Minutes of Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council
Meeting of Wed 27 November 2019 at St Catherine’s Argyle Church Halls,
Present: – Brian Gilmore (Chair, MSCC), Mike Shields (Edinburgh Council Parks), Cllr Dickie (CEC), Shane Voss (MSCC), Alison Service (MSCC), Adam Stewart (MSCC), Anna Nicol (Minute Secretary), Susie Agnew (MSCC), Nigel Ayton (Grange Association)
Apologies: – Anthony Holmes, Anne Laing, Douglas Rogers
Draft Minutes from the last meeting, 23rd October 2019, have been circulated. These were approved by Alison and seconded by Shane.
Adam was talking to other council members from Morningside and Southside to share what common themes seem to be arising across the communities and could be collaborated on.
No police present.
Meadows and Bruntsfield Links:
Mike Shields highlighted four points of notice following the ‘Walk About’ on 13 November. The yellow paint on the roadway forming the junction box at the bottom of Marchmont Road will be replaced. A couple of tree pits on Roseneath Street were empty or had dead trees in them and these will be dealt with in June and the dead tree will be removed. There was a bin sitting in a permit zone with a keep clear sign and over a drain which has been passed on to waste who have taken note as they are conducting a review of all bin placements. Michelle Ross was the main contact regarding the bins. The Brian Harris tree which was planted in Marchmont Crescent in memory of him has died and so the tree has been replaced.
There is a plan to reinstall the jawbones in June 2020 which are currently in storage but this has not been fully confirmed yet.
City Councillor Report on topical local issues
Two current issues include the ongoing issue regarding the road outside of Sciennes primary school. Long-term solution would entail the road closure but an interim solution is that they will move out the signage and expand the pavement area in order to ensure child safety.
Long-term GME (Gaelic Medium Education) strategy will entail moving the gaelic pupils in James Gillepsie into Darroch temporarily and build a new school by 2024. Moving gaelic pupils into a new school would open up space for Darroch to become another primary school.
Cllr Dickie wanted to highlight how the council’s ongoing budget conversations are framed within their aims of poverty reduction, promoting sustainability, and promoting wellbeing.
Susie Agnew raises the issue of unappealing temporary road diversion signs mounted in cement blocks around the Sciennes school area, such as outside the Argyll Bar, which were installed as a temporary measure at the start of Sciennes Road school-time closure scheme, and that she says no one now pays attention to and that don’t look attractive. Alison agrees and Cllr Dickie says she will look again and will enquire into the process of their removal and will provide feedback. Adam Stewart notes that a potential future item will be to think about what these road signs should be replaced with.
Election of Secretary (repeat):
No one is standing for secretary.
The Council’s revised Community Council scheme includes an additional role of Engagement Officer to try and engage with the community and determine their views on changes within the community. Adam Stewart nominates himself for engagement officer and is elected.
There is a discussion in which Adam suggests looking into different ways to communicate with the wide variety of community members. Cllr Dickie emphasises the importance of the role regarding the diversity of the community and galvanising said diversity. Nigel Ayton notes that having an engagement officer would encourage a more active medium through which to engage with all representatives of the community in addition to the noticeboards.
Items for Discussion
Royal Hospital for Sick Children Redevelopment: update
There is no current update on the redevelopment.
Astley Ainslie Hospital Redevelopment: update
Nigel reports that the council are drafting the brief which he hopes will be shared prior to the next meeting in January 2020. The NHS has reiterated that it won’t put the for sale sign up until the brief has been approved.
Marchmont, Meadows and Bruntsfield Conservation Area Consultation:
A link was made available to the consultation circulated at the last meeting by Adam. Updated document with an overview of the area has been circulated, focusing on the Meadows in particular. Both Alison and Adam approve of the new document. Nigel notes a risk with conservation areas is that some people use it as a justification to oppose any change but notes that in order to protect how the community uses the conservation area, there needs to be change and development for it to become a ‘Place’ for all residents, young and old, to enjoy, growing and changing but retaining certain treasured aspects
Nigel raises the difficulty in finding the best way to listen to the community to represent a diverse set of views. There is a thought towards potential future investment to collaborate with the council’s sustainability aims as well as to preserve the residential element of the area.
Other Conservation issues raised:
There is a discussion regarding a previously mentioned issue of raising roof space in tenement blocks. Susie suggests encouraging community members who want to stop the installation of windows in roof space to refer to their title deeds to see who is responsible for roof care and help them take action.
Adam sees two separate issues: planning (planning permission is in keeping with the character of the tenements) and ownership, which is a legal matter and less to do with the council. Alison suggests to Cllr Dickie that the council could make a move to make the information accessible and Susie notes it might be a good idea to put it at the end of planning permission statements.
Review of Parks
Mike says that no issues have been raised yet regarding the events taking place in the parks. These reviews take place to ensure that events taking place in the Meadows, and parks elsewhere, continue to cause little disturbance to locals and are being managed correctly. Mike believes that so long as events are managed well and properly, few issues should arise.
Alison notes that toilets are the main issue but Brian suggests that FOMBL deals with it and Alison suggests she brings their report here when it is ready, to see if the MSCC wants to take part.
Brian notes that the issues relating to the Meadows have declined in the last few years, in part from the help of FOMBL. Adam suggests that the MSCC do contribute to the review as the residents do see the Meadows as part of their community.
Parking Charging changes
Brian does not think the MSCC were formally consulted on parking charging changes. He says they consulted narrowly on this issue, only around the James Gillespie area.
There is a brief discussion on whether these are city-wide changes. Shane says they are turning some yellow lines into bays and that the multi-purpose charging so that there are more pay and display bays which are also permit bays. Adam raises the issue that expanding parking bays and lifting charges could contradict a sustainability initiative. Susie believes the some of the pressure is from inaccurate boundary divisions.
The deadline to contribute has passed and so MSCC will wait for the outcome.
Planning (Applications and Consultations)
Nothing material. Interested parties should visit the Grange Association website.
Items of Information
£987.25 in the bank as of the end of September. Alison has done the forward plan and estimates for the end of the year will be a deficit of £17.18. This means a tight budget and so the MSCC can’t give a lot of donations if there is little funding coming in.
City Plan 2030
Adam was unable to attend the City Plan 2030 meeting but he thinks the activity has been paused because of plans to review.
Adam went to the AGM where they were electing new office bearers. John Tibbett was elected chair.
Adam has circulated a draft response to the tourism strategy. It closes this weekend and so need to finalise the response in the next couple of days. Important point is the impact of tourists from the Old Town in areas such as accommodation. While there is an aim to look at it from a positive view, the volume of tourists needs to be managed and the council needs to ensure investment to make sure the area can cope. Brian notes that Airbnb has been raised before as an issue that affects the area. Nobody has objected to the draft response.
XMAS Tree Ceremony 7 December: Raffle prizes and volunteers sorted.
Date of next meeting: 22nd January 2020 (No December Meeting)