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Monday, 27 September 2021

MSCC June Minutes


Marchmont & Sciennes

Community Council




Minutes of Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council

Meeting of Wed 23rd June 2021, 7.30pm by Jitsi Meet.


Present:  Brian Gilmore (Chair, MSCC), Elinor O’Donovan (Minute Secretary), Nigel Ayton (Grange Association), Alison Service (MSCC), Vineet Lal, Adam Stewart (MSCC), Cllr Cameron Rose, Shane Voss (MSCC), Susie Agnew (MSCC), Anne Laing (MSCC), Cllr Ian Perry, Cllr Mandy Watt.


Apologies:  Anthony Holmes (Thirlestane Lane Assoc).  


Matters Arising:


Minutes from May’s meeting have been circulated, followed by Adam’s amended version of the minutes. After some discussion, it is agreed that Adam’s amended minutes would be accepted. The minutes were approved by Nigel and seconded by Alison.


Police Report:



Special Item: Saroj Lal’s Life and Legacy in South Edinburgh


Vineet Lal gave a brief presentation about his mother, Saroj Lal, who was a teacher and community organiser local to Hatton Place.

Born in British India in 1937, Saroj Lal moved to Scotland in the late 1960s when her husband accepted a position at Napier University. She studied primary teaching and taught at South Morningside Primary School from 1970 to 1973. Afterwards, she spent time at the YWCA as a volunteer and a community worker. Among her many achievements in supporting ethnic minorities and people from marginalised communities, she helped to establish the Hindu Temple in St Andrew Place, founded the first ethnic library at McDonald Road, and as director of Lothian Racial Equality Council helped to bring in significant reforms in the policing and prison systems regarding race and ethnic minorities.

Her name has been put forward as an option for the new school being built on Canaan Lane.

Pupils of the four catchment area schools will choose the new name out of three options including Saroj Lal Primary School.


Meadows and Bruntsfield Links


FOMBL report has been circulated. Toilets on the Meadows were installed last week and are operating as of today. Congratulations to FOMBL and colleagues in Edinburgh Council for the great progress made on the Meadows.


City Councillor Report on topical local issues:


Cllr Watt:


Spaces for People continues to cause considerable excitement in the community, with a lot of interest and concern from residents regarding Whitehouse Loan.

The Sciennes Primary closure is the only school road closure being kept. Apart from the other school road closures, most closures are being retained in this area. Spaces For People is going to the full council tomorrow and is expected to be a significant debate.  


Construction of new Canaan Lane Primary School is now ongoing, and plans are for it to open in August 2022 for Primary 1 pupils.


Cllr Rose:

A local issue is mixed-use parking for residents and pay-and-display users. In the last month or so changes have been implemented in an attempt to get better use of parking spaces.


Cllr Rose has been in touch with Downing regarding the mortuary chapel in the Sick Kids site. There are ongoing discussions with interested groups, with people particularly interested in the Phoebe Traquair murals. There have been attempts to get more meaningful discussions underway.





The notes of last year’s AGM were approved Alison, seconded by Nigel.


A2 Matters Arising



A3 Chair’s report


It has been a difficult year, and the virtual meetings have been an unsatisfactory method of meeting. In light of this, however, we have made some interesting developments. Thanks in particular to Alison for her work as Treasurer, thanks to Nigel for keeping our meetings straight, and thanks to the other MSCC members for their participation.

Brian notes that the council has been strained for the last two years without having a proper secretary. Given the issues raised about the effectiveness of the MSCC at the previous meeting, Brian has serious concerns that the actions of the community council are not viable and as a result will not stand for re-election as Chair this year. 


A4 Secretary’s Report



A5 Annual Report and presentation of audited accounts


Alison has circulated the accounts and P&L for this year, at the end of the year we have approximately £1000 in the bank. Everything has been audited and signed off, thanks to auditor Jim Orr.

This year the financial situation has been very different due to the pandemic, and apart from the minute secretary and insurance, there have been very few expenses. This means that there is quite a bit of money that might be used for small projects in our area.

Nigel notes that a balance sheet was not circulated.

Action: Alison will circulate the balance sheet.


A6 Co-option of members



A7 Election of officers

Nominations for chair: None.

Nominations for secretary: None.

Nominations for treasurer: Alison nominated by Anne and seconded by Brian. Alison accepts.



The date of the next AGM will be next year in May or June.



Dates of ordinary meeting as proposed: 4th Wednesday of each month, except July, August and December.




No other AGM business.


Sick Kids site update


The report from Douglas has been circulated.


A group of people who live on Sylvan Place and who will be affected by the demolition works have established a link with Downing with Anne as their representative.

Action: Anne will put together a short report which Brian will circulate.


Astley Ainslie.

Nothing to report.


Planning applications

4B Palmerston Rd – change of use of part of property to become short-term lets.


Nigel notes that the Grange Association’s feedback on this planning application was that the planning permission for change of use should be limited by the earlier of change of ownership of the property or 10 years. The application was withdrawn.


Susie, who is the owner of the property and who made the planning application, says that the application was withdrawn as they were warned it would be rejected. The council make no distinction between the use of short-term lets for holiday lets and short term lets for ‘corporate tenants’ (which is what the property would be used for in this case as the property is very much part of her residence. Susie wanted to rent to tenants for a minimum one month and maximum six months).


Cllr Watt: The rejection of this planning application was not unique to this particular property but is part of a wider council policy to not distinguish between short term lets for Airbnb’s and corporate short term lets. The issue is that properties that should be homes for people are being turned into commercial businesses, contributing to the greater housing shortage in Edinburgh. There are a huge number of properties being operated as short term lets without proper planning permission and safety considerations, and Cllr Watt encourages us to report them if we come across them. This council policy comes from feedback from Edinburgh residents who wanted long-term residents in their communities, according to their response to a public consultation.  


Grange Cemetery

Report has been circulated.


Treasurer’s Report

Monthly report has been circulated. The bank balance is currently £942.28.


Meetings attended.





Anne: There is a planter at the top of Marchmont Crescent outside Café Artista which needs refurbishment and replanting. Dorothy Ryle used to look after it some years ago. Mike Shields might be willing to empty it and put in new compost, and a local florist or MSCC could sponsor it to put in new flowers and to tend to it.

Anne has been in touch with Sheila from Sheila’s fishmongers who is excited about the idea, and Mike Shields has offered to remove it if no one will tend to it as it is an eyesore.


Action: Anne will get back in touch with Sheila and will report back.



Date of next meeting:  Wednesday 22nd September at 7.30.


Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Minutes for the May 2021 Meeting


Marchmont & Sciennes

Community Council




Minutes of Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council

Meeting of Wed 26th May 2021, 7.30pm by Jitsi Meet.


Present:  Brian Gilmore (Chair, MSCC), Elinor O’Donovan (Minute Secretary), Nigel Ayton (Grange Association), Christopher Cowdy (Member of public), Cllr Cameron Rose, Cllr Neil Ross, Tony Holmes (Thirlestane Lane Association), Adam Stewart (MSCC), Alison Service (MSCC), Shane Voss (MSCC).


Apologies:  Susie Agnew (MSCC), Anne Laing (MSCC), Barry Mercer (Police Representative).  


Although Cllr. Ross joined the meeting, he had technical problems and was unable to participate.


Matters Arising:


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


Shane wrote to Newington Safe Routes to tell them we had given them a general vote of approval, and that they could share this on their website.


Police Report:



Meadows and Bruntsfield Links:.


FOMBL Report:

Alison has circulated the report, which includes the following key points:


·         There is a new seesaw by the tennis courts on the Meadows, and a trampoline by the Links playground. FOMBL are working to establish a new playground for toddlers on the south Links area by Whitehouse Loan.


·         The table tennis table mentioned in the last meeting is going ahead.


·         The Jawbones will be erected later in the year.



Alison has been liaising with Cllr Melanie Main and the members of the public who attended the last meeting. They attended the Transport & Environment Committee Meeting where it was agreed that three units of toilets will be placed around the Meadows. These units are in the style of prefabs and can contain several toilets each. Melanie is in direct contact with the members of the public who attended the last meeting to discuss where the toilet units should be placed around the Meadows. These toilets will be for the duration of the summer.


As Covid-19 restrictions ease, the opening hours of the existing public toilets on the Meadows is likelyto be extended. Cllr Rose hopes that before long the existing hygiene measures in place will be alleviated.



Pavilion Community Hub: There is an opportunity to turn the Pavilion on the Meadows into a community hub. Cllr Rose interested in hearing people’s thoughts for the future of the Pavilion.

The Facebook page for the Pavilion is:


Underbelly Circus Planning Application:

A planning application has been submitted by Underbelly to erect a large circus tent at its usual location on the Meadows for the festival period, over a period of 33 days including set-up and take-down. This has drawn some discussion from local residents – some believe that it isn’t right for part of the community’s green space to be sacrificed to a private company, others (including FOMBL) are happy for the Underbelly Circus tent to go ahead as usual, as it generates some income which is put back into community groups like FOMBL.

Nigel believes that the reason this is drawing attention this year is because it is the first time Underbelly have submitted a planning application for the festival, following the controversy following recent recognition that the Christmas Markets in Princes St Gardens have been constructed without planning permission for many years and that large temporary structures require planning permission, even if the structure is otherwise commissioned or sanctioned by the Council.


As long as their planning application is only temporary for the period of the festival, MSCC is happy to support their application. However, it might help if the fact that money does return to the community is greater publicised to concerned residents.


City Councillor Report on topical local issues:


Spaces for People:

Cllr Rose: There has been a consultation on Spaces for People which is being assessed, and a report will come back to the Transport & Environment committee on 19th June. A review of all present schemes will be undertaken then.


Sick Kids Hospital Site

The specified date for the handover is confirmed as the first week of June.

Planning permission was given to Downing to remove the buildings which link the mortuary chapel to the main site.


Astley Ainslie.



Planning applications


Marchmont Road:

The premises of the former sofa shop on Marchmont Rd are now Alpine Bikes. A planning application has been submitted for new large backlit signs and totems on the front area, and the illumination of these signs may be a concern. Edinburgh Council have published full guidelines on how listed buildings should be treated, and MSCC expects that the Council will enforce their own guidance in full, with regards to this B-listed building.

Action: Alison will relay these comments to the Council.


Grange Cemetery

Report has been circulated.

The Grange Association will contribute £2000 to re-erect fallen monuments in the cemetery. Thanks to Alison’s advice on how to receive donations by text, that service is now available for use by the cemetery group.

Congratulations to the Grange Association and Grange Cemetery group on the success of the group so far, and the improvements made in the cemetery.


Stock Take

Adam: As discussed at the last meeting, it will be useful for us to think about how we, as a community council, are working, and what our priorities will be going forward. Adam believes our three primary goals should be to tap into local issues, become more proactive in actioning small deliverables for the community, and be representative of the whole community regarding local issues.


Social media: There is a discussion about how MSCC might use social media to engage with local residents who might not know about the community council but may still be interested in our activities. The Grange Association has had success with the forum section of their website, which has generated comments from local residents in response to the B1 controlled parking measures. Cllr Rose says that often it takes a big issue to generate interest in local community councils. Elinor recommends that the MSCC agenda is posted once a month in the Facebook groups ‘The Meadows Share’ and/or ‘The Meadows Chat’, to encourage comments from local residents on the topical issues.



Brian proposes that the AGM takes place in June.


Treasurer’s Report


Monthly report has been circulated. The bank balance is currently £972.28.

The audit has been done by auditor Jim Orr which will be presented at AGM, as well as our forward plan for the year.


Meetings attended.






Neighbourhood Network Meetings: the email has been circulated.


Date of next meeting:  (AGM) Wednesday 23rd June at 7.30 – using Jitsi Meet.


DRAFT Agenda for 22nd September 2021


Marchmont & Sciennes

Community Council



JITSI Meet Meeting on Wed 22nd September 2021 at 7:30pm


For JITSI Meet details, see the end of the Agenda




 1             Sederunt and apologies

 2            Draft Minutes of last meeting, 23rd June 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             Continuation of AGM, election of Chair and Secretary

 7             Royal Hospital for Sick Children Redevelopment

                                – Any planning changes since the last meeting?

 8             Astley Ainslie Hospital Redevelopment

                                -  any updates?

 9             Planning (Applications & consultations)

·         Any others

10           Grange Cemetery

                                * See Attached Report



Items for information

11           Treasurer's report

12           Meetings attended

13           AOCB


Date of next meeting: 27th October 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)