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Thursday, 27 March 2008

MSCC minutes March 2008

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

2 Minutes of meeting held 20th February 2008
The minutes were accepted as a true record. (Proposed: Sarah Sandow; Seconded: Alastair Philp.)

3 Matters Arising
3.1 Lunch Club
Susie Agnew reported that no progress has been made on this since the February meeting as they are awaiting the results of the next Marchmont St Giles Church session meeting.
3.2 Cycle Racks
Susie Agnew reported that she has discussed this matter with Cherry Ledlie and the cycle racks are still not in a suitable place from the point of view of parents. She has therefore written another letter to Jim Grieve on this issue.
3.3 Grange Cemetery
Susie Agnew reported that the Scottish Geneology Society may be able to help the MSCC by sharing the information it has already transcribed from the headstones at Grange Cemetery. However, this information is all currently hand-written.
3.4 Meadow Place
Cllr Mark McInnes reported that he had proposed a motion to the Transport Committee that there should be a full report into traffic safety in Marchmont, taking into account Meadows Place, Marchmont Road and Melville Drive all together. This motion was passed and no further action will be taken to close Meadows Place until this report has been received. It is expected that this report will be published early in the summer, and Cllr McInnes advised that this is when the MSCC should consider making a deputation if necessary.

Some general discussion followed, and the group reiterated its disbelief at the conclusions drawn from the Council’s modelling of the traffic at these junctions. Two members of the group voiced their intention to spend some time counting traffic at the junction.
ACTION: The group will await this report with interest.

3.5 Buses
Susie Agnew reported that she has written a letter on behalf of the MSCC to Morningside and Merchiston Community Council’s to support them with their request for a bus which turns left at the bottom of Lothian Road. Other community councils have done the same. A meeting is being planned in St George’s Church West on Shandwick Place to discuss this, but no date has yet been arranged.

General discussion followed and it was suggested that the MSCC should pursue the issue of an improved no.24 bus service, possibly suggesting that some extra part-route buses are put on during peak times to cover the most popular sections of the route. It was agreed that there might be an opportunity to bring this up at the meeting in St George’s Church West.
ACTION When a date has been set for this meeting, volunteers to attend will be sought by e-mail.

4 Police Report
PC Lindsey Thomson provided an updated police report. Crime statistics during the month of February have been low in Marchmont, Sciennes and the Grange:
- 11 motor vehicles were vandalised, two were broken in to, and three vehicles were stolen. 12 bicycles were also stolen.
- Following discussions at the February meeting PC Thomson has made inquiries to the Council about the official position regarding the storage of bicycles in common stairs. Although the Council has produced a leaflet advising people not to store bikes in stairwells, they have no legal powers to remove or prohibit bike storage unless bicycles are obstructing fire exits. Each complaint about bikes in stairwells would therefore be judged on an individual basis.
- There have been six house-breakings, including the German speaking church. A hairdresser’s in Roseneath Street was broken in to and those responsible have been found, and are also responsible for eight previous similar crimes.
- The fish-sellers mentioned at a previous meeting have been tracked down and charged for operating without a street-traders licence.
- There have been two separate incidents occurring on the Meadows in the early hours of the morning in which victims were walking alone and had their bags/wallets stolen.

Brief general discussion followed, and PC Thomson took down details of new graffiti that had been spotted in the area and of hand-made signs that have been made warning of car-breakings in certain streets.

5 Seminar to discuss Scottish Planning Policy SPP3: Planning for Housing
Susanna Lacey will be attending this seminar on behalf of the MSCC, and gave the group the opportunity to notify her of anything relevant that they’d specifically like her to raise. There was some discussion of affordable housing, but no conclusions were drawn that were felt to be of particular relevance to this meeting. There was also discussion Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) quotas, but it was felt that these issues were unlikely to be relevant to this meeting, and in any case there was no consensus among group members on this issue. However, it would seem that there will be a meeting of Community Councils and City of Edinburgh Council to discuss the issue of HMO quotas in the future. There was also some discussion of the plans for the development of flats and townhouses on the corner of Whitehouse Loan and Newbattle Terrace. Cllr McInnes reported that the local residents had not objected to the plans although some MSCC members had concerns that they were not in keeping with their surroundings. Cherry Ledlie wondered whether this development may offer an opportunity of adding some kind of a safer crossing nearby.
If it seems relevant to the seminar, Susanna Lacey will raise the following points on behalf of the MSCC:
- Newly builded properties should plan in space for drying clothes
- Planning regulations should be made more amenable to saving energy
- How do some designs get approved when they re not in-keeping with surroundings?

Mark McInnes will write to City Development to see if some kind of safer crossing at Whitehouse Loan/Newbattle Terrace might be on the cards in the future.

6 Neighbourhood Partnership Report
Alastair Philp gave a report on the most recent Neighbourhood Partnership (NP) meeting:
- Updates were provided by the Tollcross short-life working group, and the Meadows short-life working group on which John Simon is the MSCC representative. The Meadows group has discussed what events should be allowed on the Meadows and what the consultation process should be. There has been a request for more monitoring of events and more community engagement.
- The Local Community Plan will be presented to the NP at some point in the future as it is not yet ready.
- Robert Aitken of NHS Lothian gave a presentation which included mention of the re-development of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. It has not yet been decided what is happening with this re-development and whether or not some services may move.
- There is one CCTV camera in this NP area and currently no prospect of more.
- There was a presentation from Special Branch on terrorist activity. People were told not to worry about this, but to remain aware and notify the police of any suspicious activity.
- A report was tabled about voter registration.
- Information was provided about the Community Grants fund, which the MSCC is already aware of.
- There are new proposals for all-day parking in the Merchiston area, and a further meeting will be set up in the future to discuss this.
- Alastair has spoken to Susan Bruce about the MSCC accessing its grant and she will look into this.
- The next meeting of the NP will take place on 12 May 2008.

Mark McInnes will find out what is happening regarding the tweaks to parking regulations that were discussed at an October meeting of Council which Susie Agnew and Hugh Leather attended as a deputation.

7 Future meeting dates
Susie Agnew has e-mailed other local community councils in an attempt to avoid clashes with their future meeting dates. The Grange Association will aim to avoid the second Wednesday of the month, and Morningside & Merchiston Community Council generally meet on the third Wednesday of the month. It was agreed that the MSCC will therefore continue to meet on the second Wednesday of the month. There was brief discussion of whether the frequency of MSCC meetings is appropriate to the amount of business to be discussed.
ACTION The MSCC will continue to meet monthly except there will be no meetings in July, August or December. Whether or not a meeting takes place in January will depend on half-term dates.

8 Any other business
· A “Talk to your MSP” meeting will take place n Saturday 15th March at the City Chambers from 10am-1pm
· A “How Planners Make Decisions” meeting will take place on Tuesday 18th March at 7pm in Polwarth Parish Church.
· The MSCC has been asked to nominate someone from the city, or a long-term resident, for the “Edinburgh Award”.
· Other relevant notices and information were mentioned and will go on the MSCC blog:

9 Date of next meeting
The next meeting will take place on Wednesday 9 April 2008, beginning at 7.30pm at St Catherine’s Argyle Community Hall, Grange Road, Edinburgh.

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