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Sunday, 29 January 2023

MSCC Minutes for November 2022

 

                                

 

                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

MARCHMONT & SCIENNES COMMUNITY COUNCIL

 

MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 23RD NOVEMBER 2022       7:30 P.M. AT ST. CATHERINE’S ARGYLE

 

ATTENDANCE

 

PRESENT:

Brian Gilmore (Chair, MSCC), Alison Service (MSCC Treasurer), Anne Laing (MSCC Secretary) Anthony Holmes (Thirlestane Lane Association) , Emma Willson (local resident), Nigel Ayton (Grange Association), Susie Agnew (MSCC), Margaret Coughtrie (local resident), Liane Phillips (MSCC Publicity), Kayleigh Gordon (MSCC Publicity), Alastair Philp (local resident), Sarah Sandow (local resident), Douglas Rogers (MSCC), Tim Wright (local resident), Cllr. Marie-Clair Munro, Cllr. Ben Parker, Cllr. Pauline Flannery

 

APOLOGIES:

Nil

 

IN ATTENDANCE

 Modupe Ojo (Minutes Secretary)

Catherine Henderson (Scottish Water)

Graeme (Scottish Water Site Manager)

 

DISCUSSIONS

 

The meeting began at 7:31 p.m.

Catherine Henderson gave an update on the ongoing Scottish Water project in the area. She began with an overview of the project which is the upgrade of the sewer system in the Marchmont area. The project involves increasing the capacity of the sewer network by putting in a 15m diameter, 20m deep stormwater tank, and upsizing the sewer pipes along Marchmont Crescent which is ongoing. The enabling work for the stormwater tank is ongoing, but no major excavation will happen until the new year (2023).  The project will last for 16 months if everything goes smoothly. She added that a nice wraparound has been designed for the hoardings around the main site with climate campaign messages and the designs would hopefully be finalised and put up before Christmas. Disruption-wise, the first phase of the project began on 7th of November and should be completed just before the Christmas holiday. According to Graham, the next phase of the project won’t start till the 9th of January 2023.  Catherine added that letters would go out imploring people to move their cars out of the next phased section where suspensions will be placed to ensure there is no avoidable delay. She added that as the project proceeds to other sections, the Scottish Water website (https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/In-Your-Area/Investments-in-Your-Area/Marchmont-Road-Edinburgh) will be updated with relevant information and she can also be contacted via her email address.

Catherine added that they have been trying to reach the Council about extending and allowing people to park outwith their normal zones but were yet to get a response on this. Cllr. Parker said the Councillors present at the meeting would look into this.

 

Kayleigh asked to confirm if the sewer system will benefit both those in Marchmont Crescent and Marchmont Road, and Catherine confirmed this was the case.

Sarah stated how impressed she was with the speed with which they had gone about beginning the project, and things are being done efficiently. She asked for reassurance on how the state of the pavement would be improved at the end of the project. Catherine stated that Scottish Water would reinstate anything worked on at the end of the project.

Cllr. Munro asked if Catherine had any update about the plans for university buses operating along that area. Catherine said they had contacted the university directly and it would not be till towards the end of the project, and they would contact the university again towards this period and update any available information on bus diversions the website.

Douglas asked if they would have to go into the bedrock for only the stormwater tank or for the sewer as well. He also asked how they intend to handle the flower beds/planters along Marchmont and Catherine said they would be moved carefully if they are in the way at all.

Margaret asked if there are any plans for the other parts of the Meadows as she was also experiencing some form of flooding issues in her house and had contacted Scottish Water but was yet to get a response. Catherine stated that Scottish Water was aware of these kind of issues but due to available resources, they need to prioritise and the flooding team was getting a lot of calls but someone will eventually get back to her. Margaret asked to know what metrics Scottish Water was working on to know what dictates concerns/actions on what projects to prioritise. Catherine noted that it was a changing process and it is when there is a justifiable need and there is justification but that this wasn’t her area of expertise. Cllr. Parker stated there was a lot of work being done by the Council on climate adaptation, and the Council can therefore also be informed about this kind of issue.

Alastair stated he understood there were some suggestions about Scottish Water providing money for trees, and Catherine and Graeme confirmed this was the case.

Anthony asked if there was any form of lobbying being done about the wet wipes which was reported to have caused 80% of the blockages but which are actually being marketed as flushable. Catherine noted that this was a complicated issue, but the core message of Scottish Water is that wet wipes should not be flushed.

Cllr Munro asked if there is a rough estimate as to how long the project will last, and Catherine said it will take around 16 months but if there are any delays, it will be updated on the website accordingly. Cllr. Munro also asked for assurance that there were security systems in place at the site, and Graeme confirmed there were measures in place. Catherine also added that they would engage in the new year with the schools which would include some safety talks.

 

Draft Minutes of last meeting 26th October 2022

Corrections were made to the Minutes. Alison moved the motion for adoption and it was seconded by Susie.

 

Publicity    

Kayleigh updated that the digital footfall on the MSCC sites has increased by about 40% over the past few months which is quite a big turnout. For the twitter account, she stated that people had been tagging the account on different issues and she wanted to know how to deal with these issues. She said that currently the main focus for publicity is the Christmas tree event and posters have been put up and Alison has been speaking to local businesses about it and they are being supportive.

Resolution:

It was agreed that issues arising from the online tagging to the twitter account should be directed to the Councillors.

 

Meadows & Bruntsfield Links: Including FOMBL report

Alison said there is a public meeting on 24th November 2022 with a talk about Hibs and Hearts FCs playing in past times on the Meadows but there is no trustees meeting date set yet. Anne said the FOMBL newsletter has also been circulated. Alison said she would send the link to the newsletter to the publicity team to advertise.

 

City Councillor report on topical local issues

Cllr. Flannery reported :

* That Sciennes primary school was still awaiting confirmation with respect to the status of the street presently blocked to motor traffic becoming a permanent part of the playground, but things are still in abeyance on that.

* The council are seeking suggestions for warm and welcome spaces for winter such as churches, libraries, museums to get in contact with her with ideas.  

* The Gaelic implementation group which was suspended before the election is about to meet again, but the details of the meeting has not yet been finalised.

* James Gillespie’s High School Trust were looking for new Trustees and anyone interested can contact her or Sheena for more details.

* There were still two live consultations—one relating to Housing with Multiple Occupancies and another on World Heritage site management plan and encouraged anyone interested to give their views on the consultations.

 

Cllr. Parker reported:

* The City Plan which dictates the future and planning decisions in the city would go through planning committee at the end of the month and will be submitted to the Scottish Government before it is returned to the Council possibly with some revisions for implementation.

* The HMO consultation will be closing at the end of December

* The World Heritage Site Mgmt Plan consultation will close also end December

*  The thriving green spaces consultation is also ongoing and it has been extended till the end of December and gives more time for contributions.

* There is a new biodiversity action plan and there is a lot of exciting work anyone interested can get involved with.

* A new group called Marchmont Neighbours are having a storytelling event on Saturday 10th December and he would send the link to anyone interested in getting involved.

 

Cllr. Munro reported:

* She has already emailed the council about the current graffiti on the Born Free installation on the Meadows and hopefully something would be done soon about it.

* The transport committee was also working on addressing the issues with the EV charge points as it has been discovered that some users of the EV charge points were not able to take advantage of their 22kW capacity because the on-board chargers in their cars have lower capacity, typically 7kW.  Thus those users cannot get enough charge in the three hour limit for each charging sessions and excess charges were given to those who stayed beyond that period, and the committee was considering how to address this issue.

Douglas explained how EV vehicle chargers work and said there is a need for more 7kw chargers on the lamp posts. Cllr. Munro said the current budget is very tight and may not be able to accommodate this.

Alastair Philp said he wrote to the Council some years ago about the strategy for widespread electric vehicles in the city as charging at a distance from your home may be a disincentive to using electric vehicles. He asked about Edinburgh’s policy for charging electric vehicles in tenement areas. Anne said the Scottish National Investment Bank tried to invest in Trojan Energy which is a provider of plug-in charger points on the pavements, but she was unsure how this would work.

Cllr Parker explained that the council has a number of climate strategies, one of which is the council's emissions reduction plan that focuses on the council's internal emissions. He added that key parts of the council's emissions strategy are focused on buildings and the way we heat our homes and also the transport system, because those are the two biggest sources of emissions and he said the council has an internal strategy to address this. Also, transport is a major concern and the emphasis is on reducing the number of private vehicles that we have in the city, and not only about electric vehicles. Having lamppost charging around the city for electric vehicles creates its own problems and that the main emphasis should be on congestion and the need to reduce private vehicles in the city centre. 

Douglas noted that forcing people out of using their cars by not being able to access charging points would mean those living in new housing around the green belt will have an advantage in that they can come into town and block up roads and cause more congestion. 

Cllr Munro said that on the issue of the pavement condition outside Marchmont Hardware, she said the feedback she got was that the condition of the pavement was not bad enough. Brian also read the mail printout given by Kayleigh stating that the pavement was assessed and deemed priority 4 which did not require immediate attention. Cllr Munro said someone else had fallen on that pavement and she had contacted the authority again stating that she was not satisfied with the email sent and wanted to do a personal inspection with them.

She further updated that she and the other Councillors were contacted by the developers of Midmar Paddock (which is currently used for recreational purposes) to ask for a meeting with the Councillors in order to show them more detailed plans. She said she would organise a meeting.

Anne raised the problem of the potential sinkhole at the bottom of Sylvan Place which she was told has been reported to the Council by Downing Construction but was not sure if anything had been done about it. Cllr Flannery offered to deal with this if Anne emailed her about it.

 

Christmas event

Alison updated that everything has been organised and all relevant permissions has been obtained.  However, helpers are needed at the event itself. Alastair Philp said that if Alison contacted his wife she might be able to spread the word about helpers at the JG Parents Association. Alison said she would do that and would contact the Sciennes Head Teacher as well.  There is no need for staging as the Acapella Kids would sing in the Church hall. The event will start by 4:30 p.m.

 

Sick Kids site: update

Anne said the update on this has been circulated.

Douglas said there had been a successful meeting with the Home Group who are building the affordable housing block at the bottom of Sylvan Place and doing the site landscaping.  He said he had already sent out some notes on this meeting. He asked for the Community Council to support him in getting Square and Crescent, the developers of the Victorian buildings and the old main hospital Building for private housing to meet him and anyone else interested to get specific details about the renovations envisaged,  such as the insulation, heating etc but that their communication was poor.  Anne said the email sent earlier implied they would not be having a meeting till February.

Douglas also raised the issue about cobbles (setts) for Sylvan Place to be reinstalled, and said he wanted to petition the council to review this. It was suggested he check around the neighbours as not everyone there would welcome cobbles – they can be very noisy!

Resolutions: It was agreed that Douglas should survey the residents to see who wanted the cobbles or not

 

Astley Ainslie Hospital Redevelopment: update

Nil

 

Condition of pavements

Update given above under Councillor Topical Issues by Cllr. Munro.

 

Proposed defibrillator

No news back on this though the fund raising is ongoing.

 

Planning applications

Nigel said some local residents were upset about the planning application at 30 Mansionhouse Road to build a new 2-storey house in the grounds, in place of its double garage.  The Grange Association has a meeting on Monday and expected a decision to object.  

 

Grange Cemetery update

Nigel said the update has been circulated and more volunteers were always welcome.

 

Treasurer's report

 The balance is now £1932

 

Meetings attended

Douglas said he has attended all the meetings offered associated with COP27 and he will send an email summarizing them plus some comments on the discussions at the meeting. 

 

AOCB

Nil

Date of next meeting

Wednesday 25thJanuary 2023

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

MSCC - Draft Agenda for Wednesday 25th January 2023

 

Marchmont & Sciennes

Community Council

 

Meeting on Wed 25th January 2023 at 7:30pm

To be held at St Catherine’s Argyle Church Hall

 

 

 

 

A G E N D A

 

 

 

 1          Sederunt and apologies

2          Draft Minutes of last meeting 23rd November 2022; actions and matters arising (not otherwise on Agenda)

3          Publicity

4          Meadows & Bruntsfield Links: Including FOMBL report

5          SE Community Police newsletter (circulated)

5         City Councillor report on topical local issues

 

 

 

Items for discussion

 6           Christmas event

7              Sick Kids site: update

8              Astley Ainslie Hospital Redevelopment: update

9            Suggested street improvement plan (circulated)

12           Planning applications

13           Grange Cemetery update  (circulated)

For info:

14           Treasurer's report    (circulated)

15           Meetings attended

16           AOCB

17           Date of next meeting : Wednesday 22nd February  2023

 

All who live or work locally are welcome to attend

Sunday, 27 November 2022

MSCC Minutes for October 2022

 

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   MARCHMONT & SCIENNES COMMUNITY COUNCIL

 

MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 26TH OCTOBER 2022

7:30 P.M. AT ST. CATHERINE’S ARGYLE

 

ATTENDANCE

 

PRESENT:

Brian Gilmore (Chair, MSCC), Alison Service (MSCC Treasurer), Anthony Holmes, Emma Willson (local resident), Cllr. Neil Ross, Nigel Ayton (Grange Association), Susie Agnew (MSCC), Margaret Coughtrie (local resident)

 

APOLOGIES: Anne Laing (MSCC Secretary), Kayleigh Gordon (MSCC Publicity), Liane Phillips (MSCC Publicity), Douglas Rogers (MSCC)

 

IN ATTENDANCE

 Modupe Ojo (Minutes Secretary)

 

DISCUSSIONS

 

The meeting began at 7:33. Brian introduced Modupe, the new Minutes secretary.

Brian apologized for the error of including the presentation by Catherine Henderson from Scottish Water on the agenda for that day’s meeting. He noted that Catherine would be coming for the next meeting (Wednesday, 23 November 2022).

Nigel pointed out that the date on the draft minutes of the previous meeting was wrong and it was noted for amendment.

Alison proposed the adoption of the minutes of meeting and it was seconded by Nigel.

 

 

Police Report:

The Newsletter sent by the Police had been earlier circulated. Brian noted that the Police sent a cover letter with the newsletter stating that the police would not be routinely attending the meetings except if there is a specific request for their presence. The police quarterly newsletter would serve as feedback. Brian noted that the lesson to be learnt from this cover letter is that if anyone thinks there is a need for the police to attend the meeting, the secretary should be informed prior to the meeting so the police can be invited.

 

Scottish Water:

Brian noted that Marchmont Crescent would be closed as a through road for approximately 7 months. Cllr. Ross clarified that the closure would happen in phases and the northern part would be closed first.

Emma Wilson asked about the right person to contact if residents had suggestions about how the Northern end of Marchmont Crescent could be made more attractive. She said that several of the residents there would like to see some sort of street-scaping as it was a lovely corner which could be greatly enhanced with their various ideas. In the resulting discussion Cllr. Ross suggested that since Scottish Water had said they would be prepared to make some financial contribution to the community, they could be approached to make a  monetary contribution  for this proposal. The council could in turn use this contribution for any ideal project in the area. Brian noted that the timing might be the issue and it would be best to work with a concrete suggestion.

It was put to Emma that she and the other residents put together an actual plan of their ideas for improving the area and present it to the MSCC in the November meeting. After that, the MSCC could approach Scottish Water for some financial aid, after which it would be put to the Council for implementation. Now was the time to do it as the whole area is going to be dug up over the next few months.

 

 

 

Meadows & Bruntsfield Links: Including FOMBL report

There is currently no new report on FOMBL. Alison however noted that she would be attending a public meeting on 23rd with a speaker giving a presentation on the history of how Hibs and Hearts used to play matches on the Meadows. FOMBL and various other organisations had been planning something special for Mike Shields’ retirement. However, Mike is planning his own event for sometime in December. She would update the community council when she gets the definite date and the number of representatives from MSCC to attend.

Susie pointed out that the Born Free “Lions and Safari” installation on The Meadows is wonderful and attracting hundreds of people to view it. However, the ground around it is already horribly muddy and there are still 2-3 months to go.  Cllr Ross said he would notify the correct people to hopefully remedy the situation with some plastic ground covering to protect both the grass and the viewers’ boots!

 

 Publicity     

No report.

 

City Councillor report on topical local issues

Cllr. Ross updated that consultation is live on the website for raising the standards of HMOs, and the conditions surrounding granting licences to landlords for interim properties.  One of the initiatives is a best practice guide for landlords because none currently exists, and would encourage better practices by the landlords.  Cllr. Ross said that one area to improve is the requirement that emergency contacts are provided to near neighbours on an annual basis instead of the present 3-year basis as those who are new to the building may not know who to contact.  He encouraged everyone to respond and comment on this consultation.

Margaret Coughtrie asked about cases where letting agents were not known and the apartments were mostly occupied by students who weren’t long-term tenants. Cllr Ross said neighbours should be informed once a year as a condition of licence.

Cllr Ross went on to update the meeting about the new licensing arrangements for Short-Term Lets (STL) in Edinburgh.  The City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) is taking advantage of recent Scottish Government legislation that enables local authorities to designate STL Control Areas.  Edinburgh has applied for the entire city to become a STL Control Area.  This means that all STLs must be licensed.  One of the licence conditions is that a property must hold the appropriate planning consent for its use.  If a property is not occupied by its owner but is used solely as a commercial STL, then the planning status of the property must be “Short Term Let”, and not “Residential”.  Therefore, many owners of properties that are currently operated as STLs are applying now for planning permission for change of use, before the deadline of 1 April 2023 for all such existing STLs to have applied if they are to be allowed to continue in business prior to having their STL licence application assessed.  CEC has issued draft changes to its “Guidance for Businesses” that includes criteria by which planning applications for change of use to STL will be assessed.  The proposed changes are open for public consultation until 22 December 2022.

 

Sick Kids site update:

The report from Downing has been circulated. Douglas met  the Home Group and his report has also been circulated.

 

Astley Ainslie Hospital Redevelopment:

No update

 

Condition of pavements:

Alison mentioned that one of the Councillors had been to look into the pavements issue at the junction of Chalmers Crescent and Roseneath Street and liaise accordingly. Brian said it was best to carry this issue over to the next meeting in case Kaleigh and Lianne have an update on it.

 

Proposed defibrillators:

Alison said she went to see the Earl of Marchmont who started the fund for three defibrillators for the area.  Twice now she has left her contact details to be passed to the manager and owner, but hasn’t heard from them. She will try again.

 

Energy/insulation

Alison said she had tried to get someone from Home Energy Scotland to come to speak at the November meeting but they are currently really busy and would not be able to take any speaking engagements. She was sent videos for a presentation but Douglas didn’t think the video’s quality is of a high standard and he is prepared to himself put together a presentation instead.

Resolution: If Douglas agrees, then his presentation will take place in the Jan-23 meeting since Catherine from Scottish Water would be speaking at the meeting in the Nov-22 meeting.

 

Planning applications

Nigel followed up on the comments earlier by Cllr Ross about CEC’s consultation on changes to the Guidance for Businesses that relates to planning applications for change of us to Short Term Let (STL).  The Grange Association is itself consulting its members on its proposed default position that it will object to any planning application for a STL in a shared stair with residential properties or any STL that shares an entrance with a residential property.  This appears consistent with the proposed CEC changes to its guidance.

 

Grange Cemetery update:

The update on this has been circulated. Nigel said it is necessary to send someone on a training course for heavy lifting and handling to be able to supervise the restoration of the gravestones. 

Resolution: Cllr. Ross would look into this.

 

Christmas Tree event:

According to Alison, the electrics in the normal Christmas tree hole outside ScotMid have been dug up by council workers in error. However, a 24-foot Christmas tree would be delivered with its own heavy base as there is no time to fit new electrics before the event so lighting will be fed from the street lamps she thinks.  The A Capella Kids and various JG choirs and bands will all be participating. The Acapella Kids will sing with the community at the tree, but they prefer to do their wee show at the hall where they are heard better.  The charity collection will have to be done at the hall as the council now charges £500 for a permit for a street collection. Cllr Ross found this surprising and said he would check that. (Cllr Ross subsequently reported the charge is for ‘closing’ a street, not having a collection).

 

Treasurer's report:

The report has been circulated. The council has a bank balance of £1972.93.

 

 

Meetings attended:

No meeting attended

 

AOCB:

Anthony inquired about the charging of electric vehicles, especially considering the health and safety aspect to the ad hoc trailing of cables across pavements by vehicle owners using sockets in their own homes. The Thirlestane Lane Assoc own the wall opposite the wee houses and do not allow charging points to be put on the wall. Cables running from houses to cars are a danger.  It was pointed out that there are eight public charging points at the west end of Thirlestane Road just round the corner and they should be used instead. 

 

 

Margaret Cloughtrie said camper vans were parking right in front of her flat and obstructing her view of The Meadows. She wanted to know the rules about camper vans parking and what can be done about this. Cllr. Neil said that there would have to be a change in the law so the best method would be to get on to her MSP. At present caravans and camper vans can park just like cars.

Anthony asked about when the renovations and repairs would be completed at the Warrender Swim Centre, and Cllr. Neil said there are positive indications that it would be done soon.   

 

Date of next meeting: Wednesday 23rd November 2022