CC Members: Joan Carter (JC) (Acting Chair), Philip McDowell (PM), Stephen Rodger Benson (SRB), Liz Logie (LL), Philip Pinsky (PP), Betty Offerman (EO)
Councillor: Simita Kumar (SK) - 8:50 onwards.
Members of the public: Alex Alderton (Minutes), Elaine Kay (EK), Hillary McDowell (HM), Jake Martin (JM), Margaret Malcolm (MM), Alistair Wood (AW).
JC welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Apologies from Daniel Fisher, Bob Hodgart, Stuart Tooley.
Jake Martin was in attendance on behalf of Preston Street Primary School, in particular their Environmental Committee, and were interested in an update on the Low Emissions Zone.
Margaret Malcolm wished to discuss various issues including the miss-selling of vapes, and loose slabs on the pavement which are causing injuries for vulnerable people.
2.5 3F2 28 South Clerk St - the application granted despite the SCC's objection.
2.6 Low Road/Radical Road - Edinburgh World Heritage held a meeting on 15th June but nobody was aware of the latest progress. JM reported there was a consultation up until November. It was suggested that Alison Neathey would be invited to the next meeting to discuss it further.
2.7 Birds in Nicolson Square Gardens - there had been no progress. LL reported a campaign in North Berwick where they had posters to stop people feeding the seabirds and suggested something similar could be done in Edinburgh to stop people feeding birds, but this would require support from an organisation. JC suggested contacting Keep Scotland Beautiful, the organisation that did it in North Berwick.
2.8 Planning Enforcement - A response was received from Kevin Ryan, Planning Enforcement, regarding all the queried notices. PM suggested asking for updates on notices that are still ongoing. Action: SRB to contact Kevin Ryan.
4. Low Emissions Zone - JM reported a meeting with councillors as there was meant to be air monitoring outside the school, and expressed frustration that the plans to expand the zone had not been shared, and nobody seemed able to give answers about the future of the LEZ. The Scottish Widows developers will also be affected but they don't seem concerned. JM suggested a public transport hub in the area of Preston Street. EK asked about the impact of the Scottish Widows development on traffic; JM thought it would actually decrease traffic, with very few parking spaces being made available. People have been embracing active travel since lockdown. Preston St Primary School plans to expand its playground, reducing lanes in the street next to it and the Scottish Widows developers are in agreement. Corporations want to give back to the community, so whoever takes over the building will probably be on board with it too. It was felt that on the whole the Council needs to take responsibility for the LEZ. JM will call a meeting with Sustrans and Councillors; SCC members would be welcome as stakeholders need to work together.
5.1 BT Hubs - These have been approved on appeal despite objections. SRB was surprised not to be notified of the appeals. The approvals have been justified by pointing out that there is more advertising already in the areas of the hubs at the Commonwealth Pool and the other places are commercial areas. The SCC wondered whether an objection could be made on the Nicolson St hub on the grounds of accessibility but SRB thought it probably met the legal requirements. There was also confusion as the Lutton Place hub (on which the appeal is yet to be decided) does not seem to be proposed to be in the locations of the phone boxes they are replacing. The Community Council noted that objections are now impossible as the applications are approved. Action: SRB to investigate ways of protesting against the Hubs.
5.2 Short Term Lets - There had been the suggestion to create a standard objection to these, which David Wood and SRB were actioned to do but this had not yet been completed. Action: JC to contact David Wood.
7.3 Emails - JC reminded the Community Council that it is helpful for people to respond to emails and enquiries to show engagement.
SK provided a brief report. There had been complaints about loose gravel in the roadworks which are being investigated. There had been noise complaints and the police had been spoken to and had advised when you experience noise it's important to complain as it's happening as there is little they can do after the fact.
Regarding the Innocent Railway Tunnel, SK has made some enquiries with an illustrator. There will be litter picking in the coming months and preliminary discussions are beginning with street artists.
SK had a motion passed in the Council to trial a guaranteed interview scheme for people who have a care-experienced background.
SK will email the rest of her report and is happy to answer questions. Action SK
LL asked about roadworks which were carried out with no warning and no cones on a Saturday which was very disruptive and dangerous. SK will feed back that more signage and warning needs to be provided.
JC enquired about surgeries and rotating these amongst councillors; SK has regular surgeries at Newington Library and Cameron House. The Southside Councillors work very closely together but surgeries are very poorly attended so SK is tying hers in with other activities that happen. SK is happy to receive enquiries by email for ad hoc meetings.
The Chair (DF) was not present but had sent an update to JC. JC reported that DF has been meeting with Councillors regarding representation in Dumbiedykes, and has worked with the University on a Dumbiedykes Gala Day as part of a project to engage with the residents. He is also helping the Dumbiedykes Residents' Group to register as a SCIO. The Charteris Centre is running its biweekly coffee morning again and Councillors have been invited to attend on a rota to engage with local people. The Charteris Centre is having a community ceilidh on 13th October which the Community Council is welcome to attend.
The Treasurer (PP) has some paperwork to fill in after which he will be in a better position to assume his role.
Bob Hodgart attended the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils (EACC) meeting in August and his report was distributed, as well as a report from the September meeting from the EACC Sec. There was promising news of establishing who was responsible for what area and having a point of contact. The first agenda point was regarding a new team with a staff of 12 which will aim to increase community engagement/empowerment and to ensure community consultation in the Council. PM suggested inviting Andrew Field, Director of Community Engagement and Empowerment, to an SCC meeting. A second agenda item of the meeting was a talk by David White of Lothian Health Board about GP provision, the idea being patients will be asked to transfer to a new GP when necessary. It was pointed out that there are enough GPs and it is just boundaries needing to be adjusted which is causing problems. There was another item about creating a Members' Board with Community Councillors on it and they are looking for nominations. JC has the form, should anyone wish to nominate themselves.
PM attended the Northfield and Willowbrae Environmental Fair organised by their Community Council, which had stalls from various organisations, and workshops on lowering carbon emissions. It seemed like a successful event and perhaps the Southside Community Council could consider organising something similar in the coming year.
SRB reported on the new applications.
There were not many new applications. There was a short term let on East Cross Causeway which did not seem particularly troubling, and an application in South Clerk St to add a tattoo studio to a hairdresser's. SRB wondered where the promised rush of short term let applications was. JC reminded the Community Council that there is a consultation up at the moment regarding short term lets that it could respond to. Action: JC to complete consultation for SCC The SCC discussed whether it wanted to object to all short term lets by default or actually consider them, as the latest one seemed to be more reasonable due to its location and lack of immediate neighbours. EO pointed out it would be unnecessary to discuss them all, so perhaps they could agree some criteria. DW explained that part of the consultation would also include home exchanging which seems like it's a different issue; the consultation was very limited in its questions. JC will raise the consultation at the Focus group on the 27th. PP pointed out the applications will continue so we will not win against them generally anyway. The SCC agreed an objection should be made against the latest application. Action: SRB to raise an objection.
15 Dalkeith Road (Scottish Widows building) was discussed in item 11.
The SCC has been awarded £500 for the event on 7th December but is awaiting permission to use the park and hall. PM's concerns are the catering, especially estimating numbers. JC enquired at Dominos and The Kalpna and is awaiting a response from the managers. Previously the food was organised by the community centre's cafe but this no longer exists. JC wondered if it would be possible to request donations of finger food from local businesses but allergies would need to be considered and this would be a big job. EK advised supermarkets would be a good idea as their food is already labelled. PP suggested setting a budget. JM suggested the mosque or the Sikh community. Mince pies would also be required as a seasonal item - Greggs could be an option for this. The SCC agreed it could use some of its own funds as well as the grant money. Colin Christison will switch on the lights and provide drinks. Tim Pogson will be the compere. PM is in the process of ensuring the Council will provide the lights as usual. The University Music Society will perform and the Primary School choir will attend. Councillors have been invited. The trees currently in the garden are dead and PM is in correspondence with the relevant organisations to plant a new one. JC requested that everyone in the SCC works together for the event to make it a success, especially on the night. Actions: JM to enquire with catering contacts and report back. PM to create a song list and design a poster. PM and JC to collaborate on the tree issue.
There have been several complaints about noise particularly during Freshers' Week and Stuart Tooley had thought it would improve but residents have said it's still bad. JC has contacted Bex Moylan from Unite, who went to the premises and had people speak to the students. She will hopefully attend an SCC meeting which would enable the SCC to establish a relationship with the local student residences. The SCC hoped that students were informed when they arrived of what the appropriate behaviour is.
It was pointed out that if there is going to be a judicial review, an application needs to be made by 7th November. PM has researched the issue and considers the development plan to be vague in terms of location but thinks it should be where the students normally operate. PM has said the most logical area to consider would be the Community Council area; the student population there is over 50%. The proposed location makes sense for the developers only. There are good grounds for review, but PM is sceptical that they will do it. JC asked SK if she could raise it with the Council. Action SK MM asked if the plans could be delayed until the latest (2022) census data is available. (The census was a year late because of Covid). MM has some correspondence with various stakeholders and will keep the SCC updated. There are four areas tackled in the report and JC/PM focused on student density; JC hoped other people would research the other ones. Action: JC to ask David Wood to look at the report. PM suggested also contacting the other objectors (93 in total). Action: PM to contact the objectors he is aware of.
SRB had written a response which was then reviewed by JC and was similar to what was written by the SCC in the consultation. The deadline for comments on the submitted application is 4th of November. JM suggested more regular meetings between the various stakeholders would be beneficial. JC advised that once the application is in it cannot be easily amended and it is up to the developers; it is too late for this kind of discussion now. There may be issues worth talking about but at the moment the use of this would be limited. EK suggested adding to the response that the developers need to engage more with the community and try to give something back. JC pointed out people can write their own responses as well as having the SCC's one. EO pointed out you can find the material objections online and tailor your response around that. SCC appreciated SRB's work in writing the response.
There was some confusion around the proposals and the railings. PM explained the plan is to remove the railing for the most part and leave a small part on Dalkeith Road to steer people to the crossing. The pavement would be made wider and possibly have bollards to prevent large vehicles clipping the corner. The SCC agreed to discuss the crossing in more detail at the next meeting.
Postponed to the next meeting.
JC advised the members of the public present to possibly raise their issues (i.e. regarding loose slabs and vaping) with SK or add it to the next meeting's agenda.