1 Sederunt and Apologies and Welcome
Melanie Main explained that she was standing in for Anne Laird as Chair for the meeting. She welcomed attendees to the meeting and noted apologies.
2 Meeting of 16 May meeting
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved, pending an amendment under item 5 to alter ‘July meeting’ to read ‘a future meeting’. (Proposed: Susie Agnew; Seconded: Hugh Leather)
3 Matters arising
Hugh Leather updated the group:
- Hugh Leather and Alastair Philp attended the Neighbourhood Partnership induction day. Hugh brought some slides and booklets from the induction day along to the MSCC meeting for people to look at. The agenda for the first meeting of the local Neighbourhood Partnership is available on the MSCC blog. This meeting won’t be open to the public, but Alastair Philp will represent the MSCC and put forward the MSCC’s view that future meetings should be open to the public.
- Four representatives from the MSCC met with Rob Tomlinson, Head of Media and Communications at the University of Edinburgh, to give their views on improving relations between the community and the university. One recommendation was that a university representative should attend MSCC meetings. The university hasn’t yet finalised its resulting plan of action, but they will keep the MSCC informed of progress.
- Given that there are likely to be occasions where other local community council meetings are scheduled to take place at the same time as MSCC meetings, Hugh Leather has e-mailed the dates of future MSCC meetings to local councillors. On the advice of the local councillors present, the group agreed to take no further action on this issue, since it was felt that adequate councillor representation is likely to be achieved even when different community council meetings coincide.
Hugh Leather will invite Susan Bruce (SfC Neighbourhood Manager) to attend a future meeting of the group.
4 Police Report
Bruce Burt was unable to attend the meeting. An updated Police Report will be provided at the August meeting.
5 What is happening with the Sick Kids site and James Gillespies Building Campaign?
Melanie Main updated the group that Sciennes Primary School PTA has been dissolved, and a School Council comprising 15 members has been set up in its place. Melanie Main is on the new School Council, and is Chair of the Sciennes Sick Kids Group, which plans to look into future use of the grounds of the Sick Kids hospital. There has been much interest in this group from parents, and there are plans to start a campaign to obtain some of the land from the Sick Kids hospital for use by Sciennes Primary School.
The James Gillespie High School Building Campaign is concerned with the issue of the high school falling into disrepair. Emergency works to the school will take place over the summer holidays, and the campaign group is awaiting news from the Children and Families Committee as to any other likely future developments.
Hugh Leather will invite Councillor Marilyne McLaren, Chair of the Children and Families Committee, to provide an update on this issue at a future meeting.
6 Reports of meetings by members
6.1 Quarter Mile
Since the May MSCC meeting, no further meetings have been initiated by the Quarter Mile developers. However the group briefly discussed plans for one of the development’s retail areas, which will open on to Middle Meadow Walk, and will include approximately five shops. Unofficial reports indicate that the largest of these retail units is likely to be leased to a local retailer. It will be possible to access these shops, and the rest of the development, from Middle Meadow walk, and concerns were expressed that this is likely to result in the loss of the grassy area currently to one side of Middle Meadow Walk. Concerns were also expressed that the wall behind the ‘Quarter Mile’ barrier on Middle Meadow Walk has been demolished, contrary to the original developers’ agreement with the Council.
6.2 James Gillespie Primary School Board
Ken Dougall updated the group that the James Gillespie Primary School PTA has been dissolved, and will be replaced by a School Council. The new Council’s constitution has been finalised, and membership elections are scheduled to take place in September.
7 Notices of meetings/events of interest
A meeting of the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils will take place on 30th June, at 10am in the City Chambers. John Simon will attend. Someone from each Neighbourhood Partnership area is required to be elected on to the Executive of the Association.
Alastair Philp will discuss with other Neighbourhood Partnership Board Members how this election process should be undertaken.
- The first meeting of the local Neighbourhood Partnership Board will take place on 27th June.
- Andy Wightman will be giving a lecture on the ‘Common Good’, at 7.30pm on 27th June, in the St Stephen’s Centre. Information about this lecture is available on the MSCC blog.
8 Any other business
Concerns were expressed at the reduction of the number of non-residential parking spaces on Warrender Park Terrace.
Hugh Leather will investigate whether this is a permanent change to the parking conditions, and whether visitors’ permits will become available for this area.
8.2 Edinburgh City Plan
Melanie Main updated the group that she has spent some time reading through the Edinburgh City Plan, and has several concerns, including concerns that it doesn’t safeguard local shops, and that it is so flexible and loose in its definitions that it is too open to interpretation. Monica Higgins reported that the Traders Association also plans to discuss this document.
Local councillors provided clarification on the status of this document: Following the completion of the consultation period on the draft Edinburgh City Plan, the Council is currently running a consultation on the ‘final’ version of the Plan to give the community the opportunity to comment on the changes the Council has made in response to the previous consultation. The current consultation period ends on 6th July and any objections will be considered, if necessary be means of a planning enquiry. The production and consultation of updated city plans is an ongoing process, and it is likely that the consultation process on the next Edinburgh City Plan will begin next year.
Anyone wishing to read and comment on the plan before 6th July should contact Melanie Main for an e-mail discussion of the issues it raises.
8.3 Meadows Festival
Cameron Rose updated the group. A small group comprising representatives from local Community Councils and Friends of the Meadows met for the third time on 19th June, to discuss the possible resurrection of the Meadows Festival. The group will be meeting again over the summer to discuss its recommendations, after which Cameron hopes to be able to provide a fuller report to the MSCC.
8.4 Marchmont St Giles
Marchmont St Giles Church has recently opened a new tea room called ‘Butterflies’, with the opening hours of 10am-4pm. Profits raised will be donated to the church.
8.5 Bus shelters on north side of Grange Road
Anne Laird will write a letter to the Council requesting that bus shelters be placed on the north side of Grange Road.
8.6 Facilities for people with hearing difficulties
Hugh Leather reported that it has been brought to his attention that people with hearing difficulties may be reluctant to attend MSCC meetings if they have a problem hearing and therefore taking part in the discussions taking place. He has therefore investigated two ‘hearing loop’ systems which may enable those with hearing problems to get more involved:
- A hearing loop system for a living-room sized space would cost £65.
- A hearing loop system for a room the size of the church hall costs £800.
- Both systems are portable. There was brief discussion, and it was suggested that if the MSCC bough such a system, it may be possible to make it available for use by other local groups.
Hugh Leather will look into obtaining the cheaper system on a 28-day trial basis, and liaise with Alison Johnstone to try to find someone who would be willing to trial the system.
Anyone who has suggestions of other similar issues that the MSCC is currently not making provision for should raise them at a future meeting.
8.7 MSCC meetings
Hugh Leather will ensure that future MSCC meetings are appropriately sign-posted and that the door is kept open.
9 Date of next meeting
The next meeting of the MSCC will take place on Wednesday 15 August, beginning at 7.30pm in St Catherine’s Argyle Community Hall.