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Saturday, 29 May 2021

MSCC - Minutes for April 2021


Marchmont & Sciennes

Community Council




Minutes of Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council

Meeting of Wed 28th April 2021, 7.30pm by Jitsi Meet.


Present:  Brian Gilmore (Chair, MSCC), Elinor O’Donovan (Minute Secretary), Nigel Ayton (Grange Association), Clare Hewitt (Resident), Cllr Alison Dickie, Susie Agnew (MSCC), Matt Hailey (Resident) Tony Holmes (Thirlestane Lane Association), Adam Stewart (MSCC), Alison Service (MSCC), Shane Voss (MSCC), Ian Murray MP, Anne Laing (MSCC), Cllr Melanie Main.


Apologies:  None.


Matters Arising:

Clare Hewitt and Matt Hailey are in attendance, representing Roseneath Place and Meadows Place, hoping to discuss measures to prevent their streets from being used as public toilets by people frequenting the Meadows.


Minutes have been circulated; approved by Alison and seconded by Susie.


Police Report:

Has been circulated.


Meadows and Bruntsfield Links:.


Provision of Toilets on the Meadows


Cllr Main: The Transport and Environment Committee wants to put toilets on the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links. The Council is meeting tomorrow to find money in the budget to provide these measures. The Council will have strategy for public toilets and has set up a working group to address the issue across the city. There is cross-party support for the provision of more public toilets in the Meadows, and Cllr Main anticipates that the motion for more public toilets, as well as increased provision of recycling/bins and adequate staffing to keep parks clean will be passed.


Public Urination


While the provision of public toilets on the Meadows is a positive step, there needs to be more action taken to clamp down on public urination on residential streets around the Meadows, such as Roseneath Place, Meadows Place, and Sylvan Place (among others).


The Council has recently agreed to purchase more portable CCTV cameras and Cllr Main has put in a request to make sure something gets put in these lanes over specific periods.


There have been repeat offenders publicly urinating in residential streets, and this will continue unless new public toilets are more conveniently located than the residential streets. A gate on the targeted streets might work as a temporary measure to redirect people to additional toilets on the Meadows.


Greater cross-departmental organisation is needed to organize the parks, between toilets, refuse and the police’s presence.


In order for MSCC to focus on this issue, Brian suggests that one of our members takes on a leading role in organising a pressure group to hold the council to account in addressing these issues. Alison volunteers to lead the subgroup.


Action: Alison will contact Clare Hewitt ( and Matt Hailey ( in order to further organise this subgroup.



City Councillor Report on topical local issues:


Cllr Dickie:

While public urination and toilets for the Meadows have been key issues, she has also been working to address the Sciennes Primary School limited playground space, as well as other issues related to education, such as getting children back to school, and pushing for youth services to return. The road closure outside Sciennes Primary is temporary, but there is a bid for the permanent closure of the road, though this will take time.


Cllr Main:

James Gillespies Primary School have reported that the use of the quiet route has been really positive in terms of safety.


A local resident owns a police box on Whitehouse Loan and is happy for it to be used for community purposes.


Graffiti: The Council provides graffiti kits to local community councils (MSCC has one). If you notice graffiti, you can request a graffiti kit which can be used to remove the graffiti.


Libraries: It was announced this week that the first phase to reopen libraries is beginning and will move as quickly as possible into the second phase.


Sick Kids Hospital Site


Downing Group will take over from beginning of July.


Astley Ainslie.


Nothing to update since last month.



Planning applications



Just for information, in the Grange Area there has been a proposal put forward to convert a Priority Parking Area into a Controlled Parking Zone, and a leaflet has been distributed to residents in that area. This development is causing a stir amongst residents of the Grange. The consultation closes on 30th May.


Grange Cemetery


Nigel: Paper has been circulated. The key things to note are that the Grange Association has agreed to fund work restoring big monuments in the cemetery, and the Grange Cemetery now has its own email address  


Action: Alison will find out who set up the Donate-By-Text service for FOMBL and will report back to Nigel.


Stock Take


Adam: Going forward, Adam would like to see MSCC become more proactive as a council and suggests that as a group we figure out what our priorities are – what improvements we wish to see in the community, and what actions we might take to achieve these improvements. For example, Adam would like MSCC to raise our visibility in the community, and make our voice heard on developments across the city.


Action: Adam will write and circulate a paper detailing his proposals.


Treasurer’s Report


Monthly report has been circulated. The bank balance is currently £1002.28.


Meetings attended.






Newington Safe Routes: Cameron Toll to Meadows Quiet Route

Shane: Newington Safe Routes are a pressure group set up to achieve a Cameron Toll to Meadows Quiet Route. Shane believes that MSCC should support them in this. While there are some concerns that making a quiet route will remove some of the pressure on the Council to make arterial roads safer to cycle on, in general it is a good proposal.  

Shane volunteers to act as MSCC representative when liaising with Newington Safe Routes group.



Street Furniture:

Susie: Street furniture is an issue, and the council haven’t been sufficiently addressing this.

Adam suggests that this could be an issue we as a community council work on improving in the future.



Date of next meeting:  Wednesday 26th May at 7.30 – using Jitsi Meet.


Wednesday, 19 May 2021

MSCC - Minutes for the March Meeting


Marchmont & Sciennes

Community Council




Minutes of Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council

Meeting of Wed 24th March 2021, 7.30pm by Jitsi Meet.


Present:  Brian Gilmore (Chair, MSCC), Elinor O’Donovan (Minute Secretary), Nigel Ayton (Grange Association), Alison Service (MSCC), Susie Agnew (MSCC), Shane Voss (MSCC), Tony Holmes (Thirlestane Lane Association), Cllr Steve Burgess, Adam Stewart (MSCC), Anne Laing (MSCC).


Apologies:  None.


Matters Arising:  None.


Brian talked to Cllr Mandy Watt about the pavement outside Grange cemetery on Beaufort Road. As things have been busy with Spaces for People she was not able to look into it but will do so presently.


The minutes of February 2021’s meeting have been circulated and approved by Brian, seconded by Alison.


Police Report: Has been circulated.

The police are unable to attend our meetings as they can only use Microsoft Teams.


Susie is disappointed that the break-ins reported in the area over the last six weeks weren’t reflected in the police report. In the last week, there was another break-in on Tantallon Place, and all the recent break-ins have been reported to the police.

Brian will contact the police again before our next meeting to see if they can provide a report more specific to our area.


Meadows and Bruntsfield Links: None.


FOMBL Report: Was circulated last month.

FOMBL have recently applied for three small grants and are actively going ahead with putting table tennis tables on the Meadows by the tennis courts. They are also involved in tree-planting. There will be another meeting on April 6th.


City Councillor Report on topical local issues:


Cllr Steve Burgess:


Anti-social behaviour and public urination on the Meadows:


The recent stint of good weather means that there has been an increase in people drinking on the Meadows, and subsequently an increase in public urination on the streets surrounding the Meadows. There are public toilets on the Meadows, but these are only open until 6pm which creates a problem after this time. Cllr Burgess would like to see the council keep these toilets open to correspond with daylight hours.


Cllr Melanie Main received an agreement that there would be a report made to the Culture and Communities Committee of the Council to develop a strategy regarding toilets on the Meadows. This would hopefully result in new toilets being placed on the Meadows, possibly in the junction at the mid-way point on Middle Meadow Walk. If approved, however, this could take time to implement and won’t solve the problem this summer.


It was also noted issues associated with the Meadows extended beyond public toilets, and included proactive management of the green spaces, anti-social behaviour, waste management and other issues. These had been occurring for a number of years and are likely to require a longer term joined up plan to address, involving relevant public sector organisations, retailers and community groups. This could also usefully benchmark with the approaches taken by other local authorities.  Cllr Burgess agreed to explore how the council’s statutory community planning responsibilities could be used to develop and coordinate an appropriate response, and to identify who the community council could engage with to explore this further.  


There has been a movement to bring in more mobile CCTV cameras on affected streets which may provide a deterrent for public urination.


The public toilets at the top of Middle Meadow Walk fell into disrepair a few years ago but could be a potential solution, though Cllr Burgess feels these are still too far away from the Meadows to prevent people from urinating on the streets closer by.


Cllr Burgess believes – and everyone generally agrees -that Portaloos are the best solution (though they may be vandalised). Cllr Burgess believes that other Southside councillors would support this if brought to the Council, and comments that it might be a good idea for MSCC to lobby local councillors about getting Portaloos put in place.


When cafes re-open, the public toilet sticker scheme will be back in action which may alleviate the issue somewhat. Susie raises the issue that the stickers are quite small and so may not be noticed.  


Closure of Whitehouse Loan:


Cllr Burgess has received many emails from people both for and against the closure. The Project Officer for this scheme has produced a briefing note addressing residents’ concerns, and notes that cycle journeys are at 600 per day and are likely to increase. The closure will take some getting used to for residents, but it will be closely monitored, and in the briefing note the Project Officer details what the next steps are likely to be.


Cllr Burgess will share the Project Officers’ report with Brian who will circulate it.



Gillespie’s High School:


There was a recent deputation of Gillespie’s High School to the Education Committee about parents’ concerns regarding the squeeze on classroom space and its consequences for students. Students that are currently taking Advanced Highers now have 2/5 periods that are non-classroom based, i.e. trips, activities, remote working. Parents are concerned that this isn’t a suitable replacement for face-to-face teaching.

The Committee officers have been tasked with finding out if they can put in temporary accommodation.




Sick Kids Hospital Site


The NHS have begun moving out this week and it will have high security staff onsite until Downing Group take over.



Local residents received a letter saying that NHS Lothian will still have the site for another 10 weeks – and it is currently high security as they move out. 1st June is the expected hand-over date.


There have been no updates regarding the Downing proposal.


Astley Ainslie.



The Grange Association has received an email from NHS saying that at this time the focus of NHS Lothian is that Astley Ainsley Hospital remains an active healthcare site, pending a further review of the business cases.


This has raised concerns that the NHS are backtracking and will not vacate the site as they said they would, though at this time this is just speculation. The Grange Association will continue asking them to clarify their intentions for the site.



Planning applications



14-16 Hope Terrace has been sold, and those who bought it are redeveloping it into family homes. Part of their application is that they want to build a new three-storey house on the site of the tennis courts which abuts the adjoining property. Nigel has been relaying concerns from residents to the developer and Grange Association have submitted formal objection.


Grange Cemetery



Friends of Grange Cemetery (FOGC) is an active voluntary group which look after Grange Cemetery and which is mostly composed of volunteers from the Grange area south of the cemetery. FOGC wish to recruit more volunteers from the Marchmont area and one approach to achieving this has been the addition of a standing item to the MSCC meeting’s agenda where Nigel will give updates on the activities of FOGC.


Susie comments on how lovely it has been to see Grange cemetery used by people for exercise during the lockdown and to see it used as a park. She suggests that FOGC put a larger and more visible notice on the gates encouraging visitors to join in.


Treasurer’s Report


Monthly report has been circulated. The bank balance is currently £1176.28.


Meetings attended.


Spaces for People:

Shane: Edinburgh Council are trying to reassure local Community Councils that the current measures put in place by temporary traffic regulation orders will be followed up with proper consultation, i.e. due process will return as soon as possible.





Date of next meeting:  Wednesday 28th April at 7.30 – using Jitsi Meet.


MSCC - Draft Agenda for the 26th May


Marchmont & Sciennes

Community Council



JITSI Meet Meeting on Wed 26th May 2021 at 7:30pm


For JITSI Meet details, see the end of the Agenda




 1             Sederunt and apologies

 2            Draft Minutes of last meeting, 28th April 2021, and matters arising (not otherwise on Agenda)

 3             Police Report

 4             Meadows & Bruntsfield Links

                * Ongoing issues

                * Including FOMBL

 5             City Councillor report on topical local issues

Items for discussion

 6             Royal Hospital for Sick Children Redevelopment

                                – Any changes since the last meeting?

 7             Astley Ainslie Hospital Redevelopment

                                -  any updates?

 8             Planning (Applications & consultations)

·         Any others

 9             Grange Cemeter

10           A stocktake of our progress to date and our future priorities

                                * Adam to update

11           Date of AGM,  June proposed



Items for information

12           Treasurer's report

13           Meetings attended

14           AOCB


Date of next meeting: 23rd June 2021


All who live or work locally are welcome to attend.

MSCC is online at:


JITSI Meet Details


For those of you using a PC (or similar), you can join straight from an Internet Browser. As far as I can establish, those on smart phones will need to download the app. After you have downloaded it, it is then easier to join etc.


This room exists from now, so you can test it out when you like and please contact me if you can’t get it working.


The Room link:


The name of the ‘Room’ is MSCCVirtualMeeting  (it is CASE sensitive)