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Friday, 28 September 2007

MSCC minutes: 12 September 2007

1. Sederunt and Apologies
Susie Agnew welcomed attendees to the meeting and noted apologies.

2 Minutes of meeting held 15 August 2007
The minutes were accepted as a true record. (Proposed: Linda Smith; Seconded: Anne Laird.)

3 Matters Arising
It was agreed that matters arising from the previous meeting would be covered later on in the agenda.

4 Police Report
Sergeant Norman Towler introduced PC Lindsey Thomson, new community beat officer for Marchmont. There have been 15 house-breakings in the last month, all of which were the result of body pressure against Yale locks and Sergeant Towler reiterated the importance of using mortice locks. The perpetrators of nine of these break-ins are in custody and the police have good lines of inquiry for the other cases. Crime activity on the Meadows has gone back down to normal and this is likely to be connected to the end of the school holidays. The police are considering forming a Meadows Focus Group next year with representation from local interest groups to look at ways of tackling crime on the Meadows.

Sergeant Towler then gave the opportunity for questions and there was brief discussion of graffiti. The police are aware that graffiti is an issue and would request that anyone seeing graffiti to submit a photo of it to the police. The Council has a graffiti squad who can be contacted to remove graffiti.

There was also discussion of banners being torn down in the local area. Sergeant Towler encouraged attendees to report all incidents of crime, even if they feel there’s nothing the police can do about them, since it helps the police to build up an evidence base.

PC Thomson will be establishing an e-newsletter using PC Burt’s contact list. Anyone wishing to be added to this list should e-mail:

5 Gillespie school building update
Councillor Marilyne MacLaren updated the group on the work that has taken place on the school over the summer. This work was allocated a budget of £1.2 million and included:
The rebuilding of the gable end of two teaching blocks where stones were falling off. This was a health and safety issue.
Major work in all teaching corridors
Fire doors have been strengthened and replaced
Introduction of CCTV
A security system on all doors
Some mechanical and electrical work on teaching blocks
Upgrading of fire alarms
Replacement and recovering of roofs
There are future plans to re-build the school on site and a £90 million bid has been made to the Scottish Government which will be essential if this work is to be undertaken. The results of this bid will be available subsequent to the Scottish Government spending review in October/November.

6 Neighbourhood Partnership Report
Hugh Leather represented the MSCC at the first meeting of the Neighbourhood Partnership (NP) on 10th September. NP managers were available to answer questions from an hour before the meeting and Hugh recommended these as useful opportunities for an informal chat. The meeting itself included:
- Presentations from the police representative on the group.
- A presentation from Sian Lovell of Edinburgh City Council on the Marchmont streetscape project.
- A presentation from Susan Bruce explaining how the NP sub-structure still needs to be sorted out and that there will be training for NP representatives to help them understand area profiles for the local community plan.
- There was mention of the Tollcross centre study.
- The Meadows action plan was discussed.
- Some other local issues were raised.
- The Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) has applied to have NP representation. The group agreed that it is important to have student representation and will look into the best way of achieving this.
- The group agreed that the NP did not need to agree a formal ‘vision’.
- The NP has £60,000 in its budget for grant applications this year.

Archie Enwood of Edinburgh Council was present at the MSCC meeting and explained that the MSCC will be allocated a NP liaison officer from the Council to come along to meetings. He updated the group on progress with Susan Bruce’s action points from the August meeting:
- Susan Bruce contacted Mr Bell, Manager for Bereavement and Public Health at the Council, and found that there is no money available to allow the Council’s policy of flattening headstones to be changed.
- Susan Bruce was unable to obtain more information on the issue of special uplift.
- The Environment Manager will review the issue of the pavement in Warrender Park Terrace on his return from annual leave.
- Susan Bruce has no information at present about the licensing arrangements for temporary caf├ęs erected on the Meadows during the festival.

- Susie Agnew, Dorothy Ryle and Ken Dougall will meet with Mr Bell to discuss headstones, and consider whether it might be feasible to apply to the NP for some money to address this issue.
- Mr Bell will be invited to the next meeting of the group.
- A council representative will be invited to the next meeting of the group to answer questions about the new policy on special uplift of rubbish.
- Archie Enwood will look into how many special uplifts were typically requested per household last year.
- Archie Enwood will pass on concerns raised about the pavement at the North end of Marchmont Crescent to John Gilmore, Roads Manager.

7 & 8 Involving the community & improving the website

It was agreed that there is a need to make attempts to involve more of the community in MSCC meetings if the MSCC is to be truly representative. There was general discussion and the following suggestions were made:
- Everyone could bring along one friend.
- More effort should be made to include the Sciennes community.
- Professional posters should be put up in local shops.
- Political parties should put meeting dates in their newsletters.
- Interesting issues to be covered at meetings should be highlighted on MSCC posters.
- Opportunities should be made to interact with groups directly, through methods such as on-line voting.
- Can we produce a newsletter to make what we do more visible? Could this be in electronic format, for example in TV screens in shops?
- Ask the Meadows Directory to include a MSCC report.
- Flyer at school gates.
- Include information about the MSCC in school newsletters.
- Ensure notices in libraries are up-to-date.
- Charles Stewart is happy to put information in the Shuttle. Any information would need to be with him electronically by the first Sunday of the month.

- Fiona Scott, Ken Dougall, Sarah Sandow and Hugh Leather will form a sub-group to look at the issue of involving more of the local community and come up with an action plan for discussion at the November MSCC meeting.
- The MSCC accounts will be put on the blog for a 3 month trial period. Hugh Leather will respond to e-mail queries regarding the accounts, explaining that all queries can be raised at MSCC meetings.

9 Meadows Festival Report

Hugh Leather updated the group that the committee met last week, and have provisionally booked the dates of 6-7 June 2008 for the Meadows Festival. Eric and Sharon Dougall, the previous organisers of the festival are now involved and are giving very helpful advice. The committee is going to attempt to take over the existing Meadows Festival charity and if all goes well an AGM will be announced in the next month or so for election of office-bearers. Members of the group have been shown round the Meadows by the Parks Manager and now have an idea of the facilities available for the Festival.
The group is looking for more volunteers to be involved in the organisation of the Meadows Festival. Anyone interested should contact Hugh Leather.

10 Roads and Traffic
No roads and traffic issues were raised.

11 Planning and Licensing Issues
The group was notified of some plans for Queen Margaret College, and agreed no action was required. There have been no House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) applications.

12 Any other business
12.1 Meadows Place
The MSCC has lodged a formal objection to the closing of Meadows Place and received an acknowledgement. At the August meeting it was agreed that Councillor Cameron Rose would take up this issue with the appropriate people, and the group awaits an update.
9.2 Minutes for October meetinig
Susanna Lacey will stand in for Rebecca Patterson taking minutes at the October meeting.
12.3 Licence application
A street food trader will soon begin trading at the foot of Charlotte Street. Tollcross Community Council lodged an objection to this.
9.3 Edinburgh Evening News
The Edinburgh Evening News is looking for interesting stories about local people. Anything relevant should be sent directly to the Edinburgh Evening News.
12.4 Mystery shoppers
Edinburgh City Council is looking for 20 mystery shoppers to test services for communities. More information is available on the front page of the Council website.
12.5 No. 24 bus service
Susie Agnew will write to the Council expressing the MSCC’s view that the no.24 bus service should be increased to at least 3 buses per hour.
12.6 NHS Lothian consultation
At the October meeting, the group will decide whether it wishes to submit a collective MSCC response to this document.

13 Next meeting
The next meeting of the group will take place on Wednesday 10 October, beginning at 7.30pm, at St Catherine’s Argyle Church Community Hall, Grange Road.

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