Minutes of Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council
Meeting of Wed 26th November 2020, 7.30pm by Jitsi Meet.
Present: Brian Gilmore (Chair, MSCC), Elinor O’Donovan (Minute Secretary), Nigel Ayton (Grange Association), Bob Gates (member of public), Cllr Steve Burgess, Alison Service (MSCC), Susie Agnew (MSCC), Shane Voss (MSCC), Anne Laing (MSCC), Alastair Philp (member of public), Tony Holmes (Thirlestane Lane Association), Liane Phillips (Marchmont Hardware).
Apologies: Adam Stewart.
Item 7 from the minutes of October’s meeting has been amended to read: “There is a discussion about the (sometimes competing) requirements of different types of road users (Pedestrians, Cyclists, Car users)”.
With this amendment, the minutes were approved by Anne, seconded by Nigel.
Police Report: Has been circulated.
One of the comments in the police report was regarding groups of young people gathering on Middle Meadow Walk on Friday and Saturday nights.
Action: The police have asked that individuals report these groups if they are seen gathering.
Intruder prevention strips have been recommended by the police to deter intruders from climbing over private walls.
Meadows and Bruntsfield Links: None.
There will be a meeting on Monday 30th which Alison will attend.
City Councillor Report on topical local issues:
Cllr Steve Burgess:
Recently, the Council has largely been concerned with keeping services running in spite of the pandemic. Cllr Burgess believes that the Council has been doing a good job so far, in particular with keeping the schools open. There have been, from time to time, incidences of staff and pupils testing positive for Covid, and some classes have had to isolate, but as of yet no schools have had to close.
The next challenge for the Council is the upcoming budget in February. The Council has to save approximately £47 million in the next few years.
A budget consultation has just opened in the form of an online survey which will be open to responses until the 10th. The survey is looking for feedback on how the Council has handled the pandemic, as well as suggestions on areas to make budget savings, and suggestions regarding the climate emergency.
Most of Cllr Burgess’ recent correspondence has been with parents regarding schools’ extracurricular activities. Sports and extracurriculars have been put on hold, and parents are concerned about how this will impact their children. These activities have been put on hold by the Education Committee, as their real concern at the moment is limiting contagion in schools. The priority is to keep schools open without taking any unnecessary risks.
There have been some negotiations regarding how and when extracurricular activities can take place. The Saturday football club at Sciennes Primary School has been put on hold, but Cllr Burgess recently took a motion to the Education Committee meeting to see if the Council will review this decision regarding extracurricular activities. The committee agreed to review this, and the Council have since clarified that they don’t have a remit in terms of regulating informal football clubs that happen on public spaces on a Saturday.
Community hires are still ongoing in school venues but are controlled by Edinburgh Leisure and so are under different governance than activities which happen during school hours.
Safe Streets Development:
Regarding the ongoing issue outside Sciennes Primary school: largely driven by the pandemic and the need for parents to drop children off at school, the decision was taken to close the road.
Greenbank to Meadows Quiet Route:
This temporary traffic regulation order has been suggested as the pavements on Morningside Road have been extended to allow for social distancing by pedestrians. This has caused traffic to merge into one lane which has become detrimental to cyclists. Because of this, the Quiet Route has been approved to go forward for consultation. MSCC has until the 2nd week of December to put forward its stance on the measures. As this is a limited consultation, and not fully open to the public, individuals can email their local councillors or the transport convenors with comments about the scheme.
Action: Individual MSCC members should send their views on the Quiet Route to Brian, who will draft a MSCC response.
Sick Kids Hospital Site
Stakeholder Engagement Request
There have been no contentious planning applications.
Tony has been in touch with the Planning Department regarding large signs on Marchmont Road, saying that fir trees are going on sale on Thirlestane Lane in the old garage premises. Tony has asked the Planning Department to find out if there is planning permission and/or a license for the traders to operate there. The Planning Department will look into this within the next 20 days.
Alison’s report has been circulated.
At the end of October, the balance was £1342.28, with one cheque to be presented: £30 to the Minute Secretary.
At the end of August, our grant came in at £887.82 for the year, as expected which is to plan until the end of March 2021. However, there will be no expenses except for membership payments and payments to the Minute Secretary.
Donations to causes can be decided if and when they arise.
In total, £284 will go out, compared to £859.67 last year.
An email has been circulated regarding local businesses’ plans for Christmas in Marchmont.
As the Christmas tree lighting ceremony can’t happen this year in person, a few local businesses have been discussing doing an online celebration instead. They have discussed having a virtual tree-lighting, with a trail of local businesses possibly passing an Olympics-style torch. They plan to use social media to do a 12 Days of Christmas campaign from local businesses, wishing Marchmont locals well with a new video each day. This can also be shared on the MSCC Facebook page.
Liane’s daughter has been doing the hardware shop’s social media, and she is willing to take on the role of coordinating the Christmas in Marchmont social media.
Action: Alison and Anne will liaise with Liane about her ideas and will pass on relevant information to the MSCC.
Date of next meeting: Wednesday 27th January at 7.30 – using Jitsi Meet.