Minutes of the Meeting on Tuesday April 18th 2023, 7:00pm at Nelson Hall

1. Welcome and apologies for absence, declarations of interest

CC Members: Philip McDowell (PM), Joan Carter (JC) (Acting Chair), Bob Hodgart (BH), Stephen Roger Benson (SRB), Liz Logie (LL), Philip Pinsky (PP), Betty Offerman (EO).

Minutes: Alex Alderton (AA).

Councillor: None.

Members of the Public: Dr James Gilmour (JG), Will Tillotson (WT), Alison Neathey (AN), Joanna Boyce (JB).

JC welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Apologies from Daniel Fisher (DF), Steve Burgess (SB)..

2. Ascertain issues brought by members of the public: determine when and how to deal with them

AN was present to ask if the SCC would be interested in tackling the issue of the dual carriageway leading to Holyrood Park, and the roads connected to the school, as these had posed a danger for a long time and would be exacerbated by the Dalkeith Road development.

JG was present to hear about updates on Dalkeith Road and contribute to the discussion if relevant.

JB was present as a representative of Southside Community Centre where she is a Trustee.

3. Minutes of the meeting held on March 13th 2023 and matters arising

The minutes of the last meeting were approved subject to correction of Cliff Hutt's name. The approval was proposed by LL and seconded by SRB.

8 Community Engagement - Andrew Field could not make the changed April meeting date but would attend in May.

11.3 JC updated that the white lines were repainted within 48 hours of her reporting the issue.

4. Councillor's Report

No Councillor was present as Steve Burgess had given his apologies.

5. Reports from office bearers

5.1 Secretary - SRB had objected to more short term let applications and licensing applications as agreed by the SCC. Another Community Council had requested support on a licensing application; SRB will circulate this when more information is received.

5.2 Chair - Not present.

5.3 Treasurer - Nothing to report.

5.4 Webmaster - PM drew attention to the quarterly police report that had been received and was on the website as a paper for this meeting. JC suggested trying to get them to attend meetings as they used to, especially to encourage enforcement of parking restrictions; the newsletter also encouraged engagement from community members. Action - JC to contact the Police via email.

6. Reports from Committees and meetings attended

6.1 BH had attended a meeting of the EACC on 30th March. The meeting contained presentations from Mandy Watt, the Convenor of the Finance and Resources Committee, about the Council's budget, and Angus Murdoch, who represented the Waste and Cleansing Services. BH and JC recommended looking at the presentations which had been circulated.

6.2 BH also attended an EACC Members' Board meeting last week which focused on how the EACC might develop an approach towards planning issues that caused concern with residents of the city and how Community Councils can be better informed and have a stronger role in planning/licensing. JC noted Andrew Field may be able to contribute to this discussion.

6.3 JC had attended a FoMBL meeting; good work was continuing in terms of tree planting etc. JC had volunteered to look after one of the noticeboards. JC met with Tim Pogson and other stakeholders regarding a marked running track for the use of local schools; there was some concern about damaging the grass but it seemed likely to be trialled over the summer. There would not be a football pitch though this idea had been raised in the past. JC had suggested a basketball hoop.

6.4 JC attended a Southside Community Centre Management Committee meeting. JB thanked JC for attending; the Committee is working hard to reach the Centre's full potential. They now have a twice weekly lunch club which is providing a support network to many people, and they are working with local mental health organisations. The funding for this is running out but the Committee plans to develop it. They have a new Centre Development Worker member for 6 months. There will be a music performance open to all on Friday 21st April at the Wells O' Weary. All would also be welcome at the lunches on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The main hall will continue to be refurbished to improve usability. JC noted a new screen and projector would help a lot for increasing commercial lets and film events.

7. Planning and Licensing applications

Salisbury Hotel - there are now 19 objections so it should go to the Committee. Once the date has been confirmed it would be possible to lobby the Councillors. None of the four Southside Councillors is on the Planning Committee. Action - PM to follow up with Councillors once the report has been published.

SRB had been told he or possibly the SCC members generally could attend meetings about licensing applications but no dates had been confirmed yet.

8. 15 Dalkeith Road development

The updated plans had been published and comments would need to be made by 5th May. SRB noted there was a comment that the affordable housing had reduced and possibly a second stair would be put in. PM thought JG's email summarising the changes was helpful and there were points where the SCC could support the East Parkside residents, particularly the gate. JC agreed the fence was very high and a gate was not necessary. There were lots of documents in the plans and some of it was difficult to understand. They had reduced the height of one of the blocks by one storey; JG confirmed even with this change Block E would still be three storeys above the eye level of the top flats in several East Parkside blocks; there were also aesthetic issues. Historic Environment Scotland had raised concerns about other aspects but not about the height and colour of the blocks. PM noted several mature trees would also be destroyed. JG also thought the housing and office parts of the development would not be joined in any way though this was unclear. Action - SRB to draft a response.

Regarding the Holyrood Park Road issue as raised by AN, the development would make it an appropriate time to raise the issue as its usage would be changing. JC suggested calling a meeting of all interested parties in the area after getting a feeling of the views of relevant Council officers on the matter. The meeting would share ideas on what action could be taken by combining the efforts of various groups. JG advised Holyrood Park Road is part of the proposed Quiet Route 30 to Ratcliffe Terrace and the plan is to move the whole road west and change from four lanes to three, and a wide cycleway and footway added. It would have been done already except for lack of funds. JG had seen surveyors working on it and they were revising the plans; if any revisions were made there would be another consultation. Action - PM to circulate a link to the plans for the Quiet Route.

AN thought there was more money available for active travel so this could be utilised for the Quiet Route. JG added the route was longer than just Holyrood Park Road and there were various comments that had been made about different sections of the route. There was no plan for Holyrood Park itself. PP had also discussed the route as part of other discussions around place-making. It was pointed out the best solution would be to remove cars from the park entirely. JG noted this was unlikely to happen despite lots of local support for the idea. JB responded the Council's aim has been said to remove traffic from the park eventually. PP confirmed the place-making project is called a Local Place Plan and once approved all the Council's planning decisions would need to be aligned with this. EO suggested inviting Kat Hasler, Place Outcomes Lead at The Scottish Government, to a meeting. She has more information about the Local Place Plan. AN suggested Preston St Primary would need to be involved in this exercise and JB pointed out children's rights are meant to be factored into all Council work including planning so the school would be important to consult and possibly the Children's Parliament as well. Action - JC to map out ideas for a place-making vision for Southside.

9. Unite Community Project

Bex Moylan from Unite had emailed the SCC regarding a potential project around sustainability in Southside for students to take part in and had invited someone from the SCC to meet with her. There was a feeling of positivity about the idea.

10. Potholes and pavements

LL had reported the road at Haddon's Court a few weeks ago but no action had been taken yet. JC suggested contacting Cliff Hutt who may be able to suggest ways to expedite the process.

11. Cowan's Close development

LL reported that Cowan's Close was going to be developed for people who are disabled but this had not happened yet. There was less traffic but some large cleaning equipment was being used frequently.

12. Bins

LL pointed out the bins were getting into poor condition and were not being cleaned. Action - LL to write to the Councillors.

13. Nicolson Square pigeon posters

Permission had been given to put up the posters. PP offered to put them up with LL's support using cable ties. The SCC thanked AN for designing the posters.

14. Voice workshops

AA reported on behalf of DF that the Charteris Centre is holding free vocal workshops on Sundays 10am-1pm from 30th April to 25th June. All would be welcome to attend; no registration was required.

The Charteris Centre was also holding a community lunch to celebrate the Coronation on Thursday 4th May at 11.30am; this was also free but registration was required.

15. Public Question Time


16. Any Other Business

16.1 JC noted Andrew Kerr, Chief Executive of the Council, would do a walkabout in the area on 5th May, visiting Prestonfield and Southside Community Centre. This could be a chance to point out a few key issues and present the SCC's vision. EO noted it would have been good if the walk included Dumbiedykes. PM suggested student housing and manhole covers; LL suggested potholes near Cameron House and cars along the road; AN suggested looking at how pram/family-friendly the pavements are along Dalkeith Road. PM pointed out there are plans for improving the Salisbury Road/Dalkeith Road junction by making pavements more equally sized this summer, and further improvements would be part of Quiet Route 30; this could also be a chance to add traffic lights. JC requested support on the walkabout and PM suggested Hillary McDowell might be available.

16.2 Meadows Festival - PM suggested having a stall if possible and suggested sharing with another Community Council like last year if needed. The Festival would take place on 3rd and 4th June. Action - SRB to enquire about a stall.

17. Date for Next Meeting: 8th May 2023