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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

MSCC Minutes of the January 2019 Meeting

Minutes of Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council
Meeting of Wed 23rd January 2019 at St Catherine’s Argyle Church Hall

Present:  Brian Gilmore (Chair), Alison Service (Treasurer), Elinor O’Donovan (Minute secretary), Alastair McInnes (resident), Riona Bell (resident), Andy Bell (resident), Wendy Sutcliffe (resident), Philip Sutcliffe (resident), Nigel Ayton (Grange Assoc), Mike Shields (Edinburgh Council), Shane Voss (MSCC), PC Karen Neilson, Cllr Melanie Main, Cllr Ian Perry, Fiona Denvir (Sciennes Primary School PTA), Susie Agnew (MSCC), Amelia Beattie (resident).
Apologies Anne Laing, Ian Murray MP, Douglas Rogers
Minutes of November’s meeting have been circulated, approved by Alison, seconded by Nigel.
Matters arising: None.
Police report: 
PC Karen Neilson:
The police were busy in December. Operation Winter City was in effect, with a police presence at the Christmas Markets to ensure public safety. Road safety checks were done on the Grange Rd, including breath checks. Several warnings were issued for broken lights as well as one for someone driving without insurance. Police gave out bicycle lights and raised awareness about cycle safety. There were increased police patrols around the Bruntsfield Links, following reports of people smoking cannabis in that area.
On 14th January, the community policing team stopped a vehicle in the Grange area and recovered over £2000 worth of drugs in the vehicle. The driver was remanded in custody.
A 64-year-old man is in custody in England following a robbery at Clerk St TSB.
Two men were identified following a series of assaults near the Southsider pub in December. There were also a few break-ins to businesses on the Southside corridor, but these have largely been solved.
Meadows & BL: 
Mike Shields:
FOMBL received money from David Jamieson, as a result of the money generated by events in the Meadows. They were allocated £21,000 for this year.
Last year, this money was spent on signage, gym equipment etc. Mike believes that it makes sense for the money generated from events held on the Meadows to go back into the community parks. Cllr Main suggests that if MSCC agrees that this is important, that they should make this known to Community Transport & Environment before the budget consultation. MSCC agrees – Brian will write the email.
Projects underway include re-doing hard surfacing in the parking area adjacent to the croquet club building, Mike is to visit the site tomorrow with a contractor to look at what needs to be done.
The entrance to the Meadows from Lonsdale terrace and from Chalmers St is in poor repair- there is a need for nice railings, for example. Mike is keen to add new play equipment to the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links. £7000 has been set aside for additional toddlers play equipment in the Bruntsfield end of the Meadows.
Mike also points out that the Meadows Management plan is coming to committee in March.

Cllrs report:  
Cllr Main:
Midmar Paddock, as previously discussed, is under threat of development. However, in positive news, there was work done with Friends of Midmar Paddock to gather evidence for rights of way, which they did in November. 2332 pieces of tight evidence were gathered detailing 70 years of use, from 760 people (majority of whom were from EH10 and EH9). This will go to the Access Forum on 31st January. Friends of Midmar Paddock are hoping that the council will give them the highest level of rights of way- which gives the council the option of taking the developer to court if these rights of way are contravened. The evidence for rights of way makes it more difficult for Midmar Paddock to be developed, and probably devalues the property. It also indicates the level of public support that developers might come up against.
Rights of way include the lines between at least two access points to a site so, for instance, developers would be required to maintain reasonable routes between those access points and would not be allowed to build across the routes and to reroute them into in a circle around the perimeter of the site. Developers can potentially reroute rights of way but need to put in a planning application to do so.
There was discussion about how much protection the council has over preserving green belt land. Cllr Perry says that developers can put in an application for anything they like, but it is up to the council to release green belt land for development. Where this might happen, as an example, is if a developer asked for green belt land to be released in order to build social housing which would potentially alleviate some of the pressure on the council for housing.

Cllr Main: The first ward meeting, to replace the Neighbourhood Partnerships is tomorrow at 6pm at the City Chambers. Community councils have been invited to discuss any issues relating to their ward.

Cllr Perry: Attended the SE Localities meeting, but there is nothing to report that specifically affects our area.
Cllr Perry also mentions that it is now time for budget consultation and asks for people to submit their views on proposed savings/cuts through the council website. Changes are made to the budget according to consultation and the budget will be set in 3 weeks’ time.

Sick Kids Hospital: 
There was a Planning Committee site visit on Wednesday 16th. Fiona Denvir and Douglas Rogers attended. Fiona said it was interesting to be talked through the detail of plans for the site as they met with developers. When the Sick Kids site planning application went in, the community council put in their objections. However, when Fiona and Douglas attended the site visit, they could only attend as silent observers.
On the 6th February at 10am, the application will be going to hearing at the Planning Committee. Douglas and Fiona will go along then.
Astley Ainslie
Things picked up before Christmas and the Planning department within Edinburgh Council were more engaged than ever. They hosted a meeting in Waverley Court with the NHS and Community Engagement Group in order to clarify what kind of document is being produced for the project. This will be a Place Brief.
The Place Brief will be put to the Development Management Subcommittee for endorsement so that it is considered in subsequent planning applications. If a developer puts forward an application, for example, it will have to be assessed with reference to the Place Brief.
The Council agreed to modify the contents of the previously proposed Master Plan, so that they became the contents of the Place Brief. The NHS, since they are paying for the plan, will be in charge of drafting the Place Brief and of procuring the consultants for specialist areas.  The council is now the “client for consultation”, since everything will be done to the council’s specifications and contents list.  The Council will attend progress meetings with NHS and the Community Engagement Group at least monthly and will review the drafts for consistency with the contents list.  Since the meeting in December, things have become quieter. This is due in part to the person leading for the NHS side being on sick leave.
Nigel stated leaflets for a public meeting on 14th Feb at the Eric Liddell Centre are being distributed to homes in the area.  The meeting is to communicate with residents about what is going on with the site. The Community Engagement Group is for Community Councils, including this one and others and the CEG owe it to residents to say what’s going on, clarifying the process with the NHS and with the Community Trust.
The master programme will have public consultations in the summer, so this meeting is more of a “show and tell” than a consultation. It is just to improve clarity about what is going on, fact-sharing and to share the timetable with residents. Everything for the Place Brief has to happen in 2019 so that it gets to the Development Management Subcommittee by this time next year, as the NHS wants to go to market in 2020. The move from the site may not be completed until 2025 but this won’t delay the transaction.
Discussion about the public consultations in the summer. Cllr Main mentions that it is best practice not to hold consultation during the school holidays. Nigel assures that they will not be held in July, rather some will be held before July with others from late August onwards. The NHS will appoint the consultants- however, some at the meeting pointed out that the NHS appointed public consultants with the Sick Kids site, and the process took several years. Some are also dubious about the independence of the NHS appointing the consultants. Nigel says that the pressure for the consultants to be independent will come from the Planning Department and its review of the drafts produced for the Place Brief.   Brian suggests that there is no other option but for us to keep a close eye on things.

Nigel encourages everyone to attend the meeting on 14th February at 7pm. This meeting is being underwritten by the Grange Association and, so far, it has cost about £250 to rent the centre and publish posters. Other councils have been asked to make a financial contribution; each council is being asked to consider contributing between £25-40. Alison says we have sufficient funds to do so and proposes that MSCC contributes £40. Fiona seconds. The meeting agreed.

Sciennes school PTA
Fiona and Kirstin from Sciennes primary school:
Sciennes primary school has 670 pupils, and the playground is too small to accommodate them. Over the last few years, a lot has been done to develop the playground and open space across the road but the PTA are currently trying to get the road directly in front of Sciennes Primary school closed. This would provide additional playground space and would allow it to become a permanent cycle way for kids travelling to school.
Sciennes Primary has already been chosen to be part of the Schools Streets scheme, which means the road is closed at school drop-off and pick-up times. This has already had a positive impact on children travelling to schools actively (by cycling or walking) and has improved safety for them at these times.
At this point, the PTA need to put in a planning application to have the road closed, but in order to do so they need money and the support of the local community. The PTA have been working with local councillors and MPs who have been supportive, in principle, of closing the road when the Sick Kids hospital closes.
Sustrans has said they would be keen to support a bid to have the road closed. The Sciennes primary PTA at this moment are looking for the MSCC to support them in terms of the Sustrans application, as Sustrans could provide the necessary funding.
This funding from Sustrans would allow the PTA to subsidise the cost of the council undertaking an independent assessment of traffic management in the area. Some present at the meeting are concerned about the closure of Sciennes Rd leading to traffic congestion in other neighbouring streets and the PTA need to show that they are sufficiently engaging with the local community in this regard.
The PTA’s objectives are to create a permanent vehicle-free area, to improve safety of crossing at school times, to reduce vehicle speeds, to increase the number of cyclists of varying abilities and ages, to create a people-prioritised pleasant environment and to improve air quality. According to the PTA, the School Streets scheme has reduced pollution in area overall- according to the air pollution monitors measured at 14 different points in the area. In every street measured, apart from Hatton Pl. and Gladstone Ter., there has been a significant drop in air pollution.
Philip Sutcliffe stated that he feels it is essential for an impartial study to be undertaken on the potential effects of the closure of Sciennes Rd on other surrounding roads. He would like this to be made public. Kirstin assures that part of the money from Sustrans will go towards the traffic study, specifically looking at ‘source and destination’ traffic of people using that particular road.
Cllr Perry also assures everyone that before any road closure, a traffic impact analysis will be done. Any evidence from this analysis will become publicly available for concerned residents to check to see if it is credible. Brian also ensures that he will circulate any analysis done on the traffic impact of the road closure.

Cllr Main mentions that traffic modelling is now done on a computer, which allows you to see where traffic goes when a road is closed. She assures that if a disproportionate amount of traffic is being displaced, then measures will be taken to address that. Overall, similar discussions in other community council meetings have suggested that there is an overall increase in on residential streets in Edinburgh, and Cllr Main says that closing residential streets can have a positive effect.
After further discussion and debate, Brian asserts that no decision is being taken tonight on the road closure. The PTA is asking for blessing in them going to Sustrans for funding for analysis, and to get a traffic management survey. After that, it will come back to MSCC for consultation on the scheme as a whole. The committee vote, and MSCC approves of the PTA going to Sustrans for funding.

Review of Community Councils Scheme
Individuals will respond with their views.
20mph city speed limit
Shane says that it had previously been decided that we would respond as individuals but seems a shame that we can’t represent our community overall.
After some discussion on the effect of the 20mph scheme on bus routes, it is decided that Shane will respond as the MSCC in support of the 20mph but will voice caution about the bus routes.
Planning matters: 
Nigel: The Grange Assoc is objecting to an application to build a driveway at 6 Cumin Place and asks for MSCC’s support. Alison will respond in support.
Treasurer’s report:
Has been circulated. At the end of January, there is £1030.91 with two outstanding cheques to be paid, to a total of £170.66.
Meetings attended:
Alison has circulated a report on the recent FOMBL meeting.
AGM of EACC attended by Brian.
Alison gives a vote of thanks to Cllr Main for standing in at the Christmas Event.
Date of next meeting
27th February 2019. The meeting closed at 9.20pm.

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