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Friday, 6 April 2007

Minutes of MSCC Meeting: 21 March 2007

1 Sederunt and Apologies
Cameron Rose noted apologies and welcomed attendees to the meeting.

2 Minutes of 21 February Meeting
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved pending the addition of the following bullet point under item 7:
‘Audrey Simon questioned why the previous organisers were not being required to pass records on to future organisers. She also questioned whether previous organisers had registered a charity, or had received a grant from the Council, in which case they would have been required to account for the spending of the grant.’
(Proposed: Susie Agnew; Seconded: Linda Smith.)

3 Police Report: PC Bruce Bert
PC Bruce Burt, Community Police Officer for Marchmont, updated the group. There are often complaints of graffiti in the area, and PC Burt asks for photos of each piece to be sent to him. The author of each piece of graffiti can be identified by a unique ‘tag’ incorporated into each piece of graffiti, so photos can be a real help in identifying how many graffiti offences have been committed by a single individual, The police have recently charged two 15-year-old boys for committing 98 acts of graffiti.

On 1 April 2007, a reorganisation is taking place which will result in St Leonard’s Police Station becoming the local police station for Marchmont. The police station will receive 20 extra police officers, resulting in more officers patrolling the Marchmont and Meadows area. PC Burt will remain the local police officer for the Marchmont area.

More information is available by signing up to receive PC Burt’s fortnightly electronic police report. PC Burt can be contacted by e-mailing

4 Presentation from consultants and Council staff on proposed street landscape improvements in Roseneath Terrace/ Argyle Place areas
Sian Lovell from Edinburgh City Council and Selby Richardson from Urban Design Futures presented to the group on current work looking at possible improvements to the street landscape of the Roseneath Terrace/Argyle Place area.

Shan Lovell explained that this area is one of five local areas in Edinburgh identified by the Council as a candidate for urban improvement. A feasibility study has been carried out, which has included consultants from Urban Design Futures walking round the area with representatives from local groups to get people’s ideas for improvements. No budget has yet been identified by the Council, and the next stage is to look at possibilities and prepare definite options and costs. If funding is obtained, a larger local consultation will be undertaken.

Selby Richardson explained that the study area has been extended to include the Marchmont Road junction, as well as the Roseneath Terrace/ Argyle Place area. It has not been possible to include the area at the top of Marchmont Road in these plans, since the Council has identified this as being a different ‘shopping area’, which has already benefited from some improvements.

The main issues addressed in his draft proposals are:
- Narrow pavements in front of shops on the north side of Roseneath Street and the west side of Argyle Place
- Poor quality paved surfaces
- Lack of short stay parking
- Poor quality and uncoordinated street furniture/ street clutter
- Lack of unifying character/area focus
Selby then showed the group some preliminary drawings of the study area, emphasising that these are initial thoughts, all aspects of which will be checked thoroughly before any decisions are made.

Roseneath Street and Argyle Place Junction
The initial ideas of Urban Design Futures are to narrow the roads and widen the pavement by 2 – 2 ½ metres, to allow more space for movement on the pavement,an extra avenue of trees and a shorter crossing point between Argyle Place and Roseneath Street.

The group discussed these ideas and emphasised that any proposals to narrow roads should take into account the need for buses, delivery trucks and cars to get round the corner.

Roseneath Street/ Warrender Road Junction
Initial ideas include widening the pavement (resulting in the loss of one parking space), more trees and seats, a designated space for the Christmas tree, and additional cycle racks. Ways are being sought to accommodate recycling bins.

Group discussion followed and the following views were expressed:
- Any changes should not adversely affect cyclists.
- Current plans would result in there being no greenery at some times of year, and if ‘planter’ pots are being considered as an alternative, consideration needs to be made of how these will be maintained.
- The crossing point from the bus stop at Marchmont Crescent (south) and the Co-op is dangerous with poor visibility, and action should be taken to address this.

Warrender Park Road/ Marchmont Road Junction
The consultants have not yet made suggestions concerning this area and asked the group for their suggestions, which included the following:
· This is a windy area not particularly suited to benches. Trees might be a nice addition.
· The creation of some kind of ‘Marchmont crest’ to put on benches, sign posts etc to add interest and a sense of local continuity. It was also raised that since not all of Marchmont is included in this project, it may not be appropriate to have ‘crests’ of this kind in one but not all areas of Marchmont.
· The addition of signposts, for example to ‘local shops’, ‘post office’ etc. This would have the value of allowing areas not included in the project, such as the shops at the top of Marchmont Road, to be signposted.
· The addition of signs providing information about the local area.
· The James Gillespies Primary Safe Routes to School Group Travel Plan contains a request for the Council to assess the crossing for improvements to make it safer, including the option of installing a puffin crossing. The Council's response has been to suggest pavement extensions - one on the western side to make waiting pedestrians more visible to traffic approaching northwards, and the other to make the south-east corner squarer, so that traffic turning onto Marchmont Road from Warrender Park Road has to slow right down.
· The zebra crossing is hard to see when approaching by car from the north (uphill) and therefore any further street furniture, especially signage, should be very carefully placed to avoid further distracting drivers from the presence of the zebra.

More general group discussion followed, and the following points were made:
- Bollards are helpful in preventing the cracking of paving stones.
- The consultants should be aware that parking is a live issue in Marchmont and that there are plans to create some new parking spaces which the community would be extremely reluctant to lose.

- Rebecca Patterson will e-mail a summary of the group discussion to Selby Richardson
- Selby Richardson will check the MSCC blog for a list of the planned new parking spaces
- Monica Higgins and Melanie Main will continue to liaise with the Council and Urban Design Futures on behalf of the MSCC, keeping the group updated with future developments and any further opportunities to comment.

5 Matters Arising
5.1 Donnie Henderson Shadlerz
Marilyne Maclaren informed the group that Donnie Henderson Shadlerz recently suffered a brain haemorrhage and has had to resign from the James Gillespie Oral History Project.
The group expressed its concern for Donnie and will send her a card with the MSCC’s best wishes.

6 Controlled Parking Zone(s): update(s)
Monica Higgins updated the group on the objections the Council has received to date regarding retailers’ parking permits. 83 objections have been made on the basis of cost. Issues raised include the inability of retailers to park in residents’ zones, and the need for businesses to prove they have an operational need for a vehicle to be eligible for a permit. This means that most businesses won’t be eligible for the permits, and raises questions as to the criteria for demonstrating ‘operational need’, which seem to be based on delivery requirements. A meeting of the Executive is being held on 27 March, and this is the last opportunity for objections to be raised to the permits. The Traders’ Association will be sending a deputation to this meeting.
ACTION: The MSCC will send a deputation to the Executive meeting on 27th March, in support of local traders.

7 Treasurer’s Report
Melanie Main provided the group with copies of the MSCC budget for the year 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007. It is expected that there will be around £2650 in the funds at the end of this financial year, and the group will find appropriate ways of spending this money as opportunities arise.
ACTION: The group agreed to re-new its advert in the Meadows Directory for six months, at a cost of £165, and to ask the Editor if it might be possible to include a feature on the MSCC in a future edition.

8 Website:
Cameron expressed thanks to Hugh Leather for his work since February meeting, and updated the group that this has included the creation of a blogspot for the MSCC. The blogspot is easy to maintain, can be used to make accessible all MSCC information, and has additional features to facilitate group e-mails.

There was brief discussion and the group agreed that the blogspot will be trialled as the MSCC’s new website. The current MSCC website (on the Council provided ‘My Edinburgh’ space) will be left as it is for the time being.

- Melanie Main will look into adding a disclaimer to the site.
- The minutes of each meeting will be put on the website, marked as ‘unconfirmed’ until approved by the group at the meeting. Draft copies will be replaced by approved copies after the meeting has taken place.
- The website will be regularly updated to include the police report, and any other relevant information.

9 Proposed garden party Marchmont Crescent
Sarah Sanderson and Mailin Chong Kwan informed the meeting that a group of residents living in Marchmont Crescent are planning to hold a garden party for block-residents in their inter-connected back greens. The party will be to celebrate the community, foster relationships and get people interested in their back greens. It is hoped to include a bouncy castle and representation from the emergency services. The organising group have looked into applying for a Local Development Committee grant, and having seen the formalities required within the application form, are re-considering their options for raising this money. It has been estimated that the party would cost approximately £275 to arrange, and Sarah and Mailin sought the group’s advice and ideas on ways to raise and look after this money.

There was general group discussion, and it was suggested that the MSCC might make a donation to assist the group in starting up the party. Though there was general agreement that this type of event should be encouraged, there were various differences of opinion regarding whether a donation should be given.
ACTION A vote was taken on this issue, and it was agreed that the MSCC would donate £50 towards the proposed garden party.

10 Gardens competition
A report on progress of the gardens competition will be given at the next meeting when Tina Cumming is present.

11 Meadows Festival consideration
Cameron Rose updated that group that a meeting has been held with representatives from all community councils bordering the Meadows, and this group will make the necessary enquiries regarding the possible resurrection of the Meadows Festival.

12 Sick Kids site
Melanie Main updated the group that, having given out 1200 leaflets in the Sciennes area and advertised the meeting in the school newsletter, around 30 people attended a meeting to discuss the lack of accommodation at Sciennes Primary School and the possible uses of the Sick Kids Hospital site when the hospital moves in 2012. Those at the meeting included a deputy council leader, councillors and local politicians. Discussion took place regarding people’s ideas and expectations regarding future use of the Sick Kids Hospital site. Indications are that the NHS would like to sell this land to the Local Authority, but the Local Authority can’t afford to buy the land. A list has been made of 8-10 people who are interested in organising a campaign to obtain some of this land for Sciennes Primary School, and a fundraiser has been identified. There is a further list of around 30 people who wish to be kept informed of future developments. Due to the elections, no further public action will be taken on this until May.

There was general group discussion, including the following points:
- NHS Lothian extends further than the city of Edinburgh. This means that, to sell land from NHS Lothian to Edinburgh City Council at less than ‘market value’ would transfer some of the wealth of other parts of NHS Lothian to Edinburgh.
- The Sick Kids Hospital site currently houses the Mortuary Chapel and several Traquair paintings which are a local asset and must not be lost to the local area.

- This will be an agenda item at the May meeting of the MSCC.
- Those wishing to be added to the mailing list to receive updates on this issue should inform Melanie Main.

13 Membership
13.1 Resignation of Chair during election period
Cameron Rose resigned as Chair as he will be standing for election in the Southside/Newington ward which includes part of the community Council area. The group expressed its appreciation to Cameron for all his work and will be sorry to lose his services if he is successful. Anne Laird, as Vice Chair, will take over the Chair’s responsibilities.
13.2 Vacancies
This item will be deferred to the next meeting.

14 Other Business
14.1 Tour of the Scottish Parliament
Anyone who wishes a private tour of the Scottish Parliament before May should let Melanie Main know at the end of the meeting.

15 Next meeting
The next meeting of the group will take place on Wednesday 16th May, at 7.30pm, venue to be advised.

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