This blog is where you will find community council information, including meeting times, minutes and agenda. Do please comment on postings.

Thursday, 4 December 2008



Formal objections are not invited at this stage but any comments will be welcomed by 8th December 2008. After this the proposals will be formally advertised

Monday, 1 December 2008

Christmas Tree lighting - 4:20pm Sa 13 Dec 08

The lights on the Marchmont and Sciennes Christmas tree (outside the Co-op at the junction of Marchmont Cres and W Pk Rd) will be turned on at 4:20pm on Sa 13 Dec. James Gillespie's High School pipe and brass bands will be playing

Afterwards there will be a carol concert and seasonal refreshments at the German-speaking Church on Chalmers Crescent.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Want to help with Meadows Festival 2009?

If you are interested in becoming (more) involved in 2009 the Meadows Festival AGM is at

7pm on Tuesday 25th November

at Tollcross Community Centre

For more details see

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

saying thank you to Graham and Jean from Warr Pk Rd PO

update: if you plan to come can you let Susie know?





Saturday 13 December

2.00PM – 3.00PM (!! updated time !)

Those wanting to contribute to a community present for Graham and Jean

Can pay money into an account at the Royal Bank of Scotland, Marchmont Road.

Account name: Susan Agnew/Anne Leith, Marchmont account

Any queries phone Susie Agnew 0131 667 4970

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Agenda 12th November 2008


1. Sederunt and Apologies.
2. Minutes of Meeting held 8 October 2008.
3. Matters Arising.
4. Police Report
5. Green Flag plan for the Meadows – Mike Shield
6. Parking standards (see attached letter)
7. South Edinburgh Echo – Alex Schweitzer-Thompson
8. Farewell to the post office arrangements
9. Reports of Meetings.
10. Any Other Business.
11. Next Meeting Wednesday 10 December 2008.

Unapproved minutes of 8th October 2008

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting held on 9 October 2008,
St Catherine’s Argyle Church Community Hall, Grange Road

Sederunt :
Susie Agnew(Chair), Anne Laird (vice chair), M Masood Malik, Cherry Ledlie (JGPS Safer Routes to School), Tina Cumming, Linda Smith, Cameron Rose (Councillor) Lindsay Thomson (Lothian and Borders Police), Yocksan Bell (Community Beat Officer from 1.12.08), Mike Shields (CEC Service for Communities), Clare MacGregor, Joanna and Neil Brierley (Warrender Park Terrace), Thomas Graham (Edinburgh University Students Association)
Sarah Marchbanks (Treasurer),Alastair Philp (Neighbourhood Partnership)
Cllr Alison Johnstone, Cllr Gordon McKenzie, Anne Laing, Susanna Lacey(secretary), Cllr Marilyn McLaren; Mark McInnes, Sarah Sandow, Dorothy Ryle, (Grange Association), Sarah Sandow; Mike Pringle MSP; Ruth Stroud

Minutes of previous meeting
Proposed Tina Cummings, seconded Cherry Ledlie

Matters Arising
Re: Meadows Update. No bookings have been accepted for future events. The hirers such as Lady Boys of Bankok, Moon Walk organizers etc are all being shown alternative sites for next year. The intention is to rest the Meadows for one year from major events to give it time to recover. No firm decisions have been taken. The drainage on the Meadows is to be renewed. The proposal to rest the Meadows and renew drainage was welcomed by the meeting.

Police Report
Lindsay Thomson introduced her successor Yocksan Bell who will take over from 1 December 2008. He has good local knowledge and has been part of the Youth Action Team. He will work out of St Leonards. There will be an overlap period.

Lindsay reported that there had been 5 break-ins during September – 3 business and 2 residential. She drew attention to a pattern that seemed to be followed by one group - they steal a van and then use that to cover their break in or use for loitering until they can break in. If members see any suspicious activity of this type they should report it and it would be particularly useful to get the Registration number of the van. Members should also be aware that any unlocked door – even when the property is occupied - may be used to enter the house and steal a handbag/car keys. The thefts only take minutes. There were four car break-ins – targeting radios and satellite navigation systems. Eight pedal cycles have been stolen and with the start of the new university year the police have been active in advising new students how to protect their property.

Another spate of shop lifting was being attributed to a male and female who enter a shop distract the owner and then take off in a car. This has happened in the Marchmont Morningside shops.
There has been some minor vandalism.
A big cannabis plant was uncovered in Drumdryan Street after a fire. A number of people have been charged.

Lindsay also reported that there is a gang going round door to door using high pressure sales tactics to sell dodgy goods. If anyone is approached they should report the incident immediately.

Some discussion about an incident behind Warrender Park Terrace on the day of the meeting where a housebreaking was reported and a male arrested. One other male absconded.

There were questions on the safety of the Meadows. There are assaults by groups of youths but the Meadows is not unsafe for pedestrians. Police advise people not to walk unaccompanied early in the morning and to keep to paths. If students are returning home in the early hours they should do so in groups where possible.

Proposed closure of Warrender Park Post Office

Susie Agnew reported on the work done. A great effort had been put in to man the post office for 53 of the 56 hours it was open over one week. This produced interesting findings that were used in the submission by the MSCC. The work put in all round had been substantial and we had to be content that we could not have done more. We now had to await the outcome on 21 October.

Edinburgh University Student Association representative

The meeting welcomed Thomas Graham, the SRC External Affairs Convenor. His remit is to work with the Scottish Parliament and other bodies to represent students, improve relations with the community and ensure that the contributions students make to the community are recognized. He is keen to encourage students to play an active part in the community and for himself and other students to have an open and interactive dialogue on the problems the community feel are caused by students including issues such as HMOs.. He would like to give a presentation after Christmas and is hoping to produce an Accommodation Guide for students which will include advice on moving into a flat and how they should behave in general when renting. He does not see his remit as extending to dealing with individuals who are causing problems but would encourage enforcement of provisions and solutions included in the HMO Licensing procedure. There is a Student Forum on 30 October to which a representative of the Community Council will be invited.

Lunch club

St Catherine’s Argyll had confirmed that the lunch club could meet in their Hall. Providers for the meal had been identified. Ross Haddow could provide the European hot food and the Kasbah could provide the Asian menu. Mr Malik and Linda Smith are taking the lead. A lot of work still has to be done. Mr Malik has identified Asian guests but we now need to identify who would like to attend from the non Asian community. The lunch club and its multi-cultural aims would need to be advertised. Funding needs to be sought – with the possibility of applying for a Community Grant from the Neighbourhood Partnership. Other administrative issues such as Health and Safety, organization of the venue etc need to be addressed. However identifying a venue had been a major breakthrough in setting up the Club.

Action: Linda Smith, Mahmoud Malik and Susie Agnew will take matters forward.

Parking standards

The proposed changes to the parking zones are outlined on the Council Website. The website address is

Meadows development – Proposed Development at Archers Hall

Susie Agnew declared an interest and vacated the Chair. Anne Laird attended the meeting organized by Southside Community Council at which the plans were exhibited and discussed. Cameron Rose explained that the development was for 90 post graduate student residents in the grounds of Archers Hall. The development was proposed by the Archers to fund the upgrading of the Hall and the conservation of their collection. Once the upgrading work was done the Hall could be used for functions by other bodies. The land was to be leased not sold to the University and this would generate a stream of income for the Archers’ organization.

The main objections to the development were that the lodge house facing onto the Meadows would be replace by a 4 storey building and that the wall facing onto the Meadows would form the back wall of a courtyard development and windows would be inserted onto the wall. The development was a modern design of brick and zinc. The tallest building would be the replacement for the lodge house which would be of the same height as the neighbouring tenement.

After listening to the presentation and walking round the site Anne Laird reported that she was of the opinion that the development had been well thought out and would not be too intrusive. The loss of the lodge, although sad, would not be a major loss and the wall in its present state was blank and did not necessarily add to the ambience. Plans of the development were circulated. The development was designed to allow pedestrian access only. Given that the purpose was student accommodation and the Community Council supported more purpose built student accommodation it was felt by the Committee that no formal objection need be lodged. The decision was considered at some length before being taken since the Meadows is a valuable resource and the Committee were aware that objections were being lodged by adjoining bodies. Thomas Graham confirmed that the University was very short of this type of post graduate student accommodation and needed more to enable the University to attract overseas students. The view of those present endorsed the decision not to object to the planning application on this occasion.

Reports of other meetings

Susie Agnew attended a presentation organized by Nigel Griffiths MP for Local Heros. We had nominated Herbert from the Chemists. It was a great success and Herbert had been appreciative of his nomination


We now have a Notice Board near the Co-op on Warrender Park Crescent. All contributions welcome.

The University are giving a presentation to the Neighbourhood Partnership of their structure plan for the development of the Kings Buildings site. Further information will follow

There is a review of the S1 Parking Zone in the Extension of Parking. A previous presentation by the MSCC last year suggested changes to the S1 zone to include that part of Zone 8 which lies to the south of the Meadows. The representations made then will be brought to the attention of the Council again.

Meeting closes.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 12 November 2008.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Agenda Wednesday 8th October 2008

The next meeting of the Community Council will be held
On WEDNESDAY 8 OCTOBER 2008 at 7.30pm in
St Catherine’s Argyle Church Hall, Grange Road

All who live or work or are active in the area are welcome.

1. Sederunt and Apologies.
2. Minutes of Meeting held 10 September 2008.
3. Matters Arising.
4. Police Report
5. Post Office
6. Edinburgh University Student Association representative.
7. Lunch club
8. Parking standards
9. Meadows development
10.Reports of other meetings
12.Meeting closes.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 12 November.

Minutes of meeting on 10.09.08

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting held on 10 September 2008,
St Catherine’s Argyle Church Community Hall, Grange Road

Sederunt :
Susie Agnew(Chair), Anne Laird (vice chair), Sarah Marchbanks (Treasurer),Alastair Philp (Neighbourhood Partnership)
Lindsay Thomson (Lothian and Borders Police), Mike Shields (CEC Service for Communities), Tina Cumming, Sarah Sandow, Melanie Main, Dorothy Ryle, (Grange Association), Clare MacGregor, Pam Masters (FOMBL), Charles Stewart, Judith Stewart, Cherry Ledlie (JGPS Safer Routes to School) Cllr Mark McInnes, Julie Odell,

Cllr Alison Johnstone, Cllr Gordon McKenzie, Cllr Cameron Rose, Anne Laing, , Susanna Lacey(secretary); Mahmoud Malik, Cllr Marilyn McLaren

Minutes of previous meeting
Proposed Sarah Marchbanks, seconded Anne Laird

Matters Arising

Police Report
Lindsay Thomson reported that Housebreakings were down in comparison to last summer Over the four month period there had been 16 in total.
Vandalism – there had been a spate in May but decreased over the summer – only a total of 8 incidents reported in the last three months. However the community should be aware that graffiti tags were appearing on plain vans – a new trend.

Cycle thefts continue to be a problem and there will be a police presence in Freshers week to educate the students on security.

She also drew members attention to a missing person who has been seen in the area and asked anyone seeing him to get in touch with the police.

She reported that Operation Artisan over the summer was very successful. The operation meant there was a more visible police presence in George Square and the Meadows over the summer period. Officers were instructed to react in a friendly but robust way. The majority of offences were dealt with by fixed penalty notices. Despite crowds of between 14,000 and 30,000 reported incidents were down 83% and there was a marked decrease in anti social behaviour with a number of youths known to the police staying away. The police also discouraged street drinkers. The reasons for the success will be the subject of analysis and it is likely that the operation will be repeated in the future.

Proposed closure of Warrender Park Post Office

Susie Agnew brought the meeting up to date with the work that had been done in this regard. Considerable effort had firstly been put into making people aware of the closure and preparing style letters and distributing these. Shoppers and businesses were targeted on the first Saturday and thereafter Homeross House Homeroyal House Warrender Baths and James Gillespie parents were targeted.The second phase drew attention to the public meeting on 9 September. This was very well attending with 340 people attending including a number of people who had made a great effort to get there – despite mobility problems. The meeting however did not result in a feeling of confidence that we had made our case to keep the post office open and further work needed to be done. We required to find out whether the facts gathered by the Post Office were accurate.

A lengthy discussion followed between those present as to how best to present our case.

The following was agreed:

Cllr Mark McInnes agreed to check the number of residents in Marchmont from the voters roll and to see if he could get numbers of parking permits to demonstrate car ownership; He will also arrange for an emergency motion before the full council to try to get grant funding in place for the alterations to ensure disabled access.

Anne Laird would prepare a questionnaire which could be used to gather information to demonstrate who used the post office and for what and why their business could not be conveniently done anywhere else.

Alastair Philp undertook to contact the Student Representatives to see if they would support the campaign

HMO Meeting/ Neighbourhood Partnership
Anne Laird reported on the meeting on 11 August. The meeting was lively and it was of concern that so many people reported problems with HMOs and with anti social behaviour. Some people reported having severe problems. A submission was made on behalf of the MSCC which dealt in depth with possible solutions to the problems and the Neighbourhood Partnership will ensure that the licensing committee consider this.

Neighbourhood Partnership

Alastair Philp reported that in addition to the discussion on HMOs, the meeting in August had also heard about: the Neighbourhood Partnership Work Plan; changes in refuse uplifts; Post Office Closures; Pedestrian Safety near construction sites and roadworks; and Edinburgh’s plan for Older People.

Community Health Partnership
Alastair Philp and Ruth Stroud had attended a discussion meeting of the Edinburgh Health Inequalities Standing Group to consider the priorities in Making Edinburgh Healthier. These were agreed as Food and Health, Physical Activity, Social Capital and Healthy Environments.

Ruth Stroud will continue to be involved in the South Edinburgh Patient Public Partnership forum which is being restarted.

Meadows Update

The meeting expressed concern at the overuse of the Meadows. The use of the Meadows for prolonged periods over the festival by the Lady Boys of Bangkok and other events had caused a lot of damage to the grass which will take time to repair. The suggestion was made that big tented events should only be allowed for a week maximum before being asked to move their tents. Friends of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links are a proactive group who have constantly highlighted the problems of overuse. However their concerns are not being addressed by the CEC. Their efforts need support and it was agreed that MSCC should raise this at the Neighbourhood Partnership.

Alastair Philp and Mark McInness will ensure this is raised at the Neighbourhood Partnership.

Lunch Club

Linda Smith with Mahmoud Malik has been taking this forward for the MSCC. Marchmont St Giles have been unable to host this because their facilities are fully committed. The Gilles Centre have advised that their facilities are also committed. St Catherines Argyll are considering whether they can host the lunch club.

Minute Secretary

Rebecca will not be returning due to family commitments. The Meeting wished her well and were sorry that she would not be returning. The post will be advertised in the Meadows Directory and the Shuttle.


Tina Cumming and Cherry Ledlie reported that the Christmas Tree Lighting had been arranged for Saturday 13 December and there would be a raffle again this year

The meeting was reminded that the fabric carrier bags with logo were now on sale in the Marchmont shops for £1.50

Date of next meeting 8 October 2008

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Letter from Community Council objecting to PO closure

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13/5 Spottiswoode Street

Edinburgh EH9 1EP

0131 229 8024

23 September 2008



The Marchmont and Sciennes Community Council strongly oppose the closure of the above post office. Aspects of your Branch Access Report were wrong and you have not carried out a sufficiently thorough inspection of the site or the alternatives which you are required to do and which you undertake to do in your Frequently Asked Questions. In order to address these issues we have looked closely at the alternatives and carried out our own consultation process by interviewing 1073 customers during the week 16 September to 22 September. This of course is less than the customers who used the Branch as we did not have the manpower to interview all customers. This response is a summation of our findings.

1 The errors in regard to Warrender Park Road Post Office.

(a) Ease of Access. There is a fundamental error here. This post office has very efficient access arrangements which work well and are frequently used. There is a bell easily reached from a wheelchair and, where necessary, the postmaster answers immediately and assists. Wheel chairs and double buggies gain easy entry. Planning Permission and grant has been obtained to ramp the step. The severely disabled who used the post office do so for all their business. The majority of the elderly and those who were disabled either walked but could not manage buses or came by car because of the ease of parking and ease of access. All in this group are extremely concerned and do not know how they are going to manage to go elsewhere for reasons explained below. Around 20% of users fell into this category.

(b) Parking. There is a parking bay immediately outside the post office as well as a lot of available parking within 20-50 yards. This is readily available parking. Our consultation showed that a number of disabled, elderly or business people who come by car use this post office because of the ease of parking and could not use others.

(c) Additional Services The Photocopying service was used regularly during the consultation period but this is not mentioned in your report.

(d) Proximity to ATM - As well as the ATM next door there is full banking service available within 125 yards.

(e) Additional retail environment. You have seriously misrepresented this. There is a plethora of shops and businesses nearby including supermarket food shops of all kinds chemist optician as well as cafes and takeaways solicitors and other businesses. You appear only to have inspected the area within 25 feet when the post office is in fact part of a shopping area which is recognized by the City of Edinburgh Council as a shopping centre of importance. I enclose a booklet “Out and About in Marchmont and Sciennes” sponsored by the Council detailing just how many shops and services are available. This is an integral part of the response and the contents of the booklet should be noted for consideration. The Post office is used by the businesses ( on one day 25% of the customers were business users who would be seriously disadvantaged by the closure).

(f) You have noted the longer opening hours but you should note also that no other post office in Edinburgh has Saturday opening until 7.30 pm. I will deal with the significance of this later.

(g) Our consultation process showed that over 85% of users of the Post Office walked to the post office (some with great difficulty and could certainly not reach another post office) and normally did so while using other businesses/shops in the area. Users are local and used ALL the facilities of Marchmont of which the post office is an integral part.

(h) This is a Parcel Force pick up point. On Saturday 20 there were 20 parcels awaiting pick up. Most of the people who pick up the parcel do not have transport and use the Saturday afternoon opening to do this.

(i) I note also from you’re your report that Marchmont Post Office is more efficient than its rivals. They deal with at a maximum 750 customer sessions per week for each serving position while the others average a maximum of 600-650. Is efficiency discounted in this process?

The report you have produced downgrades Warrender Park Post office in relation to the alternatives. In contrast you appear not to have recognized problems in relation to the other post offices. These are significant and are as follows:

2 Pertinent facts and inaccuracies in regard to alternative Post Offices:

(a) Bruntsfield This is not served by a bus from Marchmont. The walk is uphill and over treacherous slippery paths in winter. Parking is at a premium on the busy junction and it would be difficult for a blue badge holder to park immediately outside the post office. Our survey showed a lack of empty parking spaces and the configuration of roads makes it very difficult to drive round to find a space. Disabled or elderly would have to park on a “Loading area” which was also full at the time of our survey. One Bruntsfield business used the Warrender Post Office after 5 on Saturday to post 4-5 very large boxes. She cannot park near Bruntsfied and it is too far to walk with large boxes so Marchmont is her “local”and she uses it regularly.

The owner of Bruntsfield was granted Planning Permission for change of use to a restaurant and to adapt much smaller premises as the post office. This PO certainly could not cope with an increase in customers. I enclose a copy of the planning permission and also some of the complaint letters which neighbours made showing that there is tension in the neighbourhood in regard to the sub postmaster’s behaviour. We have been told that there are official complaints on his behaviour to customers and we were told on more than one occasion during our consultation he behaved rudely to customers. I understand that the level of service is not supposed to be important Why was the proposed downgrading of this post office and the obvious problems with parking and lack of public transport not of significance when considering which PO to close.

(b) Tollcross This is a major failing in the report. You have failed to note that although there is potentially easy access through double doors, one of those doors remains shut and blocked by a photocopier. There is no ease of access to the shop for a person in a wheelchair or a person with a double buggy. We have been advised that customers sometimes queue for around 45 minutes. Scottish Technical Standards for non-domestic buildings prescribe occupancy load factors for rooms and spaces without fixed seating. See Regulation 2.9.2. The floor space in Tollcross is not suitable for numbers greater than 10 people in terms of these regulations and this does not take into account the “shopping” area which sits alongside the post office counter. How will this post office cope with any extra customers?

The post office is reached over very hilly terrain. The paths are often slippery and treacherous in winter and the ground exposed. As state above over 85% of customers using Warrender PO walk. Of those who are fit enough to do so a large number work in the area and do not have not time to walk further during their break from work. This will affect staff from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Carers in the Residential Homes. Many of the community (over 52%) do not own cars and if they did so could not park nearby. The bus service is half hourly and is under threat. You have failed to take into account that although the bus stop on the south side is only 50 yards from the post office to get to the return bus stop involves a walk of three to four times that distance. The relevant crossing points are at least 150 yards from the stop.

Parking is a problem in that area and there is certainly no adjacent parking. No disabled person could park outside the post office. It is next to a busy junction and it would be hazardous for a disabled driver to alight into the junction traffic. Our survey of parking found that the nearest parking at least 70 yards away and busy. Other parking is across a busy road or over 100 yards away.

We have not done a survey of parking at other post offices but from local knowledge there is no ease of parking. Disabled access in other post offices is also more difficult. Other Post Offices nearby have similar access and parking problems. You appear to have carried out a very superficial survey of ease access to these post offices.

3 The most disturbing part of your report is that it fails to recognize whom the post office serves.

(a) By far the most important omission is the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. This is one of the leading hospitals for sick children in Scotland and their patients come from all over Scotland accompanied by their parents and often other siblings. They stay for weeks and months in accommodation in the hospital. The Family Support Unit in the hospital prepares and distributes a booklet (copy enclosed) which directs parents to the Marchmont area for all their needs. This is accompanied by the “Out and About in Marchmont and Sciennes” booklet referred to above. In addition staff from the hospital who work unsocial hours use the post office on a regular basis. Remarks from the staff interviewed in our consultation made it clear that they do not have time to go elsewhere and did not know how they would cope with their post office business. The hospital needs this post office both for displaced parents of ill children and for the staff.

(b) You have seriously underestimated the needs of the older members of our community. There are 2 Sheltered Housing complexes in the area. Homeross House has 137 apartments, some with double occupancy and Homeroyal House has 54 apartments. Having consulted with the wardens of these flats we noted that promoting independence was important to the occupants and accorded with Government guidelines for independent living. Residents are now frequently into their 90s and beyond. When they become too infirm to walk their carers run errands for them. In addition there is an alarmed retirement home for 31 flats in Meadow Place and a home for the elderly being refurbished in Chalmers Crescent. One of the principal reasons for these retiral homes being where they are is because of the facilities available within easy walking distance.

Our consultation showed that while a number of these residents are able to conduct their own business affairs and shop in the area (shops in the area deliver goods where required), they will lose their ability to conduct any post office business if the post office is closed. They cannot walk longer distances or travel on buses easily or wait for extended times at the alternative PO. Those few with cars would find it extremely difficult to park. The residents of these homes will have their independence severely reduced by the closure of Warrender PO. You will have noted from the public meeting the concern of this group of people who made a huge effort to get to the meeting because they were so worried about how they would cope with closure.

3 25% of the users use it for business purposes. The impact on businesses will be substantial. Business people cannot leave their business unattended for long and employees have restricted breaks. As well as wasting time and money for these people the last closure resulted in a reduction of turnover for adjacent businesses as people has less reason to organize shopping trips to coincide with their post office business. The greengrocers at the top of Marchmont Road saw a marked drop in business on the closure of the last post office. The regular business customers we identified were Grange Medical Centre, Currie Gilmour solicitors, Bohemia who regularly use the post office for parcel collection and delivery. We also identified a number of people who work from home and who regularly post parcels and goods. All business do not have the time to walk to the nearest post office. They are also reluctant to use a car which will not save much time since parking is scarce and queques long.

(c) There is a University Residence housing 105 1st year students within 50 yards of the Post Office who use the post office regularly to collect goods and parcels. They are particularly reliant on Saturday afternoon opening because of their commitments through the week and the ability to collect parcels with ease from the post office. There are also a sizeable number of foreign students who reported coming into the post office two or three times a week as they completed forms required by foreign students and kept contact with home

(d) This is an area of high population density. There is low car use and ownership in the area.Most parents interviewed complained of having to walk so much further with young children. One explained just how difficult it was even with older children who could not be left to access anywhere further away. Workers in the area are used to being able to “pop out” when the shop or business is quiet for 10 or 15 minutes but could not do so if they had to walk further. People who work all week find it difficult to access post offices near their work or do not have the time to spend quequing there. Saturday afternoon opening is very important to them. Our population is increasingly elderly and a number of older people interviewed lived in the flats and dreaded the thought of having to rely on bus travel to get to another post office.


As a Community Council we started on the campaign because we were aware that the post office was well used by local people and thought it an important service for our community. Our consultation process has confirmed that it is an essential service. The people who rely on the service given cannot go elsewhere and are in despair. We heard remarks such as “Killer” from a severely disabled man and “Nightmare” from a business user. These were far from isolated comments.

Your survey has completely underestimated the ease of access to and use by businesses and residents of this post office. What is worse you have completely misconstrued ease of access to other post offices in the area. There is low car use in the area. Residents walk and use local services. This is particularly true of our growing elderly population. The extra time it takes to walk backwards and forwards to alternatives is too great for even the fit in the community – for those with any disability it is an impossibility. Combine this with the difficulty in parking and you do have a nightmare situation for many.

Please do not close our Post Office. Our Post Office is Vital to this community.

Marchmont and Sciennes Community Council.

Susie Agnew Chair

Anne Laird ViceChair

Sarah Marchbank Treasurer

Alastair Philp Neighbourhood Partnership

Susanna Lacey Secretary

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


Recent information regarding controlled parking zones in Edinburgh can be accessed here:

Controlled parking zone

Choose "Parking in Edinburgh" then "Extension of the Controlled Parking Zones"

Monday, 22 September 2008

Easy guide to the post office closures (if you speak Welsh)

A number of those objecting to the closure of WPK Rd Post Office received a response to their letters that included an information leaflet written in Welsh. A couple of them are pictured in the Evening News today -

[photo (c) Evening News]

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Mediation in the Planning System

Programme of Seminars: An Invitation
6, 7, 9, 10 October 2008
Planning can make an important contribution to the Scottish Government’s overall purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth in Scotland . It is Ministers’ clear view that planning should be about making things happen: an enabler rather than simply a regulator. The Government is committed to modernising the planning system to ensure that the process is efficient, inclusive, fit for purpose and promotes sustainability.

The Scottish Government is currently promoting legislative reform and making structural changes to the system. There is also a need for “everyone involved…[to] examine their respective roles in the planning system and contribute to culture change.” (PAN 81,2007). It is recognised that difficult issues arise in planning, at all stages in the process. These can be time-consuming, costly and sometimes antagonistic. There are opportunities to consider different ways of addressing these issues.

One possibility - signposted in both the 2005 White Paper Modernising the Planning System and the Planning Advice Note 81 – Planning with People - is to increase the use of mediation and mediation techniques by which those involved can be engaged in structured discussions about contentious issues with a view to seeking to resolve or narrow these quickly and constructively.

Core Solutions has been commissioned by the Scottish Government to prepare a flexible User’s Guide to help to encourage the use of mediation in the planning system, where appropriate, in order to improve outcomes and increase efficiency. The Guide is intended to build on recent experiences in Scotland and to draw lessons from what has happened elsewhere.

The Guide will inform planning authorities, developers, relevant organisations and members of the public of the possible uses of mediation and other similar techniques across the planning system. It is intended to be a practical resource for those involved in the planning system. It is intended that the Guide will be available on the Scottish Government website, possibly using a web platform with easy access to key information. The Guide will, we hope, be a starting point for generating greater understanding and promoting further use of mediation, with the ultimate aim of supporting key stakeholders in meeting the challenges of the modernised planning system.

An online survey and interviews carried out in the preparation of the Guide have indicated that there is some experience of utilising mediation in some areas within the Scottish planning system. There is significant interest amongst planning departments, developers, consultants and other interested bodies in understanding more about the role mediation could play. A number of interested parties have already offered views and these have been taken into account in the initial drafting of the Guide.

An integral part of the process in which we are engaged is to introduce and explore the use of the Guide in a programme of seminars across Scotland in October for planners, developers, public agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders. This will give all those with an interest a real opportunity to be involved in further drafting and finalisation of the Guide, to provide us with feedback on its content and to maximise its practical usefulness.

The seminar programme offers the following dates and opportunities:

6 October: 12 noon - 5 pm Glasgow (Scottish Enterprise , Atlantic Quay)
7 October: 12 noon - 5 pm Edinburgh (Scottish Government, Victoria Quay)
9 October: 12 noon - 5 pm Inverness ( Highland Council, Town House)
10 October: 11 am - 4 pm Aberdeen ( Aberdeen University , tbc)

We hope that the Guide and the web platform will be available for perusal by participants prior to each event. Each seminar will be interactive, allowing time for frank discussion of issues arising. A buffet lunch will be available on each occasion.
The seminars are free and should count towards CPD points.
It is vital to the success of this initiative that those with an interest engage in the development of the Guide. We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to participate in one of the seminars, at a venue of your choice.

Please register by Friday 12 September to enable us to finalise arrangements at each venue. Please click here to register online.
Planning Registration
We shall send further information to participants in due course.
With best wishes
John Sturrock
John Sturrock QC
Chief Executive

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Town Centre Meeting

Due to industrial action by Unison, the above meeting has been cancelled on 24 September and will now take place on Wednesday 1 October at 7.00 pm in the City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh. Please return the attached reply slip to me by Thursday 25 September. Some of the issues to be discussed at the meeting are:

What are the key challenges to economic and social success of town centres and local High Streets in Scotland ?

To what extent are these specific to individual towns, regional, or national in scope and scale?

What are the key actions that could be taken to support regeneration and growth of our town centres and local High Streets, and who has the remit to undertake these actions?

Views may also be sent in writing to Ross Martin at the Centre for Scottish Public Policy, Chisholm House, 1 Surgeon Square, High School Yards, Edinburgh, EH1 1LZ by 1 October
Ross Martin is also holding a surgery on Wednesday 1 October 2008, at the West Lothian Room, Midlothian Suite, Lothian Chambers on George IV Bridge , EH1 1RN . Please feel free to drop in between 3 and 5pm.

Trams in Edinburgh

Traffic Regulation Design Meetings
Details of these can be accessed at Trams for Edinburgh

Edinburgh World Heritage Newsletter September 2008

Doors Open Day 27th September 2008
Further information at

Edinburgh City Council Leader's Report - September 2008

The September Leader's Report from Edinburgh City Council can be accessed here
Leader's Report

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Please write to object to the closure

Please write to object to the proposed closure of Warrender Park Road post office. Freepost and e-mail addresses are given in posted item (25 Aug) two below... Also examples of reasons you might wish to include of how you will be 'materially disadvantaged'.

As the Post Office Ltd press release says we need to have our letters of objection in by 29 September.

A facebook group has been established with details of other online ways to object.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Save Wrndr Pk Rd Post Office: Public Meeting Tu 9 Sep at 7:30pm

Help save the Warrender Park Road Post Office

If we are going to save this post office from closure, it is vital that as many people as possible come to the public meeting:

Tuesday 9th September


Marchmont St Giles church

(the church itself, not the hall).

Please, please come to it if you possibly can, this is really important for the neighbourhood.

The Marchmont and Sciennes community council will have its ordinary meeting the following day on Wednesday 10 September at 7.30pm at St Catherines church hall as usual.

Hope to see you,

Susie Agnew

Chair MSCC

update Su 7 Sep @ 21:38: Facebook group now established at

Monday, 25 August 2008

Write now to say why you'll be hugely disadvantaged





Write NOW to say why you will be disadvantaged by the closure. Sample letter below...



(This is the complete address and no stamp is required.)


Your address


(This is all you need to put on the envelope)

NB no stamp required

                (“in confidence” if required)

Dear Sir or Madam

Proposed closure of post office at 73 Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh EH9 1ES

I object to the proposed closure of the above mentioned post office. This will disadvantage me personally because

I cannot walk to the next nearest post office as it is too far and hilly.


Although the bus journey is estimated at 4 minutes to the next nearest post office at Tollcross, the bus service is half hourly and a visit to the post office could take over an hour.

There is no direct bus service to Bruntsfield Post Office.


I am unable to get to a post office during the week and rely on it being open all day Saturday.


I am elderly, do all my affairs locally as I am unable to go further. The closure of the post office will also jeopardise local shops, which form the backbone of the community on which I rely.


I do not want to take my car as parking at the nearest post office is very difficult and expensive and causes unnecessary pollution.


I bank with the Alliance and Leicester and the post office is its only outlet in this area. I do not want to carry cash for long distances.


I find the Warrender post office very convenient to the Sick Children’s Hospital.


I find this post office extremely convenient when doing the school run as it is so near the schools.


I work at home and need this post office for my business. To go further is a waste of my time.


I work in the area and this is the only post office I can reach in my lunch hour.


I am a parent of young children and returning parcels is a huge chore if not near by.


Any other reason ………………………………………………………………………………………

Yours faithfully

[for details of public meeting on Tu 9 Sep see following post]

Save Warrender Park Post Office







AT 7.30PM



A representative of the Post Office will be present

Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council

Ordinary meeting on Wednesday 10 September at 7.30pm at St. Catherine Argyle church hall, Grange Road at 7.30pm

Saturday, 16 August 2008


MSCC represent areas which contain predominantly tenement property and are constantly being asked to help in relation to problems with HMOs.
On figures provided by the Council:
Ward 10 Southside/Newington and Ward 15 Meadows/Morningside have between them almost 54% of the total HMOs licensed in Edinburgh.
96% of these HMOs are authorised by the licensing authority
The predominance of HMOs in a tenement or area results in:
wear and tear on the property,
increased noise and disruption where people with differing lifestyles live together and
the drift of a individuals and families to other areas.
reduces the diversity of the population needed to sustain the community as a whole.
The Licensing Authority consider that their only remit is to ensure the safety of tenants. Their policy takes no account of the impact too many HMOs make on individual tenements or areas. This is completely at odds with the way they deal with any other licence application. The community have no difficulty with supporting a policy which ensures the safety of tenants and assures the quality of the accommodation. They do however have a problem with a policy which does not support diversity and sustainability in the community and continues with a policy which denies the importance of these in any community. These areas have benefited from the extra diversity and type of population which occupy HMOs and are aware that they fulfil a need for rented accommodation. However the present policy pays no heed whatsoever to controlling the proportions of HMOs in any tenement or area despite the difficulties this causes to other residents. The Community Councils feel very strongly that this policy is harming the future of their communities. As a community council we are of the view that they are failing in their duty to the community as a whole (and here I included tenants landlords and proprietors) if they do not do change their policy to use the powers they have.
We ask them to review their policy use the powers under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 and the The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 to consider the suitability of the property and the impact of the amenity on surrounding properties when granting a licence for an HMO. They will do this in relation to any other licence they grant – why will they not use these powers in relation to HMOs. We have researched the legal issues and are in no doubt that they have the authority to do so. We also want the licensing authority to enforce the conditions attached to an HMO and prosecute where these are breached. Lack of enforcement is a major problem.
The submission which we have prepared gives the details and I ask the Partnership to use their influence to ensure that the Licensing authority give serious consideration to the issues involved and the problems caused by their present policy. The full submission is attached.
Anne Laird
Marchmont and Sciennes Community Council



The Community Councils represent areas which contain predominantly tenement property and are concerned that the Licensing Authority are not using the full power given to them in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (2006 Act)to protect the amenity and sustainability of the communities in which they live. The Licensing Committee narrowly construe their remit and predominantly consider the safety and security of tenants. They have a much wider responsibility to the community as a whole and as a licensing authority have the power to exercise that responsibility.
The communities concerned are fully aware of the need for safe regulated affordable rented accommodation and, in particular, are aware of the concerns of the student population who require to rent shared accommodation. The communities welcome the diversity and vibrancy that such accommodation brings to their areas. However the need for rented accommodation should not affect the sustainability of any particular community and should not be focussed on a few areas of Edinburgh. It should be distributed throughout the city and a balance struck. Tenement living in particular is community living and where there is a predominance of HMO accommodation in one block or area this leads to overpopulation, tension among residents and a deterioration of the diversity in type of population which is needed to maintain a vibrant and lively popular and sustainable community. The predominance of HMOs in a tenement or area results in , wear and tear on the property, increased noise and disruption where people with differing lifestyles live together and the drift of a individuals and families to other areas. The housing stock requires the input of owner/occupiers to ensure that it is maintained. Individual owners put considerable effort into ensuring the tenement property in which they live is properly maintained and become isolated and disheartened if the effort is entirely theirs and they do not get support for their efforts from landlords or tenants. Properties which have a majority of HMO can be easily distinguished by the lack of care and maintenance. We therefore ask the licensing committee to review their policy and have due regard to the following when considering a licensing application.
1 Suitability of Accomodation
(a) Section131(2) of the 2006 Act empowers the authority to determine whether accommodation is suitable in relation inter alia to location and type and number of persons. Similar provision in The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 Schedule 1 Paragraph 5(3) lists the reasons a licence may be refused “5(3)(c) - the premises are not ... suitable or convenient for the conduct of the activity having regard to ... (i) the location ... (ii) the nature and extent of the proposed use, (iii) kind of persons likely to be in the premises, (iv) the possibility of undue public nuisance. This provision has always been used to consider the effect on the amenity of neighbouring properties and to allow refusal if the amenity is affected. This interpretation has been supported by case law viz Leisure Inns (UK) Ltd v Perth & Kinross District Licensing Board 1991 SC 224. The Opinion in that case stated that the question of amenity can properly arise under s 17 (1) (b) where reference is made to "having regard to their location" and when considering "location" loss of amenity to surrounding properties would be a relevant consideration". Too many HMOs could lead to considerable loss of amenity in the neighbouring properties or other flats in the tenement.
These powers are at present ignored when deciding on the suitability of granting an HMO licence. The licensing authority should use the powers given to them in the legislation to look at the suitability of the property in relation to the area in which it is situated and not confine their remit to ensure it is safe secure living accommodation. Looking at the numbers of HMOs in any one tenement or area will result in a more sustainable community.
(b) In particular the Licensing Committee should have due regard to planning guidance which defines an area as sensitive when the number of HMOs exceeds 30% of the total number of households. Similar guidance requires to be adopted for tenement properties where an HMO licence is required. As explained above the effect of this density of population has a much greater impact in a tenement. The Licensing Committee should not undermine the stated policy of the Planning authority by ignoring these guidelines when they have the power to adopt and apply similar guidance. The Communities expect “joined up Government” from their representatives. They do not expect a different policy to be applied by the Planning authority and a contradictory policy by the licensing authority. The Licensing Committee should consider evidence of the density of HMO’s in the tenement block and in the immediate area when considering the suitability in relation to location and type and number of persons for which the license is to be granted. Where the density in a stair or in a block exceeds 30% then the Committee should invoke the powers given them to refuse a licence.
(c) When considering the number of people for whom a licence is to be granted the Licensing Committee should make it a condition that any occupation of a box room as either living space or a bedroom will be treated as a breach and enforcement action will be taken. A number of 2 bedroom properties are adapted to enable the accommodation of three people and this should be considered when the suitability of the property is assessed as a whole. Changing traditional layout to ensure more rooms and more tenants should also be taken into account when assessing suitability. The properties are often listed buildings which are being altered solely to ensure greater density of population. This does not protect the housing stock or the sustainability of the property in the area.
2 Granting of a new licence where one is already in existence
The 2006 Act makes specific provision for the existing licence lapsing when the property changes hands. The Licensing Committee should make it clear that where there is an application for a new licence the location and type and number of persons will be looked at afresh in accordance with the above policy. This should prevent existing licensed premises becoming a marketable commodity which might add to their value and add to the problem.
3 Enforcement
At Community Council meetings it has become apparent that one of the major concerns is lack of enforcement and meaningful prosecution where conditions are breached. For this reason the following policy should be adopted:
(a) Where there is any breach of conditions of licence and in particular where there is no licence and a licence is required the Committee should prosecute and demand the maximum fine. There is some concern that if the grant of licences is limited in some way that landlords will not make application. It should be sufficient deterrent to any law abiding landlord that there is a real risk of prosecution. With the publication of the Register required under the 2006 Act members of the public should be encouraged by way of a publicity campaign to help police the situation and report suspected breaches of licence conditions or lack of licence. .
(b) The 2006 Act allow some flexibility in the information to be contained in the HMO Register. This should be used to ensure that relevant information is included. The content of the Register should disclose the number of HMOs in a particular tenement with the number of occupants so that this can be used either to identify properties breaching the conditions of licence or as information to be used by the Licensing committee when ascertaining the suitability, density and location for licensing purposes. Residents will also be able to check on the information to decide whether an objection should be made to granting the licence give. The Register should be organised so that it is easy to extract information in relation to a particular street or tenement.
4 Consultation
We are of the view that if the Licensing Committee used their powers as outlined above it would make a considerable contribution to supporting sustainability in our community. However we are aware that no consultation process was carried out prior to the present policy being adopted. Therefore we also suggest that the Licensing Committee consult on their present policy and allow the views of the community to be heard. There are residents who have extreme difficulties where there are too many HMOs in the stair. They should be given the opportunity to put their experiences to the licensing committee so that the committee has a better understanding of the problems in the community. This submission does not deal with anti social behaviour which can also be a problem in some instances but even where there is no anti social behaviour difficulties occur if there are too many HMOs in a stair or area. These range from difficulty in maintaining the property to too much noise because of the number of people using the stairs to access HMO properties at unsocial hours. There is also a problem where the rooms in HMO accommodation have been altered from their original use. This leads to living accommodation being situated above bedrooms and disturbance with neighbours either above or below trying to sleep while others are playing music cooking etc. Once the balance tips one the community loses diversity. We are of the view that a consultation process would enable the committee to get a realistic grasp of the problems involved.
Anne Laird
Marchmont and Sciennes Community Council
11 August 2008

Edinburgh Partnership e-News

Issue 9, August 2008
Working together to improve services
Edinburgh Partnership e-News
I am delighted to advise that the Edinburgh Community Planning Partnership has been successful in securing European Structural Funding in support of key city initiatives, focussing on employability and the regeneration of our disadvantaged
With European Funds in excess of £5 million over the two year pilot period, the city will benefit from a wide range of new and additional activity. The key objective
is to balance opportunity and need by addressing entry requirements into the labour market and meeting skills shortages, resulting in increased employment and
sustainable employment.
Specific initiatives include Fire Service led training for 14 to 19 year olds, Job Brokerage programmes with city employers and clients from disadvantaged areas,
outreach work through GP surgeries and volunteering opportunities, and measures to help vulnerable groups join the workforce.
I look forward to reporting further on the impact of this Partnership effort as the 'Competitive Communities Programme' progresses.
Other major investment developments reported in this issue include the Partnership’s recent decisions on the Scottish Government’s new Fairer Scotland Fund. We find out how this will benefit the city’s most disadvantaged communities over the next three years.
These outcomes will contribute to the Single Outcome Agreement which requires a new way of working for national and local government and community planning
partners. This issue also contains:
􀂙 Interview with Board member Professor Joan K Stringer
􀂙 Local community planning’s East Neighbourhood Team
􀂙 Neighbourhood Partnership website
􀂙 Tackling crime with Neighbourhood Action Units
􀂙 Cooling down anti-social behaviour
􀂙 Post office closures update
􀂙 Edinburgh Partnership in Conference
􀂙 A City for All Ages progress
􀂙 Engaging communities
􀂙 Community planning in NHS Lothian
􀂙 Edinburgh Inspiring Volunteering Awards 2008
Councillor Jenny Dawe, Chair of the Edinburgh Partnership planning

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Public Meeting with Guest Speaker David Middleton

MSCC Public Meeting with Guest Speaker David Middleton
11th June 2008

If MSCC are looking for a solution to local social problems then perhaps it would be useful to consider the situation in St Andrew’s. While the residents of St Andrew’s accept the importance of students to the economy and know that students like to live as part of the community, there are problems brought about by the concentration of HMO’s in certain areas.
In St Andrews half of the students live in halls of residence while 3500 live in the community in the historic core of St Andrews. This has led to a deterioration to the fabric of these buildings. HMO’s tend to pack together leading to 100% HMO’s in some areas. Those who would carry on the historical spirit of the area are no longer there. The student community is transient bringing no sense of identity to the area.
This is not confined to St Andrews but occurs also in Glasgow. To accommodate more people, landlords here have repositioned kitchens and bathrooms and the noises from formica type flooring presents a problem for neighbours. In conservation areas where there is no limitation to HMO’s this results in a degradation of the area rather than an enhancement.
Government has recognised that there is a problem and SPP3 looks at housing in general. In Northern Ireland the law on HMO’s has changed. There could be fines of £20,000.
SUSCOMS makes the sensible suggestion of the need for sustainable communities to avoid the adverse cumulative effect of development.
There are 180,000 students in Scotland, i.e. more than the population of Dundee.
No one is taking responsibility for this group of people. Planning departments just take a guess at how many purpose built properties for students are required.
We need to analyse the situation and estimate properly the numbers required for purpose built accommodation. It is not helpful to victimise one group be they students, landlords, developers or planners.
What does sustainable communities mean? Does it mean families? Certainly families should have the option of living in the same area. HMO’s increase the value of properties and tend to price out young families and first time buyers. The rent obtained from an HMO is not a practical rent for a young family.
Other factors of concern include
a) the clash of lifestyles of young people and families. A group of well behaved students one year may be followed by a differently behaving group the next year.
b) If an area is predominately HMO the shops change
c) In St Andrews, an area of social housing built in the 1930’s is now predominately HMO. This has exacerbated the problem of homelessness in St Andrews making it the highest in UK
d) New tenants do not have the right to buy

So what is the solution. Suggestions are:
1. Build more accommodation.
2. Ecofriendly area, socially inclusive
3. Glasgow partnership with social landlords
4. St Andrews student association, properties owned by the students
A reminder that if HMO’s are restricted, it is not the students who are made homeless.

We can see this non-sustainability occurring in Tollcross area. When a new HMO application goes forward there should be a list of neighbouring HMO’s made available. Fife Council are forced to provide this information under Freedom of Information. Dundee have the licensing and planning informatiion available on the internet.
In Edinburgh there is the problem of lack of enforcement. The licensing department need to consider the needs of the whole community.
People have the right to object to a license but councils usually very resistant.
Planning should deal with the concentration of HMO’s but there is no law to control the planning process. Complacency will result in there being no change in the effect of planning regulations.

In Edinburgh there are 41,000 FT students. There is some dedicated student accommodation but when landlords overstep the rules, council do not enforce the regulations.
Family homes are for families. We have to determine if University is still expanding or static. Then purpose built accommodation in the right location is the way to go. On a campus is good, part of the University enabling social interaction.
There has been a soft touch approach to enforcement. The concordat has been discredited because no risk assessment included. We must encourage all lanlords to have a license. If no enforcement we need a risk assessment.
If we restrict HMO’s, we will depress the property price. Some residents will be concerned that we depress their asset.
What will be a suitable percentage sugested to allow a good mix in an area.
Other issues discussed were requirement to maintain gardens , clean windows and stairs. Historic properties should be looked after.
There should be a survey to find out what do students want. ?? Eco villages, co-operative housing, stand alone groups of houses. Instead of this we have historic buildings destroyed, fireplaces ripped out.

Students comments
1.Purpose built accommodation provides no privacy and the rooms are of minimum size.
2.Some students are at University for 8-9 years.
3.Students understand the concerns of residents and suggest compulsory carpets to reduce noise
5. Private landlords often more responsible than University accommodation.
6. One problem for overseas students is that university accommodation is too expensive. It is cheaper in private sector. This may be because University pays council tax whereas private landlords do not.

1. Student grant should cover cost of accommodation and council tax. Council obtains finance from landlords via licensing fee. This fee should cover cost of garbage collection and other council activity.
2. The licensing scheme should be financially self supporting. We have a low licensing fee which is not properly enforced. There is a direct connection between the level of the licensing fee and the level of enforcement.

We suggest an increase in the license fee which should include a requirement for stairs and gardens.
Should it be through licensing or planning??
If planning system is to be used as suggested by government, then we need to make changes.
Planning permission should be required for all HMO’s even if there are only 3 residents. Houses need to be brought into the scheme as well.

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting held on 11th June 2008

Marchmont and Sciennes Community Council
Minutes of Ordinary Meeting held on 11th June 2008,
St Catherine’s Argyle Church Community Hall, Grange Road

Sederunt :
Susie Agnew(Chair), Anne Laird (vice chair), Susanna Lacey(secretary) Sarah Marchbanks (Treasurer)

Peng Lee Yap( FOMBL), Muriel Robertson(Magpie), Lindsay Thomson (Lothian and Borders Police), Mike Shields (CEC Service for Communities), Tony Reeves (Grange Association), Alastair Philp (Neighbourhood Partnership)

Ruth Stroud, Tina Cumming, Linda Smith, John Simon, Roseanna Agnew, Fiona Scott, Ken Dougall, Sarah Sandow, Cllr Marilyn McLaren, Alastair Philp, Cllr Cameron Rose, Masoud Malik, Richard Beauchamp, Roslyn Evans, Adam McMinn, Nan McMinn, Tony Reeves (Grange Association) Colette Meyer, Thomas Underwood, Melanie Main, Dorothy Ryle, Brian Harris.

Alison Johnstone, Cllr Gordon McKenzie, Anne Laing, Cherry Ledlie, Neil Brierly

Minutes of previous meeting
Proposed Anne Laird, seconded John Simon

Matters Arising
Item 9 . It was pointed out that there is going to be only one community council representative on the temporary (for one year) South Edinburgh Partnership Forum.
Item 4. Margo MacDonald had enquired if the police intend to challenge the licenses of off-licenses who sell alcohol to under-age drinkers. In response to this the Cabinet Secretary for Justice , Kenny MacAskill has informed that in September the law will be changed such that off-licenses who are caught selling alcohol to underage drinkers will have their licenses revoked with immediate effect. Previously these shopkeepers could lodge an appeal and still trade as off-licenses until a decision had been reached.

Police Report
Lindsay said that she would have to make her report brief this time.
Vandalism has been higher than normal in Southside and Morningside with wing mirrors and windscreens vandalised.
Housebreaking down, only 3 domestic and 1 busines.
Pedal cycle theft and auto crime down
There is to be a new pedal cycle initiative.
Sexual offences: another incident on the meadows 1st June.

Trams Update
Sarah Sandow attended this meeting chaired by Oscar Wells of West End CC.
The trams will ease the congestion produced by the expected increase in population of 50,000 by 2024.
Edinburgh is now 20th retail city in UK compared to previous position as 5th retail city.
There is a great deal of anxiety within the small business group on Leith Walk.
The second tram route 1B may not now happen due to cost.
Trams will serve only 7% of Edinburgh population and 60% of passengers will be standing.
If trams are not a financial success the money will come from the buses which will exacerbate the public transport situation.
These decisions have not taken into account the wishes of the local community.
There is concern about getting on and alighting from the trams safely.

Nomination for Licensing Forum
This forum is not a decision making body but a way to see how the licensing board works.
It was agreed that with her legal background, Anne Laird should be our representative on this Forum.

Health Improvement:
Ruth Stroud highlighted the the 4 main points of the health inequalities improvement plan for 2008-2011: food and health, physical activity, social capital and healthy environment. The meeting was in agreement with this focus to the health improvement plan and that Ruth Stroud should represent MSCC at the next meeting on 18th July 2008.
Post Office Closures:
Possible closures will be listed by 19th August. If Warrender Park Road is on the list then it will be closed but there is a period of 4-6weeks for objections then decision will be made.
A funfair has applied for a license along with the Urban Circus. FOMBL are concerned re noise and late times and want to object. Residents in Silvan Place and Fingal Place concerned re the extent of use of the Meadows for events such as Taste of Edinburgh and Moonwalk. There is a meeting of FOMBL in Peter’s Yard on the Meadows.

Date of next meeting 10th September 2008

Minutes of AGM held on 11th June 2008

Marchmont and Sciennes Community Council
Minutes of AGM held on 11th June 2008,
St Catherine’s Argyle Church Community Hall, Grange Road

Sederunt :
Susie Agnew(Chair), Anne Laird (vice chair), Susanna Lacey(secretary) Sarah Marchbanks (Treasurer)

Peng Lee Yap( FOMBL), Muriel Robertson(Magpie), Lindsay Thomson (Lothian and Borders Police), Mike Shields (CEC Service for Communities), Tony Reeves (Grange Association), Alastair Philp (Neighbourhood Partnership)

Ruth Stroud, Tina Cumming, Linda Smith, John Simon, Roseanna Agnew, Fiona Scott, Ken Dougall, Sarah Sandow, Cllr Marilyn McLaren, Alastair Philp, Cllr Cameron Rose, Masoud Malik, Richard Beauchamp, Roslyn Evans, Adam McMinn, Nan McMinn, Tony Reeves (Grange Association) Colette Meyer, Thomas Underwood, Melanie Main, Dorothy Ryle, Brian Harris.

Alison Johnstone, Cllr Gordon McKenzie, Anne Laing, Cherry Ledlie.

Minutes of previous AGM
Proposed Tina Cumming, seconded Linda Smith

Matters Arising:
Streetscape: there has been a communication regarding the wishes of local residents for paving stones rather than asphalt to maintain the traditional ambience of the area. This matter is still ongoing.
For the amount of money spent the results are not very impressive. However the work is still unfinished. If money is spent on paving slabs, lorries can still damage them. When planters are supplied there is no grant money for maintenance of planters. The cycle route through the streetscape area needs clarified.

Action: It was suggested that MSCC should write to the council. Susie Agnew will do this.

Chairperson’s report:
Chairperson’s annual report 2008
The main issues this year which we have discussed and acted upon are:
Streetscape in Roseneath, Meadows Place closure, Grange cemetery, Rubbish collection, Lunch club, Parking zones, HMO’s , and Christmas Party.

Firstly, in no particular order, the streetscape of Roseneath which was intended to enhance the environment of Roseneath Street. We had a presentation by the council and we made considerable suggestions and criticisms, some of which were acted upon, most importantly that they did not proceed with widening the pavement on the Argyle Place side of the corner with Roseneath Street. The works are nearly complete now and I hope that they will have been worth it. Certainly the pavement on the north side is not as wide as originally intended because of drainage from the tenements, but perhaps this is lucky as the extra width has not deterred the double parking and when the buses stop, there is considerable congestion.

The possible closure of Meadow Place caused considerable controversy both for and against it. However the majority of opinion was concerned with the potential dangerous knock on effect that the closure would cause to the junction at the foot of Marchmont Road and there seemed surprise that the council were not looking at the junction as one entity and merely considering the advantage to cyclists at Meadow Place. The figures of accidents at Meadow Place and Marchmont Road did not present a justified case for closing it. At a very emotive meeting the council made a weak presentation and interestingly, although Spokes was well represented, not all their members were in favour of the closure. The meeting finished with the council officials agreeing to look at it again but we have not heard from them since.

The year started with the introduction of a charge for special rubbish uplifts. We had a presentation by the cleansing department, but they had already decided to go ahead with it and agreed to monitor the amount of fly tipping. Again, I have not heard any more from them, neither have I heard complaints or comments about increased rubbish on the streets.

The Grange cemetery has featured often on our agendas and we have undertaken an ambitious programme to find funding to re-erect the headstones which have been laid flat for safety reasons, which is a national policy. Having acquired a list of over 500 flattened stones, I found that the Scottish Genealogical Society has nearly completed cataloguing the inscriptions on the headstones so I have asked them to add the inscriptions to my list. However they are taking a long time, so I plan to start matching inscriptions to the flattened headstones ourselves in the hope of finding individual funding
for some of them.

Another project which is proving frustrating is the lunch club proposed by Mr. Malik. He and I have had meetings with Karen Watson at Marchmont St Giles and the Church is very keen to support the idea. There are some cultural difficulties concerning the menu but the main problem is the venue. Although Marchmont St Giles new hall would be ideal, it is very booked up and not really available, Karen has said that she would ask St Catherine’s but they are without a minister at present and not in a position to make decisions. Karen herself is very busy and progress on the lunch club is slow.

In October Hugh Leather and I attended a transport meeting as they had ideas to tweek the controlled parking zones. We asked them to amalgamate some of zones 7 and 8 with zone S1and this idea was well received and we believe that it will happen. Meanwhile residents in parts of those zones have been given permission to park in some of S1 which has relieved the situation hugely.

The subject of HMO properties has recently come to the forefront again following a website on the students union page called the” right to rent” speaking out against the possibility of imposing a quota of HMO’s in the area. In May, Margo MacDonald MSP attended our meeting and heard many points of view including that of the president of the student union. The students undoubtedly bring a vibrancy to the area and it is probably thanks to their presence that we have such good local shops, and recently an increase in cafes. However the permanent residents in the neighbourhood find that too many students in each staircase mean that such things as the stair cleaning rota is not adhered to, the garden is not attended to, the noise is too great and there is a general deterioration of the stair community. Following last month’s meeting, Councillors |Mark McInnes and Marilyn McLaren have taken up the issue and are planning a meeting with our office bearers to discuss a way forward.

On a happier note, we had a most successful Christmas tree lighting party. It was credit to the organisers that despite the weather there was such a good turn-out.

Over the year I have done a huge amount of correspondence informally by e-mail which are too numerous to list. In addition I have written letters about the no. 24 bus, several letters about bicycle access to James Gillespie’s primary school, and several letters to various council departments about retaining the youth worker at the Eric Liddell centre, the latter being successful.

I cannot avoid a mention about the Meadows Festival. It was run by a small group of individual volunteers, who included our very own Susanna. To take on such a huge project was valiant in the extreme and I am sure involved a lot of work and effort. It was undoubtedly a resounding success and we owe the organisers a sincere vote of thanks. Our community council had a presence there all weekend.

I owe my personal thanks to the office bearers without whom I could not have done this job. Initially Hugh Leather was the secretary and he revolutionised the technology of our community council and generally made a big impact. He passed on much of his technical expertise to Susanna who is also a fantastic secretary. It is hard to understand how many e-mails and how much paper work passes by Susanna, who deals with it efficiently and with good humour and I am very grateful to her. Sarah Marchbank as treasurer has had a busy year with helping the Marchmont and Sciennes Business Association, receiving grant money for street improvements outwith the streetscape in Roseneath, and the regular outlays, again all dealt with efficiently and cheerfully. Alastair Philp is an excellent representative on the neighbourhood partnership, reporting back to us clearly and concisely; and Anne Laird, as vice chair, has been a constant and welcome support to me, as well as remaining our spokesman on HMO’s.
So that is a résumé of the past year. What about the future. I am disappointed that we have had such a poor turn out of community councillors at many meetings. We have had 11 meetings and officially those who have not attended at least 6 of those meetings should be resigning. But I am not asking you to resign, or wanting you to resign, but I am asking you to become active in the work of the community council. In the Autumn, I intend to raise the profile of the community council, and get out there and tell people that we exist. See you in September with renewed vigour!

Secretary’s report:
As you know I took over as secretary from Hugh Leather who had taken over previously from Tina Cumming. Both of these were excellent secretaries for me to follow. Tina kept everyone informed, by e-mail and by sharing of documents, of what was happening in the area and at Edinburgh City Council. She increased my interest in the local community of MSCC. Then Hugh came along with his blog and added a new dimension to the procedures. I have continued with the blog entries, ably assisted by Hugh at the beginning. I have also continued with e-mail communications to members of MSCC to inform of blog entries and the other communications I receive. This was for the benefit for those members who did not want to access the blog regularly but who wanted to be kept informed. I have also re-established the previous links with Newington Library so that minutes, agendas and other MSCC communications will be available for those members who do not have access to the internet.

As secretary, I receive an enormous amount of communications from Edinburgh City Council, Police reports and various other groups. Most recently there has been a request from other community councils and the Grange Association to share minutes and agendas. At a meeting of office bearers it was decided not to include the minutes of other groups in our blog as we have a lot of material on the blog already. It was decided rather to post the dates and times of other meetings in our MSCC calendar as well as a link to their websites.

Personally, I have attended as MSCC representative the SPP3-HMO meeting at Victoria Quay, the Magpie AGM meeting at the Croquet Club and a CEC training session for community councils.

Among the communications received and discussed at meetings have been Environmental Fora, Training Sessions at CEC, NHS Consultations, School Closures, Meadows Place Closure, Controlled Parking, Special Uplifts, Grange Cemetery, Cycle Racks, Buses, Neighbourhood Partnership, 3m’s youth Partnership. Issues which are still ongoing are Lunch Club, licenses for events on the Meadows, and HMO licenses.

Treasurer’s report:
Liabilities include £2500 for the Traders Association. This year we have spent more than has come in but we still have a healthy bank balance. We still have to receive an extra streetscape grant and we have until mid September to spend this money. A printed treasurer’s account was available.

There should be more trees in the area as there are some gaps where trees have died but have not been replanted. Mike Shields informed that there is a city wide budget for trees with 30 trees planned for Edinburgh South. This can be discussed further in September.

The AGM was drawn to a close.