The Centre has been awarded a grant from the Coorie In for Winter fund to provide free lunches throughout winter on Wednesdays (for people with mental health issues) and Thursdays (for the elderly). Art27 have left the premises so there is now more space for other activities. There is a gardening project on Thursdays and the website is being updated. They are looking for a Treasurer and/or Secretary. The kitchen is now functioning. Action: PM to send NA the Christmas Lights event poster for display. NA to distribute information about the various projects at the Centre.
The minutes from the last meeting were approved.
3.1 Planning Enforcement - SRB received a response with updates about the outstanding planning issues. The responder claimed there was progress being made on Salisbury Road but nobody had seen evidence of this. JC wondered whether there would be a point at which these establishments would be closed down if they did not comply. Action: TP to chase up.
3.2 BT Hubs - no progress made.
3.3 Short Term Lets - JC had contacted David Wood regarding advice on a standard objection for short term lets and had no response. TP shared that the Council had agreed some robust criteria for how it would decide upon short term lets, and hoped that this would dissuade landlords from making applications. JC had not yet submitted the consultation on the SCC's behalf as she was waiting until after the Forum. SRB has raised objections to the previous two short term let applications and another two which came up since then.
3.4 4. Councillor's Report - The full report from last meeting had not yet been distributed. Action: DF to chase SK for her report from October.
3.5 Car Free Holyrood - EO had contacted Car Free Holyrood with regard to closing the road, and they were happy to speak with us but it seems the issue is in hand so there is not much the SCC could add.
3.6 10. East Newington Place - There was no response yet from David Wood. PM has contacted a retired lawyer who said the judicial route was the only option but the date has passed for that already so it is too late to take any action.
3.7 Birds - LL has contacted two organisations about the birds in Nicolson Square Gardens but has had no response yet. She reflected they probably could not do anything as it's a public space, rather it would be for the Council to deal with. LL was concerned the issue of avian flu would expedite the issue. TP was interested in the potential for posters such as those in North Berwick.
TP presented his report. Regarding Preston St School, the Councillors are impressed by the long term vision for the school and are planning a meeting with the parent group. He is hoping for synergy with the Scottish Widows building too. JC commented that it is important the local community is involved in any plans.
The Christmas Markets are going ahead in a more reduced way than previous years as a result of the re-contracting, which will probably be welcomed by residents of the city. There is a joint contract between Underbelly and the Assembly. BH, PP and JC questioned the financial arrangements of the Christmas activities; TP responded the contractors provide a fee to the Council based on their profits and the idea is this would cover costs such as infrastructure and waste disposal and the Council should come out without a loss. BH requested more transparency on the financial arrangements. DF pointed out that it seems the Council have taken the consultations of the last few years into account.
TP had intended to provide an update on the Southside Community Centre but NA had already discussed most of the salient points. TP attended a meeting recently and was impressed by the energy and vision at the Centre.
Regarding Car-Free Holyrood, TP is supportive of this work. PP and NO pointed out how lots of elderly people wish to cycle around and the traffic is off-putting, so they are also supportive. This is in opposition to Historic Environment Scotland, who wish to preserve the use of cars for people with disabilities etc.
LL raised the issue of communal bins and how they are not cleaned, particularly food bins. DF remembered someone spoke to the SCC about bins a while ago, regarding a trial of different bins. TP responded the communal bin review should reach Southside in the middle of next year, whereby the bins will be replaced by a fixed pod. TP has raised the issue of what can be done in the interim to improve the existing bins. LL also commented on the bin strike in August, and hoped that any discussions around waste would take into account contingency plans for if this should happen again. TP responded there were backup plans in place for emergencies but in this case it would have gone against the purpose of the strike. JC suggested the Council could have liaised better with the Festival companies to encourage people to create less waste. LL suggested a collaboration with a newspaper to raise awareness of recycling; TP responded at the time there was some educational content produced. NA asked about the bins in Nicolson Square and Potterrow, as people are putting lots of non-recyclable things in there; she suggested it would be easier to collect waste mixed and have it sorted in a waste facility, though there was a feeling that this may not be possible to do cost-effectively. TP requested that he is informed of any problem bins and he will forward the messages to the relevant person.
5.1 Secretary - SRB had nothing to report.
5.2 Chair - DF has just returned from being away so had nothing to report.
5.3 Treasurer - PP now has the authority to do online banking and cheques. JC pointed out we need an auditor soon for the accounts. PM knows one and will make enquiries. Action PM.
6.1 Edinburgh Association of Community Councils - JC and BH have been in discussion and JC would like to be the SCC's representative; BH has been elected as a member of the Board. BH shared that as well as the office bearers, the Board will have members from across the Community Councils, to try and make the EACC more effective on city-wide issues. They are looking for ideas to strengthen the connections between Community Councils and the EACC so if anyone has an idea BH and JC are happy to hear them.
DF shared a report at the last meeting; the only thing to add is that the residents involved in the Gala Day would like it to happen again but will need support. Perhaps the SCC could offer support with this, for example supporting a road closure application. The Councillors who attended also found it valuable to liaise with residents.
SRB has objected to four short term let applications. The other applications did not seem to cause any issues. Regarding Bernard Terrace, JC pointed out they had the wrong cladding so this is being redone and this is the reason for the application.
An email was received from a resident regarding the number of traffic accidents/near misses in the area and wondered if CCTV could be put in or moved to better angles. It was agreed this is not a Council issue but a police one and they would likely not prioritise it unless there is a very serious incident. TP pointed out it would be worth making the police aware. Action: SRB to forward the email to TP who will make enquiries. PM suggested www.safetycameras.gov.scot may be a line of enquiry.
An email came into the SCC about the bins on Montague St. TP reiterated the communal bin review next year will solve many of the bin-related issues being raised.
PM distributed sample flyers. It was agreed that the details of the event should be shared with the University and local churches. Action: PM to print posters and flyers and distribute. NA suggested getting someone from the school to create artwork.
Catering: It was agreed that only finger food would be required. Greggs has offered free pastries, and JC had obtained a quote for 800 pakoras for £400 which is over the budget of £200. NA offered the services of the Southside Community Centre kitchen and will enquire about what can be offered within the budget. JC had not had any luck with Domino's, and DF suggested trying Papa Johns as well. Colin Christerson is supplying wine. Action: JC to chase up pizzas and buy plates/napkins/cups. NA to find out what the community centre can offer in terms of catering and also jugs, cups etc. Juice can be bought from the supermarket and all drinks will be served in disposable cups. DF can provide banquet roll and is happy for things to be stored at the Charteris Centre in the preceding days if needed.
Volunteers: People need to commit to helping on the day. Action: JC to contact Colin regarding decorations. In the past there has been a minimum of 6 people from 3pm onwards in the building and 3 people in the Square. Action: NA to ask about volunteers from the community centre. BH, PP and SRB can help set up inside; PM will be responsible for sound in the Square and DF will be there to organise the musical groups. Action: DF to contact Volunteer Edinburgh and ask the GCC Events Assistant.
Gifts (wine) should be arranged for the First Aiders. Some additional thanks will need to be added to the list on the back of the flyer.
There is a risk assessment for the inside part but not for the outside. Liability insurance has been arranged.
The management of the Braidwood Centre in Dumbiedykes is in a state of dissolution. The question is what will happen to the space as it is a well-used asset owned by the Council and it would not be popular if it ended up as someone's house. DF has spoken to Andrew Field and has invited him to the next SCC meeting to explain the Council's intentions. TP is not involved as it is not in his Ward.
In the past a discussion had been started regarding having a vision for Southside to work towards rather than just reacting to issues that come up. A document exists with people's input but it needs reviewing. It would be useful not just internally but also to share with other stakeholders. Capacity is limited so JC will not work on it before Christmas. Action: JC to find the work already completed and share it.
PP raised that someone local called Cat might be good to give a talk about visioning. Action: PP to contact Cat.
DF suggested an away day for the Community Council and there was general agreement. Action: DF to look into an away day.
Issues from the public were discussed in item 2.
Bollards - BH raised the issue of the bollards between Parkside Terrace and East Parkside. Two bollards were placed on the cycle route making it very difficult to take a car through; about a week ago they were taken away with no warning. Emails were circulated about this; PP thought lots of barriers to cycle paths were being removed to allow access for wider transport e.g. cargo bikes but in this instance it didn't seem necessary.
This meeting will have a shorter agenda and will include a debrief from the Christmas Lights event.